The Agile Workplace Blog

Welcome to the blog! The blog is a great way for you to hear different perspectives, or hear a new perspective for the first time.  It is where we have the opportunity to express our thoughts about many of the issues facing workplace professionals and our CEO is a regular contributor.  Keep up to date by checking back here on our website, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to have the articles delivered to your inbox.

There is raft of new and interesting legislation being proposed in the House of Representatives to cut federal spending by reducing federal office space. One such bill, H.R. 26121: Public Building Savings and Reform Act of 2013, was introduced on July 8th by Reb. Lou Barletta [R-PA11]. Section 12 of this bill calls for the Administrator of General Services to develop and implement a method of measuring actual utilization rates of its buildings and a plan for incorporating such utilization rates into performance metrics. The method shall be based on actual utilization by “rentable sq ft per person”. Two important points should be considered regarding this bill; refinement for the definition and intent for Actual Utilization Rate and acknowledgement of the measurement method.

You know it’s true.  The time has passed for the timid, waffling and toe-in-the-water new workplace strategy pilots that seem to rule the day. 

You see the impact of broken workplace policies, empty boxes of air we call office buildings and roads choked with a hell called commuting.  You know your organization must do the right thing; broad and bold adoption of mobility and hoteling that improve productivity, profitability, agility and sustainability. 

But achieving rapid and successful organization-wide adoption – the kind that involves tens or hundreds of thousands of people across continents and millions of sq. ft. of office space – causes you pause.   How can I get my enterprise up and down the ranks to buy-in to this new strategy? 

Fear not!  You are not alone in your quest, not the first to undertake it and you can be successful in your implementation.

How do we go from 'our department's great idea' to 'the organization's top strategy'? This is the challenge when one innovative group or leader in the organization clearly sees the benefits, the far-reaching value of workplace change, but the other departments are too busy with their own projects and goals to embrace any new initiative. Every week we hear "how do we get executive support?" Support (money) and sponsorship (power and authority) of the executive team is a key factor in any broadly-implemented organizational initiative. So, how do you gain commitment from the executives, the partners, the right level of management, to begin change and sustain it through implementation and institutionalization?

Much has been written in response to the edict declared by the CEO of one company (Yahoo's Marissa Mayer) to ban home-based work (sometimes called telecommuting). But telecommuting is just a small component of the broader trend to work from anywhere (sometimes referred to as mobility, telework, virtual work, etc.).

"What does it take to roll out a new workplace strategy and get broad acceptance... quickly?" This is the question nearly every organization asks when they reach out to experienced practitioners and advanced organizations. We've heard businesses, global enterprises and federal agencies all ask the same question. This first article in a series will tackle the first of what we call the "Key Factors" in new workplace strategy.

So it has come to this: Mutual Assured Destruction. The latest madness comes in the form of the Budget Control Act of 2011, conceived by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama on August 2, 2011.

The US has about 12.5 Billion sq ft of office space. Half of that is not actually occupied (actual people in it) on any given day. We have boxes of air, everywhere, that we call office buildings. 6 Billion sq ft is a lot to "absorb".

The Atlanta market alone has 40 million sq ft of unrented space, not to mention that which is empty due to mobility as described above. Nobody I know is getting any less mobile, and I don't see many sectors taking down lots of new office space: Pharma - no, Banks and other Financial institutions - no, Manufacturing - no, large Law Firms - no, Consulting - no, Audit - no, Health Care - yes, Government - no... Lots more no's than yes's as far as I can tell...

-John Vivadelli

Response to article: Commercial real estate market may make gains next year by Zoliath

Known as "Iron Matt" around the office, AgilQuest's CFO, Matt Fahy, is an avid runner, having participated in many marathons and even a few Iron Mans. So the NY Marathon was set to be another great weekend of running, until Hurricane Sandy blew through New York and New Jersey. Since the Marathon was cancelled at the last minute, Matt was already in New York. Rather than come home, Matt and his wife decided to stay and help the Red Cross by helping feed people across Coney Island. We are proud of our "Iron Matt" and his selfless contributions.

Building more office space only adds to the sustainability problem, no matter how efficiently or "Smart” that building is constructed.  As the old truism goes, “The greenest building is one that is not built and the greenest BTU is one that is not burnt.”

Every business has to manage two competing priorities - revenue and expense. Measuring and managing one and not the other can lead to unfavorable consequences. As Andy Grove once quipped when asked, "What is more important, strategy or execution?", he politely pointed out you must do both well. Activities might be a proxy for productivity and revenue (lots of argument about that), but occupancy measurement is a necessary component to expense containment.

Join the Mailing List for More Like This

  • Be the first to hear about new resources and blogs, event announcements, product and industry news when you join the mailing list. Read More
  • 1