Jan 14, 2020 in Viewpoint

3 things you can learn about the new way of working from Microsoft

There are numerous reasons to switch to an activity-based working concept. Think of better use of the office space, a state-of-the-art building that attracts talent, or implementing a new way of working. But what are the other drivers behind these changes? We’ve had the pleasure of talking to René van der Vlugt, Digital Transformation Lead at Microsoft. A year ago, Microsoft opened its redesigned office space at Schiphol, Amsterdam. A modern office building where collaboration is key.

Esmeé van Vliet
by Esmeé van Vliet
Microsoft smart office
A year ago, Microsoft opened its redesigned office space at Schiphol, Amsterdam. We’ve had the pleasure of talking to René van der Vlugt, Digital Transformation Lead at Microsoft. © Facto

Improve collaboration for a stronger company

“Work-life is changing at a rapid pace and continues to evolve. A few years ago, the new way of working meant employees could work wherever and whenever they’d like. Supporting a healthy work-life balance by focusing on output, rather than time spent in the office. Today, we focus on working smarter, together. Collaboration is crucial. More than ever we depend on the knowledge of multidisciplinary teams. But companies have to support these changes.

At Microsoft, we make sure employees are part of the new way of working. Together we figure out how we can optimize the office. By involving our employees, the changes in the company are embraced more quickly.”

Make the employee experience count

“Companies have to change more than just the physical office space. The happiness, well-being, and vitality in the workplace are important drivers to determine the employee experience. Employees may say they can monotask, but in reality, 33% of the employees can’t ignore a beeping smartphone while working. As a facility manager or HR, you should focus on the holistic view of working-life. Not just inside the office, but also outside. What’s the journey like towards the office? Is there a restaurant nearby? Or a gym? If you don’t, employees might run off to other companies, and attracting talent will become a challenge.”

“Our time to refresh ritual eliminates back-to-back meetings, by making sure meetings never last longer than 45 minutes, giving everyone a 15-minute break in-between.”

René van der Vlugt, Digital Transformation Lead at Microsoft

Measure how your office is being used

“Essential in the new way of working is a smart office. A smart office collects data about utilization. This means data about how the office is actually being used. Think of popular workplaces and occupancy numbers. Based on this information you can generate insights and make changes inside the office. Of course, that’s where Mapiq comes into play, helping employees find their way inside the office, finding the right meeting room for a specific meeting and optimizing their office experience.”

Create a healthy and smart office

“I believe artificial intelligence will become important. It can make us work smarter and less. The Netherlands is a front runner in the smart office world. Not only because of our smart technology but also because of the shift towards the importance of the well-being of employees. Offices will, therefore, become not only smarter but also a healthier place to be.”

Future of work

In our series of interviews about the future of work, we've had the pleasure of talking to professionals all over the world. Midori Ainoura inspired us with her thoughts from an architectural perspective. Read her thoughts here.

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