facilities (FM) strategy

When: Thursday, March 7, at Noon Pacific Standard Time

Register:  https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/476196598

Please join me and my colleague, Pi Wen Looi of Novacrea Research, for a lunch-and-learn session to learn about “Leveraging Mobile Work to Engage Your Employees.” We’ll present our 2012 Mobile Workforce Survey findings and share ideas about how you can use these insights to engage and leverage your mobile workers.

We planned to conduct this webinar well before Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! issued her now-famous edict mandating all Yahoo! staff to “cease and desist” working from home and to come to the corporate office every day. But the buzz surrounding that decision makes this webinar all that much more timely.

This session is designed for anyone who manages Gen Y workers, remote workers, IT professionals who are involved with mobile technology, and knowledge workers who work on-the-go.

Past research on the mobile workforce has focused on either the technology needs of mobile workers or the challenges of managing a virtual workforce. Our newly designed Mobile Workforce Survey is the first study that takes an integrated look at both the hardware needs of mobile workers (e.g., mobile devices) and the factors that impact their organizational engagement and personal views about mobile and remote work.

Key Takeaways

  • How and where knowledge workers are getting their work done today
  • What tools they use to be productive
  • How their mobility is affecting their work and their professional and personal relationships
  • Tips for managing and engaging remote workers


Please click on the link below to register for the free webinar, which is being hosted by People-OnTheGo, a firm focused on workforce productivity and achievement.



Date: Thursday, March 7
Time: 12:00 noon PST
Place: Online

Pi Wen and I hope to “see” you on the webinar next Thursday. Feel free to invite your colleagues; the more the merrier!


What is really going on at Yahoo?

by jimware on March 1, 2013

There’s been quite a buzz building around Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s recent proclamation that all employees are now expected to be in their assigned corporate office every day. No more “telecommuting” or working from home.

There is no way I can summarize all the insightful commentary about Ms. Meyer’s edict that is all over the Internets and the mainstream media this week. However, I can point you to several really good starting points for understanding what all the buzz is about.

And I’ll humbly start with my own interview with talk show hostess Turi Ryder on WGN 720 radio (Chicago) on Wednesday evening: “The Perks and Catches of Working Remotely.” It was a fun and provocative conversation.

Here’s a one-paragraph summary of that 20-minute conversation, brilliantly written by my good friend, colleague, and “pioneer” in the the field of remote work, Jessica Lipnack. Her post is titled “Jim Ware to Yahoo: ‘You have a management systems problem.'”

But for a really thoughtful and passionate statement on the issue, you’ve got to read Jessica’s lengthier and far more important note, “Marissa, we need to talk. This genie is way out of the bottle.”

That is the most articulate statement about remote work and its benefits that I’ve ever seen. Read it and bookmark it. I guarantee you will want to come back to it whenever your company starts wavering or waffling about the pros and cons of flexible work.

It’s not a simple or straightforward issue. If you have the time, read through the many Comments (both supportive and dismissive of Marissa Mayer) from readers that accompany Jessica’s posts, and this one additional article on Kara Swisher’s AllThingsD blog, which is where I believe it all started:

Yahoo CEO Mayer Now Requiring Remote Employees to Not Be (Remote)


A Report from the Lisbon Workplace Conference

by jimware on February 21, 2013

The Lisbon Workplace Conference 2013 took place on February 19th in the new Headquarters of Microsoft in Lisbon, which was designed by 3G-Office (President of 3GOffice, which explain the context of the Conference and introduce the New Ways of Working Concepts according to the new economy “We must do something with the Corporate Spaces, they are not aligned with the mobility, work-life balance and collaboration at work” ” Companies are spending huge amount of money in RE&FM and the real occupancy is less than 70%” said Francisco Vazquez. Then Marie Puybaraud, research from JCI, look to the New WorkplaceTrends up 2040 in what she has been working for the last ten years “Rethinking the world of work: nomadic, digital,engaged, focus on experience, green,..” Marie said. Fernando Carneros,Iberian Head of RE&FM of Microsoft, explained the project of the New HQ of Microsoft in Lisbon together with Maria Rosa Abeijon, General Manager of 3Goffice in Portugal “Attention to human factors is part of the workplace focus” said Fernando. Catherine Gall, Research Director of Steelcase, “dealing with local & global tensions in workplace: getting the right mixed in the hotel of globalisation””east and west divided cultures at work”. Finally Marie introduced to the more than 100 delegates into the Digital Natives needs and ways of working. After the Conference there was a tour visiting the New Microsoft Head Quarters.”>www.3g-office.com).

