Leesman, Michelin, Coconat – our February meeting
Philip Vanhoutte in conversation with Tim Oldman

Leesman, Michelin, Coconat – our February meeting

The focus in our February European Smart Work Network session was on how work is experienced and supported in the new world of work, and looking at best practice and innovative ideas in this field.

Analysing the homeworking experience
Tim Oldman, founder and CEO of the Leesman Index, the world’s foremost employee workplace experience assessment benchmark, was interviewed by European Smart Work Network Co-Founder Philip Vanhoutte

Throughout the pandemic, Leesman has been conducting a homeworking experience survey to mirror its workplace experience surveys. The result is rich data (from more than 160,000 responses so far) to provide insights about the relative performance of home and office across a range of activities

Highlights from the interview include:

  • People are finding the average homeworking experience better than the average office experience, and as productive as the best performing offices in the Leesman Index
  • In Tim’s view, “the legacy product” of the office is outdated, and needs a complete rethink in the light of what we have learned
  • In particular, any task that requires acoustic privacy generally benefits from being undertaken at home
  • However, about 25% -35% of people in an organisation don’t have a dedicated space for work. This does compromise the homeworking experience for them
  • Residential architects are not really addressing the design of homes for working
  • Some companies have been addressing the needs of their remote workers, e.g. IKEA who have been supplying furniture for home working to their employees with a buy-back option if or when they return to the office.
  • A central London office location can cost £15k-£20k per employee. Supporting homeworking will cost a fraction of that.
  • Employers will have a lot to do to design offices that support the “tidal flows” of people using the office, and the fluidity of boundaries.

You can watch the interview here

Setting up Michelin’s Virtual Work Platform:  how it works and how it’s used
Case Study from Guillaume Radenkovic, Global Head of Collaboration Services End User Experience

Over the past year organisations have, in effect, had to transfer the office into virtual workspace. In a fascinating and insightful presentation, Guillaume Radenkovic shared his experience of how Michelin has harnessed the power of a diverse collaboration toolset to enable work to be carried out across the network. This involves looking at the practicalities of managing and monitoring the virtual work platform and guaranteeing quality of service, as well as understanding how people are working now, and what beckons for the future.

Highlights of their virtual workplace implementation include:

  • It was necessary to get rid of the legacy tools, including the old audio-visual systems
  • There was a focus on simplifying the user journey, in particular by using Microsoft Teams
  • They adopted a “big bang” approach rather than incremental change
  • According to Guillaume, “Covid-19 is the best Chief Digital Officer we ever had”, prompting a great acceleration of digital transformation
  • Between May 2019 and September 2020, there was a 30% reduction in the number of emails sent, while the number of ad hoc Teams chats increased
  • Video sessions increased 400%
  • Cloud synchronisation and having all files in one place has led to an increase in co-authoring and collaboration.

Overall, there was a a rapid deployment underpinned by a coherent strategy for simplifying the tools in use and promoting effective remote work and collaboration.

Members can access the presentation here (log in required)

Coworking in Nature: Deep work heaven to release the Creative in every professional
Case Study from Julianne Becker, Co-Founder of the Workation Retreat Coconat outside of Berlin

While there’s been a focus over the past year on homeworking and how, if or when we can “return to the office”, we mustn’t forget over the past decade there’s been a major increase in both coworking and the phenomenon of the “digital nomad”.

We can expect more innovation in these areas to come – and one such is the “Workation Retreat” Coconat near Berlin. Bringing together work, nature, community and hospitality, is this where we’ll all go to re-energise ourselves as work bursts its traditional boundaries?

Julianne Becker, Coconat Co-Founder, presented Coconat’s key offerings in coworking, co-living, “workation” (i.e. combining work and vacation) and access to nature.

As well as the originality of the offering, Coconat is closely involved in initiatives to bring or retain quality work in the rural area, including developing a Smart Village and supporting local business development. An inspiring presentation – and I’m in awe of the energy they put into their projects.

Members can access the Coconat presentation here (log in required)

And you can find out more about Coconat from their website.

And as usual there were plenty of questions to the panel on the presentations and other aspects of Smart Working in the Open Session.

 

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