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Achieving Flexibility Through Strategic Workplace Planning

Agility will result in a highly collaborative business team that supports the company's work force, manages operational cost, and maximizes competitive advantage.

Debra Moritz, International Director, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle (2011 Directory)
(page 3 of 3)
Sabre's employees adapted to their new environment and began working more closely with each other, breaking down many of the silos between projects and departments. This helped to create a more collaborative environment that ultimately strengthened Sabre's competitive position in the fast-evolving travel technology industry.

According to Leilani Latimer, Sabre's director of sustainability initiatives, flexible and efficient workspace programs are also now an integral part of the company's environmental sustainability strategies - given that real estate and facilities are one of the greatest areas of opportunity for reducing its environmental footprint. Flexible workspace programs achieve this by helping to reduce energy and water consumption as well as employee commuting trips to and from the office, while making more efficient use of office resources. (See Triple Pundit for more on flexible workspaces.)


"In order to stay ahead of the game, our employees need to move quickly to meet our customers' needs and anticipate new needs - so having a flexible, nimble, and collaborative environment is critical to our company's success," said Sabre Holdings Chief Executive Sam Gilliland.

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In the new layout, managers have became more accessible and more in tune with their teams. Many who were used to dealing with employees face-to-face have learned new skills for managing people remotely and trusting that the work is getting done, even if they cannot "see" their team members. Employees enjoy better work life balance by having the choice and tools to work from home, a customer site, or on an alternative schedule.

Flexspace helped position Sabre to operate more efficiently as a global company, significantly reducing real estate costs and reducing its environmental footprint. The program's success provided a template for a viable real estate strategy as the company considers new leases for many of its 101 global locations.

What's Next?
The key element in the process of instilling increased flexibility and agility into the workplace is integration - working together as a collaborative team and aligning behind shared goals. For Sabre, building a business case with key stakeholders from disciplines such as corporate real estate, facilities management, technology support, environmental sustainability, and human resources and then securing executive management endorsement and support were critical to success. Clearly communicating the plan to employees and giving them the opportunity to raise concerns and ask questions were also crucial for the implementation to go smoothly and the maintenance of productivity.

Using the five-step process to achieve agility will result in a highly collaborative business team that supports the company's work force, manages operational cost, and maximizes competitive advantage.
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Ask the Author
Have questions, comments or concerns about this article? Submit to Ask Area Development here and the author or an expert from our network of site selection and facility planning professionals will answer:
How should small- to mid-sized companies approach improving their flexibility agility?
The approach that small- to mid-sized companies can take in improving their flexibility and agility is similar to what larger companies are doing. More
- Debra Moritz, International Director, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle
How can businesses ensure that all employees are on board with flexibility agility plans?
The formula for on-boarding employees within the new flexibility workspace is to identify potential obstacles, put solutions in place, and ease the inevitable pain that the transition may bring. More
- Debra Moritz, International Director, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle
Going forward, what trends do you expect in flexibility agility for 2011?
We will begin to see a wider variety of space solutions, with an ultimate move away from controlled, "I" space that belongs to the individual, to a "we" space model that belongs to the company and its collective employee base. More
- Debra Moritz, International Director, Strategic Consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle
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