Could a Workplace redesign lead to better Collaboration?

"We read a lot about organizations moving to a flexible work environment to save money on real estate. In this very practical article we learn how a workplace redesign can actually improve the ability for a team to collaborate. Michael McKiernan has done an excellent job of highlight the key steps in the process - define the problem; look at the real estate design; review the technology needs; focus on the people and how they like to work and finally - measure and adjust." Susan

When Michael McKiernan, vice president of business technology at Citrix Systems Inc., was tasked with helping his IT team better collaborate, he started by looking at the business problem.

"We had silos within the IT function -- never mind how IT got on with marketing or engineering," he said during his presentation at the recent Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison, Wis. "People were defining themselves by the size of their team and their proximity to a window or the type of furniture they had."

One reason for the silos? Space utilization. Teams could be scattered across Citrix's 60 locations globally -- and even scattered across a single campus.

When McKiernan stepped into his role as the head of application delivery and enterprise architecture for Citrix IT, he had to place new hires in different buildings because he didn't have enough cubicles to go around. "I get these silos by location or even by floor if I don't make people mobile, if I anchor them and say, 'You're going to be at this space,'" he said.

The situation convinced McKiernan to take risks with a workplace redesign, such as doing away with assigned cubicles altogether. "The only reason I did it was because I had a worse problem than failure -- collaboration was even worse," he said.

McKiernan sat down with SearchCIO's senior news writer, Nicole Laskowski, at the Fusion conference to talk about the five-step workplace redesign framework he used to break down silos and transition his team of "lousy" collaborators into enablers. Read the whole article and watch the video.

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