Microsoft Puerto Rico is looking to change the way people work in Puerto Rico by practicing what it preaches.
On Wednesday, the company inaugurated its new $2.5 million, 13,000 square-foot headquarters at the City View Plaza complex in Guaynabo, where it has implemented its new corporate “New World of Work” philosophy, through which employees are given the flexibility to work wherever they feel most comfortable.
In doing so, Puerto Rico becomes the first place in Latin America to adopt the style that enables Microsoft employees to take advantage of technology to maximize their productivity levels, whether while physically at the office or virtually through telecommuting from home or wherever they may be.
That is a concept that the majority of Puerto Rico businesses have been hard-pressed to adopt, despite the benefits.
“Our company has the mission of empowering people to reach their maximum capabilities and the ‘New World of Work’ concept plays a great role in that,” said Alvaro Celis, general director for Microsoft’s multi-country Americas division, who was on hand to address the media and offer a tour of the company housing the latest concepts in technology that will be incorporated for the benefit of employees and customers.
In 2005, Microsoft founder Bill Gates sent an e-mail to all of the company’s employees describing the ‘New World of Work’ concept. At the time, he spoke about “helping companies of all sizes maximize the impact of employees and workgroups, driving deeper connections with customers and partners, enabling informed and timely decision-making, and managing and protecting critical information.”
To achieve that, Gates launched a multi-year, multi-concept strategy to create software to learn from and adapt to the way people work, facilitate the flow of information and encouraging teamwork.
All of those ideas are being applied at the new Guaynabo office, which is occupying half the square footage in comparison to the former Metro Office Park location, Celis said.
Puerto Rico is one of Microsoft’s flagship operations within the Americas and Caribbean region in terms of customers, employees — where it has 77 — and business partners. The new office is designed to provide its local network of partners, estimated at about 800, a place where they can go to learn,” said Cleber Voelzke, general manager of the Puerto Rico operation.
“The fact that we’ve been authorized to make such a big investment in Puerto Rico is evidence of our commitment to this market,” said Voelzke, noting that the lease at Metro Office is signed for at least the next five years. “Puerto Rico has the potential to make a true difference in generating skilled workers, and we have to be protagonists in that strategy.”
The local subsidiary of the global software developer had been located in Metro Office Park for the better part of the last two decades. But in response to its sustained local growth, and the advent of cutting edge services designed to make the business experience better and more efficient, the company is moving to a new office where it can demonstrate its products, Celis said.
“We’re looking to modernize the experience for our clients, and those who visit that office will see that it’s a showcase of our products and services. We’ll be applying the latest concepts in energy-efficiency and productivity,” Celis said. “This is about showing how technology affects and modernizes the work environment, how to do things more effectively by showing the concepts.”
Puerto Rico is also home to the only Microsoft-owned manufacturing facility in the world. Located in Humacao, the 135,000 square-foot complex produces 100 percent of all Microsoft products for the Americas market. Most recently, the plant employing more than 200 people was selected to produce Kinect, controller-free, games for the Xbox 360 console.
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.
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