It’s the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey. This seems the perfect time to launch The Smart Workplace blog because, according to the ancient Chinese zodiac, 2016 is destined to be a year infused with exuberance, unconventional problem-solving, and increased communication. This blog is all about that! I’m exuberant about the 2nd edition of Working Virtually, in final edits before publication this fall, exuberant and delighted to share what I learned while writing it. I found some surprises and exciting, unconventional ways teams work today. I’m continuing many conversations and want to invite you into the conversation that so… I’m starting a blog on The SMART Workplace!

What is The SMART Workplace (TSW)?

  • TSW is driven by its mission and vision
  • TSW builds flexible, mobile and dynamic teams
  • TSW develops leaders, not executives
  • TSW facilitates innovation to create new ways of working
  • TSW understands technology and builds systems for collaboration and communication around a network of teams.

The General Service Administration has gotten really workplace smart in how they manage real estate. They tackled a cost-saving challenge with smart, unconventional problem-solving that saved the Feds – and U.S. taxpayers – millions of dollars, just in real estate savings.

Not to mention how they collaboratively transformed the way they work.

Could your organization go from 6 leases to 1 office space, saving almost 50% in real estate without crowding anyone?  The U.S. Government’s General Service Administration did, and they did it without forcing anyone to work where they didn’t want to be or couldn’t work productively. This gorgeous and functional office building is the result of a highly collaborative process involving everyone who would be impacted by the building’s transformation. The building is SMART, state of the art, spacious and beautiful.   Watch the quick video to see for yourself!   The building is technically fully integrated. Collaborative technology is everywhere.  Workspaces reflect the way people really work.

Does your organization ensure its people have access to work spaces that meet the needs of the task at hand, with collaborative tools and resources they want to work smart?

A Smart workplace facilitates effective communication.

Work gets done through communication and collaboration, no matter how networked, distributed, and flexible we become. In all my years of working with people from the shop floor to the executive board room, everyone says communication is a top organizational improvement need. Especially in a perennially changing work world, communication across levels and boundaries is a critical success factor, so in this Year of the Monkey, I’ll be writing and, hopefully, in a good conversation with you about effective communication.

Returning to the big changes impacting staff of the GSA, effective communication began before the first real estate lease was released. To build a SMART workspace that worked for everyone, the GSA championed a strategic and operational collaboration among IT, Facilities, and HR. These champions then engage managers and team members impacted by the Smart changes. “There is a lot of underlying technology,” said Torrance Houlihan of AgilQuest, overseer of the technology install for the GSA. “But it wasn’t implemented for technology’s sake. It was implemented to let people choose how and when they’re going to interact with the building, and then to give them feedback from the building when they do that.” [emphasis mine]

How did Houlihan and his team build a workplace they could be confident people would choose to interact with, using the technology, leveraging the building, and connecting with each other?

They asked…

Increased and iterative communication among all employees whose workspace was going to dramatically change. The way the GSA team led this hugely disruptive change process in order to build such an unconventional building is the real story. Deep employee and stakeholder engagement ensured the good design behind the building itself. The feedback and continuous engagement enabled such a successful and unconventional solution to a financially driven cost-savings need.

Is your organization Workplace Smart? How do you know?

There are many simple ways to monkey around and leverage mobile work, the digital network and office space to be a SMART workplace. In this Year of the Monkey, subscribe to The Smart Workplace blog. Please note my next blog post will come from and my new email!

Join me and the SMART Workplace team, and find smart tips, tools, resources, and guest posts from experienced experts. I do hope you also join in the conversation at The Smart Workplace by subscribing today.

Next Wednesday’s post will include a free Quick-Check SMART Workplace Readiness Assessment, too, so you can get a sense of how SMART your workplace is.

Let’s have some good, old-fashioned, juicy conversations about:

  • flexible workplaces and engaged cultures such as the GSA
  • how teams can work better together and apart
  • how to move from me to we by leverage technology better
  • connecting teams and organizations in a mobile work world
  • leading oneself professionally with smart career moves.

Let’s talk about The SMART Workplace.