The Big Challenge
Director, Workplace Application, Teknion
Wherever life takes me, whether at work or in my personal time, the prominent topics of discussion revolve around the idea that there are more people taking on increasingly more responsibilities. And, these people are more and more diverse in several key ways: They are from different generations, have different interests and, as a result, require different tools to be effective.
I have spent the better part of the last year meeting with small businesses, large corporations, architectural and design firms, and academic institutions. We engaged in deep discussions about the ways people live and work, how they contribute to the common good and how we could improve upon the environments they all call their workplaces.
Businesses and their cultural fabrics are being tested, and the environment they compete in is changing at an alarming rate. However, I am happy to report that while the challenges are many, they are fairly common. Over and over again, in conversations with everyone from students to CEOs, I hear the same questions being asked. How do we improve our communication? How can we make the one environment work for all employees? How can we enable our unique culture to stand the test of time?
In essence, what’s next and how can we meet that challenge?
These discussions are an extension of the research and development of Teknion’s WorkplaceOne — a new approach to planning, designed to address new ways of working as individuals, as teams and as members of multi-generational corporate cultures.
Some questions are easy to answer. For example, should we encourage collaboration? Of course! North America is the engine of growth for the world because of our spirit of cooperation and collaboration. Sharing experience, information and expertise is critical for individual and organizational success. That’s why high-performance organizations increasingly emphasize collaboration and look for ways to design opportunities for interaction.
Other questions are harder to answer. For example, how do we encourage collaboration? This is best answered on an individual basis through model environments and work styles designed to encourage the flow of information and the movement of people.
WorkplaceOne describes no one solution, but rather a range of solutions that speak to complexity, diversity and the evolving needs of people at work. It also offers an opportunity — previously untapped — for an organization to realize its full capacity for collaboration, creativity and innovation.
In today’s workplace, considering these questions and challenges may separate the supercharged business environment from the merely successful. Who knows? The answers may be closer than you think.