Monday, November 19, 2012

The workplace transformation is taking place

Our working environment is swiftly evolving. The new generation is demanding freedom and flexibility so that they could work at office, at home or even on the go. Technology and the tech-savvy generation is changing the expectation of how we go to work today. Office is where you are. Going to work no longer means travelling to a certain place, employees can work where they are, when they want. Work has now become a task, an activity, rather than spending hours at some place. 

The vision of the 'future workplace' is surfacing. The employee is seldom bound to a physical location and performance is measured by the quality of the output submitted on a pre-decided timeline instead of the number of hours spent. Transforming the workplace to follow these growing trends in order to achieve high-quality performance in today's challenging and competitive environment is the top priority of the organizations and technology is playing its role to change the environment and work culture.  

The future workplace model follows a connected, collaborative and socially engaged work-space. So it is high time to say goodbye to permanent desks, cabins, structured meeting rooms and hence embrace a free and social workplace setting where employees are encouraged to choose between different environments that best suit their task on any given day. If people are working collaboratively and using technology instead of face-to-face they are able to meet more often and can make decisions quickly. 

It is already happening in companies and Microsoft's office in Amsterdam is an example. For instance, staff no longer have a desk, quiet areas are built for people who need to concentrate on their work, large open areas are made for workers who need to work with the collaboration of other team members, open refreshment zones like restaurants and coffee bars are prepared for meetings between employees. They are also encouraged to work from home. The bottom-line is to gain maximum productivity. According to Microsoft, the results of implementing the new way of working are as under:

- Reduction in real estate costs
- Increased productivity
- Benefits for the environment
- Satisfied and happier workforce

Microsoft is not alone in making the future work environment flexible and smart. Dell, Google and Unilever are also among the companies that are striving to make this world a better place to work. The new way of working is spreading all over the world with the help of technology to bring positive change in the traditional working practices, transforming the way people work, communicate, collaborate and finish their day-to-day tasks in efficient and effective manner. 

Environment is also a major part of the shift, helping companies reduce their carbon footprint. Also, consider the amount of pollution we produce by coming to our offices in the morning and by going back home, causing massive traffic jams. This could also help us save some money.

Finally, it reduces cost of business. According to, people will use other spaces to congregate and work outside the office. With around 45% of office desk space vacant at any one time, this could lead to significant savings. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

U.S. Elections - Lessons to be learnt for the Pakistani society

Before I start, let me make it very clear that I have no interest in United States of America, I've never been there and have no such future plans either. If this had happened in some other well-known country, I would had taken that as an example. Secondly, this is not a political write-up rather it is only about the ethics and behavior of a society.

U.S. elections are now over and Mr. Barack Obama has been re-elected as the President of the United States for the second term. There was a massive election campaign by the Republicans and the Democrats and there was a close finish between the opponents on the election day. During the campaigning we saw large public gatherings of the supporters of both the parties on several occasions but not even a single incident of riots, violence or injuries was reported. The candidates were seen in intense head-on debates but none of them lost their nerves on a single occasion and hence those debates ended with a positive and fruitful manner.

Again, on the election day the polling started peacefully throughout the country and no polling station was declared dangerous or any additional security deployment was seen. And again not a single violent event was reported. Instead, Obama was seen on media calling his opponent Mitt Romney to wish him 'good luck'. The polling suspended as planned, votes counting process was initiated and eventually the results were announced. No claims of rigging were made by the losing side (just a system malfunction was reported in one case). Instead, the losing opponent Mitt Romney accepted his defeat gracefully and passed on good wishes to Barack Obama for the next tenure. In return, the winning candidate promised to work together for the betterment of the nation.

We witnessed a flawless, smooth, peaceful and well organized elections in the U.S. while Pakistan has a history of violent and deadly elections on the other hand. The candidates can't even face each other face to face, passing good wishes is something out of this world. Bogus voting gets reported at several polling stations and not even a single losing candidate spare himself from the claim of rigging. Many polling stations become warzones and several injuries and deaths are reported in crossfire. In some cases in the past candidates were also shot dead or injured.
Keeping the ferocious history of elections in Pakistan, I do not foresee a dissimilar case in the upcoming elections. Specially when all the negative symptoms are evident around us. Law and order situation is at its worst. Ethnic and sectarian killings are on the rise. People killing each other for reasons they are not even aware of. Street crimes have become a norm these days. In a nutshell, morality is at failure in our society.
In my opinion, this is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of the level of tolerance and ethics exist in a society, which our society clearly lacks at the moment. We can't tolerate a simple difference of opinion whether it is a political, religious, sectarian or ethnic ground. This is not learnt overnight, instead, it takes ages for a society to learn and change.
But I wish all my predictions go wrong and we experience a dramatic change in the conduct of our society. I wish we see a nonviolent, peaceful and corruption-free election. When all the candidates, voters and supporters show positive energy towards each other and together as a nation we form a countrywide harmony to make a better Pakistan. I hope one day we will set an example of tolerance, acceptability and peace.

Pakistan Zindabad!