As I sit at my kitchen table enjoying the quiet of my house before my kids come home, I know that I will move to my office and shut the door once that tranquility is shattered by their arrival. Then later this evening, once the house is again quiet with the monsters nestled in their beds, I might just take a few calls propped up on pillows in my bed. Yes, I do that regularly. Heck, they call it a laptop, right? This is the "home" scenario. On the road, workplaces and spaces vary even more. I really work best from a hotel room, or the hotel bar if I have a good headset on. None of this is new for me; I have played the role of an itinerant worker for years. But for a long time my employers continued to put my name on a door or cubicle. For me, that has now changed. No more nameplate for me. Employers are increasingly waking up to the fact that many employees (or "information workers," ugh... hate the term) just don't need or even want a fixed office or space. And, likely more importantly, the employers don't want that either. An empty office is an under-optimized asset. Both demand-side and supply-side forces converge to drive workplace and space diversity.
We hear a lot about empowered employees these days, and the changing nature of work and the workforce. Forrester's Workforce Employee Surveys investigate trends among information workers such as device usage, collaboration practices, workplace preferences, and attitudes about their employers. And, the signs are clearly indicating that the demand for workplace diversity and choice is on the rise:
In case you haven’t noticed, the world of work is changing — people are more mobile, teams are more virtual, organizational structures are more fluid, work hours are more flexible, and offices have more ping-pong tables, latte machines and bring-your-dog-to-work days. In exchange for the more casual and flexible approach to when, where and how we do our jobs, we put in more hours whether they are accounted for or not. We write emails at the dinner table, work on weekends, travel more, and maybe accept lower pay and reduced benefits in exchange for a better work/life balance. Despite the tradeoffs, it seems to work for everyone. We get the flexibility we need and our employers get workers who are more engaged, more productive and better able to create and deliver meaningful value to customers. Over the last year or so, TJ Keitt and I have been leading research into workforce experience and IT's role in supporting a changing work environment and how to measure workforce experience.