Work on the Move 2: How social, leadership and technology innovations are transforming the workplace in the digital economy

by Diane Coles Levine and Nancy Johnson Sanquist — November 2016 — A few years ago, The IFMA Foundation published the award-winning book Work on the Move: Driving Strategy and Change in Workplaces, which was well received and generated high levels of interest for those intent on understanding the future workplace (see Figure 1).  The content focused on helping the “boots on the ground” Facility Managers (FMs), from around the globe, in large, mid-size and small organizations, prepare for the future of work.

Figure 1: Work on the Move: Driving Strategy and Change in Workplaces

Figure 1: Work on the Move: Driving Strategy and Change in Workplaces

Back by popular demand, we created a second edition; Work on the Move 2: How Social, Leadership and Technology Innovations are Transforming the Workplace in the Digital Economy (see Figure 2).  This article presents highlights of this new book written by worldwide, re-known experts and incorporating   innovative and inspiring cases studies.   Like the first edition, this book is not meant to be read in sequential order and each chapter contains a “how-to” playbook for success.


Figure 2: Work on the Move 2: How Social, Leadership and Technology Innovations are Transforming the Workplace in the Digital Economy

Figure 2: Work on the Move 2: How Social, Leadership and Technology Innovations are
Transforming the Workplace in the Digital Economy


Work on the Move 2 was written for anyone involved in, or who cares about, the changes occurring in work, workers, leadership, workplace, technology and society. And this book is for a wider audience than building professionals, particularly the other groups in an organization who are involved in the workplace today which include senior executives, information technology, human resources, finance, marketing and even the business units themselves.

The book begins with a chapters on critical trends from around the world and the subsequent chapters include insights into the social, leadership and technological innovations that are transforming not only facility management and real estate, but other disciplines as well (Figure 3, Work on the Move Chapters).


Figure 3:  Work on the Move Chapters Source: Concept Design Erik Jaspers. Graphics by Anthony Hansen

Figure 3:  Work on the Move Chapters
Source: Concept Design Erik Jaspers. Graphics by Anthony Hansen


Alexi Marmot in Chapter 2: Workplace Trends around the World kicks off the book with a description of workplace issues that are then addressed in more detail in the subsequent chapters. It is no longer about global view versus local cultures as now we see a blur between the two in a new “glocal’ viewpoint which combines an international with the local in design, policy and protocols. Locations are critical to the organizational culture and talent acquisition. Some gather in center city locations while others create corporate campuses of monumental scale in the suburbs. Entrepreneurs choose co-working centers to be able to have serendipitous encounters to fuel their ever hungry engines of innovation while others prefer to be part of a bigger organization.

Information technology continues on its fast trajectory to disrupt the old and make way for the new and sustainability also grows in stature and acceptance in our efforts to save the planet. In order to remain a participant in this complex digital economy, Professor Marmot suggests we keep fueling our curiosities by staying abreast of all these changes as well as choosing a bold path in the roles we play in our organizations, and at the same time, understand the DNA of all of the facilities and assets under your control.

Chris Hood in Chapter 3:  The Sharing Economy picks up on the co-working phenomena that Marmot introduced and explains that it is part of the ‘sharing economy’ where not only space is going to be shared, but workers will be sharing their skillsets with more than one company at a time. They are the contingent workforce who chooses to work on a project basis and are a growing percentage of the knowledge worker community. When Hood was in charge of space benchmarking at Hewlett-Packard a few years ago, the contracted workforce was only 10 percent, whereas today’s temporary workers have more than doubled to 20 to 30 percent of the total workforce.

As Hood points out, this is not new. In many occupations, the ebb and flow of temporary help has to do with often seasonal situations such as harvest season in agriculture, or even part-time help when the retail business staffs up for the holiday season or the rise of the accounting staff when tax audits are performed. However, now it is no longer dependent on the seasons, but the workload which will be distributed to outside experts.

