Transforming the Workplace: Putting Theory into Practice

This is the final post in my blog series about transforming the workplace. Be sure to read part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

It’s a new year, and for most, it’s a great time for change. And while this often means new fitness programs, new diets, or other personal goals, what if we made a resolution to change the way we work?

This blog series has been exploring the changing workplace, its inevitable challenges, and how technology is key to transformation. At the end of last year, I talked about making it all work by applying an integrated strategy across culture, IT, and facilities. Here, in this final installment, I want to talk about how Intel implemented real change that resulted in happier employees and, truly, a better way to work.

SMAC: Intel IT’s Phased Approach

As with any resolution, personal or professional, taking a methodical approach with measurable benefits is key to winning the race. Intel IT took a proactive, phased journey to enabling the SMAC stack—and it’s one that is continually progressing as technologies change.

  • Social – As Intel employees became more mobile, social tools quickly expanded to connect the dispersed global workforce to facilitate people working together in the same “virtual room.” Even better, employees are happier because they can easily connect with coworkers.


  • Mobile – With an early start in mobile starting about 17 years ago, Intel IT now supports 90K employees at 143 sites in 62 countries, so supporting a seamless collaboration experience for all employees and refining the mobile app experience are top priorities.


  • Analytics and cloud – With a start in data management and BI, Intel IT is now moving ahead with advanced predictive analytics, machine learning, and data visualization. Cloud efforts continue to evolve as well, including a mail cloud and personal cloud storage that let employees get what they need, when they need it, on any device.


Facilities: The Way We Work

So what about the actual workspace? After all, you can have all the exercise equipment you want, but if you don’t have the right spot to use it, you probably won’t exercise. In other words, poor or less-than-apt conditions can be counterproductive.

When Intel realized its many cubicle spaces were rather underutilized due to employees congregating in meeting rooms and other spaces to simply work together, they sought to strike a balance between collaboration space and personal working space. This manifested in The Way We Work program, based on the premise that any employee will work better in an environment tuned to the way they work. The program’s guiding principles address work style, preferences, company identity, and space.

  • Optimized workspaces foster mobility, collaboration, teamwork, and problem solving. Private phone-booth rooms become virtual offices with network connectivity and HD audio and video.
  • Inviting spaces are modern and make work a place where you want to be; they capture the look and feel of the future, and showcase Intel innovation and technologies.
  • Space efficiency makes optimal use of real estate, including repurposing existing square footage to help offset costs.


Intel takes it a step further, extending these guiding principles to its work groups, or “communities.” Each community is assessed to determine the particular needs for individual work areas, team areas, collaboration rooms, and private phone booths.

The changing workplace marks the end of the “one size fits all” office, but it also reflects a growing union between IT and facilities. For example, the conference room table you sit at today is just a piece of furniture, but in the near term it may come with a touch-screen interface and network connectivity. At this point, is it a piece of furniture or a piece of IT equipment?

There are exciting changes on the horizon. If we resolve to embrace the innovation, we can find a better way to work.

Intel’s Vision on Workplace Transformation

Finally, be sure to read the paper that expands on Intel’s vision of workplace transformation. It captures the topic of this blog series in even greater detail.

Has your organization moved on to a better way to work? Please join the conversation and share your experience. And be sure to click over to the Intel IT Center to find resources on the latest IT topics.

Until the next time …

Jim Henrys, Principal Strategist