The TV series The Office, set to air its final show on May 16, has amused us for years with a humorous, mockumentary look at how companies operate. As a culture, we love The Office, because we have probably all experienced a Dunder Mifflin-like company either in our own career or in the stories shared by friends and family. Who doesn’t know a Dwight or two?
The Office gives us something to consider as we think about our own approach to work. Personally, I appreciate the differences of today’s workstyles from Dunder Mifflin’s workstyle. From new office workspace designs that encourage collaboration to mobile technologies that allow individuals to connect when work must take place outside of the office environment, today’s workplace is increasingly not about a specific place and time – it is about the work we do.
In my view, our modern workstyles are due to necessity as businesses respond to one of the most challenging economies of our generation. As we move forward, we will see companies succeed only with innovative, creative and flexible approaches to delivering products and accomplishing work. With online social tools, the conversation around the water cooler has indeed evolved into tweets, posts, pins and ad hoc video conferences. The McKinsey Global Institute reports that nearly 75 percent of companies surveyed are already using social networking, blogs and/or video sharing.
And the results show that flexible workstyles work. Today’s business landscape is flush with a diverse group of companies and public agencies leading the same charge for work fluidity. Take these organizations for example:
- Papa John’s International has 3,000 restaurants located in 49 states and 22 countries. Today, the Kentucky-based chain is the world’s third-largest pizza company. Papa John’s employees now use web conferencing with Citrix GoToMeeting to review store layouts, provide franchisee training, hold international staff meetings and securely conduct business around the world.
- Avigilon, a Vancouver-based global provider of high-definition surveillance solutions, uses Citrix GoToAssist to give technicians the flexibility to securely support clients’ computers and deliver fast, excellent service without location being an issue. With high customer service goals, the teams rely on mobile workstyles to be responsive in or out of the office.
- Ramar Foods, a small distributor of Filipino food, runs its operation in the cloud. With the help of the online work platform Podio, Ramar ships more than 100 products from its three factories in Hawaii and California. Employees keep in touch and up to date despite the distance.
- Plinga, a leading game publisher based in Berlin, works with developers around the world to publish their work on popular gaming sites. With Podio, Plinga connected teams on the sales side of their business to those on the project side. The result? Better communications and less flooding of email inboxes.
- Salinas Police Department officers quickly file reports in real time using their own personal devices with ShareFile. Before, officers had to record the reports in the field using cassette tapes and then drive back to headquarters at the end of their shifts.
Clearly, workplaces are not all the same, but I believe companies and employees both perform better when flexibility is in the equation. In fact, our latest infographic, “Work Is Not a Place,” takes a refreshing look at real mobile workstyle benefits experienced by companies and people around the world. (Look for the infographic below.)
So as we say thanks for the memories to Jim, Pam, Phyllis and the rest of The Office on May 16, we also bid farewell to the cookie-cutter workplace models of yesterday. According to our global market report on Workshifting, by this time next year, 83 percent of organizations will have adopted a type of mobile workstyles program. Will your company be one of them?