Future Offices Winter 2020 Main Conference Day Two Recap


To start day two off with a bang, Merck's John Wilkinson Executive Director, Global Real Estate Services Merck and Don Watson Vice President, Global Workplace, shared how they developed a data-driven as well as a collaborative approach to their global real estate and portfolio strategies.  

Our Merck speakers also shared their Office Master Planning framework for developing analytics around portfolio management:

  • Stage 1 - Portfolio Plan 
  • Stage 2 - Site(s) Specific Review 
  • Stage 3 - Transaction & Fit-Out

One somewhat unique challenges that Merck faces is creating R&D, laboratory and innovation workspaces. To ensure their scientists have access to the latest, cutting-edge technology, they designed these spaces to be completely modular, plug & play design elements.

9:15 AM

Through human-centric design, companies are honoring the human through technology.

To create context for his presentation on “The Digital Workplace: Using Frictionless Technology To Enhance Employee Experience” Mike Petrusky of iOFFICE walked us through a number of workplace paradoxes.

  • Our workspaces may look drastically different that they did 20 years ago but we still all need a flat surface to write and a comfortable chair
  • Millennials are labeled demanding because they want mission-driven work but who doesn’t?
  • By the time you implement a new trend, a new one will emerge

1:35 PM

Frank D. Cottle, Chairman & CEO of Alliance Business Centers Companies leads a discussion on how to use technology & data to enable a mobile & distributed workforce. Some highlights from this in-depth conversation include:
“Loneliness is one of the major mental health issues affecting our culture, if you add to that, then you’re deconstructing our team. Knowing where your employees are and how they’re using the office can help you craft a strategy to increase a sense of belonging.”
“What your remote team needs more than anything else to feel included is high speed, broadband internet and IT security.” “The biggest mistake companies make when booking an outside conference room provider is book a hotel. There are too many separate contracts and options that drive up costs.”
“If you can’t trust your team up or down, you’re on the wrong team. If you have the right culture you can work out of a tent. But that comes from trust.”

2:35 PM

Future Offices Power Panel on the role sensors play not just in maximizing space utilization but driving cultural transformation. This session included perspectives from:

  • Megan Blancato Head of Workplace, Americas Mongo
  • Elo Ofodile Head of Business Development VergeSense
  • Michael Advani Facility Services Manager BCG
  • Rich Bettina, Director of Real Estate Transaction Management – Renewals, Fresenius Medical Care North America

Sensors are not only more reliable than badge analysis, they're also more secure and, as they only measure bodies in the room and nothing remotely identifiable, remove any privacy concerns. Though higher level applications of sensors/sensor data (i.e. sustainability, analytics) are still in their infancy, all 3 workplace experts say they are working on pilot programs to support these objectives. 

3:05 PM

To close out Future Offices Winter 2020, Ruven Gotz, Workplace Experience Lead at Avanade, talked about how to reinvent & revitalize your office ecosystem with human-centered design.

"If you’re buying the cake without the icing, you’re missing the half of the value of the. In this metaphor, the cake is the building and the icing is understanding your customers and helping them do their jobs better."

"Poor adoption is often not caused by poor design but poor communications. People just don’t know how to use the space." 

One powerful tool for understanding your "customer" and aligning workplace design to their needs is design thinking. And with that, Ruven explained how design thinking works and how it can be applied to CRE and FM.