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CFC Home Page Mobility Programs
Enabling Worker and Spatial Performance

but also to more effectively characterize and address “demand”.

The most successful programs are holistic – not only motivated by potential real estate efficiency, but also creating closer alignment to all the goals and objectives and culture of the organization, effective worker performance, and future adaptability.

Mobility is a journey, not a destination. Programs go through three phases: start-up, scale-up and full integration.

Chances are really good that most organizations have workers working in non-office locations even if it’s under the radar. However, without a formal program that addresses network security an organization can be vulnerable to attacks when workers aren’t on-site. Putting a more structured program in place can actually reduce risk, support attraction and retention, improve cost-competitiveness and optimize space utilization. Done the right way and for the right reasons, mobility is here to stay.

Some organizations rely on volunteers, while others select the worker types they feel could/should work in this way. IT support is needed to enable secure remote connectivity. HR is often engaged to develop agreements outlining mutual expectations and performance management conditions.

External mobility implies that workers are provisioned to work in any location they chose – home, public spaces like a Starbucks or a hotel lobby, or coworking facilities. They may or may not still have an assigned seat back at the office; if not, then touchdown spaces are needed to give them a place to work when they do come in.

Internal mobility describes the approach of enabling movement within the office – so that workers can quickly and easily move to a variety of spaces depending on the work being performed. For example, an engineer can take his laptop into his team’s project room to collaborate on their next presentation to senior leadership; or move to the café during off-meal hours to concentrate on a new idea. Surveys across multiple industries prove that the average worker is in their assigned seat less that 50% of the time. That begs the question of whether we’re optimizing the sizes, mixes and types of spaces that make up the typical office. More progressive companies are paying more attention to the mix and range of activities in which workers engage and re-allocating space accordingly.

Many organizations are moving away from hierarchy or status as the basis for space allocation to work-practice-based allocation. These companies are deliberately designing spaces to support focused work, collaboration, learning and socializing activities. Mobility not only allows us to realign our spatial “supply” – creating new types of spaces in the office and new ratios for their mix –

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About Jan Johnson

Jan Johnson, FIIDA, leads Allsteel's Workplace Adivsory team and the development and delivery of content and tools that support clients and design organizations as they plan, design and manage work environments. Jan has both a degree in Interior Design and a Master's in Business Administration. She co-teaches "Enabling Mobility: Perspectives on Technology, Physical Solutions and Change Management" through CoreNet's MCR program.



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By Jan Johnson, FIIDA

MOBILITY – the ability to choose to be productive in spaces and places other than one’s desk based on what will best suit the task to be performed – is an opportunity to address several organizational goals:

Mobility is largely a response to both increasing pressures to reduce costs and shifts in the make-up of the workforce and the influx of digital natives who, because technology now cheaply and easily allows them to work anytime, anywhere, expect to be able to do so. Widespread adoption of the cloud will only accelerate this second aspect. Other benefits organizations can derive from mobility programs include risk mitigation, carbon footprint reductions, and portfolio flexibility.

That said, just because we can (work anytime, anywhere) doesn’t mean we should (exclusively). There are still many compelling reasons for ‘the office.’ One only has to realize the power of face-to-face interactions, or read about Yahoo’s new edict, Apple’s new campus and Google’s views on how best to foster innovation to see that a balanced approach is most appropriate.

Mobility is also one of those terms that have become a catch-all for other terms like hoteling, free-address, telecommuting, hot-desking, work-from-home and other ‘alternative’ work strategies.

To help bring some clarity to all these terms and their particular form, we describe three basic forms of mobility – each with benefits, costs and implementation challenges:

Work-from-home programs essentially move a worker from the office to their homes full time. Bank of America’s program, for example, has about 10% of its population enrolled in their MyWork program.

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