In a recent article written by John Roach for msnbc.com entitled “The revolution at work is here”, the suggestion is made that the promise of the dot.com internet era of the late ‘90s of how drastically the new technology would change where and how we work is now just being delivered.
Roach then goes on to interview Rick Hutley, VP of Global Innovation for Cisco Systems. In the interview, Hutley talks about how Cisco has implemented and encouraged the use of web, cloud, collaboration tools and new technology (most of it theirs) to create a different workspace or work environment and how much of an impact it has had on Cisco’s bottom line.
“There’s a degree of re-enacted hoopla,” Hutley acknowledged as he talked about the workspace revolution, “but it is fundamentally changing now, there is no question.”
Cisco has been able to realize a 40% increase in workspace utilization, they are doing more with less space, which translates into a $1.4 billion net benefit and includes $560 million in reduced travel expenses and a further $150 million from telecommuting.
Sounds impressive, yet you would expect a company like Cisco to be at the forefront of this workspace revolution. It is to a certain extent their technology that is leading the revolution. But what about non-technology companies, companies who just use technology to manage their business, are they part of this revolution? The answer can be found in the types of people that companies hire, people who have the right competencies to thrive in the new work environments.
Here is a short list of some of the key competencies that companies should look for in any candidate, whether your company is already embracing or is looking to embrace such things as collaborative work groups, virtual positions, telecommuting.
1. Organization and Planning – Plans, organizes, schedules and budgets in an efficient, productive manner. Focuses on key priorities.
2. Follow-through on commitments – Lives up to verbal and written agreements, regardless of personal cost.
3. Proactivity – Acts without being told what to do. Brings new ideas to the company.
4. Flexibility/Adaptability – Adjusts quickly to changing priorities and conditions. Copes effectively with complexity and change.
5. Work Ethic – Possesses a strong willingness to hard and sometimes long hours to get the job done. Has a track record of working hard.
6. Communication – Speaks and writes clearly and articulately without being overly verbose or talkative. Maintains this standard in all forms of written communication including e-mail.
7. Teamwork – Reaches out to peers and cooperates with managers to establish an overall collaborative working relationship.
One of the reasons that it took so long for most companies to join the workspace revolution was not the fact that the technology wasn’t available. It was and to some extent still is a matter of trust, a matter of having the right people who could work well in the new work environment.
Our company, Q4B, has since its beginning been part of this revolution. We have offices in two cities, team members in locations away from those cities and take advantage of new technology to keep everyone connected. We also look for many if not all of the competencies listed above when we hire internally. We are small by comparison to Cisco, but we too have realized the cost benefits in working this way.
I know that there was a great deal of excitement, activity and commotion back in the early days of web technology, with all of us looking to quickly benefit form its application. It did not happen quickly. It is happening now and that is why in our company we are quietly celebrating with a degree of re-enacted hoopla.
Let the party continue!