AT&T Prepares for a New World of Work: Building a New Workplace (Part 3)

In 2011 a team of AT&T information technology, human resources and real estate professionals came together to create Workplace 2020, a blueprint to transform the company’s work environment. Here, in the third of three comments on Workplace 2020, Chris Mach discusses the kind of workplace a changing workforce, equipped with powerful new technologies, will use.

A workplace is a tool just like an IT platform is a tool. It can’t perform effectively unless it is properly provisioned, managed, and maintained. In the past, the predominant paradigm was “going to one place to perform the work.”  Today, is not necessarily where you go, it’s what you do. And we are challenged with how to assemble the best kit of parts, operational support, policies, technologies, services, human factors, and social attributes of place and community in order to achieve what’s needed in a new workplace.

As a result, the traditional workplace platform will get leaner, greener and better for supporting knowledge work and collaboration—for many, we will see the adoption of an alternative platform of shared spaces within the corporate real estate footprint. Working from the home platform will continue to evolve and become an integral part of our lives. And emerging in the marketplace is an “on-demand” platform.  It is the essentially one’s workplace network on the road, in public spaces, hotels, in executive suites, client premises, and in self-organizing coworking communities.

Choice will be central. The mobile and virtual worker will take on consumer-like behaviors. The new workplace will not be one place and one-size-fits-all. Some workers will still predominantly use corporate offices. But others will be very mobile and virtual, and we need to equip everyone to be productive, wherever they work.  The consumerization of the workplace is beginning.  It has the potential to have significant economic and productivity benefits.

Advances in wireless and collaborative technology are also enabling flexibility.  It also provides a great opportunity for businesses to re-evaluate use cases of traditional corporate office space.  Through our Workplace 2020 program, AT&T is seeing its real time utilization of corporate office space decrease and decrease significantly.  Of the space that is “occupied” on a typical work day, 40 or more percent of that space can go unused. Almost half.  We can convert those inefficiencies to bring significant cost savings to the business and build better workplace ecologies. Based on the 2020 work and a lot of research, we’re evolving our real estate assets to be more agile and on-demand.  Our goals are to eliminate unnecessary space and to develop high performing, better located workplaces.

AT&T’s “Foundries” provide an example of how our workplaces are evolving. Located in Silicon Valley, in Texas and in Israel, these are highly flexible spaces devoted to rapid development of network and consumer applications. Teams from AT&T huddle with outside developers to brainstorm and build new solutions. The interior architecture is designed to be as agile as possible in order to maximize team creativity and interaction. (link to Foundry story)  But keep in mind, the Foundry example is just one of many new agile workplace footprints that will match and anticipate our future workplace needs.  We’ll be introducing more in the near future — in Labs, Sales, IT and Shared Services. It is exciting to live the brand through our physical workplaces, wherever they may occur.

We’re committed to evolving our workplaces, engaging employees, customers and suppliers, all while increasing job satisfaction and customer service.  This may seem like a tall order but we are confident that our technology and our dynamic workforce will help co-create a more effective and successful workplace for everyone.

What else would you like to see as part of your evolving workplace?
Chris Mach Global Workplace Strategist AT&T About Chris