Are you serious about winning the war for talent? If not, you definitely should. Anything else would be saying that we are not really on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution. That we are not really shifting from an analog age to a digital age.
Digitalisation as we know does not treat kindly organisations that fail to produce too little value too late when business, clients and services move online. Digital means everything becomes scalable and scaling productivity at work does not mean more people but more talent.
A big part of transforming your business from analog to digital is about realising that it’s really your leadership structures getting in the way of people finding new ways of working and collaborating. You can’t transform an organization when everybody’s busy at meetings. The result of scaling top-down work is more meetings, increased busyness, stress, burnout and depression (I’m not going to quote statistics on those, but believe me we are facing a mental health problem of global scale). We’re long past the due date for the 20th century management systems.
They key to scaling productivity is happiness at work. Forget beer taps and pool tables, happiness comes from improving leadership structures and quality of work (the fun office things are mostly just there to compensate for not doing what’s really needed). The key to the former is reducing silos and increasing collaboration and co-ownership across management disciplines on matters relevant to people, work and productivity. People and culture cannot be a department or function, it should be your engine of growth. The key to improving quality of work on the other hand is smarter use of time, space and technology. Workplace and culture is what connects and aligns the two into a scalable organisation and leadership design (the engine).
Smarter use of time, space and technology starts by accepting that the office is seldom the best place of work. In the digital age there is no one-size-fits-all office desing for productivity, it’s an individual puzzle and process more dependent on teamwork and culture than one office space.
Coworking has always been about happiness at work. About bringing experiences to the workplace and enabling flexibility to design your workday to fit your ever changing daily puzzle. It’s about rethinking the purpose of office as a place of work as a service for community and culture instead.
Too much emphasis was placed on property management and space design in coworking in the past decade. It’s time we employ coworking as a corporate workplace service for improving and scaling productivity by connecting 1. strategy and culture, 2. people and place; and 3. community and space. This requires a new strategic function to be introduced in the form of a Chief Workplace Officer who should be a strategic advisor to the Board of Directors, the Executive Board and the CEO with responsibility for measuring and improving employee and workplace experience. Much like the CDO, the CWO is a highly cross disciplinary function and requires a dedicated team of internal and external HR, FM and IT professionals to work strategically as one corporate coworking service unit.