One humble guy’s vision of the corporate professional and workplace environment in the dawn of this new decade – the Soaring Twenties!
The Leasing Broker, Circa 1989:
My Palm Pilot reminds me I have a meeting to attend out of the office. I’ll need to refer to the Thomas Guide and photocopy the directions to their office. I certainly don’t want to stop at a pay phone and ask for directions on the way. Positioned on the cutting edge, I was the young guy with a PC on my desk – a Dell 286 as I recall – with a monitor that covered a third of the desktop. The older guys in the office weren’t going to get bogged down with a computer… “How’s that going to help you lease office space?” they’d scream from their corner office. Foregoing the Rolodex, I had full, automated access to my personal contact database in an early CRM called ACT!, which required navigation via DOS, before Microsoft Windows came along.
I’m proud to say that the foundation of my professional network was built in those early days when only one program could run at a time on the PC. Many of those contacts remain influential in business today, and some have become life-long friends. It was clear to me then that technology was going to help me apply traditional business practices with increased efficiencies and carry me toward a career of success.
A Hand-Built Network
The first few cold calls were horrendous, certainly for me, and probably more-so for the person I was calling upon. Nonetheless, as I returned to the office to transpose my handwritten notes into ACT!, I saw the value of each contact, the information gathered, and the foundation of a network that was slowly building. This database was built over years of prospecting and the contacts were personal – my property! I’d soon find out that companies saw value in my network, and consequently, in me due to the relationships that I’d cultivated. I’ve always controlled my database and it’s followed me throughout my career. It’ll provide value to me well beyond my professional career.
The Return of Personal Connection
Looking forward into the decade of the twenties, we’ll see how an acceleration of technology will change the way we gather and manage information, the way we work and the environment in which we operate. As we adapt to increasing stimulation from all sorts of media at our disposal, combined with our professional responsibilities in the palm of our hands 24/7 threatening personal connection, business relationships and repeat business transactions is imminent. The importance of building and maintaining the professional network may even be more critical today, as job and career changes will be more frequent. And, I’m not talking about how many connections you have on LinkedIn.
With the exponential changes in technology, certain companies and people will become obsolete in their current form, making them of little value. Having the vision to evolve and willingness to adapt will be critical for personal and corporate survival. Your network will be an invaluable asset to call upon for direction, introductions, consultation, insight, education or condolences.
Cartoon by Jeff Stahler
The Workplace of the Future
It will not be the open office experiment of today, nor will it revert to the spacious private office of yesteryear. By the mid-20’s, we’ll see the sprawling campuses and multiple floors of high-density corporate occupancy… make way for the Corporate Hub!
With an eye on sustainability, wellness, employee stimulation and retention, increased production and decreasing occupancy costs, major corporations will design their space for essential daily occupancy and non-essential virtual occupancy. What’s this look like?
The hub will be situated in urban centers or near major universities with easy access to public transportation. Its core elements will be strategically designed and placed within the hub for maximum workplace efficiency. The hub will be appointed with the following:
• Virtual Presence Theaters replacing the conference room of today, equipped with smart walls and virtual A/V for remote participation and interaction.
• All Hands Arena will be a piazza-type gathering area for all-hands meetings and social engagements. Virtual presence will allow remote attendees to be “in the room” with access to 360 views and full audio/visual interaction. As soon as a remote attendee raises a hand or begins to speak, their image is projected for immediate interaction.
• Department Neighborhoods will be designed within the hub and will include a mix of open collaboration area and an abundance of privacy rooms for uninterrupted work sessions. Standing collaboration counters, acoustically enhanced furniture pods, soft furniture and high-tech workstations are placed throughout the neighborhood.
• Lactation Rooms will be convenient and plentiful with all necessary equipment, storage, etc., provided as a service… Lactation Room as a Service, if you will.
• Wellness Wings will be designed to include everything from oxygen enhanced exercise/shower areas to massage, physical and mental therapists, a nutrition center, and peaceful/napping or recharging pods.
• Essential Occupants will have designated workspace within the Department Pods and easy access to privacy.
• Non-essential Occupants may come and go as necessary and are provided with hot desks or private rooms on a reservation basis.
• Indoor Air, Lighting and Power will all be wireless with every device controllable from the command center. This will maximize comfort and production and will decrease consumption and operating costs. Fresh air and oxygen enhancement will be programmable and prevalent where necessary.
• Accessibility for the physically impaired will far exceed the minimum federal requirements by employing robotics in combination with automated vertical and horizontal pedestrian transportation, making the hub a place of comfort for those who might otherwise be challenged with daily mobility.
Increasing housing costs and commute times will lead to increasing virtual occupancy. Technology will continue to enhance the workplace for greater proficiency, accountability and interaction.
ProPath Advisors is currently searching for qualified and motivated talent for exciting new career opportunities throughout our esteemed industry. Don’t miss out on the Soaring Twenties! Visit our Careers Site now!