By now, most of the world has heard of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) IT policies. The next level of this will be BYOO CRE policies – Bring Your Own Office. Just as organizations often provide cost coverage for employees to have their own work phone, it likely won’t be uncommon for organizations to provide an office budget as well.
But this assumes that this isn’t already happening. One of the natural effects of a BYOD IT policy is that employees become unshackled from the need to be at a desk regularly. If they can receive calls and emails on their phone without being on a corporate network they are already 90% separated from a fixed office. The other 10% comes down to management – their own time management and working out a deal with their boss. This is happening today behind the scenes all the time.
Workplace of the Future is not a set of policies. Workplace of the Future is an acknowledgement that the real estate group has lost control over the ability to effectively manage where people work. The only thing tying most employees to a desk was their boss and their computer. Take the computer requirement away and provide a boss that understands flex time and work from home and you have eliminated the barriers to alternative working. Systems don’t even come into play.
This is the same problem that IT has been struggling with for some time now with BYOD. They have historically been responsible for managing all of the devices that every employee uses. They provided desktops, laptops, Blackberries, cell phones and everything else an employee might need. That requirement disappeared over night. There was an on-going struggle over whether to eliminate their role entirely or to modify it. But more and more they are eliminating the requirement entirely.
Real estate will soon realize they are in the same boat.