Welcome to the Office of the Future

Lynn Bizri, Aug 16 2017

While we might not be seeing hologram meetings or robot employees anytime soon, technology is rapidly changing the workplace as we know it. Nine-to-five hours and fixed private desks/cubicles are becoming a thing of the past, replaced by flexible hours and teleworking. Tedious, time-consuming tasks such as setting up meetings or booking a flight are gradually becoming automated thanks to AI, improving efficiency and making the workplace progressively intuitive.

Technology is transforming today’s modern offices into hybrids of physical and digital space. From hot-desking and teleworking, to AI assistants and virtual reality meetings, here are four trends that are shaping the workplace and work culture of the future.

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IoT
According to the IDC, 1 trillion networked devices will be hooked up worldwide by 2025. IoT looks set up to play a big part in future office environments. In addition to saving energy by maintaining and controlling temperature, office climate, and lighting, algorithms embodied in AI assistants will be able to provide solutions to problems, facilitate decision-making, measure performance and take care of most routine tasks. Wearables are also gaining popularity at the workplace, with companies around the world adopting the devices to improve their employees’ wellbeing and productivity.

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More Collaborative Workplaces
Thanks to wireless internet, laptops and tablets, employees can move around more freely in the office while staying connected. According to a CBRE survey, two thirds of multinational companies will implement shared-desks or hot-desks by 2020.  Hot-desks allow employees to sit wherever they please, and can be used on a first-come, first-serve basis or can be booked online. Offices are also being redesigned to allow for more chance encounters between employees leading to the generation of new ideas, unexpected collaborations and boost productivity.

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Teleworking
In a 2017 report, the Gallup organization found that from 2012 to 2016, the number of employees working remotely rose from 39% to 43%. With the availability of digital consumer technologies in the home, advances in Internet connection speeds and mobile phone networks as well as the adoption of online platforms for conducting business, the workforce is likely to become more mobile and flexible in the future. Moreover, driven by millennials, work calls will become increasingly video-based, and cross-regional as well as international meetings will be carried out over video.

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AR and VR
According to the IDC, the total revenue for AR and VR is projected to increase from $5.2B in 2016 to $162B by 2020, and it’s only a matter of time before the technologies revolutionize the workplace. VR and AR have the potential to improve teleconferencing and unify geographically diverse workplaces, create safe and controlled testing and training environments, improve productivity, streamline office design and even transform how talent is hired by allowing prospective hires to virtually inhabit and perform in their potential workplace before taking the job.


 

 

 

 

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