Lateral Learning

lateral learningA month or so ago, I discovered some notes from a few years back that I jotted down from the book, “The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World” by Jeremy Rifkin that I want to share. In Part III of the book, Chapter 8, Mr. Rifkin introduces the concept of “Lateral Learning”. Link to Book in Amazon. As I reviewed my notes, it occured to me that Lateral Learning represents my vision for leading a group of enlighted space and occupancy planners. LinkedIn Group link

According to Mr. Rifkin, in Lateral Learning “Knowledge is not regarded as objective, autonomous phenomena but, rather, the explanations we make about the common experiences that we share with each other.” Sharing and explaining common experiences with other group members has been a fundimental key to my professional success in strategic facilities and space planning and how I envision this group to operate.

Mr. Rifkin continues, “To seek the truth is to understand how everything relates and we discover those relationships by our deep participation with others. The more diverse our experiences and interrelationships, the closer we come to understanding reality itself and how each of us fits into the bigger picture of existence.” Thus, building professional relationships via “deep participation” will enable us to grow in our profession, gain confidence in our understanding of the changes in the workplace and enable us to make positive changes for our clients.

Are you open to Lateral Learning? If so, please let me know how you would like to participate.

The Metrics of Distributed Work

This Excellent Study, conducted in 2011 by Knoll, Inc. (www.knoll.com) with help from Ratekin Consulting (Joel Ratekin is a leader in Distributed Work) can be viewed and downloaded here –> Link to Knoll Distributed Work Study

Over the past 10 years Distributed Work is finally catching on at most companies, even in Silicon Valley where cube farms have been the norm for at least a generation. Distributed Work was formerally called, “Alternative Work” design / place or System (AWS). But Distributed Work is no longer considered an alternative workplace design: it has become mainstream, hence the need to change the term.

The reasons for this change are due primarily because employees are working in an increasingly social, mobile, and collaborative fashion. The conventional, boilerplate office programs and spaces that most of us are familiar with (one size fits all, cube farm or the dreaded dark, narrow hallways when housing everyone in enclosed “private” offices (think IBM in the 1960s)) were never intended to support the complexity and unpredictability of these new work patterns.

This new workstyle is often referred to as “distributed work”—a combination of:

  • heads down “Focus” work (for more information, see my prior article here–> Focus Space – It’s What You Need)
  • Formal Collaboration of varying duration
  • Informal Collaboration of varying duration
  • Social Interaction that occurs in a wide variety of settings within the building, campus or other locations.

distributed work program workspace types

The diagram above is from the 2011 Knoll Distributed Work study (Figure 4)

In addition to providing physical spaces to match these four main types of work, work policies, technology and communications networks all play important roles in facilitating Distributed Work. Employees are embracing the new levels of personal freedom in the rich, diverse work spaces that are explicitly designed to support Distributed Work.

Now that we know that a well designed and supported Distributed Work environment improves organizational collaboration and employees embrace it, how do we as space and occupancy planners measure it? Unlike traditional design, one workstation (or seat) is assigned to one employee or contractor, where it is quite easy to measure Occupancy (don’t confuse this with Utilization!), we need new metrics and methodolgy to measure or benchmark Distributed Work. Working with the best space and occupancy planners in the San Francisco Bay Area, I envsion that via “Lateral Learning” the Bay Area Space Planners User group will set the new standard for space benchmarking, needed in today’s new workplace.

Integrated Work

A visual summary of the Knoll Research papater on Implementing Integrated WorkDSC_0729 to Create a Dynamic Workplace. The top / main diagram shows the four primary types of spaces that should be present in a well designed Integrated Workplace: Focus Space, Share Space, Team Space and Social Space.

I wrote about the importance of Focus Space in 2013 – one size (or type) does not fit all. I think of Shared spaces as labs and Team spaces as conference or meting spaces. Social Space is the one that usually gets overlooked or cut in the project budget, but in my experience, can add value beyond the workplace and greatly increase employee satisfaction. I experienced this in 2015 while on assignment at Google X and was able to meet Sergey Brin at a Social Space.

