The overwhelming amount of people accessing technology worldwide has brought mobility
into the spotlight as an area that companies and businesses need to address. According to a recent study (McKinsey & Company, May 2013) mobile Internet technology is widespread, with more than 1.1 billion people currently using smartphones and tablets. New mobile Internet technology can accommodate both work and personal lives, and the integration of the two has made mobilization a key factor in how companies are utilizing their employees worldwide.
As an innovative IT department, it is important to identify mobile behavior within the company, enhance the technology being used in the workplace, and make the necessary changes to connect and mobilize employees. Microsoft IT is particularly re-thinking how to design facilities to meet the needs of mobile employees.
But what is a mobile workplace
? What components are necessary to mobilize a workforce?
These were the exact questions that came up in the new Microsoft office in Guangzhou, China, as the office became mobilized. While many of the workers in Guangzhou were mobile, they still needed workspaces and desks to sit at. Microsoft IT created an environment where employees could touch down and work quickly and easily. Combining IT, real estate, and facilities teams, Microsoft’s ‘New World of Work’ program enhanced the Guangzhou workplace environment
to support the mobilization of the Microsoft workforce in South China.
Teams that are not only located in the same regions, but also globally connected need places to meet and coordinate without having an assigned office or workspace. Before the office was enhanced, finding team members, colleagues, and even available desks was difficult, especially with a large amount of seats unassigned. Microsoft IT addressed this issue by using a Windows Phone application that uses location-based services to identify available workspaces and people in the new office. The available desk space was also streamlined by using an integrated monitor with one cable to connect everything from the monitor and network to the Microsoft Comfort Desktop 5000 wireless mouse and keyboard. By combining smart office designs with key Microsoft technologies, the Guangzhou office can now support the growth of business in South China.
The new facility includes 160 individual workstations, lockers for personal storage, 6 bookable meeting rooms, and 33 small focus rooms for ad hoc meetings. The Guangzhou office supports laptops and mobile devices with wired and wireless network connectivity as well as providing large conference screens that are ideal for hosting live meetings through Microsoft Lync
. Crucial to a mobile workforce, these large screens enable “face-to-face” meetings that were previously difficult to engage and arrange with no large screens or even monitors available.
To ensure a smooth transition, Microsoft IT formed an IT Ambassador team to help new members familiarize themselves with the facilities and provide technical assistance at the startup of the new office.
Introducing new ways for mobility to be practiced in the workplace literally pays off. Microsoft’s New World of Work program has opened several facilities around the world. In 2012, the Microsoft Singapore office
was completely revamped to become a mobile workspace that accommodated employees as well as lowering costs. Microsoft estimates that the new Guangzhou office will reduce operating costs by 24% over a five-year period, which would compare well against the average 14% decrease in costs across other sites that have undertaken similar projects.
Microsoft IT has acknowledged the importance of mobility in the workplace, as well as several other key aspects in the development of IT. See how Microsoft IT sums up their progress and developments in 2013 in the IT Annual Report here
Patrick O’Rourke, director, Office of the CIO