It’s not just startups that are feeling pressure to build the right kind of work environment for their staff. Enterprise corporations are looking to meet the office demands of a young workforce—as flexibility and lifestyle-type office features are the latest generational considerations.
For large, traditional businesses, this type of pressure to change can be unwieldy, and top workplace strategists are starting to tackle ‘enterprise’ challenges where there really isn’t a current, one-size-fits-all strategy.
When five experts of workplace strategy from leading corporations came together for the annual WorkTech Conference at Convene in New York City, they each shared five very distinct approaches for updating their spaces to support their future work environments based on these newly defined needs.
For JP Morgan‘s Michael Davidson, technology and the people who utilize it are the drivers of workplace evolution, so as the Managing Director of Global Real Estate for the $96 Billion dollar company, he is primarily focused on the creation of collaborative spaces implemented with the latest workplace technologies that create sleeker, high-performance experiences for his staff. In fact, the company has actually moved out of some of its older, more expensive real estate locations to free up more people and financial resources to invest in the new, technology first environments.
Lisa Cole, the Director of Business Operations at Time Warner, is focused on collaboration. However, in the case of Time Warner, that’s meant consolidation. The company is in the process of bringing all five of its brands under one roof at a new Headquarters location, currently under construction at New York City’s Hudson Yards. Not only does Cole expect to eliminate financial inefficiencies by centralizing the company to one space, she also anticipates new opportunities for collaboration—establishing a unified corporate culture that benefits all.
GE Capital‘s VP of Operations Harri Singh discussed the company’s recent decision to move their headquarters from suburban Fairfield, Connecticut to downtown Boston, where the presence of many leading universities provides a fertile recruiting ground for some of the group’s top business lines like healthcare and biotech. With the new location, GE is focusing more on finding cities that can attract, supply, and support a young, energetic workforce to power up their future growth plans.
Bethany Swanson, Head of Workplace Strategy at Boston Consulting Group, takes a different approach. While the company’s namesake may be Boston, it has no corporate headquarters. The executive team connects virtually every month and in person every two months at different locations around the world. This allows the transient network of global minds to not only stay connected to each other seamlessly, but also allows them to be more present across all corners of their far-flung markets. When designing actual meeting space, however, Swanson focuses building features that make it easier to develop informal connections and also stumble upon new ideas.
Accenture‘s Workplace Innovation Lead Dan Johnson is focused more on creating more interconnections among their current talent pool. Like Davidson, he and his team are taking company budget out of physical real estate and putting it into lifestyle features and new technology. As a result, he’s been able to successfully meet a huge internal demand for more connection points in the in the workplace—primarily around food, collaboration activities, and even puppies.