YodaTo complete a successful workplace transformation, “you must unlearn what you have learned.”

Imagine: Walking into your office. Checking your email. And getting the following messaging: “Beginning January 1, 2016, all employees are being moved to unassigned, open seating. Please pack up your belongings before you head out for the holiday break.”

If you are anything like me, your response will be, “You must be joking. There is no way I am giving up my office to move to open seating!” (Yes, that is the clean version of my response.)

Well, we’d both be wrong. It ends that’s a really great message to get. Here’s why.

Many progressive organizations are rethinking their office space to drive down business costs. Why? Because office space is expensive. And organizations with assigned office spaces are paying for these facilities, regardless of whether employees are in the office or at their desks.

On a given day, many companies see less than 50% office utilization, as employees may be at a client site, traveling, on vacation or simply working from home. Therefore, using office space based on actual need can drive efficiency and significant cost savings.

There is a way to complete a workplace redesign that simultaneously drives down costs, delivers a more inspiring and engaging office environment and improves employee productivity.

How? As Yoda said, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

Master, creating an open office is one thing…a workplace transformation is totally different!

As employees, we are conditioned to come into the office every day, work in a location near our manager, so they can make sure we are working, and use a traditional desktop or laptop to do our work. While that may have been the reality in the past, a workplace transformation will change how we work, the technologies we use, and will ultimately enable us to reach our full potential.

To be successful, we 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 organizational and project teams can sit together and collaborate. For people that need a quiet space to do their work, provide privacy rooms for employees to take calls or complete their creative work without distraction. And, to make sure employees remain engaged and happy, use some of the reclaimed office space to give something back to employees – a café, yoga room, or an outdoor space.
  • Unlearn the traditional management of employees. A good employee is not one who simply comes into the office every day, puts in their face time and goes home, But this is how many managers have been subconsciously managing people. A good employee is one that produces fantastic results. Fantastic results are produced where employees feel inspired. This means that management should no longer focus on where employees physically are and instead, let them work wherever is best for the project they are working on … and that includes locations like 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 that are near a 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. Unfortunately, the corporate PC is a thing of the past: employees want to use their own computers, like their Macs or Chromebooks, or their own tablets and smartphones to 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 choice of device. It must also provide collaboration tools so that people can work together on projects or have face-to-face meetings regardless of their location. This mobile workspace solution ensures that employees have access to all of the apps and data they need and the ability to collaborate with their colleagues and customers around the world.

By rethinking, or “unlearning”, how work has been traditionally done, a new workplace is created that is flexible, engaging and gives people that ability to work where they are inspired; a new management style is made possible and it focuses on results, not work location or time visibly at a keyboard; a new set of technologies are used to allow people to improve their productivity with secure access to their apps and data from anywhere.

Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

Now is the time to embrace a workplace transformation. If Yoda worked in a modern workplace instead of a swamp, I believe he would say, “impossible, it is not and fail, you will not.”

Discover resources to start your workplace transformation at citrix.com.

Inspiration for this blog post came from our fantastic intern Olivia, and this scene from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back:

The full transcript of that scene (and source of the funny titles above), according to Wikipedia:

[Luke sees his X-Wing is about to sink into the bog]

Luke Skywalker: Oh, no! We’ll never get it out now!

Yoda: So certain, are you? Always with you, it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?

Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing, but this is… totally different!

Yoda: No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.

Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.

Yoda: No! Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.

[Luke tries to use the Force to levitate his X-Wing out of the bog, but fails in his attempt.]

Luke: I can’t. It’s too big.

Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.

Luke: You want the impossible. [sees Yoda use the Force to levitate the X-Wing out of the bog and gets flustered when he does it] I don’t… I don’t believe it!

Yoda: That is why you fail.