Therefore, the transformation comes in how we attract, manage and get maximum performance from these contractors. And so the game has to change in human resources, facility management, real estate and information technology organizations (another reason for ‘crafting alliances’ which is covered in Chapter 4).


Diane Coles Levine and Susan Wiener wrote Chapter 4:  Crafting Alliances based on a hypothesis that was developed in the work that Levine had done with SCAN Health Plan where she brought human resources, information technology, finance, business development and marketing together to create a transformation in their workplace. She found this alliance to be incredibly successful; so together with Wiener, who has a background in C-suite silo-busting in transformation projects, they decided to conduct a series of interviews with chief executive officers and chief financial officers from various industries including entertainment, healthcare, software and media.

What Levine and Wiener were able to prove was that by creating an alliance, a major workplace transformation project (be it a move to a new building or a “hacking” or redesign of existing space) is a unique, and mostly unexploited, opportunity to change the nature of work and to realize unexpected business results.  You’ll understand the importance of alliances and how to establish and manage one as you read through this and other chapters as alignment of executives, real estate, facilities, human resources and information technology is a common theme throughout this book.

David Karpook and Janice Cimbalo in Chapter 5:  The Real Estate Paradox:  The authors Karpook and Cimbalo believe that there is a paradox in the fact that real estate is undergoing tremendous transformative change in acquiring, operating, accounting for, valuating and designing workplaces, as well as deploying new technologies which make working out of the office building very easy to do. So why in this disruptive climate is there such a healthy real estate market, particularly in urban environments and their edgier neighboring cities? While agreeing that it is difficult to explain all of the reasons, the authors do a great job of describing the key factors that help to answer this paradoxical situation.


The three authors of Chapter 6:  Corporate Social Responsibility, Pat Turnbull, Dr. Alex Redlein and Lisanne Schloss focus on how corporate social responsibility (CSR) should be more aligned with facility management. The authors explore the links between facility management and CSR.   Using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) platform, they compared corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals in various countries around the world, and many of these goals (like energy efficiency, waste, occupational health, etc.) are also core facilities issues albeit unbeknownst to the writers of the CSR reports for various companies. Therefore, this is a heretofore, undiscovered area where facility managers can bring much value to an organization using data from their facilities and real estate business systems, like Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS). They also include a playbook for implementation and list many relevant resources on the subject.

If you are thinking about how you can justify a wellness program in your company, read Chapter 7:  Well-being in the Workplace, which is a chapter by consultants Kate Lister and Tom Harnish. This chapter is full of great statistics on why there is a strong return on investment to ensure that your employees are engaged in their jobs and healthy at the same time. They have cited government studies, private sector and industry research which indicate that we really need to be more people centric.  This is particularly true in terms of the wellness programs that help employees develop healthier lifestyles both on and off the job, increase productivity while being more fully engaged in their work, lower the rising cost of healthcare, and reduce both absenteeism and ‘presenteeism’ (at work but not healthy).


Erik Jaspers in Chapter 8: Technologies for the Smart Future provides guidance to how we can approach this ‘amazing moment’ and understand that we have many exciting opportunities by adopting some of the new innovative tools available to us today. Jaspers’ chapter is an update to the technology chapter he wrote in the first Work on the Move (2011) and covers the advance of some of those older solutions, as well as new ones. He sees the implementation of these technologies as increasing business effectiveness in facility management and real estate, as well as increasing productivity, and describes the latest advances in the Internet of things, building information modeling, artificial intelligence, data management strategies, mixed-reality, smart buildings and IWMS. The universe of discourse is a concept Jaspers employs to define the boundaries of discussion in this chapter and even concludes with a discussion of quantum computing in this expanded view.

Chapter 9 is The Building Digital Workplace by Nancy Johnson Sanquist and Joseph Poskie, which is based on a unique concept that Sanquist began to explore a number of years ago after researching work by Gartner on the digital workplace for knowledge workers. But these ideas morphed and expanded one day when Sanquist began working with Poskie. They were sitting on the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney which looks out at the Sydney Bridge and the Opera Center while designing a Building Digital Workplace innovation lab for Brookfield Global Integrated Services Asia Pacific. The day prior, Sanquist and Poskie gave a presentation to them in Melbourne on the future of technology and were meeting with them again the next day.

