Friday, 28 October 2011

Who would you rather work for...?

Would you rather work any time, any place, and have your success measured by the results of your work? Or would you rather work for this guy:

We didn't think so!!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Funniest Workplace 2.0 Story YET!

One of my fellow executive members just sent me her most recent mishap/funny story about our mobile workplace, and I had to share it!

Being mobile, I am at one of our many locations, the ATCO building in our CFO's old office. I was using this closed door space as I had a couple virtual meetings that afternoon with some of our team members based out of Edmonton. 

At 2pm, "Sam" pings me and I accept his video invite.  The room behind him doesn’t look like his normal office, so I ask him where he is:

Sam:  I’m in Calgary today at the ATCO building.
Exec: Me too!!  I am in the CFO's old office if you want to come by.
Sam:  Hmmm, I don’t know where that is.  But do you know where Rob's office is? I am across the hall from there.
Exec:  …I am right beside Rob's office… come across the hall and open the door!

He did and... Man, did we laugh and feel like dorks!
When you think about it, this could have happened to any of us who work from any location any time!

Thanks for sharing this great story - I love hearing them!!

Ta ta

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Floor Plan Sneak Peek

Today we sent out a communication to everyone involved in the Workplace 2.0 Pilot that explained what to expect when the construction is over. We're excited for the final product, but for now our floor looks like this!!

Take a look at our plan for this space, and try to envision what it will be like when all the mess is cleaned up!

What I love about this approach is it gets everyone involved at a very early stage.  Who wouldn't want to see the future floor plan, or watch construction as it happens?  I know I already feel a vested interest in the end product!

Ta ta

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Workplace 2.0 Pilot Video

I'm famous! Don't you love all the amazing places @jodiulrich had me travel to?  Ok your right it was just a really cool green screen, what will they think of next? This was the video we shot to help kick off workplace 2.0 at Investor Services.

Night and Day: Lessons for Managers

As I sit down to write this new post, I wish you could see me killing myself laughing! Not giggling or chortling, but full-on belly laughter that actually starts to hurt when you can't stop!

Hopefully you’ve learned a bit about my less than brilliant first attempt at implementing a flexible workplace in my previous post. In order to mitigate the confusion that occurred there, today I blocked off 2 hours of my time to work on the training for leaders in our official pilot for Workplace 2.0.

Why, you ask, am I laughing so hard?

When I compare and contrast what I am looking at right now, to what support and tools I gave to my leaders and associates previously (none), I almost fell out of my chair! The training course has so many terrific nuggets that I wanted to share a few with you. Talk about world class, engaging and relevant!

The first managers’ action recommended in the material is “to position your team to fully embrace the new workplace experience." That was MY first mistake, this time we will get different results! I have already booked a meeting with my whole team on the 28th - a step in the right direction. Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks??

Based on the verbiage inside this brilliant manager’s course, I am now developing and leading a strong distributed team! What is a distributed team? Really it means there is no ceiling on our ability to be efficient and collaborate with each other and anyone else inside or outside the organization. Physical location doesn't matter!

The concept breaks down the barriers of time and space, allowing us to work more effectively in a broad range of previously time-consuming activities. So let me ask each of you, what activities can you see becoming more effective in a model like this? The first one that comes to mind for me is the quantity of face-to-face meetings. Think of the travel time we could eliminate by not having them in person, they don't go away they just become more efficient! I don't waste 30 minutes driving to the location, finding parking and getting into the room to set-up. I get off one video call, grab a fresh cup of tea and place the next video call. Easy peasy.

Ta ta

Monday, 24 October 2011

Workplace 2.0 means something different to everyone and that is the point.

Tracy Harris made this video after a visioning session she facilitated for the Investor Services Executive Team, on what is Workplace 2.0.

Watching it again reminds me why I love my role and my company!

Ta ta

Monday Morning Construction Update

The best part of looking at this photo's is to imagine that there are still people working on the other side of the blue tarps!  Talk about dedicated!

Construction update:

Friday, 21 October 2011

Human Factors Design: can it be applied to all aspects of Workplace 2.0?

You hear a lot about ergonomic work environments, or the discipline of human factors design. This is where a chair or desk fits our body or needs and adapts to us so we don't need to adapt to it. But what if our whole work space, work time and work environment could be adaptable? What if we as workers didn't have to adapt at all?

In an ideal world there would be no more fighting rush hour traffic, no more parking woes or closed-door offices. But we all know in reality there will always be a few times we still have to make an 8am meeting and there will still be moments when a physical office is the best option. When this is the case, what if the space we had reflected the different kinds of work we would be doing throughout the day? Imagine space designed to what we needed it to do, so we didn't have to adapt to the restrictions of the space. Think about your current day, you don't need a closed door office for your whole day, maybe just a quite place for some of your calls, a place to take a video call and for another few hours you need a space that would be designed specifically to enhance collaboration.

Based on this concept, our facilites team is redesigning our workspace. We will
be piloting a completely new physical space as well as a new work philosophy! We will have touch-down spots where we can complete work among colleagues, phone booths for quick calls, private spaces for sensitive meetings and collaboration spaces for brainstorming.
I want to show you some before and after pictures along the way. So follow along with construction, and observe how we are looking at all aspects of Workplace 2.0!

As you can see in the photos below our old offices were very traditional. I can't wait to see what the new space will look like and how it will function! I will keep you posted.