Integrated Work

Strategic Facilities Planning

I published my second book earlier this month, Strategic Facilities Planning, available as an eBook at Kindle. Here is the link to the book:

Strategic Facilities Planning book link

Strategic Facilities Planning is the art and science of the marriage of strategic planning and facilities. Strategic Facilities Planning is much, much more than Facilities Planning, the common practice of documenting a set of user requirements to serve as the basis for a design project. It is a unique field within Strategic Planning, one where, if performed successfully, can result in facilities and spaces that don’t just met a set of requirements, but actually can change and improve workspaces that are aligned with an organization’s goals and objectives.
This book incorporates the author’s 25 years of experience of corporate real estate, facilities planning and facilities management, along with best practices and insights that he gained in the practice of Strategic Facilities Planning. This book is intended for both facilities professionals who are interested in taking their career to a higher, more strategic level, as well as organizational leaders who are interested in implementing Strategic Facilities Planning into their organization.

The Workplace Is Not Dead

Here is a nice article from Forbes that describes the positive changes that are going on in the workplace. Finally, work places are being designed for people, not machines. While technology organizations (think data centers and R&D labs) will always be designed with equipment in mind first, at least companies and other leading organizations now understand that you need to design space for people to attract and retain talent, improve collaboration and productivity.

Click on link below for full article:

Forbes Article

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Top IWMS Benefits

There are many benefits to Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS). Here are my top picks:

 

  1. Streamline Processes and Optimize Resources

In every organization there are a lot of processes that help individuals to optimize their contribution to the primary process of the organizations, usually to make sales profitability. While Real Estate & Facilities Management (REFM) professionals rarely are tasked with sales primary processes, their processes can have a large impact on profitability, usually by controlling costs.  Integrated Workplace Management Systems can easily help you to streamline those processes to save time, reduce cycle times for work requests and eliminate waste, thereby lowering operating expenses.

 

  1. Optimize Space Utilization & Occupancy

Real Estate costs account for 10%-25% of an organization’s cost base. As cost reduction programs have made it to C-level, organizations need to have an accurate and timely view of their real estate portfolio to ensure that both current and future  organizational space demands are aligned with their supply. Facility maintenance and operations costs are largely derived from the amount and type of space in its portfolio. Therefore organizations need to optimize space utilization and not serve extra space or under-used spaces. IWMS helps you to quickly identify space vacancies or under-utilized areas of your portfolio, which can be used to improve your REFM metrics and the organization’s bottom line.

 

  1. Monitor Performance to Optimize Resources and Organizational Flexibility

Matching service demand and delivery is extremely important for every organization. You need to be able to monitor both in-house and service provider performance to ensure that you have appropriate resources to support the organization’s goals. In addition, you need accurate, timely data to ensure that the Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) negotiated with your outsourced partners are aligned with performance. Through  custom, easy to generate Dashboards and advanced reporting functionality, today’s IWMS empowers your organization to effectively manage service delivery quickly and accurately.

 

Organizations that haven’t outsourced their service delivery will benefit from the resource planning and allocation functionality that most IWMS systems provide. Team leaders can easily schedule tasks to available resources and effectively plan their workload.  What’s more, resource allocation in IWMS can enable allocating tasks only to appropriate resources and help identify gaps to justify additional resources and training development plans for staff.

 

Lastly, some REFM tasks can be automated by an IWMS. The system reduces the required human interaction and thus, reduces the staffing requirements. REFM organizations can do more with less. This is especially helpful during ramp-up and expansion where a 25% increase in productivity could be achieved via IWMN instead of hiring another staff member. Indeed, expected productivity gains should be a key part of any justification or ROI analysis for IWMS implementation.

 

  1. Minimize Human Errors

Humans make a lot of mistakes. About 80% of all Facility Management and Real Estate processes can be standardized and automated. Standardization and automation of processes in an IWMS ensures a reduction in human errors. Fewer errors also mean faster cycle times, higher customer satisfaction, reduction of redundant work and fewer costs involved with error recovery which has a direct impact on the bottom line.

 

  1. Enforce Organizational Policy

Every IWMS can enforce organizational policies. By enforcing policy adherence,  you ensure that people actually comply with your business goals and regulations instead of only considering them as guidelines.

 

  1. Never Lose Your Data or Waste Time Finding It

IWMS is a central location for all you REFM data. Better yet, the best IWMS systems are SaaS, Software as a Service, meaning that it’s in The Cloud, available whenever and wherever you have internet access. It gets better: because the software and data reside off-site at professional Cloud Providers, you never need to get I.T. approval for hardware, software, updates or changes. You control your destiny, not I.T.

 

With IWMS costs and implementation timelines at a fraction of where they were just a few years ago, there is no reason why any REFM organization is not using a SaaS based system today.IMG_20151111_152326