An optimistic manifesto for the future of work
When I sat down and wrote the first lines of code for Teem, I never could have imagined the floodgates we were opening in the world. Over the last 4 years, I’ve been able to meet with incredible individuals who all agree that the workplace is undergoing a rapid and unprecedented revolution. With a huge dose of humility, and an even greater sense of honor, Teem is often cited as being at the forefront of the Future of Work.
The Gutenberg Press increased the spread of ideas and information.
A Familiar Revolution
What is becoming more clear every single day is that we’ve hit an interesting tipping point in the timeline of how humans connect and collaborate. The dogma of how and where we work is rapidly changing, and the edicts of process are no longer firmly held by a few individuals in the upper echelons of management. Every person who brings an Internet connected device into an organization, is also granted the ability to create, curate and distribute information in real-time. It echoes a familiar power we haven’t seen since the Gutenberg press helped topple religious monarchies and helped spur the Age of Enlightenment.
May The Force Be With You
The emerging digital workplace has completely disrupted and frustrated organizations around the world. Beginning in 2009 and exploding in 2011, many IT leaders had their hands forced into supporting a “Bring Your Own Device” policy as the unstoppable proliferation of smart devices flooded onto their networks. An even greater number of IT managers have had to forgo their on-prem infrastructures and cede their company’s data to the cloud in order to support this mobile workforce.
Armed with these smart connected devices, a single individual in a night could unintentionally overthrow long entrenched enterprise tools in favor of apps that promise Apple-esque simplicity and Snapchat-ian delight in its use. Quickly and with little control, this newly born consumer-driven “shadow IT” is unwittingly capable of spreading an organization’s high-value and secure documents across the globe via Box and Dropbox; always-on, asynchronous and on-demand collaboration has become viable by Slack; and face-to-face communication no longer anchored by place by means of WebEx and FaceTime.
The new reality is that every employee with a mobile device now demands a place at the decision table, and companies are quickly scrambling to accommodate their requests for fear of being antiquated or worse no longer holding appeal in the battle for talent recruitment and long-term retention. The increasingly literal reality that “software is eating the world”, famously coined by Marc Andreessen in 2011, is starting a critical conversation in real estate and facilities departments similar to the one foisted onto IT over the last decade:
How can we proactively create a modern workplace that fosters a more engaging and efficient environment?
It’s in the center of this conversation, and the ongoing revolution that Teem has found itself. Since day one our platform has lived between two realities — the physical and digital workplace. Our most well-known touch point is software running on a tablet mounted outside a conference room wall, it’s primary purpose has been to reveal difficult to access data from a company’s calendaring system in a real-time and simple way. The incredible viral growth we’ve seen from that product has been in large part a consequence of employees asking that their physical workplace be as accessible, intelligent and as easy to use as their digital workplace. Luckily, unconstrained by our humble beginnings as an “iPad on the wall”, Teem has quickly become the backbone of the Workplace Experience for many of our customers powered by touch points, sensors, data, and meaningful and magical automation.
The Rise of the Workplace Experience
At Teem, we believe that the lines between the digital and physical workplace will continue to blur. That as the rate of adoption of new technology and software in the workplace increases, a new role will emerge to lead, deploy, and iterate in this area. We believe that these initiatives hinge on an individual’s cumulative perception of, interaction with, and response to an organization’s environment consisting of people, spaces, and technology — holistically, the Workplace Experience. These workplaces will be fueled by integrations, data, intelligence, and automation with aims of optimizing every workers day-to-day task load.
We’ve literally raised a flag at Teem for WX.
I have been fortunate to lead as Teem’s CTO, but as we’ve scaled it became clear that my skills and talents would be better served in a different role at Teem. As a team we wanted to bring on an experienced CTO who could be a strong mentor and leader within the company. Handing over the helm of a product that is so emotionally intertwined to my being has been humbling. But in the handful of months since Derek Newbold took over as Teem’s newly-minted CTO, our product has never been better and the things we’re working on have a clearer path of execution. As I discussed my future at the company with my co-founder and CEO, Shaun Ritchie, we both believed so firmly in the role Teem would play in the future of work that we decided to move me from the chief producer to the chief consumer of our product. Believing in this new role, we wanted to shift my energy, creativity and passion into a new role at the company — Chief of Workplace Experience.
Check out this short video we release when we rebranded from EventBoard to Teem. It speaks to the larger vision of Teem — Workplace Experience.
In this role I will be intensely focused on the interplay of technology in the physical space. We will use Teem as our core platform to build our workplace experience in a way that is aspirational internally and externally to our peers at other companies. My hope is many of the discoveries and innovations our WX Team makes will be able to be researched, tested and implemented with our customers via our platform through our product teams. And critically, we will continue to question and push the conversation of the melding of realities in the workplace so that we can proactively build productive, efficient and happy places to work that delight and inspire every member regardless of title and position.
The Future is Amazing
It’s this vision we believe in, and in fact — it’s been our vision since the beginning. We have finally reached a point that the convergence of many factors have made it possible and it’s a huge honor to lead a small part of this new revolution. I look forward to speaking, advocating, brainstorming, innovating, and working with those in various roles in IT, Facilities and HR as we are bound by technology and a desire to build an integrated and dynamic workplace of the future for the employees we serve.
Cheers to the Future of Work and the Workplace Experience, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it is more incredible than we ever could have imagined when we started on this journey.