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How to unlearn the traditional workplace

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The notion of what defines a workplace is evolving with the new millennium, writes Brendan McAravey, country manager of Citrix South Africa.
For example, on any given day, a company can have less than 50% office utilisation, as employees may be offsite attending a client meeting, travelling, on holiday, or simply working from home. It makes sense, therefore, that creating an office space based on actual needs can drive efficiency and significant cost savings. This can be achieved by redesigning the workplace to offer a more inspiring and engaging environment that improves employee productivity.
To do this however, a company needs to get out of old habits and unlearn what it already knows. Creating an open office is one thing – a complete workplace transformation is totally different.
The ability to work remotely is a key factor to ignite this transformation, and critically, is fast becoming a requirement for the next generation of talent when looking for employment.  It is anticipated that, a decade from now, millennials will constitute about 75% of the global workforce.
Businesses need to understand what millennials are looking for when seeking employment – and flexible working patterns are high on the expectation list. Tomorrow’s C-suite and business leaders do not see work as a ‘place’ but as something they do.
Moving to a more flexible, open workplace that is powered by technology and supports the ‘anywhere, anytime’ work environment is a drastic shift for many organisations.
To unlearn the traditional workplace, companies must:

Unlearn the definition of an office
It is time to move beyond the workplace as a room with offices and cubicles and instead, create open spaces and meeting rooms where teams can sit together and collaborate. Private rooms can also be provided for people who need a quiet space to complete tasks or do their creative work without distraction.
And, to make sure employees remain engaged and upbeat, companies should consider using some of the reclaimed office space to give something back to their employees – a café, yoga room, or an outdoor space, for example.

Unlearn the traditional management of employees
A ‘good employee’ can no longer be considered as someone who simply comes into the office every day, puts in face time, works through their to-do list and then goes home. Rather, a good employee is one who produces fantastic results and goes the extra mile to add value to their company.
However, this can only be achieved if employees feel inspired. It is important, then, that senior management no longer focus on where employees physically are and instead, let them work wherever is best for the project they are busy with. This includes locations such as coffee shops, libraries or homes.
Taking this a step further, managers should hire employees who are best suited for a given job – not just those who are located near the corporate headquarters.

Unlearn the corporate ‘desktop’ as the only way to work
The corporate PC had its place. It provided employees a single way to access their business apps and data. But the corporate PC is now a thing of the past: employees want to use their laptops, tablets and smartphones to manage email and do their work. It is time to transition away from the ‘desktop’ to a workspace solution that securely delivers all of the apps and data employees need to their device of choice.
The workspace must also provide collaboration tools so that people can (and are encouraged to) work together on projects or have face-to-face meetings regardless of their location.
This mobile workspace model ensures that employees have access to all the resources and information they need, as well as the ability to collaborate with their colleagues and customers around the world.
By rethinking, or ‘unlearning’, how work has traditionally been completed, companies can create a new workplace that is flexible, engaging and gives people the ability to work where they are inspired.