Managing a Mobile Workforce

I can’t express in words how much I am enjoying the articles in CoreNet Global’s magazine The Leader.  I only first posted about it yesterday and I’m finding the articles so engrossing for the corporate real estate professional that everyone should read this magazine, cover-to-cover.  The latest article that really has me thinking is Mobile Workers: Practices, Relationships and Components for Effective Workplaces (p. 18).  Ever since college, I have considered myself a mobile worker, whether I was flying across the country every week at Microsoft or zipping around the city of Chicago at UGL Equis.  The corporate office has often served simply as a place for me to make phone calls, photocopies and conversation – everywhere is part of my workspace.  But what do other mobile workers think?

Because of my experiences, I found the Mobile Workers article very thought-provoking.  The researchers at Knoll and Verna Allee Associates made some very surprising observations about mobile workers and how they work.  The “Fast Facts” section on page 21 shares that many mobile workers are most productive at home and find the corporate office to be “often unproductive, underutilized and misaligned with the needs of the evolving work force.”  The writers make frequent references to a disconnect between employers who focus on productivity and workers who are most concerned with “innovation, loyalty and customers.”  How many organizations, especially enterprise-level, are actively seeking feedback from their in-office or mobile workers as they strategize their real estate and plan their workplaces?

One conclusion I see from the findings presented in this article is that the real estate and facilities (RE&F) department needs to effectively partner with human resources to understand employee needs and priorities.  Similarly to the article on software, where IT and RE&F need to come together, I’m seeing a trend in which improved collaboration across teams can help an organization perform better and be more agile.

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