Technology and intelligent workplaces. Are they the future?
It’s safe to say that over the last two years in a Covid-19 world, the way we work has seen a huge change. Remote and hybrid working have become the most common way of working for thousands of staff across the UK. With this, workplaces have had to adapt to be more intelligent than ever before. But, how does technology transform offices and what does the future look like?
Flexible working was for many businesses, the only way they could operate when the pandemic struck. The consensus was to stay at home from March 2020 and the only way for businesses to stay afloat was for their staff to work from the safety of their living rooms, kitchen and bedrooms. With this new way of working came the concept of flexible working, fast forward two years and it is clear that it is not going anywhere.
Employers have seen the benefits that are associated with flexible working such as how, when and where people work. Employees are loving the freedom and studies show that 82% of British workers want flexible working to continue in the future.
For flexible working to work as effectively as possible however, it is paramount that aspects such as technology as well thought-through.
- Work from anywhere– if staff are given the opportunity to work from multiple locations, their IT equipment also needs to work anywhere. Logging into devices quickly and easily should be simple and being able to access exactly the same software and documents they would in the office is essential to ensure the smooth running of any business.
- Hybrid meetings– being in the office at the same time for meetings and collaborations is great for creativity and teamwork however, realistically this won’t be the case all of the time. Meeting rooms that are kitted out for hybrid meetings means every team member can still join the call and give their input.
- Bookable desks and meeting rooms– as employees will be in and out of the office at different times there will be less need for as many An intelligent booking system will be key to managing desk bookings and office capacity.
- Individual environments– at home, people have greater control over their workspace as they are not having to share it with lots of other people. When staff come into the office, they will want this control to continue. Smart technology will enable employees optimise their own environment for comfort and productivity.
How do you make this a reality?
High-spec ICT equipment, cloud-based services and Zoom calls will all contribute to an efficiently run business. Meeting rooms that are designed for video calls and one to one meet-ups will go hand in hand with comfortable break-out space and collaborative rooms. Booking your own desk can now be done through a system on an app or online and workers can have control over their lighting, temperature and even acoustics. Even AI-based analytics around space usage could also help us to better understand user needs and optimise the use of space over time.
Of course, office hygiene has taken priority for businesses in recent years. Many companies have begun exploring solutions in order to help employees feel confident about returning to the office:
- Managing space– pre-pandemic, offices were much more cramped with desks all placed next to each other. With social distancing being at the forefront of our minds, businesses can now use intelligent systems to track and manage how many people are in the office at once.
- Controlling the temperature – temperature checks before entering workplaces has been something that has been put into place by many over the last two years. These checks are performed by a touchless scanner and could even become as normal as swiping a card to gain entry.
- Fresh air – everyone knows how import fresh air and being outdoors is when it comes to wellbeing. Biophilic design has been a growing office design and fit out trend in recent years with businesses creating indoor/outdoor working and rooftop gardens. Fresh air disperses COVID particles so with this, an even greater emphasis on open-air elements in offices could come into fruition.
How can you put this plan into place?
Office design, space and capacity are major points to consider when it comes to ensuring a safe working environment whilst maximising the use of technology. Sensor and real-time data can show when offices are becoming crowded and safer ventilation systems can reduce the air that is shared across the office.
Indoor/outdoor workspaces can be created with moving walls that allow fresh air to enter the office at quite literally the press of a button enabling a more Covid friendly workplace.
Intelligent workplaces are the future
It is clear that intelligent workplaces are the future. Offices that enable staff to work flexibly whilst feeling comfortable and safe means recruitment and retaining the best talent will be improved as well as the benefits to employee wellbeing. Now is the ideal time to take advantage of the exciting technology that is available and to reinvent and upgrade your office space.
At VergoUK, we can help you make the most of your office space to deliver engaging, creative and exciting places to work. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.