Technology is ready to define the future of the workplace

In a digital age that is defined by speed, collaboration and experimentation, bold new approaches are called for to drive digital innovation at scale. Some businesses, for example, are building internal catapult initiatives to help in-house stakeholders and their teams develop innovative ideas.

Shifting Viewpoints

Attitudes to remote working can vary according to age and location. A study into the future workforce by Dell EMC last year found that 57% of global employees still prefer face-to face conversations with colleagues, but 50% think that better technology- enabled remote working will make such interactions obsolete in the near future – a figure that rises to 60% among millennials.

The majority of workers in China, India and South Africa already prefer collaborating with colleagues through technology over face-to-face conversations, according to the research.

Meanwhile, eight in ten millennials believe that workspaces are more collaborative than they used to be, and seven in ten feel that smart offices are crucial to a collaborative, productive and efficient work environment.

‘Employees also noted that virtual sharing allows for collaboration with colleagues, while remote capabilities would be the most beneficial technology integration into their office lives,’ says Claire Vyvyan, SVP, UK and Ireland, commercial business at Dell EMC.

In a digital age that is defined by speed, collaboration and experimentation, bold new approaches are called for to drive digital innovation at scale. Some businesses, for example, are building internal catapult initiatives to help in-house stakeholders and their teams develop innovative ideas.

This, in turn, can help to break down silo mentalities and promote collaboration and knowledge exchange across the organisation and beyond. Research by Cognizant found that an emphasis on collaboration is encouraging companies to reconfigure themselves into smaller spaces. As market opportunities and digital niches grow, smaller multi-dimensional teams are beginning to emerge.

In fact, six in ten corporate decision- makers say they are building cross-functional teams that target a specific customer segment or digital experience, according to the research.

‘This means that sales, marketing, service, product development, production and technology staff are co-locating together and focusing on serving a single customer segment or functional need,’ says Davis. ‘To enhance this, businesses need to create a platform to support the continuous exchange of data and information to create further value.

‘Our analysis predicts that many companies are, in fact, starting to discard old and rigid organisational models and build smaller, nimbler clusters of talent that serve a particular market or niche.’

The Work Foundation has predicted that working away from the office will become the rule rather than the exception this year, with over half of organisations in the UK likely to have adopted flexible working.

A growing trend

The research also predicted that over 70% of organisations will have followed suit by 2020. A third of UK workers are already leading this charge, regularly completing work at home and ‘on the go’, choosing working hours to fit around their personal lives instead of adapting their lives to conform with their work schedule.

Technology has enabled this change, allowing employees to choose how and when they work in order to boost productivity, simultaneously revolutionising entire organisations.

For those careers where the traditional demands of office facetime are becoming obsolete, the office of the future could be a world away from the traditional nine-to-five office space.

Those offices designed to reflect the remote working shift will exist as collaborative spaces, offering a variety of flexible work options – from hot desks to boardrooms.

‘Technology will lie at the heart of these spaces,’ says Cook. ‘With no assigned seating, PC workstations or traditional fixed-line phone infrastructure, the office of the future will need to be designed as a truly digital, collaborative space where employees can use their own devices to work wherever and however they choose.

Some organisations are making the shift to this type of space even now. No matter the final design, the key for effective office spaces of the future will revolve around taking the focus away from physical presence in an office and placing the emphasis on delivery, productivity and trust.

Info via Information Age, 2017