Lessons of The Modern Workplace: [email protected]

October 18, 2018


When workplace visionary leader and EMS customer EY began their own digital workplace pilot program nearly five years ago, even project leaders didn’t fully know what to expect. As Transformation Management Lead Laura Toner said at EMS Live 2015, even though “organizations can have the best intentions with a workplace strategy,” initiatives change as companies gather data, employees provide feedback and departments collaborate to support how people are working.

Although EY was prepared with a comprehensive change management roadmap, their process for creating an agile workspace was not without adaptation and change. Their process was detailed in the recent Work Design Magazine article, “Interview with EY’s Trex Morris, ” and it offers a fascinating look at how large companies like EY can offer a more efficient and flexible work environment.

Here are some of the article’s main takeaways:

  1. Collaboration is more than a buzzword. The old days of siloed departments, where the real estate team focused on very different objectives from those of, say, conference and event directors, are gone. In the article, Morris describes how prior to [email protected], HR and real estate operated in their own silos, while IT worked to align their strategies. Today, however, tech, HR and real estate are more collaborative, and their synergistic policies and strategies better support the work environment. (Is your organization looking for a more holistic approach in your digital workplace transformation? See our blog post “8 Key Players for Creating a Workplace Optimization Strategy.”)
  1. Employee expectations have clearly changed. You’ve probably heard a lot about how today’s workforce craves more flexibility and the option to work from anywhere, any time. This highly mobile group spends less time in the office than previous generations, and even less time at their desks. In large part, this is due to the emergence of the evenly split, multi-generational workforce, which is on full display at EY. The firm has more than 260,000 employees that fall within the Millennial age group, and by 2020, they expect a whopping 80% of the workforce to be either Gen Y or Gen Z.
  1. Increased engagement is real and measurable. When asked about the biggest value the program was contributing to the workplace, Morris focused immediately on employee engagement. Not only has employee engagement increased by 4%, but workplace satisfaction went up 10% as well, all while the firm continued to grow and increase the workforce size. In a workplace with more light and fewer walls, employees are choosing to go into the office more, not less, and Morris says, “You can feel the buzz, you can feel the energy…you can actually connect with the people because they’re very visible as opposed to being behind all the barriers.”
  1. Modern technology enriches the employee experience. Video conferences and video chatting for remote employees and clients. Wayfinding that gives insight into traffic conditions to help employees operate more flexibly during commute time. Interactive booking systems improve workforce efficiency. These and other technologies are a key part of the [email protected] program, and they help enrich the environment not only within the EY office but also outside of it. Tech innovations are a key component of the work experience, and it will be a continued focus of the program as it moves forward.
  1. Data guides better space and real estate decisions. What types of spaces do employees gravitate to? What is the right type of space for a certain task or activity? What is the ideal mix of open areas, individual work areas, collation rooms, private spaces and informal seating? Morris says that “data is still key,” and because EY is measuring how spaces are utilized and the company has more data points than ever before, they have a good understanding of how people are operating in the office and can use that information to guide better business decisions.

To read the full article, head on over to Work Design Magazine’s “Interview with EY’s Trex Morris.” And if you’d like to start a conversation about how EMS can help your organization make the best use of your space, please contact us.