Dell, Other Workplaces Lose Traditional Features as Companies Look to the Future

By: Emily Donaldson / Community Impact Newspaper

Round Rock-based technology firm updates workspace setting

Dell Technologies, a company valued at more than $50 billion, reworked its Round Rock offices to be more attractive to the ever-shifting trends of the workplace. The space allows employees to be more collaborative by removing barriers one might see in a traditional office.

Dawn Longacre, a global workplace strategist in Dell’s Facilities Strategy Group, said as working styles of individuals change, so must workspaces.

“Work isn’t always happening in a single cubicle; it’s not just one person, one seat anymore,” she said. “People are much more collaborative in nature; they have needs to be dispersed, and they are taking meetings at all times of [the] day.”

Dell, other workplaces lose traditional features as companies look to the futureDell, other workplaces lose traditional features as companies look to the futureDell, other workplaces lose traditional features as companies look to the future
This all fits within Dell’s long-term strategic plan, the Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, which strives to permit half of all of Dell’s worldwide employees to have some kind of fluidity in the terms under which they work.

Director of Human Resources Mohammed Chahdi said the company wants to enable employees wherever they work most productively.

“Just imagine a culture where you have this continuum moving left to right where left is sitting on a campus and right is sitting in home offices,” he said. “You can shift on the same continuum within the same day, week or even year. We want to make sure wherever you sit on that continuum at Dell, you always feel engaged.”

To give this 2020 plan the resources necessary to make it work, Longacre brought Dell’s physical facilities into the fold. She created a variety of settings for people to be productive, no matter their place on the continuum.

Dell’s offices feature lounge-style seating, laptop bars, open meeting spaces, sofas and a variety of areas that are open for employees to use depending on their kind of work.

“It is much more about an empowering choice, so that if you come to work that day for a group project, you can whiteboard things out and share content with others,” Longacre said. “Other days, maybe you want to have quiet zones with rules around them to allow for heads-down work.”

John Rainone, vice president of Regus Group, which operates co-working spaces throughout the country and in Round Rock, said the buzzword for workplace culture is flexibility, especially among millennials.

Rainone said because the youngest generation of workers can sometimes be noncommittal and drawn to startup culture, they are attracted to workspaces that are adaptable and without a long-term commitment.

Rainone said Regus designs its spaces to fit the personality of its clients.

“[Millennials] want a sense of community; they want their space to be energetic and be surrounded by motivated people,” Rainone said. “We create open co-working spaces with think tank areas, open meeting space and convertible rooms. One room may accommodate 20 people one day, but a small group might need it for just 12 the next.”

Nichole Vance, Round Rock Chamber director of business attraction, echoed Rainone’s emphasis on the collaborative nature of millennials.

Vance said she sees trends emerging within Round Rock as businesses increase their demand on productivity and output from employees.

“The loss of private workspace and the increase of more collaborative working environments are becoming more prominent,” Vance said. “There is also an increase in amenities: video games, health facilities and lounges.”