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Now that we understand what WX is and is not, we can dive into the important trends across the different curators of the workplace. IT, Real Estate, and HR are all key stakeholders in making the workplace a strategic asset for their organizations. Let’s take a look at how the best and brightest in the industry are doing just that.

Critical Shifts in the IT Landscape

We brought together a panel of IT experts to discuss what key tech trends are impacting WX today. IT is constantly evolving, and increasingly employees are seeking easily-adopted, consumer-like experience. As technology improves, it can be overwhelming to know what strategies to implement and which tools will gain greatest adoption and help your employees stay engaged and effective. Michael Advani of BCG suggests that one of the key functions of technology is to keep your organization connected as you scale. Another panelist urged technology leaders to focus on unmet user needs before focusing on the technology, stating, “there has to be a specific problem the tech is trying to solve.” Tom Gregorio of WeWork suggests that we need to “think holistically, and use technology as a means to an end.” That end, he would argue, should be human connection. When great minds collaborate, great work gets done.

Building an IT Foundation for Improved WX

How can IT leaders pave the way for improved WX? Matt Thorne, Head of IT at Pinterest, says it starts with ensuring a strong technological foundation. Establishing reliable connectivity throughout the space, standardizing audio-visual experience, as well as providing experienced support staff to assist workers in troubleshooting problems are among the essential foundational steps of any IT organization.  Once basic office IT needs are met, then innovation will have room to flourish. 

Important Trends in Workplace Strategy

Workplace strategists work in the art and science of changing an office to achieve an organization’s business goals. We sat down with some of the industry’s best and brightest to understand what businesses are looking for as they aim for better WX in their spaces. Some key takeaways: 

  • Employees are looking for their spaces to build culture and connection, and to help them connect with an organization’s brand
  • People value mobility – the ability to select the best space for the task at hand around the office (or outside of it)
  • As a result, spaces are now less uniform than traditional office landscapes, with an emphasis on providing a broad range of shared work settings to support many types of work
  • Change management is a critical and often overlooked facet of workplace strategy. It is important to communicate to employees that change doesn’t mean taking something away – you’re offering more options
  • New, data-rich methods of understanding and assessing the quality of workplace are essential to ensure that advanced workplace designs are effective 

The workplace is an ever-evolving ecosystem of people, technology, and space. By actively engaging with our people before, during and after creating a new workplace strategy, we can ensure the best possible outcome regardless of the challenges at hand.

Bringing an Entrepreneurial Spirit to Workplace Strategy

According to Karen Gil, VP of Workplace Strategy at Fidelity Investments, real estate leaders need to bring an entrepreneurial spirit to improve WX. Leaders can follow the “Scan, Try, Scale” model to find and implement WX improvement initiatives in their organizations. Scan the office. Seek feedback from users and explore how other organizations are rethinking their spaces. Users know their pain points, but may have grown to live with workarounds and often aren’t sure how to address them more holistically (that’s where you come in). Once you have an idea for a new initiative, test it in a controlled environment with a small group. See how the solution holds up in the wild. Finally, iterate, improve, and scale to the larger business once a solution is proven viable in your WX incubator. Don’t be afraid to try (and fail, frankly) new solutions in your workplace. It’s the only way to ensure you keep improving and innovating.  

Trends are Just That… Trends

All of this being said, trends are just trends. The workplace is not a one size fits all situation. Test, iterate, listen to your people and continue to improve.