As emerging technologies find their way in our daily activities, all of us are enabled to work anywhere, any time. As a result, whether sanctioned or not, both the workforce and the workplace continue to become more distributed.

This of course, is not new. Many well-known employers and even the federal government had telecommuting programs in place over 25 years ago. What’s different today is that messaging, video, social media and ‘mega’ collaboration tools are all now available on mobile devices. This makes it perfectly natural for every knowledge worker to take advantage of the unmistakable benefits. This new workplace is called distributed.

The new workplace has taken on different forms

Record numbers of employers around the globe are now putting these technologies to work by embracing distributed workplace strategies that include:

  • Activity-Based Work Arrangements: Personal offices and cubicles are replaced with shared, open-office workspaces that are selected based on the type of work being done that day.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Employee-focused trends are driving increased flexible work arrangements such as compressed work weeks, flextime, telework, part-time work, job sharing, and other options.
  • CoWorking: Workers are enabled to work in remote work centers convenient to their homes or while traveling to increase performance, promote work & family balance, and to recruit and retain the best and brightest.

Activity-based work arrangements will continue to dominate much of the distributed work activity among employers. The Knoll Workplace Executive Survey revealed that 57 percent of companies foresee introducing more unassigned seating over the next 5 years, and the number of workers in unassigned workspaces is expected to nearly triple, rising to 32 percent of the workforce from the 11 percent today.

“You want me to give up my desk and work where?”

As one might imagine, radically changing the daily routines of thousands of employees in an enterprise can be disruptive for some, traumatic for others. But some of you might be thinking “Hundreds of organizations have already done this, so what’s the big deal? I’ll just Google it!”

In a way, you’d be right. When planning disruptive organizational change, it’s not all that difficult to find examples of how it’s been done by others, or to imagine what the new workplace will look like in its final state. It’s even possible to imagine how the organization will ideally function in the new workplace.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin

How do you get there from here? Sure you can Google all the information you need to create a great plan to be successful, but the challenge is in the execution. Getting there can be tricky – because it’s personal. See our post Recalibrating your enterprise for workplace mobility for some strategy tips on how to get there.

___________________________________________

See the Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series: Technology-enabled workplace change can only be successful if the people change too. The e-work.com Evolving Workplace e-Learning Series modules accelerate workplace change through a deliberate mindshift in individuals, teams and the enterprise to work together in new ways. 

Register to see the Making the Case for Workplace Change course outline.