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Data and Triggers to make Corporate Real Estate Decisions for Microsoft Customers

We can break the challenge into time slots as right now the concern is to return to work safely.

However, the options you decide to take now could well either handicap you going forward or slow you down, worst still, cost you a lot of money for things you'll discard in months.

The Immediate need

Convince employees the workplace is safe

So the first decision is invest in technology to deliver a safe workplace but that's not the real gain here.

The first right decision Technology to make the workplace safe and gather data, Communication Edge
The first right decision Technology to make the workplace safe and gather data

The Near Future need - Data And Triggers


The key with technology is to gather data as we know the Covid Workplace chapter will drive change in a number of areas, not least the Workplace, be that at home, Middle space (between office and home) or the Old Workplace the HQ.

Why is this important? We believe the workplace of the future has several challenges right here and right now, these are at a minimum:-

  • Delivering a workplace upgrade in the office

  • Making the workplace more relevant

  • Avoiding short-term type screens and signs costs

  • Repair or improve productivity

  • Maintain flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances

  • Deal with the threat/risk/experience of the reception area and visitors

  • Equip yourself with data to adjust corporate real estate for the new norm


Delivering a Flexible workplace upgrade

The very minimum we have an urgent need to deal with is:

  • Repair or improve productivity - remove the commercial damage of Covid

  • Maintain flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances - adapt to the new norm

  • Flexible working - adjust to the stresses and strains and rebalancing now we have changed the way we work.


To Consider Flexible/Home Working then we have to look at the massive adoption of Teams/ Zoom/Pexip you name it and there is a lot of research to show 80% of knowledge workers will work from home 2 days a week, 40% 3 days a week.


https://www.communicationedge.vc/post/the-office-a-safe-workplace-the-4r-s-10-tips-for-hr


The impact on where we will work together and how ofter is huge.


Teams Releases and the impact on long term Home or Out of the Office Working


However, what is the impact on mental health and stress?

If you look behind Microsofts latest Team releases you'll see the concerns reference the stress of working on Video 8 hours a day.

See the concentration and anxiety graph lines below:

Microsoft Brain activity Map , Communication Edge
Microsoft Brain activity Map

Microsoft Recommendations with extended remote visual meetings:


To help with this, Microsoft recommend taking regular breaks every two hours to let your brain re-charge, limiting meetings to 30 minutes, or punctuating long meetings with small breaks when possible.



Together stops the brain trying to absorb different images and backgrounds, Communication Edge
Together stops the brain trying to absorb different images and backgrounds

"Together mode" is designed to reduce stress and anxiety , watch the latest Microsoft Video on new features.




Together Mode Brain impact

https://news.microsoft.com/innovation-stories/microsoft-teams-together-mode/Medium-term




This is a huge Microsoft play to sustain the growth to 100m active daily users that Teams now has.

They want to keep you working on Teams and need to reduce the brains stress of 8 hours of teams meetings.


The impact for the office is huge.

To Make the workplace more relevant we will have to understand the impact of flexible working:

  • Who will work in an office?

  • Will it be a knowledge worker or admin worker, ie what type of person/role?

  • Why will Flexible workers go there?

  • Is the office still relevant?

  • What will we use the office for?

Teams will definitely have a role and Communication Edge belief there will be a massive remodelling of the central workplace.


The Predictions are collaboration will dominate the central or local workplace :

- On demand workplaces demand will rocket with Teams at the heart of it

  • Cubes for 1 person in peace and quiet to dial in

  • U's with screens for data sharing and collaboration

  • Numerous small meeting rooms for the old meeting where 70/80% will attend remotely

What's the impact?

  • Huge AV demand for Collaboration

  • Much higher productivity and faster rates comprehension

  • You absorb visual information 4,000 times faster.

  • You absorb visual images in the long term memory.

  • Projects will move faster.

  • The rate of change will accelerate, again.

Workplace on demand scheduling will be the norm.

  • Knowing someone's status and device preference will be the norm

  • I'm mobile / home or in the office will be a GPS setting you allow on your mobile device

  • Your status will determine what device you connect from

  • If your mobile from you smart device

  • If your powered up up your large device, screen preferences will determine you connect to visual meetings from there.

  • Just like your smart device moves from WiFi to 4/5G

  • Right sizing your space will be performed by AI that reads your scheduled events and your status to determine how many people are attending the meeting physically or virtually, moving the room to adjust for location status.

Workplaces on demand will formerly move to the "Middle Office", so what is that?



The Regus I worked at for 13 years has transformed itself with new fresh on demand workplaces.

Mark Dixon predicted the shift to on demand workplaces and has steadily moved into a Real Estate sweet-spot.


Whether I'm tired of working at home and want a "near space" (near home)

Or I want to connect with colleagues on the road or near home (connect up)

Or an informal focus space (focus up)

Or we need a local Flexible space for a sales or regional office


So Virtual Meetings, Flexible Workplaces are the new norm or part of them, but what of the "old HQ"?


For the insightful thinker the HQ will have a management function but far more important will be the social connect and collaborate function.

  • Making the workplace more relevant

That will make the workplace relevant but for me they need to connect seamlessly to my home, flexible or virtual meeting mode.

So the forecast for the "Old HQ" a redesign, a resizing and a relevance overhaul are all in the mix with the need to deal with:

  • The Covid challenge short term

  • The choice of tape/screens and signs or Technology, for us there's no choice, as with all the above we need data to inform these decisions.

Notes / Challenges while we gather data.

  • Avoiding short-term type screens and signs costs

  • Maintain flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances

  • Deal with the threat/risk of reception and visitors


Data is the output Technology delivers in a uniform way so that the data is robust and reliable
Data is the output Technology delivers in a uniform way so that the data is robust and reliable

  • Equip yourself with data to adjust corporate real estate for the new norm

So what data do we need?

What different data types do we need?

Answer two types:

  • Dashboards to tell us where we are and deliver insights so we can learn, adjust and tweak.

  • Data Triggers to inform different systems to work together

The Dashboards will reflect normal KPI data but will now add:

  • Collaboration levels - whose connecting

  • Location loads - where are they connecting from

  • Productivity levels - whose productive

  • Collaboration connections - where are we connecting from and to who?

  • As well as the normal HR , Workplace and Management KPI's

The Data Triggers will connect several different systems and areas:

  • The old unconnected systems will deposit data into organisational data lakes.

  • Workplace designers will then use the data as triggers to drive the experience you have asked for.

  • The result the intuitive workplace will finally arrive!

  • Finally the days of the workplace with different systems operating in silo's with the resultant "disconnected" workplace experience will be designed away by data engineers.