Office environments are currently undergoing huge changes, especially as employees expect workspaces that are set up to promote their wellbeing both physically and mentally. Another cause of these drastic changes in the workplace is the coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic has made working more complicated than ever, especially with the government lockdowns requiring most people to work from home.
Along with these major developments, technology is also driving changes in office design. What does this mean for the future workspaces?
Now is the Time to Embrace Technology
We don’t have a crystal ball to foretell exactly how future workspaces will evolve; however, looking ahead it is quite clear that now is the time to embrace technology. Technology, combined with agile office spaces, is what we see in the months and years ahead.
Businesses are sometimes reluctant to make an invest in technology. The reason is that technology is often seen as a great disruptor. Not only does tech change quickly but these changes disrupt employee roles, processes, operations, markets, and more. Such changes are difficult for businesses to adapt. The issue, however, is being driven by the employees and their requirements to stay productive and engaged.
Today’s employees, many of whom are Millennials, have grown up with technology all around them. They’re comfortable with tech and understand how it can improve both their personal and work lives. Younger employees expect and need technology to help them work effectively. This, combined with a flexible workspace that gives them space to move around, collaborate, and stay focused.
Now is the time to begin embracing technology and the change it brings. If not, many businesses will be hard pressed to survive.
Smart Buildings & Sustainability
Millennials and many others are extremely concerned about the climate and look for companies that support sustainability. Some businesses are therefore investing in smart technology for their office spaces and buildings.
Conventional buildings have large carbon footprints. This is because they’re always “on” when it comes to cooling, heating, using power for work tasks, and more. It’s a fact that older buildings guzzle down energy, while also adding to environmental issues such as pollution.
On the other hand, smart buildings are fitted out with technology that helps reduce a company’s carbon footprint. A tech platform and its apps can help in various ways. For instance, a smart building can help an employee quickly find and reserve a parking space. This cuts down on the use of fossil fuels each day that’s used up just to find a place to park.
Apps can also order coffee, lunch, or even dinner. Hot desks can be booked and reserved through apps, and can be used to control the temperature, lights, and more in employee workspaces.
Employees and the business cut down on the use of energy, while becoming more productive. Time isn’t wasted on tasks but is put to better use all through the use of technology. What’s more, the company becomes more energy efficient and cuts down its carbon footprint at the same time.
While biometric access controls offer increased security, they’re often not embraced by employees. The reason is the “Big Brother” effect, where individuals feel that the technology is too much of an invasion of privacy.
This is a valid feeling. Biometric technology is specifically designed to collect and recognise certain aspects of a person including their face, fingerprints, retinas, and even their palms. Many people are not comfortable with this.
The use of biometric access controls is slowly growing. For instance, it’s included on many of our devices such as laptops and smartphones. As a result, people are slowly being moved in the direction of this type of tech.
On the other side, however, the pandemic has made it necessary to have touch-free access points will quickly bring biometric access controls into use.
Technology & Dynamic Workspaces
Dynamic, agile workspaces are becoming increasingly popular with business around the world. The reason is that flexible workspaces help improve employee satisfaction, while also increasing productivity. Employees are free to move around as needed to get their tasks done, collaborate, relax on breaks, and more.
Dynamic spaces include breakout rooms, open plan offices, privacy pods/quiet zones, and more. Even small offices are finding an agile office beneficial.
In these agile workspaces, the use of movable, modular office furniture makes it easier to use one space in many different ways. The use of sliding doors can create a room or open the space back up again. To support this type of dynamic workspace, it’s necessary to ensure there are plenty of charging points and sockets available to support a wide range of devices. Connectivity is also important. All parts of the office need to have excellent Internet and phone connections in order to support a dynamic workplace. Other technology may also be required depending on the type of work being done.
The dynamic office requires technology in order to be useful and provide the right environment where employees can get their work done from each area of the office.
Remote Work & Technology
With remote work, excellent connectivity and technology are also essential. The pandemic has made it necessary to social distance, which has necessitated the move to telecommuting. To support their remote workers, companies have had to invest in technologies that keep employees connected, while ensuring company data is secure.
Another issue is that working from home can feel isolating for remote workers. That disconnected feeling can drastically affect a team collaborating on a project. Technology is being used to bring remote workers into the company through the use of virtual reality meetings, TV screens that can be used for video conferencing, and more.
Summing It Up
The dynamic, modern office space requires technology in order to support employees, improve operations, and make collaboration easier even across distances. Going forward, technology will drive the office design of the future. It’s not possible to go forward in office design without technology.
The future has already begun and it’s time to embrace and include technology in our modern, dynamic workplaces.