Is There Any Life Left in the Office?

Is there any life left in the office?

No, I’m not talking about a scene from a zombie film, with mobs of mutant creatures shuffling past banks of empty desks on the hunt for smartly-dressed executives. Scrub that image from your mind: I’m talking instead about the future of the office—does a physical office make sense anymore, in a world where remote work keeps getting better?

There’s been much discussion of late around how “work is something we do, not somewhere we go.” Many companies, including some of the world’s hippest brands, have begun to follow this precept.

I do agree with them, up to a certain point: You should be able to work from anywhere — home, office, coffee shop, garden, pub. OK, maybe the pub is just wishful thinking, but I believe that pretty much wherever you choose to work from, you can be as engaged as you would be in the office.

That said, I do think physical offices will continue to exist. In fact, I would argue that not only is there life left in the office, but that the office itself will undergo a reincarnation.

Work in the Year 2000

If you’re curious about the workplace of the future, simply compare the way we work today with the way we worked just 15 years ago.

In the year 2000, work was very much tied to the physical office. Your work computer was likely a PC tower; you made work-related calls over a desk phone and could only access your work email at the office. For the average person, once they left work for the day, that was it. There was no easy mechanism to continue working at home.

Today, work and non-work are more fluid. Most of us carry smartphones 24/7, and can easy check and respond to work email at the tap of a button. Work-related voice calls and IMs are automatically routed to our smartphones. Laptop computers allow us to take our entire work environment home or on the road. Ubiquitous broadband connections mean we can connect to video conferences pretty much anywhere.

And yet, though controversial, I firmly believe physical offices will never disappear completely. Instead, in a world where work is no longer tied to a physical location, co-working with your colleagues will become a choice with its own distinct merits, rather than a requirement.

Smart Offices are the Foundation for the Future

Imagine that office of the near future — the impact of intelligent, communications-enabled systems on the office will be profound.

Imagine a workspace that’s aware of you as an individual, whether you’re an employee, partner, customer or supplier. Imagine an office that recognizes who is entering the building, what physical access they require, what devices they have with them, and what information they might need.

This office will alert you when someone who might be useful to a project you’re working on enters the building; and could even automatically set up a meeting with that person. Just think about what this could do for employee engagement!

The truth is, the Internet of Things and our move toward Smart Buildings and Smart Cities is already here.

Take, for example, our intelligent lighting solution. Avaya is collaborating with other companies on a solution that leverages Ethernet cabling, Power over Ethernet and LED to make lighting one of the many “things” on an Internet of Things-enabled network. Sensors in this solution detect occupancy and vacancy and determine areas that need more or less lighting for the optimum user experience.

Advancements like these, and others, will make the office a more efficient and attractive option for employers and employees of the future, and thereby a place they’re more likely to invest in and choose to work from.

Given that sophisticated communications-enabled technologies empower businesses to reap the benefits of more productive, collaborative environments, I would wager that we won’t be seeing empty offices (or zombie-ridden ones) anytime in the near, or distant, future.

Want more? Click here: “Nemertes and Avaya Webinar: Work from Anywhere – Really!

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Avaya 2018 Customer Innovation Awards Spotlight Digital Transformations

Avaya Customer Innovation Awards are presented annually on stage to a handful of our leading customers at the Avaya ENGAGE event. The 2018 award winners recognized on January 31 include three companies in the Fortune 100, and two leaders in the energy industry. Each of the winners is using Avaya solutions to help drive key strategies and meet critical business priorities around digital transformation initiatives.

Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is a global insurance provider and the fourth largest insurance provider in the U.S. Liberty Mutual is on a digital transformation journey to better serve customers and employees worldwide. As part of an overall initiative to improve the customer experience, the firm’s IT Help Desk deployed the Avaya Breeze® Platform with a custom Snap-in to its contact center, a move which raised productivity and provided insights that improved efficiency and the end user experience.

Exelon

Headquartered in Chicago, Exelon is the leading competitive provider of energy in the U.S. Its business includes power generation, competitive energy sales, and transmission and delivery. It operates in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. Having grown through acquisitions, in 2016 Exelon had six separate ACD environments serving multiple business units. The decision was made to consolidate the disparate platforms onto a single platform to drive efficiencies, performance improvements, and cost savings. After evaluating options from Aspect, Avaya, Cisco, and Genesys, Exelon chose Avaya. The company operates in a regulated environment and has demanding SLAs for customer-facing contact centers. Exelon says, “In the contact center space, today we’re living in a 24-hour real-time world.’’ Its Avaya solution helps keep the company in compliance and moving forward.

