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February 26, 2015

My workplace is where I am

Having conversations with colleagues in three different continents; combined with the aftermath of a blizzard made me realize just how much the concept of work has changed in recent years.

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In many places in the world you now have access to a high quality Wi-Fi networks. 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,while I was visiting our office in Hyderabad, India, I needed to speak to one of our product managers. He was 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 was taking place. This is development team meeting to share progress and challenges they encounter. Two team members calling in from India, two others attended the meeting from Nijmegen, and the team was completed by a colleague in New York. I asked him how he was handling the snow that I saw on the news. According to him, the snowstorm was almost over and it proved not nearly as bad as the forecast.

Back at my desk, I got a call from a Dutch project leader who was working on a project in Montreal, Canada. He told me that he had to fly back to the Netherlands in two days, but that he was afraid that his plane would be delayed because he had to fly through New York. He had seen the forecast for heavy snow on the news and he was not sure if the weather would be good enough to fly out. Luckily, I could immediately share the good news from our colleague in New York.

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

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

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

Pierre Guelen
Founder & CEO