Best Workplace of the Future Reads of 2015

Robert Cesafsky | December 30, 2015

The week before New Year’s is my time to catch up on my reading. I enjoy it. As we start 2016, I want to share some of the better pieces I came across on the Workplace of the Future in 2015.

The first is actually a podcast interview between Jacob Morgan and Avanade CEO Adam Warby talking about Why the Future of Work Is All About the Digital Transformation. In this fantastic overview of what business are doing to technologically enable their employees, the best part may be Warby’s commentary around how the digital transformation is actually all about, people, culture, and communication. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

The digital transformation is actually all about, people, culture, and communication. Tweet

Staying on that cultural note, after being inundated the past number of years about Millennials, I guess it is only logical that we now start hearing about their successors, Gen Z. Two pieces in the New York Times provide a nice glimpse into this newest — albeit VERY EARLY — entrant into the workforce. The first is Make Way for Generation Z by Alexandra Levit, and the second is Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z, by Alex Williams. I think regardless of the specific generation being profiled, Boomers delaying retirement, Gen X’ers assuming the C-suite, Millennials taking over the world… the answer is that we have an increasing number of generations in the same workplace. How will organizations not only address the challenges that come with this generational diversity, but realize that a multi-generational workforce is an enormous asset? And how will they leverage that?

I found myself scribbling a lot of notes as I read Strategy, Not Technology, Drive Digital Transformation: Becoming a Digitally Mature Enterprise in the MIT Sloan Management Review. The research team led by Gerald C. Kane, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips, David Kiron, and Natasha Buckley hit on a point I like to emphasize by stating “What separates digital leaders from the rest is a clear digital strategy combined with a culture and leadership poised to drive the transformation. The history of technological advance in business is littered with examples of companies focusing on technologies without in­vesting in organizational capabilities that ensure their impact.”

The history of technological advance in business is littered with examples of companies focusing on technologies without in­vesting in organizational capabilities that ensure their impact.” – MIT Sloan Management Review

My wonk-ish side always enjoys reading Gensler’s annual Design Forecast as well as Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Real Estate Trends . If you are looking for numbers, those are two good sources.

And lastly, two pieces on technology — specifically, software. The first is purposely high-level and is for all of us who want to be on more equal footing with our CIO’s. In Businessweek, Paul Ford’s essay What is Code provides a fantastic primer on software, developers, SCRUM teams, and everything you always pretended you understood. I will be re-reading this again soon. The second is somewhat of a magnum opus on software done by Venkatesh Rao at Breaking Smart. His Season 1 is a lengthy history of software and whether it is “eating the world”. I have not yet made it all the way through but I admire the ambition of the Breaking Smart team for undertaking this initiative (and my ambition for attempting to read it all!).

These were just a few of many great Workplace of the Future reads of 2015. If you have any recommendations, please post them on this thread. Lastly, I’d be remiss to say that at EMS Software, we are helping to forge the Workplace of the Future path. We take this role seriously — delivering an average 8x to 12x return on investment for our customers. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about our meeting and room scheduling solution and how it enables your Workplace of the Future strategy.

For more information about trends driving organizations to create Workplace of the Future strategies, read Great Expectations: Factors Driving the Workplace of the Future.

Robert Cesafsky
written by Robert Cesafsky, Vice President of Strategy and Planning

As the EMS Software Vice President of Strategy and Planning, Robert leads efforts to develop, communicate, execute, and sustain the company’s strategic plan. These efforts include market analysis and positioning, strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, and ensuring organizational alignment.

 

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