• May 29, 2015

Reinventing the Workplace

By Marc Wilkinson, Mobility, Workplace and Network Managed Services, Global Practice Lead, Enterprise Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

There’s no escaping it: The workplace is undergoing a serious makeover. A reinvention, really, that’s changing when, how, and where work is carried out. And doing nothing about it is no longer a viable response for the enterprise.

What is driving these changes? Technology and the digitization of information have elevated individuals to unprecedented levels of empowerment. Users simply assume they can do things anywhere, anytime, and on their terms. Getting on an airplane, seamlessly connecting, and picking up email while they are in flight, for example, is no longer cool. It’s expected.

The explosion of data (structured, galvanized by the rise of the Internet of Things, and unstructured human data) and the growing capabilities to mine it are igniting data and context-driven engagement. Individuals can influence and shape things to their desire real-time.

The resulting personalization and personalized choices have created a new paradigm: a market of one that continues to drive shifts in applications, data, the work space, and activities. And the workforce itself.

New Modes Overtake Outmoded

To adapt, the workplace and IT must change, accommodate, and leverage the new paradigm. The enterprise of the future has to satisfy these expectations if it wants to attract and retain talent.

This shift is transforming the way we look at work, the way the workforce looks at work, and the work space. Work has gone from a “9 to 5” pursuit to “activities of interest.” Employees expect to be engaged. Work spaces must be flexible and inspiring environments designed to enhance creativity and productivity, and align with specific activities such as brainstorming or collaborating without a whiteboard.

Workplace models of the future are proving inadequate. It’s gone way beyond “bring your own device.” Now it’s, “How do I get the insight to derive value from the data on my device? How can I bring the right device for the activity I’m trying to carry out?”

The workplace model of the future is fast becoming bring your own cloud, data, applications, and style of engagement as employees dig deeper to find the most agile ways to get things done.

The Rise of Single-Tasking

This market of one paradigm is also impacting both work activities and the applications used to carry them out.

Think about it: Until now, the standard work space was interruption-driven. Email over here, messages over there, a calendar popping up while you’re editing a document. As humans, we’re not very good at this.

Applications have evolved to accommodate this deficiency. Look at your mobile device. When you open email on your smartphone, for example, email is all you can see. The form factor of the device has pushed us to do just one thing at a time, which aligns with the inclination of the human brain toward single-tasking. The presentation of the device has actually helped us become better at multitasking by simplifying.

The result is the move away from monolithic applications with numerous functions to task-centric applications that conform to the ways we work today. It’s a more modular system, one centered on the user experience.

The Workplace Centralized

Technology and the digitization of information have elevated individuals to unprecedented levels of empowerment. Users simply assume they can do things anywhere, anytime, and on their own terms.

At the same time elements of work are becoming more modular, the workplace is becoming more centralized. Enterprises like Hewlett Packard Enterprise are bringing employees back into the organizational environment—a return to the corporate office model.

This rebuilding of the cultural familiarity and intimacy that an office brings also fosters the sense of community that’s so critical in the market of one. Empowered individual employees plus team plus community form a much stronger and more productive equation.

Conversations and interactions around the coffee pot enhance communication and collaboration. The office environment moves people toward more interactions and inspires more innovation. Productivity goes up while meetings, email, and the time spent keeping up with it go down.

It’s the modern-day dichotomy. Who ever thought that personalization, driven by technology, digitization, and analytics, would change every facet of the work experience? The market of one rules in the workplace. Successful enterprises know it and are adapting accordingly.