Welcome home. Oops, we meant, “Welcome to work.”

welcome-home-spacesThis was the sign that greeted me, when I entered the excellent co-working location called Spaces in late March.

Spaces was the venue for the very first J. Boye event on “Workplace of the Future” held in Amsterdam in late March and a fitting location to think about how to make true progress.

Clearly most organisations are not designed for a digital age. The line between home and office is blurring, and together with the participants we identified key problems, co-created potential solutions and discussed lessons learned.

The Human Resources department was identified as the missing stakeholder in most organisations. Below, I share some of the notable discussions for each session.

Your company culture is already changing

During the past years, organisational culture and issues around it, has been a common topic in many J. Boye group meetings around the world. A popular HBR article from 2016 titled Culture is not the Culprit, helped shape my view on the topic by saying that culture is not something you fix. Rather it is something that evolves over time.

At the event in Amsterdam, social business expert Monique van Maare from IBM, shared their story of igniting cultural transformation for the future of work. IBM was founded in 1911 and has managed to reinvent itself more than a few times. Monique showed this brief video on the new IBM:

Monique shared some quite impressive examples of experimental learning and cross-company collaboration. Some of the key questions we tried to answer were:

  • How do you sustain new ways of working?
  • What’s the role of e-mail? In particular with the advent of many new tools

Improving the employee experience using apps

impossible-signAt the German-based T-Systems MMS, more than 70% of employees use the employee app. Susann Wanitschke is their Internal Communication Manager and travelled from Dresden to share a glimpse behind the scenes.

Learning from success stories is always helpful and clearly they’ve done something right when it comes to ensuring adoption. Having an element of fun seemed a crucial element in moving the employee experience into the pocket, onto the smartphones and far beyond the usual legacy intranet.

An often overlooked point, when it comes to the app vs. no app discussion, is that push notifications is one of the real game changers for internal communications.

Finally: The T-Systems app is available in the Android Marketplace and iTunes Appstore and developed by Staffbase.

The Philips journey into a digital workplace world

Similar to IBM, Philips is one of those giant companies, which have managed to radical change in recent years. When they can do it, why can’t your smaller organisation?

Dennis Agusi is Communication Channels Lead with Philips. He shared key parts of their journey in moving away from their legacy intranet. Read more in the documented case study on how Philips moved their intranet from 123,000 to 5,000 pages.

As a part of the discussions, we arrived at this slightly adapted and simple definition of the digital workplace:

“Provide best access to people, data and tools”

A new approach to knowledge management

workshopSimilar to e-mail which was discussed throughout the day, knowledge management also carries a fair amount of baggage in most organisations. We realize knowledge is valuable, yet we tend to treat it carelessly.

Herman Limburg of CGI took us through an eye-opening workshop where he made us think different about knowledge management. In particular, he helped us see the many non-technical means that are essential to knowledge management.

Do you want to become a learning organisation? The simple advice was to start writing up lessons learned.

We also discussed missing governance around finding subject matter experts and how to ensure that content remains valid and trustworthy.

Making it a productive workplace

The final session was by Casper van Amelsvoort from Rabobank, who shared how they work to increase productivity, collaboration and agility.

Shadow IT might be great for productivity, but what about governance, training and security? Casper offered this advice on how to deal with it:

dealing-with-shadow-it

Discussions in this session focused on trying to achieve 2 major objectives:

  • How to realize big cost savings
  • Speeding up innovation while staying in control

The conversation continues

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make it a most interesting day. Feel free to share a comment below with your reflections and insights on the workplace of the future.

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