The workplace is constantly changing these days. This rapid change is driven by several factors in our modern society, factors like: globalization, shifting demographics, rapid technological advances, and economic pressures. And there seems to be no end in sight.
Most company leaders wonder how to plan to meet a fast-changing future when they don’t even fully understand what that future is likely to be. Just how do you “future-proof” your office?
First, let’s define “office.”
Definition of “Office”
According to Wikipedia: “An office is generally a room or other area where an organization’s employees perform administrative work to support and realize objects and goals of the organization. . . In modern terms an office is usually the location where white-collar workers carry out their functions.”
But in 2019, where we work is a bit harder to define. We use terms like: home office, third-place, co-working, hub, engagement center, corporate living room, and others that help us to describe ever-expanding work locations. Today, figuring out what “office” means is more complicated because it can mean so many different things.
Now let’s go on to define what “future-proofing” is.
Definition of “Future-Proofing”
Again, let’s start with Wikipedia, which states: “Future-proofing is the process of anticipating the future and developing methods of minimizing the effects of shocks and stresses of future events. Future-proofing is used in industries such as electronics, medical industry, industrial design, and more recently, in design for climate change.”
Future-proofing is a culture–not just a concept. In order to fully explain this mind-set, it’s important to look at successful, cutting-edge corporations that have a commitment to this process. We’ve chosen 2 of the best: Google and Netflix.
Just how do these 2 innovative enterprises plan and execute their future-proofing policies?
Change is number one. The old adage “the only thing that is constant is change” is deeply embedded in our world today.
Flexibility and agility must be ingrained in the workplace — not only the people must be adaptable but also the furniture and the walls. Embracing change must be planned for and encouraged. It should be a value for both the company leadership and its employees.
At Google, considered one of the world’s most innovative enterprises, change is part of the dynamic. This company is permeated with a proactive approach to change. If you delay taking action until a problem arises, you’ve acted too late.
The same holds true for Netflix.
Netflix’s first priority is customer satisfaction. Without customers there’s no business. This company must constantly anticipate the fickle entertainment demands of their customers while embracing new technology.
Today, Netflix is an industry leader in streaming all types of video entertainment: movies, TV series, comedy acts, documentaries, and special events. They even develop and produce their own episodic programs, documentaries, and movies.
Without a deep commitment to change and looking to the future, Netflix would have died along with the DVD rental (brick and mortar) industry.
Build a Collaborative Culture
Employee engagement is a key component to increasing a company’s productivity and innovation.
Your workplace environment should be bustling with activity and full of opportunities for your staff to connect. Maximize information sharing. Encourage collaboration. Empower your employees and you will be rewarded will innovation and productivity.
Google’s New York City campus occupies an entire floor (and parts of some other floors) in a building that covers a city block in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
The elevators of this building are notoriously slow, so instead of making employees wait, the company built vertical ladder chutes between adjacent floors. Workers are encouraged to casually “collide” between floors with an aim toward unplanned collaborations.
Creating this type of culture is no easy feat. Facility planners, architects, designers and corporate planners are all tasked with creating a workplace that embodies the culture of the company.
But without the proper flooring, planning these types of spaces can be a logistical nightmare. Raised flooring solutions like Gridd enable architects, interior designers and contractors to reconfigure and redesign spaces based on today’s needs in the most cost-effective manner possible.
Utilize Space Efficiently and Creatively
Today more than ever (and surely in the future, too) companies are looking to make better use of space.
In some cases, expansion is the answer. When planning for present and future needs, you may wish to restructure your work environment and add more square footage. The open office concept is the modern trend these days. This type of space configuration houses staff and equipment of all departments in a single room. Each department is assigned a specific spot. No private offices.
Another future-proofing option is to make your existing space more efficient. This could entail creating areas for multiple purposes, such as using an eating area for a meeting room, as well.
Google is known for its charismatic offices. Office putting greens, vintage subway cars, and revolving bookcases are among the eccentric features found in Google offices.
Although these amenities may seem frivolous, Google has a sound business reason for providing them. Their goal is to “create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.”
The company feels their rich environments provides:
- Employee collaboration: Those who sit together, work together. All people necessary for a certain project (no matter their hierarchy) are stationed together.
- Employee motivation: Google encourages “casual collision” between employees, no matter what team their on. They focus on the employee rather than the results. Its philosophy is “life at Google is not all work.”
- Unconventional, but productive design: Each workspace is designed to stimulate creativity and encourage social interaction between all the separate teams. Google believes it hires ambitious people who have established achievements. Its confident that through vigilant hiring and delivering an employee-friendly workplace its staff will always perform to the best of their abilities.
All this is great, but does work really get done? The numbers speak for themselves: Google’s net worth as of 2018 was $279.3B.
Use Cutting-Edge Technology
The rapid evolution of technology presents both opportunity and challenge. In many spaces it’s difficult to integrate new IT solutions without a rabbit warren of wires. Most offices are years behind innovative technology. Providing flexible IT solutions is critical to the smooth running and growth of a modern company.
Both the work itself and the workplace are ever changing. To meet future needs, you must be open to new ideas, flexible, and agile.
How does Netflix, the leading entertainment streaming company in the world, handle the infusion of 21st-century technology? They consistently plan ahead.
A Variety article, written by Janko Roettgers, entitled “How Netflix Want to Take on Its Competition in 2019 and Beyond” states:
“As Netflix continues to shift toward original content, the company is also exploring ways to make content production more efficient. Netflix has a dedicated team that has been building apps and services for the production process.”
Netflix studio technology director, Amie Tornincasa states, “We start small, with seeds.” The company feels the best solution to IT opportunities or challenges is NOT to replace all the technology with a sudden array of new tools — but rather introduce new tools in a gradual manner — always looking to the future improvement of the company’s workflow processes. FreeAxez witnessed this first hand when installing Gridd raised access flooring at their corporate headquarters in Los Gatos, CA.
We Can Help You Future-Proof Your Company
We helped Google and Netflix. We can help you too.
Granted, most enterprises aren’t on the scale of a Google or Netflix. However, most organizations CAN benefit from the examples these companies provide and learn to make future-proofing an important part of the business plan.
Look at what works and what doesn’t. Understand whether their experiences are relevant to you. Every company has its own DNA–its own, unique story, personality, culture, and demographic. Find the right approach for you.
However, nearly all companies will have to deal with loads of ever-changing technology. Think about the future-proofing solution of a top-notch cable management and distribution system could provide for you. Both Google and Netflix use Gridd products to give their headquarters the type of flexibility they need to adapt their workspaces to their current demands.
FreeAxez can help you, too. Contact us today.