It’s been a while since I’ve written. The last 6 weeks in the US have been dizzying – especially after the last 18 months of change. The fodder is reaching its peak with regards to Hybrid and RTW strategies. Companies around the world are just now starting to realize that people REALLY do want at least SOME autonomy. I can’t believe it has taken this long, and I really can’t believe only 30% of polled companies have made physical changes to their places of work. Which leads me to my point for this piece:
“I’m so thankful to be building companies rather than trying to change them.“
For the first time in my entrepreneurial life, I feel like I’m squarely in control of the wave and not caught in the whitewash. Never has the choice been so clear on which path to take. The answer is progress; take the path to progress.
Here’s the thing – people love routine. People who really love their routine (which has been disrupted) are anxious. Companies who RELIED on employees to love THEIR routine are REALLY anxious. Their traditional routines relied on being face to face – in the office – 9 to 5. Absent thought, people sacrificed their time, gas, milage, parking, tolls, and maintenance – let alone baseball games and dance recitals – because they had to GO to work. Here’s the distinction – they had to GO to work. My excitement is because I now understand the difference between work and workplace
Work is what you do.
Workplace is where you do it.
Now certainly this doesn’t apply to everyone. In CRE terms, this is office use and even more specifically the tenant/occupier side. For purposes of this piece, I’m talking about office workers only. The factory/industrial side has seen their revolution twice – once with the Robber Barons, and once with Kaizen, 5S, Six Sigma and subsequent applications of robotics and automation. This revolution is new to the knowledge workers and it’s going to change the world forever….1TB at a time.
It’s the collaborative revolution and the automation of workflow process that I’m talking about. It’s a rapid departure away from project thinking and a complete and total adaptation to system thinking. It’s the APPLICATION of the technology – the integration of the data – and the interrelationship of information so we can measure time, money, production, efficiency, and gasp – engagement, experience, and social wellbeing. What sets apart this revolution from the ones in the past is that this one puts PEOPLE first. Just as assembly lines couldn’t be automated without obersvation, workflows cannot be automated until we event model the process. This about people and process first, then place. Simply put – if we can make people feel fulfilled, encouraged, and productive in their workflow process, they can do that work from anywhere.
But what about all the bright ideas that happen during whiteboard sessions – are we supposed to ignore creative processes that help brainstorm innovation? Ummmm, no. And the best answer isn’t that there are are 100 apps for that. The best answer is there is an entire platform from which we can collaborate in every form of communication you can think of – with centralized file sharing and built in video and soft phones – connected to customer management systems scalable from a 3-person company to a 30,000 person company….and it’s INCLUDED in a monthly license fee for $13/person. Yes – a scalable, unified platform that allows for centralized document storage, blanketed with an extensive communication solution and compatible with the world’s most recognized suite of office-based tools that allows you to work from your computer at home or the computer in the hotel lobby and STILL have access to the same documents and collab tools…..sheesh – I’m exhausted.
By now you get it. It’s not really such a dizzying time if you can see the tools that exist and accept that good enough is genuinely good enough if you’re buying off the shelf. Which leads me back to my original statement: I’m so thankful to be building companies rather than trying to change them. If we model carefully and create a roadmap into technology with the hopes of building a more flexible, engaged, efficient, safe, and productive workflow, we’ll attract and retain the very best people. The people have the very best ideas which help foster systemic thinking about life-life balance and how to positively contribute to the organization.
I’m really not sure how you change into that, but I’m fairly certain it can’t be bought.
Roll up your sleeves and come join us.
Orion Growth is a technology-enabled commercial real estate firm in Charlotte, North Carolina who apply smart process to all things workplace.