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The Future Of The Office: Collaborative Workspace The Future Of The Office: Collaborative Workspace

By Casey Briody on October 14, 2014



When you imagine the typical workspace, do you picture a 5 by 5 cubicle with fluorescent lighting overhead and filing cabinets at your side? Do you ever wonder what the future of the workplace will look like? E|SPACES had the honor of hosting three panelists who are having a big impact on the evolution of the workplace. Our panelists included Jennie Tatum, Scott Henson, and Brian Weldy who all shared how they are making positive changes in order to improve the workplace.

Our E|SPACES Cool Springs location was a particularly fitting environment for this presentation as the audience sat and listened in a modern, collaborative workspace designed by none other than Jennie Tatum herself.

“Everyone deserves a smart place to work,” stated Jennie Tatum, a workplace consultant at IDS, as she took the floor to a packed crowd at the Williamson County First Friday event.  It is clear that the tools we use and how we use them are changing, as a majority of the room checks their email or live tweets during the event.  Jennie went on to share the importance of adapting now that we are working from laptops, iPads, smart phones, and using video conferencing to communicate with employees.

The way we communicate, collaborate, create, and innovate is evolving and we need to make sure that we have the ability to evolve into this new environment. Jennie describes the sections of the new workplace as an ecosystem. This ecosystem consists of a collaboration zone, fun zone, quiet zone and private zone. Planning your space in a “smart” way will allow for a greater amount of productivity while keeping the workplace happy and healthy.

Scott Henson, a Systems Engineer for Cisco in Franklin, TN was up next on the panel to share the technology trends impacting the workplace.  Our demographics have shifted and the nature of our work is changing. Scott says Tele-presence is most important in today’s business environment in order to stay connected. A smart business environment allows businesses to attract and retain current and future talent, and allows for skills development and institutional knowledge. We can do this by providing collaboration for the workplace, such as video conferencing tools. Scott says, 80% of bandwidth on the Internet is video; this is how we are getting our work done. “I want to walk up and hit a green button, and that’s what Cisco is providing.”

We need to ask ourselves, how is the workspace being utilized, and how can it change to benefit the company as a whole? Employees must be able to engage and innovate with one another even if they are not able to be in the same room, let alone the same state.  This is true for many companies who have employees working from home, remotely or even in a collaborative workspace such as E|SPACES. Staying up-to-date on the latest technology and utilizing the space to the best of our ability will allow the business to be more efficient in its work.

Brian Weldy, Vice President of FacilitiGroup Infrastructure Solutions, is proof of how changing our habitual ways can improve the success of the workplace. Brian’s presentation consisted of before and after pictures of the FacilitiGroup workplace, which left the crowd amazed. The different workspaces included a “touchdown” and break area, small group meeting areas and conference rooms with technology readily available for employees to use.

The open space and updated technology available at the touch of a button allowed for greater productivity for the employee and group. The future of the workplace looked inviting and “smart”, as Jennie Tatum put it.

For those of you who feel inspired to take your office/business to the next level, Brian was kind enough to share the good and bad that comes with transitioning to the future of the workplace.

Benefits:

  • Facilitates collaboration
  • Flexible work environment
  • Increased natural light
  • Improved ventilation and space conditioning
  • Space efficiency
  • Refreshing and inspiring aesthetics

 

Challenges:

  • Defining your space image
  • Transitioning offices to workstations
  • Moving from paper to digital documents
  • Work space etiquette
  • Rapid A/V technology changes

 

Lessons for Consideration:

  • Senior management support
  • Change management
  • A/V in enclosed spaces
  • Room reservation systems
  • A/V technology upgrades
  • Glass marker boards
  • Distinguish between “must haves,” “nice to haves,” and “cool”

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