Space. The final frontier (trends in alternative workspace management)


Click to see Steven M. Johnson’s awesome workplace images!

Everyone in the development community is watching what large business is doing with their hoteling efforts. There has been discussion about this for 20 years, but the impact is not being felt.

Why? What qualifies as a job that is good to be “hoteled”. Wells Fargo and other companies have created a questionnaire that helps employees and managers determine if theirs is a job that may be better done from home. The questions asked are similar to the following:

  • Are you in a supportive role?
  • Determine if part of your value is as a mentor and organizational leader that is needed for office morale and client meetings.
  • What percentage of your time is away from the office?
  • Are you using equipment that is located in the office?
  • Is the work that you are doing secure and confidential?
  • How much paper shuffling is required to get your job done?
  • Are you consulting clients in the field?

When you think about it, much of the work that can be taken out of the office is pretty intuitive. But it is interesting to me that a questionnaire is created as a way to help decide if an employee who wants to work from home is allowed to do so. It is management 101 to establish guidelines that are practical for all to follow, but I can see the conversation now: “I am sorry Mr. Janitor Assistant Manager, you job is too secure, encrypted and paper process critical to have you clean the office from your south Charlotte home.

However, we will reconsider the issue with you again at next year’s review.” I can see why others want to work from home. Here is what Bank of America has discovered with their “mobility program”:

  • It is saving a ton of space. The current ratio of B of A employees who are working remotely is 1:19. Assuming that the bank has nearly 90,000 employees, that is 18,000 B of A employees who are working in their pajamas.
  • It is green! Really, it saves LOTS of cash to lend to small businesses. The initiative has sustainability written all over it. With the time saved commuting, and being flexible to work around other priorities, the Bank estimates that it has, “given 9 million hours back to its employees.” And you know what that means, a lot more time for Facebook!
  • I want to work from home for Bank of America!

This initiative has to result in happier employees, higher job retention and overall increased efficiency and production. Does anyone know how the office real estate development industry is responding to this? I got one developer on his cell phone (he was working from his home). He loves the idea.