The office-based workplace has changed significantly over the years. We’ve evolved from having basic plastic phone systems on a desk, to having state-of-the-art touchscreens with access to collaboration tools and video conferencing.
Rather than managing tools and equipment on-premise, we’re relying more on software and the services that can be provided to us over the cloud. All the while, new innovations in IoT and artificial intelligence mean that we’re working more closely with machines than we ever have in the past.
As this evolution continues, what can we expect to see from the office of the future? That’s what we’re going to discuss today.
Creating a Better Working Environment
One major trend impacting the evolution of the office space is a growing commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. Today’s organisations are realising just how significant their impact on the environment can be. Because of this, businesses are putting more time and focus into keeping plastic and waste to a minimum. This focus on sustainability is particularly important as millennials, and younger workers say they would happily earn less to work at a sustainable business.
At the same time, as office spaces become more eco-friendly, they’re also likely to become more relaxed and welcoming, intended to support a new style of work. Remote and hot-desking trends are reducing the need for a traditional office space. That means that if companies want to attract employees into the office, they need to take a more flexible approach to building layout.
The shift to flexible working has already begun, and people are spending less and less time in the physical office. As a result, we’ll see companies spending less money on wasted space like huge boardrooms, while huddle rooms and open office spaces become more popular. The business world will begin to focus more on catering to the comfort that today’s employees need.
Bringing New Technology into the Office
It’s not just the interior design and architecture of the office space that’s changing in this new world, but the technology that employees rely on too. We’re seeing massive shifts in the kind of tools that today’s employees use, including the rise of productivity solutions and CRM software. As communication and collaboration tools continue to benefit from the flexibility and scalability of the cloud, we’ll continue to see advancements in what people can do online.
With a cloud-based UC solution, today’s workers will be able to access everything from virtual assistants to in-depth analytics on the go. We can even expect to see more developments in on-premise office computing, with more processing power and edge-computing capabilities built into the office environment. Companies may even begin experimenting with biometric voice and facial recognition systems for the sake of enhanced privacy and security.
All the while, workers in every industry are on a path towards using more intelligent and contextual systems in every aspect of their operations. Pulling relevant insights from company data means that businesses can learn how to properly serve customers, business leaders, and their employees. The increased demand for better experiences in all parts of the office environment will mean that data and analytics become more important than ever before.
Going forward, there’s no doubt that artificial intelligence, IoT, and other disruptive technology will continue to change the way that we experience the office space. However, this all depends on whether we’ll continue to have an office at all. With 50% of the UK set to work remotely from 2020, the office may even become extinct.
Originally published Nov 08, 2019, updated Jan 17, 2023