The Conference began with Francisco Vazquez, President of 3GOffice, who explained the context of the Conference and introduced the New Ways of Working Concepts according to the new economy:

We must do something with the Corporate Spaces, they are not aligned with mobility, work-life balance and collaboration at work. Companies are spending huge amounts of money in RE&FM and the real occupancy is less than 70%.

Then Marie Puybaraud, a senior researcher from Johnson Controls, discussed  the New Workplace Trends up 2040, which is what she has been working on for the last ten years:

Rethinking the world of work: nomadic, digital,engaged, focused on experience, green…

Next Fernando Carneros, Iberian Head of RE&FM at Microsoft, together with Maria Rosa Abeijon, General Manager of 3Goffice in Portugal, explained the recent project of the New HQ of Microsoft in Lisbon:

Attention to human factors is part of the workplace focus.

Catherine Gall, Research Director at Steelcase, spoke about “dealing with local and global tensions in the workplace:  getting the right mix in the hotel of globalisation, east and west – divided cultures at work.”

Finally Marie Puybaraud introduced  the more than 100 delegates at the conference to her research on the Digital Natives’ needs and ways of working.

Following the Conference the delegates were able to tour the New Microsoft headquarters in Lisbon.

– Reported by Francisco Vazquez, President of 3G-Office and OJL Regional Partner


Be on the lookout for Sodexo’s annual report on workplace trends; it’s due out this Thursday, 24 January.

An online summary of the report identifying its 12 key trends for 2013 is already available online at this link:


And from there you will be able to access the full report once it’s published.

We are pleased to report that Sodexo’s Trend 8 was prepared by James Ware, PhD, and Paul Carder, directors and co-founders of Occupiers Journal Limited.

“Our” trend is based on the comprehensive global research project we completed last year for RICS: “Raising the Bar:  Enhancing the Strategic Role of Facilities Management.”

Here’s the text of the Sodexo summary of the trend we contributed:

There have been many assertions, over many years, that facilities management (FM) should be more strategic. Recent research provides evidence that FM can have a strategic impact, and should play a strategic role in the enterprise, but whether it will achieve that level of influence in any particular organization depends entirely on the actions taken by senior FM executives.

A survey of almost 400 professionals across six continents was conducted in order to review the current “state of the practice” of FM. The research focused specifically on how FM is currently organized, governed, and measured, as well as on how FM professionals interact with their peers in other infrastructure disciplines. Our insights were enriched by direct conversations with a selection of senior FM and corporate real estate (CRE) executives, as well as with thought leaders from academia and international professional associations.

To be effective, FM leaders must change their behaviors, and indeed their very identity. FM is not about managing facilities per se; rather, it is about enabling the workforce to be productive and engaged, and to produce value for the organization. In our view, and in the view of leading FM executives, the workplace is nothing more (or less) than a tool for supporting work, for shaping the experiences of the workforce, and for producing competitive advantage.

We are convinced that the evolution of FM into a much more strategic resource is not only inevitable but already well underway.

What do you think? Is FM truly strategic today? If not, why not? What has to change for FM to become more widely recognized as a strategic resource, and include in corporate strategy conversations?


This is the first of several notes about the just-completed Corenet Summit in Orlando, where I was able to connect with many old friends, make several new ones, and sit in on some remarkable learning sessions.

Here’s the way my first two days in Orlando unfolded:


I arrived late afternoon after a long flight from San Francisco. I had not thought about it in advance, but I think the plane was about half full of Summit attendees. I found myself sitting next to Terry Wood, Vice President of Workplace Solutions of JDSU and chair of the Northern California Corenet Chapter. We had a good time reconnecting and chatting about OJL’s “Raising the Bar’ study (to be published later this month by RICS).

