The future of workplaces and emergence of workplace technology
Researchers and technology pundits are forecasting that human-controlled functions would progressively reduce in the coming 10years and give way to autonomous and platform enabled services in most spheres of B2B services.
The global pandemic has significantly accelerated innovation and technology adoption in the workplace sector. Workplaces are transforming at the back of these technologies to support future work formats.
According to an article published by Deloitte “The digital workplace is more measurable and manageable”. Transforming the digital infrastructure of a workplace can help in gaining insights on workplace productivity, availability and user experience, real-time. Smart infrastructures that can identify patterns, nudge positive employee behaviours, and fine-tune service and support performance at workplace.
Emerging trends shaping the future of workplaces
1. Workplace hygiene &wellness
The outlook of a post-pandemic workplace will be to ensure employee wellness & maintain strict hygiene standards. Simultaneously, office services would progressively be digitally managed and orchestrated. All this would be to ensure that the employees can have a great experience at work and the workplace solutions help them to be productive, while the services remain effective and truly on demand. Overall, the digital applications would foster a near contactless experience, high user experience and efficient collaboration keeping hygiene & wellness as the underpinning objective.
2. Hybrid work & Gig employment
Globally, due to the pandemic the work from home (WFH) phenomena gained tremendous recognition as the organizations decide their return to work strategy, work from home would continue for some employees in a business while hybrid working and work-from-anywhere are seen to be the other emerging & widely accepted work formats.
Simultaneously, gig working was gaining prominence and it is expected that gig working would gain further momentum. WFH, hybrid working and gig employment therefore, present a significantly different operating challenge in the workplace of the future.
According to a survey, 72.2% want a hybrid remote-office model. Hybrid culture allows for structure and sociability (at an office) while offering independence and flexibility (at home).
To support these, the workplace needs to be flexible, available & facilitate collaboration which is unlike how most workplaces are designed today. While space planning & layout at most workplaces is expected to undergo significant changes progressively. This could lead to organizations working with different real-estate formats like Hub & Spoke model.
3. Digitization – Technological advancement
We are using mobile applications in all spheres of our life, be it business transactions, social interactions, e-commerce or baking and payments.
Mobile and cloud computing are the key pivots which are also accelerating adoption of digital applications at the workplaces. With enhanced data security protocol, many organizations have moved their strategic applications on the cloud. And the trend seems to be gaining significant momentum as the world navigates the pandemic.
As the workplaces get repurposed to support hybrid and other emergent work formats, digital technologies are facilitating organizations to migrate their organizational processes to the new ‘normal’, at scale. Technology is aiding organizations, employees, workplaces and other stakeholders to be high levels of flexibility, adaptability and real time of collaboration which was never experienced in the past.
The future workplace is going to be agile, experiential and offer countless opportunities…
4. The dispersed workforce
A significant percentage of employees have moved back to their hometowns and are working from home since the break out of the pandemic. The pressure of virtual meetings, increased screen time and lack of socializing has begun to affect the employees. In the coming months, as the pandemic eases and people get vaccinated; we expect that organizations will start calling their employees to the workplace either on a regular basis or for a few days following a hybrid work strategy, or people who don’t want to come to the office will operate from a co-working space near their homes/hometowns.
Moving forward with the return-to-work strategy, organizations need to focus on flexibility over location and hours of work that underpins a modern agile workplace. Working from the office, gives employees a sense of community that in turn fosters engagement and encourages collaboration between different teams. Studies suggest that when the option to communicate face to face is removed, overall communication levels decrease drastically.
5. Space planning and management
The pandemic has sparked enormous changes in the work formats – accelerating trends in remote work, digital interactions, transactions and workflow automation in certain other cases. This is leading to a shift where certain organizations have and are moving to hybrid work while others are contemplating and reviewing its efficacy in their own environment.
When employees return to work, keeping them safe at the workplace means re-imagining & re-orienting the space and office layout, seat arrangement, and the occupancy patterns at the workplace.
The dimensions of space and place together, constitute the workplace. When employees come to office, they’d like to collaborate, socialize & interact; the organization and the workplace administrators would have to reconfigure the meeting rooms and their usage norms so that social distancing, contact tracing & meeting room availability is far more seamless when employees come to work.
As workplaces would be occupied partially, space administration and space efficiency management would become far more strategic, and would become a key business imperative & a strategic insight for the organization.
In the coming years, the ‘repurposed’ workplace would leverage technology and digital applications and deliver agility, improved collaboration, higher service efficiency and superior employee experience at work. This in turn would bolster employee productivity and morale and better employer equity, as per multiple research reports.
More in our upcoming blog…