They had a major breakthrough on this concept and when they looked up, they realized they were being watched over by a fiberglass sculpture of a morphed figure of a child/fish pointing up to the floating clouds (see Figure 4). Later they found out the title of the art piece by Sangeeta Sandraysegar: “to be carried away by the current, to be dissolved in the other.” The idea for the piece was created around the concept of depicting an image that bridged space and time, morphing the human and the marine creature in the process. That is not unlike what Sanquist and Poskie were trying to do with the Building Digital Workplace—morph the boundaries of the real and the virtual with both old and new technologies and, in the process, transform the way we work in the built environment. Their chapter lets you explore this exciting new world and even includes a journey map (or playbook) of how you can lead your organization to go on this exploratory adventure.

Figure 4:  “to be carried away by the current, To be dissolved into the other,” by Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art.  Photo:  Nancy J Sanquist

Figure 4:  “to be carried away by the current, To be dissolved into the other,” by Sangeeta Sandrasegar, Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art.  Photo:  Nancy J Sanquist


Kate North, as she did in the first version of this book, used her amazing magical network to gather new case studies on the workplace from all over the world. Read her introduction for Chapter 10. These case studies show the inseparable connection between people, place, process and technology and demonstrate how a well-designed workplace can positively impact business results and the triple bottom line; people, planet and profit.

We wrote Chapter 11: Moving Forward with Wendy using the idea Sanquist started to explore with an article in the Facility Management Journal published this year. Sitting in the cool breezes of the Long Beach Yacht Club one Saturday afternoon, we let our imaginations run a bit wild. We used some futurists’ predictions on technologies that may be available in the not-too-distant future, and imagined a day in the life of a ‘placemaking’ professional in 2020. Only time will tell whether we have robo-bosses or we will be spending a part of our day in a mixed-reality universe, but it is fun to dream where Work on the Move will go in its next iteration.

As with the first book, we suggest that you read this introduction first, choose which chapters interest you, and then drop us a line and let us know what you think.  Contact us at  The book is available for purchase through this website.  All of the proceeds for this publication go to the IFMA Foundation whose workforce development mission is to make FM a career of choice.  The editors and authors of Work on the Move donated their time and talents for this cause.  100% of proceeds from the book go directly to the IFMA Foundation.

Diane Coles Levine is the Executive Director of the IFMA Foundation. Previously, she was the founder and managing Partner at Workplace Management Solutions. She served on the IFMA Board of Directors, is Past Chair of the IFMA Foundation and was named the 2015 IFMA Corporate Real Estate Council Distinguished Member. She is an international speaker and guest lecturer at Vienna University of Technology and MIT Professional Education Programs. Diane is co-editor and author of Work on the Move 2.

Nancy Johnson Sanquist is the Vice President of Global Strategic Marketing at Planon, an IFMA Fellow, serves on the Board of Trustees of the IFMA Foundation, is Vice President of the IFMA Corporate Real Estate Council, as well as being a speaker and contributor to CoreNet. Nancy was recently awarded the 2016 IFMA Chairman’s Citation for Excellence in the field of facility management.   She is the co-editor and author of Work on the Move 2 and is listed in Who’s Who in America.

Workplace Evolutionaries’ (WE’s) mission is to “change the world one workplace at a time.” It’s a global community of over a thousand professionals who care deeply about the world of work and where it’s going. Among its members are workplace strategists, change managers, facilities managers, architects, designers, HR professionals, IT managers, academics, and product and service providers. WE members enjoy three conferences a year, monthly WEbinars with thought leaders from around the world, a monthly round-up of the best workplace research and news, white papers, and a vehicle for connecting with fellow evolutionaries around the world. WE is a global Community of Practice within the International Facility Management Association.