Energisa

Serving six million customers, Energisa has stated goals to increase levels of efficiency and profitability, improve the overall quality of service it provides, and step up key customer service indicators. As part of this overall corporate improvement effort, the company made the decision to move its communications infrastructure from to Avaya IP Office Server Edition, the standard for all its locations now. The IP Office™ Platform has helped the firm address broad corporate goals, and has delivered key improvements in specific areas, including IP technology, call recording, audio conferencing, and better IT management.

Inova Health System

Northern Virginia’s leading healthcare provider, Inova serves people throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area and the surrounding community. Inova is shaping the future of health through its integrated network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, emergency and urgent care centers, outpatient services, and destination institutes. Staff productivity is an ingredient in delivering superior patient care. Moving from a Communication Server 1000 to the Avaya Aura® Platform with the Avaya Equinox® Experience has allowed Inova to embrace mobility for care givers and improve the patient experience.

Boeing

To improve customers’ experience when calling its customer call center, Boeing worked with Avaya and DevConnect partner Appcom to simplify its contact center operation and create a single, integrated dashboard that eliminates multiple steps and automates workflows. The updates free up agents to help more customers and address their technical issues.

Avaya Ready to Emerge from Chapter 11

Today is a new day for Avaya—and for our partners and customers. It is also a day that we have been planning and preparing for since we filed for chapter 11 last January. Now that we have the green light from the Court to begin our exit from chapter 11, we are ready to emerge as a stronger, healthier company, with amazing growth potential for our customers, partners and our people.

We have greater freedom to invest. We will emerge from chapter 11 with reduced debt and increased cash flow, giving us greater opportunities to invest in people, processes, and game-changing innovations.

We have re-engineered our operations. We are now sharply focused on accelerating innovation and delivering solutions with greater relevance for our customers and partners. We are committed to making it easier for customers and partners to do business with Avaya and to delivering excellence in execution—Avaya will be the company that says what it will do and does what it says.

We have modernized our technology. For the past 12 months, we have been focused on advancing our core platforms, making them faster and simpler to adopt and integrate new functionalities and leverage emerging technology trends. We are expanding our ability to meet the transforming needs and priorities of our customers with greater speed and agility—and enable them to create the outstanding experiences that inspire loyalty in their customers.

We have done all this with one goal in mind—to be ready to emerge from chapter 11 and move forward stronger than ever.

At Avaya, we’re ready to seize the day because we believe we are going to deliver a better tomorrow for our partners, our customers, and our people. We’re looking forward to sharing more about the new Avaya in the weeks and months to come.

Avaya Advanced Solutions for Today Dispel a “Legacy” Label

Having been with Avaya since 2003, I thought I had seen every tactic our competitors could employ against us. However, now that we have been through the toughest of times and are ready to emerge, stronger than ever, I realize I was wrong. The level of FUD our competition is trying to spread, and the lengths they are prepared to go to are a testimony to our strengths. And it tells me one thing: the competition is preparing for the day we exit from Chapter 11. But we already prepared—in fact, we are ready to emerge stronger than ever, together with our ecosystem of people.

There are obvious reasons why Avaya is such a threat to other UC and CC vendors in the market, cloud or not. While a large proportion of our installed base—a loyal installed base that is the envy of the industry—runs what could be called “legacy” solutions, we show up as a totally different company with a different value proposition than the PBX box shifter that the legacy label implies.

Today, we are helping customers achieve their digital transformation objectives, we are creating customer experiences that go beyond digital, and our open platforms are unleashing the creativity of our customers, partners, and teams to drive innovation.

The company that competitors are trying to dismiss as “legacy” is the same company that just presented at GITEX a use case for bringing blockchain into the customer experience. Avaya is leveraging AI capabilities to enhance experiences for our banking and emergency services customers. We are working with fintechs in the Asia-Pacific region to create solutions for their mobile and web customer interactions. Avaya is working with Bosch, a global leader in technology and services, to build the workplace of the future. I am proud to say that the Emirates group recently referenced the work we are doing with dnata as making a positive contribution to their financial results. This is hardly the mark of a legacy vendor.

While our competitors are losing credibility by sticking with the “legacy” tag, the reality is that we are ready to equip our customers, partners, and teams with the tools they need to be more relevant than ever. We’ve re-engineered our platforms and are uniquely positioned to allow our customers and partners to build, test, and deploy their own solutions quickly and securely. This is our commitment to openness coming to life and bringing value to the communities we touch and work with. Once we are free of our debt burden, we will be free to invest in R&D, which will consign the “legacy” tag to the dustbin.

Our competition is dreading the day we emerge from Chapter 11 because they know the real legacy that we bring to the market: an installed base of loyal customers who love and trust our brand and technology, partners who have committed their growth and future to working with Avaya, and a team that is destined to grow and win.