Two industry insiders shared insights into successful workplace transformations with attendees at a top-level conference, including their practical tips on overcoming real-life challenges.
Luis De Souza, CEO of leading workspace software firm NFS Technology, led a virtual session at the Future Offices two-day event, sharing his experiences with attendees who joined from around the world.
Luis was joined by Ray Pezzuti, Global Director of Operations and Facilities with NFS client Fried Frank LLP.
Ray provided his insights – gained during key roles at White and Case, Blackrock and several other global organizations – on planning workplace transformation in a global context, and spoke on how to achieve success in a major office move.
Luis told attendees that great opportunities have been opened up by the shift in working practices – but leadership teams who want to take advantage of them need to make bold decisions.
“Work is now an activity, not simply a location, and there is a change of focus to the activities we perform, and the objectives and achievements,” he said.
“How will leadership teams focus on the fact that the office now has a new purpose? People are going to come there not just to show, but to add real value, to collaborate, to meet their colleagues, to do stuff.”
Encouraging staff back into the office will require flexibility and the building up of a new trust, Luis said.
“Leaders can only build that trust by setting clear objectives and priorities, and by encouraging consistent behaviours on both sides,” he said.
“Fortunately, the technological tools that support trust, flexibility and full workplace transformation have matured quickly over the last 15 months.”
Luis told attendees the real-life success story of a global financial services company that opened new European headquarters at the height of the pandemic, and made it a highly-successful opportunity to drive a complete workplace transformation strategy.
“We helped them move rapidly to adapt to the situation, and to incorporate home working into their workplace technology plan for the very first time,” he said.
Results from the workplace transformation have included a workforce that is reassured about coming back to the office – up to 70% will return part-time by January 2022. In addition, 30-40% of meeting rooms have been freed up for more flexible working, and collaboration has also soared.
Ray Pezzuti, who is currently involved in a half-million sq ft workplace development in New York, shared his practical tips on driving a successful workplace transformation.
“The dynamic has changed,” he said. “How do we now get the best out of our floorplate?” Ray’s checklist includes taking a holistic view, pushing the boundaries of design, challenging any assumptions – and taking brave decisions.
The webinar was followed by a lively Q&A session, with attendees asking questions ranging from how to encourage staff back to the office, to setting KPIs for hybrid working and which technology tools are best for the new environment.
After the event, Luis said: “We certainly had an excellent response to the webinar, which was a great opportunity to help workplace leaders through a time of unprecedented change.
“We’ve never been through a period of transformation quite like this; there is no road-map yet for organizations to follow.
“But by sharing our direct experiences of what’s working, and by offering practical advice, we hope to contribute an informed approach to the debate that helps guide workplace leaders through the challenges they are facing.”
Hear Luis and Ray’s other tips and see the case study: