Meet The Team - Wolfgang
Wolfgang Wanninger - Head of Workplace Solutions
You used to work for Mercedes. Why did you choose to work for a Chinese company when you moved to Shanghai?
It was not only working for a local company, it was also a decision for a smaller company. I wanted to learn quickly and I thought that a smaller company would offer more insight. The same reason applies to why choose a local company – there seemed to be more for me to learn.
How does the working style differ? And what are some advantages and disadvantages to working for a local company rather than a multinational?
Usually, one of the disadvantages to work for a smaller company is the brand awareness. Working for a smaller company you just don't get the same reach and have to convince partners and clients more about your capabilities. However, I find that China in general is different from Europe. People here are available around the clock and are in general more approachable. An advantage in smaller companies is less redtape and faster adaptiveness. Also it is more possible to have direct influence on major decisions in the company and define your role yourself.
You are 4U's in-house expert for workplace technologies and emerging tech. What motivated you to pursue these new opportunities?
It was not an overnight decision and it all started with a client in Northern China. They decided to pursue a totally flexible model with no assigned desks and were looking for technologies to support this working style. We had limited offers at that time and I started looking for partners that can help us to fulfill that client's need. Over the next coming months we received more requests in this direction and also saw many of our partners in design, furniture, etc. offer more services in activity based working and flexible models. At some point we decided that it would be worthwhile to follow and lead this trend and I became the head of that department.
Real Estate costs are going up, and IT budgets are coming down. This is a common reality for multinationals in China. What would you say is most important for companies to consider when upgrading or moving their offices?
The most important part of effective office spaces is being lean and flexible. Since I joined this business I hear that the workforce is changing and sometimes I wonder: "When will it have finally finished changing?" The truth is it will continue to change and then it will change again. Technology, especially software, can be upgraded and customized. Companies need to find solutions that are solid at the core but offer you flexibility on the front-end. Also, don't cut your IT budget if possible.