Our offices and ways of working are constantly evolving. New digital tools are launched almost daily and the way we choose to organise our offices is changing more and more. Emails are giving way to collaboration platforms and the office landscape is being replaced by homeworking and coffee shops. But what will the digital tools of the future workplace consist of and what do the next generation of workers expect from sustainable leadership?
Where do you work? The answers are almost as numerous as the employees. Some have flexible workplaces full of innovation and move around the office, others commute and often work from home. Some have fixed office locations due to personal preference or the nature of their work. Stefan Jönsson is a solution architect at AddPro and follows developments in offices around the country on a daily basis.
Who has the energy to go to the office?
It's not news that digital tools give us the freedom to work flexibly. But how are new ways of working affecting the physical office? Will it be there at all?
- As office work becomes more flexible and can be carried out virtually anywhere, the office is becoming more of a meeting place where we make connections. Telephone and video meetings are much more efficient and personal if we have met at least once in real life," says Stefan.
Stefan believes that few people will have their own desk with a flower and a pile of paper in the future. The office spaces that remain will be open to those who come into the office as more and more people choose to work flexibly. The office landscape is likely to survive as an activity-based office without fixed locations, adapted for meetings and collaboration.
- When the workplace becomes a meeting place, it becomes important to have places to go for peace and quiet, to have a conversation or to focus in a quiet environment. In offices where it's difficult to move to the side, noise-cancelling headphones have become increasingly popular to remove distracting sounds.
The journey to the office
It doesn't matter if you're stuck on the train outside Kävlinge, the bus in Klevshult or the shuttle in Knivsta, it's just as frustrating to sit idle and count the minutes. As more and more tasks can be done on tablets and phones, we have new opportunities to work and be efficient in the time that is otherwise wasted.
- One way to attract talent of all ages is to allow mobile devices so that travel can become part of working hours. But it needs to be secure. High security doesn't stand in the way of mobile working - it enables it by protecting data and users' identities, says Stefan.
It's up to management to create a culture where it's okay to work outside the office. This doesn't mean that everyone will be sitting in cafes or at home, but it will create the opportunity for individuals to control their working hours. It's not the hours in the office chair that count, but getting the job done.
Gaming takes over the office
Today's young IT talent often comes from a gaming background. The gaming world has long had advanced platforms for games and communication. In many multi-player games there are chat features, voice communication and real-time data about the other players. Moving from that environment to just emailing and calling is unthinkable for many young people.
- To attract young talent, companies must not only offer modern tools, but also keep up to date with new ones. Otherwise, they will lose their attractiveness.
New technology in the office
Voice control and smart speakers, known as voice assistants, are becoming increasingly common in our homes. The technology that makes life easier at home is something we increasingly want in the office. A voice assistant can take notes in meetings, identify the speaker and in the future will be able to allocate tasks based on skills and availability.
- Remember the paper clip in Word that asked if it could help? Voice assistants are like that paper clip, but now with the support of Artificial Intelligence they can actually help with a range of tasks such as taking dictation, booking appointments and searching for information.
How do you lay the foundations for the office of the future?
Creating the office of the future means understanding that the perception of work has changed, and adapting tools and collaboration platforms accordingly. Without modern tools, employees will find their own solutions outside the control of the company and the IT department, weakening IT security and undermining collaboration. Data is protected by modern tools, not office walls, and a fixed office location is not required to be effective.
- When management dares to trust its employees and relinquishes control, the foundations are laid for a flexible and attractive workplace. Employees get modern tools that allow them to work how, where and when they want, and the company gets happy employees who can find balance in their working lives," concludes Stefan.
Do you have the tools expected in a modern office? Are you equipped to meet future expectations and attract new talent? At our workshop DiscoverIT workshop, you'll get hands-on testing of the very latest tools in the digital toolbox. Contact us today at email@example.com and step into the future.