Industry insiders share their practical approach to transforming the workplace

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Two industry insiders have shared valuable insights into successful workplace transformation with attendees at a prestigious conference, including practical tips on overcoming real-life challenges.

Luis De Souza, CEO of leading workspace software firm NFS Technology, led a webinar at the Future Offices two-day event where he shared his experiences with virtual delegates from around the world.

Luis was joined on the platform by Ray Pezzuti, Global Director of Operations and Facilities with NFS client Fried Frank LLP.

Ray provided insights – gained in key roles at White and Case, Blackrock and other global organizations – on planning workplace transformation in a global context, and how to achieve success in a major office move.

Luis told the conference that huge opportunities have been opened up by the shift in working practices – but leadership teams seeking to take advantage of them have big decisions to make.

“Work has become an activity, not a location, and there is a change of focus to the activities we perform, and the objectives and achievements,” he said.

“How are leadership teams going to focus on the fact that the office has a new purpose? People are going to come there not just to show up every day, but to add value, to collaborate, to meet colleagues, to do stuff.”

But to encourage staff back into the office will require flexibility and the building up of a new trust, Luis warned.

“Leaders will only build that trust from setting clear objectives and priorities, and by encouraging consistent behaviours on both sides,” he said.

“Fortunately, the technological tools that support trust, flexibility and full workplace transformation have matured fast during the last 15 months.”

Luis told attendees the real-life success story of a global financial services company that opened new European headquarters at the height of the pandemic, and made it a highly-successful opportunity to drive a complete workplace transformation strategy.

“We were able to help them move very quickly to adapt to the situation, and to incorporate home working into their workplace technology plan for the first time,” he said.

Outcomes from the workplace transformation have included a workforce reassured about coming back to the office – up to 70% will return part-time by January 2022 – and 30-40% of meeting rooms have been freed up for more flexible working. Collaboration has also soared.

Ray Pezzuti, currently involved in a half-million sq ft workplace development in Manhattan, shared practical tips on driving a successful workplace transformation.

“The dynamic has changed,” he said. “So how do we get the best out of our floorplate?” His checklist includes taking a holistic view, pushing the boundaries of design, challenging assumptions – and taking courageous decisions.

The webinar ended with a lively Q&A session, with attendees asking questions ranging from how to encourage staff back to the office, to setting KPIs for hybrid working and which technology tools are best for supporting staff in the new environment.

Afterwards, Luis said: “We had an excellent response to the webinar, which was a great opportunity to discuss best practice ideas to help workplace leaders through a time of unprecedented change.

“We’ve never been through a period of transformation quite like this; there is no road-map yet for organizations to follow.

“But by sharing our direct experiences of what’s working, and by offering practical advice, we hope to contribute an informed approach to the debate that helps guide workplace leaders through the challenges they are facing.”

Hear Luis and Ray’s other tips and see the case study: