Maine Real Estate Insider
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  December 22, 2015  
     
  Are you Planning for a Highly Collaborative Office Workforce?
by Ted Kern, President /Owner of TKTeleservices, LLC
 
     
 
 
   

Most business professionals have witnessed business telecommunication services shifting rapidly in recent years from traditional fixed (landline) services to mobile-centric services.  Professional office planners, architects and commercial building contractors need to ensure they are planning carefully for a highly mobile, distributed workforce.   

I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Dale Shaw, Global Telecommunications Manager with IDEXX Laboratories for an onsite tour of IDEXX’s new building, the Synergy Center, located on their World Campus in Westbrook, ME.  I had the opportunity to learn how a fast-growing, highly innovative company successfully changed its traditional workspace to a mobile-centric, collaborative work environment. 

While touring the facility, the most significant change is a visible shift from traditional private offices and walled cubicles to a new, open air layout that focuses on smaller personal workstations and a variety of collaborative group work area.  Meeting rooms are abundant, adding to the standard conference rooms are now flex and chat meeting spaces, mobile touchdown and community meeting tables.  As far as the eye could see, people were visible and engaged in individual work or group discussions.

IDEXX employees, fondly known as “IDEXXers” have adjustable stand/sit work stations and ergonomic chairs. Cubicles have been replaced by streamlined, low profile workstations promoting greater employee interactions. Their technology of choice is Wi-Fi enabled laptops, smart phones and IP Softphones enabling employees be more mobile, and flexible with where and how they work. The smart phones are twinned to IDEXX DID phone numbers via AVAYA EC 500 software to ensure employee call work flow can be agile.  Additionally, Unified technologies are supported over the Microsoft Lync platform.

Some high call volume workstations are still supported with more traditional IP based desk phones and desktop computers, though they both can physically move to any other office location without the need for IT support.  Conference and flex spaces can be reserved on the fly using a new interactive room scheduling system located at the entrance of each meeting space.  Also, each is enabled with state of the art teleconferencing monitors for U.S. and global employee collaboration, while others are designed for smaller, more intimate, face-to-face discussions.

“Can you hear me now?” Absolutely.  ATT Wireless installed an in-building cellular repeater on the campus to ensure optimum cell coverage inside and out. IDEXX has also installed a very robust Aruba WI Fi system covering the A, B, N &AC bands over both 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ frequencies for maximum WI FI coverage and data speeds ensuring widespread connectivity for its more than 2,400 employees. The building is also serviced by via two large dedicated fiber optic pipes to ensure maximum broadband connectivity maximum broadband data and voice connectivity for employees and visitors. 

IDEXX’s new world campus also incorporates outdoor work spaces highlighted by several styles of seating, from cafeteria-style seating for 8, to brightly colored umbrella patio tables for 4  and Adirondack and chaise lounge chairs scattered across the green space and abundant walkways. 

Its new, highly collaborative workplace was designed to connect people in an effort to drive greater creativity and innovation and positive employee experience. A win-win, and from what I have seen, it seems to be IDEXX’s perfect formula for continued success!

Ted Kern is President /Owner of TKTeleservices, LLC - A Telecommunication Project Consultant based in Cumberland, Maine. Ted can be reached at tedkern@tkteleservices.com.