Frantz Gault is Managing Director of LBMG-Worklabs, a startup that devises solutions to help organisations implement different ways of working. The French market leader in teleworking and co-working solutions, LBMG-Worklabs gives day-to-day assistance with change management whilst envisioning work in the future.
So how do they help companies introduce remote working? What sort of issues need to be addressed? How can they measure the effectiveness of these projects? We found out from Frantz Gault.
What exactly does your company do?
At LBMG-Worklabs, we help organisations transform and become more flexible in their working organisation. This mainly involves introducing remote working and other forms of mobility. Also, as teleworking means employees don’t come to the office every day, we rethink their office spaces and set up shared workspaces. We also offer an app that lists all the third places, such as co-working spaces, business centres, Wi-Fi cafés, etc., so that entrepreneurs and teleworkers can book a workspace when they’re away from the office.
The press often gives the impression that France is a bit behind where remote working is concerned, but that’s no longer the case. The vast majority of large companies have signed an agreement about teleworking, whilst smaller organisations, even if they don’t necessarily have a formal agreement, they work remotely on an informal basis.
“For big companies, the main issues associated with teleworking are legal compliance and overcoming a certain reluctance rooted in a working culture that’s governed by how much time people put in at the office.”
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TOMORROW’S COMPANies WILL BE flexible
We help management and executive boards define a strategy because, whilst teleworking is something employees want, there also has to be something in it for the company. So we think about the positive impact it can have on the organisation, managerial culture and even the office buildings.
“We don’t work on the technical side of things. We believe that a company that isn’t up to date with digital technologies is ten years behind. If that’s the case, we go and see the CIO and get them to roll out laptops, collaborative software and videoconferencing tools.”
We also help with change management, with training and collaborative workshops designed to co-build a new organisation. And we work on communication, by sharing best practices.
As remote working doesn’t just mean working from home, we provide companies with tools to use third-places.
In France, there are around 700 professional third-places. A company with 100,000 employees needs a nationwide network. So we’ve combined all the spaces in France into a single app, called neo-nomade, which is currently used by Crédit Agricole, Générali and EDF. It’s not just as list of the spaces: it features a centralised procurement process. Every month, the company receives a single invoice, even if it employs 10,000 people who work at 10,000 different venues. We also handle the technical side, venue bookings and any problems that arise.
“Tomorrow, instead of a tower in the La Défense business district, companies will have flexible, on-demand premises.”
Co-BUILDING WITH employees: credit agricole
So what exactly are the sort projects you work on?
We recently worked with a subsidiary of Crédit Agricole that employs around 1,000 people. Originally located near Paris, it moved to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, to the west of Versailles. Employees used to work remotely one day a week, but now they can work from home or in a third place two days a week.
We assisted them with change management and helped them use third-places. We also helped them redesign their new offices, to turn them into collaborative spaces. It’s quite an innovative approach. Typically, a company that’s refurbishing its offices will go to an architect or space planner. Whereas we build the new office plans with the employees: we gave them carte blanche and asked them what they wanted. Obviously they’ve kept a conventional office area, but they also share their offices and have added some relaxation areas with sofas, cafeterias, table football, meeting rooms with high chairs; etc. In the end, it was the employees themselves who brought innovation to the offices.
How can you measure the effectiveness of your projects?
We’ve conducted teleworking follow-up surveys at lots of companies. We measure overall satisfaction, but also the impact on productivity – in general, productivity increases by 15% – but also on team communication, the atmosphere, etc.
“There are lots of obstacles to switching to telecommuting but once companies have taken the plunge, 98% of staff are satisfied. And that’s not just the teleworkers themselves, but their managers and colleagues.”