Where will you work today?
The way we work in the physical office has been changing over recent years. From individual offices with doors to close to new cool and contemporary open space, home officers and now virtual spaces that are attempting to combine the physical and the virtual to create an employee centred approach to working effectively.
Smart phones, Wi-FI, video conferencing and wearable technologies are making home working more of a reality that ever. People simply do not need to be in the office in order to be effective members of a team.
In a PR office in London an extreme example of virtual meeting the physical is being rolled out. Here artificial intelligence working alongside humans is no longer confined to the world of SIFI movies thanks to robots that can be the physical presence for an employee who is actually miles away in their home office. This organisation is able to enable the presence of a remote employee by using what is essentially a Segway with an ipod, controlled by the user at home via the internet. The two way live feed allows the user to navigate through their office, attend meetings and interact with fellow colleagues.
But working remotely has its drawbacks. The social intervention we get from working along-side colleagues is critically important. It fosters innovation and progression, it helps teams to be creative and thoughts and ideas can be bounced around the room – thoughts and ideas that quite possibly people wouldn’t consider writing down.
Internet to make the physical as appealing as virtual
Bringing people back in to the office needs a review of the office environment. Many modern offices now take their design inspiration from hotels and bars, to encourage an environment that people want to be in. From games rooms to super slides that negate the need for stairs (such as in the red bull head office in London) offices are becoming a facility in which to interact on a personal level as well as professional. It is not uncommon for instance for new offices to include an on site gym.
Save me a seat
Offices of the future will be interconnected. Using the internet of things, office space will be monitored by sensors allowing organisations to see how their space is being used. The concept of individual desks is outdated – why have a desk sitting there only used once a week? Employees increasingly store documents digitally the age of the box file system long behind the majority, so the need to be in a certain desk with personal artefacts around you is diminished.
Hot-desking has been a contentious issue for many however, not being able to find a suitable space to work in, to leaving a desk for a while and coming back to see it has been taken are problems. The internet of thing can help this however. By using a booking or reservation system via mobile phone or smart device, employees can pick out the seats they want and book for the time that they require. Sensors will tell if the seat is being used and prompt the user to confirm its ongoing need or free up the space for a colleague.
By using this technology employees can combine the benefits of the luxury of being at home with the facilities around them with the physical sense of being in a team and collaborative working. These systems will work alongside so the employee has the ability to see where the best place for them to be is on any given day.