When I was in college, I didn’t like to write  papers, and often procrastinated until the last minute. By last minute, I don’t mean the night before. I mean just a couple hours before the paper was due. Sure, I’d spend all week stressing about my paper. But when it actually came time to putting pen to paper, the writer’s block would creep in, and I just couldn’t get started. Two hours before the paper was due, I would finally start writing—all stream of consciousness, and all in a panic. As a result, I clearly wasn’t putting my best foot forward. 

I’ve since changed my ways. Instead of procrastinating, I now plan for the future and take steps to prepare so that I don’t end up panicking later down the road. In a way, my job at Microsoft is all about helping enterprises do the same thing. It’s important for you to not just understand today’s business challenges, but also to plan for them. 

To that end, I’m devoting my blog during the month of June to helping enterprises better understand—and prepare for—the day-to-day business challenges  they face. We are all balancing multiple challenges from working across geographies and time zones, to environmental sustainability. That is a lot to plan for, I know. 

These business challenges are affecting all of us. Last fall while on a business trip, I saw a working example of recognizing how the workplace paradigm is shifting, and how our Dutch subsidiary is addressing these shifts head on. I had a layover in Amsterdam and spent a day at our Dutch headquarters at the Schiphol Airport . Based on the Microsoft philosophy of a “New World of Work”, the Microaodr Netherlands now has a “New Way of Working”. The work environment it is an “office”, but not one that you would expect. It does not have any assigned workspaces or set work hours. Employees (including upper management) choose when, where and how they work. Using our productivity platform , employees communicate and collaborate from wherever they are, as if they were next door to each other. If employees wants to work in the office or hold an in-person meeting, they can reserve a workspace or conference room. Or they can do what I did – choose a workspace with a couch that reminded me of my family room.

Now I know this is a nice story and may sound a little extreme, as we are all in business to drive results. The results of this “New Way of Working”  approach, however, have been significant. Our Dutch subsidiary has seen substantially higher sales, reduced costs across the board (from real estate costs to travel), and higher employee morale.

Stay tuned for more insight around enterprise business challenges and the ways that you can plan for them. And please share your thoughts – are you embracing the changing “World of Work” is it proving to be a real challenge, or both? Every business and industry is different, and we would like to hear about your experience.