Then, halfway through the flight I discovered that my long-time friend and all-around good guy John Igoe of Google was sitting in the window seat right across the aisle from me. And as I got off the plane I bumped into another good friend, Joan Price of Gensler. We were all headed to the same place – and it wasn’t the Magic Kingdom (though the Summit sometimes felt like magic).

From the time I arrived on Saturday afternoon until my departure on Tuesday evening, I never left the grounds of the Marriott World Center (but it’s a big place and I did get out very morning for long, brisk walks, so there are no regrets on that front).

Saturday night included a wonderful small group dinner with some more good friends, Kevin Rettle and Rachel Permuth-Levine of Sodexo (and several of their colleagues).


Sunday was quiet for me until mid-afternoon, though I kept bumping into other good friends and long-time Corenet stalwarts like Ellen Keable of Jacobs Engineering (a co-author with me on the award-winning IFMA Foundation book Work on the Move) and Brady Mick of BDHP Architects in Cincinnati (Brady and I managed not to talk about the then-active National League Division series between the SF Giants and the Cincinnati Reds; can’t let something like that get in the way of professional colleagues; but I sure liked the way that series turned out later in the week).

Ellen and Brady were both teaching in the MCR.w (for workplace) class that was winding up on Sunday. That was first “outing” for the new class, and I understand it went very well. Which certainly made Mark Gorman and Patrick Donnelly feel good.

The Workplace Community

Things then got much more interesting when Brady dragged me into the “business” meeting of the Workplace Community, which was of course also loaded with many folks I’ve known and worked with for years, like Kate North and Bryant Rice.

But that’s where things finally got serious. The Workplace Community, which is now about six years old, is struggling just a bit – not because of its focus or purpose, or obvious relevance, but because all of us well-meaning folks who care deeply about workplace also have “day jobs,” are always on the go, and can’t give the community the care and attention it deserves.

This particular Sunday afternoon we wrestled with that reality, and brainstormed how we could meet our primary goal of developing, codifying, and sharing important knowledge about workplace strategy, workplace innovation, and the impact of workplace design on people and performance.

Look for more news about this vibrant community filled with really smart and caring people on the Corenet website, and in newsletters and other communiqués.

The “Block” Party

The Summit then got officially underway with its opening reception, held in the foyer of the conference center, and spilling out into the surrounding outdoors, where we were treated to tasty concoctions from several first-class food trucks and some upbeat tempo from a loud (at least to this old coot) rock band. It was an unusual but welcome change of pace from the “normal” indoor reception where it’s usually too loud to hear yourself think, let alone network with friends and colleagues. The evening was warm and pleasant, and though rain threatened it stayed away.

And look for my next post, where I’ll reflect on the first “real” day of the Summit, which was filled with energizing and insightful speakers, and way too many difficult choices. There is unfortunately only one of me, so my perspectives on the whole Big Show reflect the ideas and topics that I’m personally interested in. But isn’t having those kinds of choices what the whole Summit was all about?



Corenet Summit: Off and Running

by jimware on October 8, 2012

Theme this year is “Reimagination: RE-orient, RE-ignite, RE-invent – all about the importance of innovation and creativity.

First order of business: presenting the Global Innovator’s Award – goes to Space Florida – the Boeing Commercial Crew program.

The keynoter this morning is Bill Benjamin, on “Leadership 2.0” – stressing the importance of understanding emotional intelligence. Shifting towards human-centered workplace management that produces employee engagement. Focusing the workplace on well-being.

Stay tuned for real-time reports as the speech unfolds.


Corenet Summit 2012 in Orlando is underway

by jimware on October 7, 2012

Corenet Summit Orlando is underway! MCR classes are in full swing, the Expo is being set up, and the halls are full of veterans and newbies as we all wend our way from the hotel (Marriott World Center) down to the Conference Center (only a mile or so away!)

Corenet Orlando sign

Way, way around the corner!

I flew east from San Francisco to Orlando yesterday, coincidentally sitting next to Terry Wood, VP of CRE/FM at JDSU and President of the Northern California Chapter. We had a wonderful re-connection conversation (when we weren’t both sleeping or reading – or at work typing away in our 30,000 ft+ mobile workplace in the sky).

