In the era of tighter budgets and fewer employees, leaders must make difficult — and often creative decisions to get the job done. These decisions matter, and they will affect each member of the organization differently.

"The idea of alternative workplace strategies (AWS) is not new," according to "The Workplace of Tomorrow: Doing More with Less" in Corenet Global's The Leader. "But while companies have for some time tried to improve their workflow and reduce expenses, the process and implementation have changed dramatically."

The recent economic downturn, underemployment and other indicators have made it imperative that the workplace environment must change. Here are four areas that can be addressed when working with less.


The workplace of today must change as technology does. No longer does an organization have the luxury of keeping obsolete computers and other equipment in the hopes that it will meet expectations.

From virtual offices to smaller office spaces, the need for up-to-date technology is strong. It is in the best interest of an organization to look for smarter ways to do business. An organization's leadership has an expectation of equipping their workforce with what is relevant to make the organization more competitive.

I worked in a technology directorate while employed by the Department of Defense. As a supervisor of 17 employees, I had to follow strict rules and regulations relevant to what types of technology could be used. We did not always have the latest and greatest technology, but because my staff was tech-savvy, they came up with unique workarounds in solving the issues of the day.


There is a new challenge for the employees of today. As Corenet Global's The Leader cites, "The challenge at work is to address the different styles, values and expectations and to find common denominators. Generation X and millennials are much more comfortable with the digital world, multitasking and electronic communication that frequently preclude the need for face-to-face interaction."

Changing the direction of how all the generations interact within the organization will help further its missions and goals. Each generation from baby boomers to millennials has its own style of working. Addressing this difference and working to achieve a balance of compromise and problem-solving will move the organization forward.

While working in the DoD, my staff ranged from traditionalists and baby boomers to Gen-Xers and millennials. However, I had a team who wanted to work together and discuss the issues. We overcame many obstacles, but followed the letter of the law and were able to get the job done.


The expansion of technology and a smaller office staff give leadership a unique opportunity in opening doors for employees to shine. Being a leader means stepping in and giving a staff member permission to try out new ideas, making sure they will align with the mission and goals of the organization.

Too often leadership takes a step backward and misses the unique qualifications of their workforce. Mentoring and providing additional training will solidify the employees' confidence that they have something to give and achieve.

Each year my department head would task me to see what my team's training needs were. I would review each employee's tasks and responsibilities. Through discussions with each person, I would come up with both paid and free training opportunities that fit best for all concerned.

I also gave my team members opportunities for cross-training within the organization. I let my team members work in such away that they came up with great ideas to help solve many problems. Thus, it allowed them to shine, and I made sure they were recognized for their achievements.


An organization's perspective has to change if it wants to stay afloat. Gone are the days of "each department unto itself." Since staffs are growing smaller and leaner, the workplace must align itself with new mission and visions.

Helping employees reach their full potential will enable the organization to have a new perspective on how to approach its future. Having fewer constraints gives all a greater flexibility in accomplishing what matters.

My goal as a supervisor was for each individual team member to have the opportunity to grow in his/her position. I knew one day someone would get a promotion and possibly leave the team or the organization.

When that day did arrive, I called one of my employees about a great promotion within another directorate at the DoD. The employee lacked some education requirements. However, due to his diligence and hard work, I recommended him without hesitation to the selecting official, and ultimately he was hired.

Finally, all parties must be able to begin anew due with the changing office landscape. Leadership needs to be flexible in making sure the office of tomorrow leads the way for a brighter future for the organization. Leaders should take a hard look at how their workforce fits together and how each can be a contributing factor to a better organization.