My workplace is where I am

Colleagues talking to each other while being on three different continents and the threat of a snowstorm made me realise just how much the concept of work has changed in recent years.

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In many places around the world you have now access to a high quality Wi-Fi network. Wireless communication allows us to be more flexible than ever before. For employees working at a global mid-sized technology company like Planon, a flexible way of working has become a normal part of everyday life.

A few weeks ago I visited our office in Hyderabad based in India, when I needed to speak to one of our product managers. He was online on Skype and I gave him a call. I found out he was at the airport in Atlanta waiting for a flight to San Francisco. After our conversation, I walked into another room where a daily scrum meeting took place. This is a gathering in which a development team exchanges the progress and challenges they encounter. Two team members were Indian colleagues, two others attended the meeting from the Netherlands via Skype and the team was completed by a colleague who lives and works in New York. I asked him how he was coping with the snow blizzard I saw on the news. But according to him, the snowstorm was almost over and it wasn’t as bad as the forecast predicted.

Back at my desk, I got a Skype call from one of our Dutch project leaders who was working on a project in Montreal in Canada. He told me that he had to fly back to the Netherlands in two days, but he was worried about his plane being delayed as he had to fly through New York. He had seen the forecast of a snowstorm and he was not even sure if the weather would be good enough to fly out. Luckily I could immediately bring him the good news from our colleague based in New York.

At that moment I realised what just had happened. Working in a connected world in the 21st century is fundamentally different from the way of working from only a decade ago.

There is no doubt that many organisations will continue to use offices where most of their employees will gather and meet, but for many of us the dynamics of the use of offices and workplaces will change tremendously in the coming years. This means that in most organisations we must embrace new ways to match the supply and demand in workplaces alike and prepare for maximum flexibility.

I’m personally looking forward to this as these are exciting and challenging times for anyone working in Facility and Real Estate Management.

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