I’ve already seen many old friends – Rachel Permuth-Levine ( Sodexo) and I rode in together from the airport, and she and Kevin Rettle treated me to dinner with several of their Sodexo colleagues. This morning I’ve bumped into, among others, OJL regional partner Jose Luis Sanchez-Concha of 3g Office, Ellen Keable of Jacobs Engineering, Patrick Donnelly of BDHP, Kay Sargent of Teknion, and Craig Youst of Red Hat. Also Tim Venable and Kathy Godwin of Corenet Global staff – good folks who are the powers behind the scenes that make programs like this Summit look so effortless.

Everyone is excited about the Summit, which begins later today with a “block party” outside the hotel and featuring a whole bevy of food trucks (!).

The formal opening is Monday morning, with Keynote Speaker Bill Benjamin on “Leadership 2.0: The Science Behind Great Leaders.” I know it’s going to be enlightening and motivatiing.

If you can’t be here in Orlando, be sure to follow along here as I live-blog about the events as they unfold, and follow me on twitter (@jpwoccupiers and @thefutureofwork)

And don’t forget that you can also follow many of the Summit events “live” and online with Summit Connect. Sign in here:


If you are in Orlando, look for me – I’m here and eager to connect with old friends and make new ones too.

–Jim Ware


Corenet Summit: Orlando, Florida, 6-9 October

by jimware on October 1, 2012

I will be attending the fall Corenet Summit in Orlando – primarily as a press representative. No formal leadership activities currently planned, but that can always change!

Looks like another outstanding and thought-provoking program. Featured speakers include Bill Benjamin and Kelly McDonald, plus some great educational sessions and many networking opportunities. I’m making the tough choices this week about what which sessions to attend.

I am really looking forward to another great learning experience and to renewing friendships with many very special people.

Details here:


— Jim Ware


Work&Place: Our new Journal

by jimware on September 12, 2012

Work&PlaceOJL’s new journal, is now out! The first issue is available online free of charge at this link:


Paul Carder, the editor and Managing Director of Occupiers Journal, describes Work&Place this way:

“Work&Place, published quarterly by Occupiers Journal, is different. For a start it’s international. The team behind it is based on three different continents with a wider team covering two more.

“The journal is promoting a dialogue between its contributors and readers. Every article includes extensive links to further information and readers are encouraged to join a special online discussion for each issue:


“Our journal will be relevant to the creators and managers of ‘places’ (corporate real estate, construction, facilities management and workplace development).

“It will be equally relevant to managers of ‘work’ (business leaders, and functional specialists who have a key influence on corporate ‘places’ – human resources and information technology and others such as branding/marketing).”

The first issue was published in August, 2012, to rave reviews. Here’s what some important thought leaders are already saying:

Diane Coles Levine, Director of Workplace Services, SCAN Health Plan; and IFMA Foundation Trustee:

“I read Work&Place cover-to-cover on the plane ride home [from the IFMA Foundation Workplace Summit]. Wow! This is the best periodical I have read in my field! Congratulations on an outstanding job.

Every article has some information that I can directly apply to my job. This never happens when I read trade journals I can’t wait to share it with the FM team at SCAN Health Plan. I just wanted to thank you for providing us FMs with this valuable information.

It’s fantastic! It’s stimulating! it’s easy to read and jam-packed with critical information I can apply. Can’t wait for the next issue. “

Michael Schley, CEO, FM:Systems; and Chair, IFMA Foundation Knowledge Management Committee:

“I was very impressed with your inaugural journal. It is very rewarding to see a publication that is both interesting and serious. I hope that you have success with the venture. It is making an important contribution to the conversation.”

Debra Dailey, Vice President, Human Capital Solutions & Outcomes, Sodexo:

“Paul, It was wonderful seeing you [at the Workplace Strategy Summit] and seeing the output from the Journal…congrats again! It was a great idea to get it printed and distributed at the conference. On the way home I sat next to someone who was reading it, underlining comments, and excited to post feedback.”

Don’t wait any longer; read Work&Place today, and send your comments to Paul Carder. We welcome your views on any of the articles, and on what you want to see in future issues.