Ta ta



Thursday, 20 October 2011

Sherri's Top 10 Do Not Do's when moving to a flexible work place.

Picture this:
You're sitting in an executive meeting. The President of your division expresses his disappointment that the senior team is not leading by example in reducing the company's carbon and space footprint by even considering giving up their permanent 4 wall, corner offices... (ok so not many of us actually had corner offices but you get the point!)

What would YOU do?
Well, I did what any innovative, flexible, excited and a tiny bit reactive leader would do! I pulled my team together and told them we were going to lead the way, be pioneers of change, set a great example.
Yes that's right all you change management experts out there gasping. I didn't follow any of the brilliant strategies we teach and share.
So imagine my teams' reaction, ranging anywhere from complete excitement to almost pure horror. The cherry on top was that I didn't even have my whole team in attendance, so a few of my key associates found out from other team members. Brilliant? Innovative? Not one of my finer moments let me tell you!

So here are my Top 10 Do Not Do's when introducing a flexible work place to your team:

10. Do not leave anyone out! Telling your whole team at the same time so nothing gets lost in translation.
9.   Do not tell everyone they are giving up their offices! Do some research to see who even wants flexibility in location. And make sure you establish a way for people to book space, when they are on site.
8.   Do not assume everyone is fine not having a place to hang their hat every day! Some people just need to know where they will be every day and where their stuff will be.
7.   Don't use words like "lead the way", or "pioneering". Not everyone is a risk-taker!
6.   Don't make people give up their hard-earned parking stalls... This is a big don't until you have tested how parking will work in a flexible environment.
5.   Don't clear out your own office that day and take everything home. People will think you actually got FIRED!
4.   Do not move anyone out until you have specific results mapped out. As you can no longer see them, touch them, observe them to know what they are working on.
3.   Don't start answering your home phone "good afternoon, Sherri speaking, how can I help you?" it really messes with your family!
2.   Do not force anyone to be flexible. It becomes appealing to the right people, in the the right roles, at the right time.
And drum roll......

The number 1 do not do EVER is:

Do NOT implement a flexible workplace and set them free!! Each employee needs to their own approach. Work with them and discuss childcare needs, work expectations, and preferred location. Have a plan, some training and time for adoption.

Ta ta

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Workplace 2.0 here we come!

My cool new title at ATB Investor Services is ‘Head of Talent and Story’. What this really means is I lead the Human Resources department in developing innovative talent and communications strategies in support of a rapidly growing wealth management firm. We attract exceptional employees and set them up for professional success and longevity. We guide them to become masters through extraordinary leadership, training and coaching, by providing industry-leading and innovative professional programs and tools. We also create the ATBIS story in a way that is relevant to both our associates and our clients. Needless to say, my role is incredibly diverse and very exciting. And even better, I can do it on MY time.

People ask me all the time, how I can ‘work from home’ in my role... I don’t. I work anywhere, anytime, not just from home. Then I have to explain that almost any role, YES even senior leadership roles, can work from anywhere, any time. As long as you have brilliant technology, clear purpose and a view of the results you need to accomplish, and by when.

This is typically referred to as ‘work-life balance’. Let me be honest, this is one of my favorite topics, as my response is that ATB has a flexible workplace, NOT work-life balance... Dramatic pause..... That would imply the company owns my time - which is not the case! I own every hour of every day. I choose what hours I need to work to get the results I am accountable for. In today’s society this is difficult to wrap your mind around, but I can guarantee it’s the future.

The easiest way to explain is to give an example:

When I first started at ATB Investor Services, I remember asking my leader, Sheldon Dyck, if I could leave early on a Wednesday to go to a doctors’ appointment. I remember explaining that I tried to get the appointment for non-work hours, but cold not and that I would make the time up. He looked at me with total amazement. He asked me when he and I had ever agreed on formal work hours. I had to think about this, ummm, well we hadn't. I was just working on approved protocol from my last company. Then he asked me if I could still get everything done I needed too, without making up hours. Again, umm, well of course I could!

He then explained to me, "you, and only you, own your time. You are a professional with clear objectives. You can work when you want, where you want, how you want, as long as the work gets done.”  Do you know how long I had been asking for permission to go to doctors’ appointments, dentist appointments, gosh even to have vacation time? YEARS!

It actually took me at least a year before I stopped feeling guilty when I wasn't working at my official office location.

Fast forward 6 years, a book comes across my desk called "Why Work Sucks" by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. I almost fell off my chair as i started to read, it was exactly what Sheldon had taught me years ago. Around the same time Sheldon challenged our entire division to take it one step further. It's one thing to work any where, any time, but can we do that and actually reduce our carbon and facilities footprint?

After a rocky, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants attempt with my own team, I am proud to say today we officially launched our Workplace 2.0 pilot.

I had so many learning’s from my own terrible attempt at doing this a few months ago, and now there will be brilliant idea's and take-aways from a well thought-out pilot. I want to share the good, the bad and the ugly with other like-minded people thinking about doing this in their organizations.

So my next post will be about all the crazy things I did wrong, or Sherri's Top 10 Do Not Do's when moving to a flexible work place.

Just as a cool FYI, I wrote this entire post on my ipad, while sitting on my bed, rubbing my son's back to help him fall asleep! I really mean any place, any time don't I? 

Ta ta!