Preparing our Workforce for the Workplace

November 7, 2011

Last week I attended a discussion held by Junior Achievement of Central Ohio with educational and business leaders to get perspective on the state of the workforce. The topic centered on the gaps in education and the need to fill holes to meet today’s fast paced business environment. There are challenges for sure, but there are solid leaders working on the issues we face in business, academia, and within the non-profit sector. What struck me is that while we are striving to fill these holes for today’s workplace, alternative workplaces are being developed as we speak.

This week I am attending CoreNet Global, a conference of real estate leaders discussing, among other things, how technology, generational preferences, and global interconnectedness are starting to define a new way to work. Much has been written in the corporate real estate community about the future of this workplace, including research by Corenet itself. When corporate real estate executives were asked about their predictions of the future in a recent survey for a study entitled Corporate Real Estate 2020 some fascinating answers emerged:

• Non-Asian real estate markets could experience vacancy rates as high as 40% as more work shifts to flexible workplaces, or even work for the home.

• Rising transportation costs and oil prices will result in more localized manufacturing.

• There will be a resurgence of manufacturing in the U.S., mainly through regional operations and reverse foreign direct investment.

• Power will increasingly come from micro-grids that lessen reliance on centralized delivery of electricity.

• Work will go to people as opposed to people going to work.

• The computing function will be outsourced to the Cloud but Information Technology will get more involved in delivery of hand-held collaborative devices.

• Workers will be encouraged to “BYOT” (bring your own technology) to work, further blurring the distinction between personal and business technologies.

Some of those predictions are already moving forward within the workplace today, and some are beginning to be seen at a community level as new workplaces are built. How will our companies respond to these challenges? Are we preparing our workforce to work in this environment?

Columbus2020! Update
This week our team will be in Georgia and California on business travel and Deb Scherer from our team will be traveling with BioOhio next week to Germany to attend Medica and have a series of face to face company meetings to promote the Columbus Region with a variety of European companies.