My old friend, and one time line manager, Dr Barry Varcoe, posted an interesting challenge on his blog. It was one of those blogs which, after reading a couple of times, you just have to respond. Or at least, I do.

The article was titled “The (Un)Intelligent Client” – not in any way disrespecting the ‘intelligence’ of his Corporate Real Estate (CRE) & Facilities Management (FM) peers, but posing a question. That was, essentially, how much knowledge of CRE/FM does the ‘client-side’ team actually need? And the related question, where should the line be drawn between client and supplier responsibility? Barry mentioned that suppliers want to get into, “the ‘smart’ high value work such as portfolio strategy and performance management”, and suppliers also wish to, “deploy their information systems so that they control all of the data of the extended operational chain and can provide ‘seamless’ and comprehensive reporting”. This is all a matter of policy and strategy – does it matter?

I would argue that some parts matter far more than others – and I have seen why, after it has gone wrong. These are the elements that do need an intelligent client, as they are essential.

  1. Management information
  2. Performance Management (including ‘benchmarking’ and performance improvement)
  3. Key internal customer relationship management
  4. Contract management (including financial control, and quality audit compliance)

Management information: the client can push this out to suppliers, to some extent, but only in terms of creating management information. I would always insist that the MI system, that holds and displays the information, at least at the ‘top level’ where the client uses it (and customers, where applicable), should be in-house. When a supplier is changed, the MI system then simply starts being populated by a new supplier. The alternative? – the supplier holds all the MI, and gives the client team access. When the supplier changes, will the client get all this historic trend data? Personally, I doubt it.

Performance Management (including ‘benchmarking’ and performance improvement): the client simply cannot outsource this. There is no client-supplier relationship, no matter how close to being a ‘beautiful partnership’, where it is sensible to ask the supplier to manage it’s own performance. If the intelligent client team is reduced to its absolute minimum, someone is always needed in that team to be the ‘performance manager’. The role is there to research leading practice across the market, to analyse MI and trends, and to challenge the supplier to constantly improve. Looking at Barry’s blog, and the question posed, could this role be performed by a “strategic sourcing” function? I know, from personal experience, that the answer is absolutely, no, it cannot. The performance manager needs deep industry/professional sector knowledge with which to challenge and perhaps ‘coach’ the supplier.

Key internal customer relationship management: this is a role which could potentially go either way, but I would advocate keeping at least the ‘top end’ of this function in-house. For example, the relationship between CRE/FM and the ‘Head of XYZ’ business unit – in a large organisation, potentially responsible for thousands of staff – needs someone ‘in-house’ to be the focal point. At least, to meet every 3-6 months, and to set out plans for a rolling year ahead. The test, as in any relationship, is what happens when things go wrong or get difficult. This is where the in-house role is really needed; of course, if everything is going well, the role is less important. But, if it is not, then to whom does the ‘Head of Business Unit’ complain? And chase for action? The other issue is sensitivity and confidentiality, especially with future planning of business units. In my experience, most internal customers feel more comfortable talking to a fellow member of staff. Probably someone that they have known for some time, and built up a trust and rapport. This could potentially be a supplier senior manager, but “strategic sourcing” will usually screw that up every few years by insisting on ‘market testing’ and losing a perfectly good Account Director.

Contract management (including financial control, and quality audit compliance): this is very simple – of course, a supplier cannot manage its own contract! However, the in-house client role can be limited to change controls, financial and quality audits, etc. The remainder is essentially part of the ‘performance management’ and MI roles above.

So, in summary, and to answer Barry’s question, “Which of the two routes therefore leads to the best sustained performance from the enterprise’s perspective?”, I can say that a small “Intelligent Client” (of “Informed Client” as we used to call it) team is always needed. After all, like in any area of management, you can delegate duties but you cannot delegate responsibility. The employer of any supplier needs to be able to hold the MI it needs, to manage and challenge performance, and to take care of key internal customer relationships. That is not a “sourcing” role – it is the role of the Corporate Real Estate & Facilities Management professional. In my view…..

If you disagree, tell me why – I would genuinely very much welcome all views: paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com