Think value, not tech; think people, not tools

1 December 2023

Really enjoyed this article by author and workplace strategy consultant Corinne Murray. I was reminded by something Sandra Gritti at employee engagement specialists Leesman said about their ongoing research showing that 60% of employees rate the work experience of their homes higher than their offices. If I heard that correctly, it could in effect point to a 60% glut of office space. That sounds like ‘ahelluvalotta’ square meterage/footage.

I wonder how much WiFi plays a part in that, as well as simply a demand for quiet spaces to work in when in the office – making all the talk of hospitality inspired working evnironments and how its all now about collaboration while in the office possibly missing the mark.

I mention this because I see a lot of talk about how occupancy sensors are being used across portfolios to look at what goods look like in order to help improve work place design. At the same time, I see lots of flagship buildings and office rejigs/refits being heralded as the new workspace black/shape of things to come. Google often being a case in point. And also highly selective examples of #returntooffice successes, when other offices used are near empty.

LinkedIn is not the place to get into the difference between bigdata vs thick data, but it’s probaly worth pointing out that it strikes me that improving employee experience is more likely to be discoved by those methods that look at people and culture rather than those that rely on data from technology (or at least alone).

And perhaps if there are benchmarking jobs-to-be-done then that should probably involve those between home working environments and offices, rather than a comparison of offices (or at least alone).

And perhaps all the talk of use cases, journeys and the like, might not be as helpful as simply asking employees what would improve things for them, how and why.

This post was prompted by ex-Schneider Smart Building design consultant Brahm Lategan at MiX Consultancy Ltd, having mentioned the following quote by the ‘Father of Industry 4.0’ Henrik von Scheel in a LinkedIn post about different more tech-focused topic (see here):

Think value, not tech; think people, not tools; and set clear targets from the start.

That quote seems also ‘apropos’ for where smart buildings and smarter workplaces meet, and not least because occupancy issues are blurring the lines between them.

Google Workspace image above was from 2021 Techspot article by Bob O’Donnell on Google Smart Canvas brings integrated collaboration to Workspace.

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