Since the last few years, the contemporary workplace has been undergoing a series of rapid changes. Modern technology has made it possible for the workforce to work from anywhere, thereby reducing the necessity of physical work-desk. This, coupled with the swelling real estate prices across the globe, is compelling large corporations to rethink their workspace strategy.
The conventional idea of what constitutes work will continue changing and with Gen Z set to join the workforce, it becomes crucial for the existing workspaces to transform and cater to the requirements of the new-age workforce. We will witness a host of changes to create favorable work practices to suit their work style, their social conscientiousness and work-life balance. Young employees want to work with organizations that provide them with smart solutions, know their unique preference and requirements.
Amongst all the factors, technology will play a pivotal role in shaping the workplace culture in the coming decade. Technology will be more focused on providing experience and augmenting interactive employee engagement; in turn, creating an ecosystem of enhanced productivity, creativity, and culture. While it is impossible to predict the future with certainty, here are my two cents on how the workplace of 2030 will look like:
Customization using wearable technology & artificial intelligence
The traditional office setup will cease to exist within the next five to ten years. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets will become redundant and will give way to voice-activated assistants; the Internet of Things (IoT) will play an important role here. With the help of wearable technology such as embedded chips and wearable glasses, there will be a customized reflection in all parameters of an individual’s style of working. No more one-size-fits-all approach.
Moreover, the data provided by these devices will also personalize the furnishing as per the individual requirement. For instance, chairs will now be better suited to the user’s preference, comfort, and working style while keeping in mind the ergonomic requirements. Workspaces, too, will see a change based on specific conditions like brainstorming, meetings, and corporate sessions, networking or leisure time.
Video technology will reduce the need to travel while ensuring connectivity
Video communication technology in the past decade has evolved from the conventional video conferencing to holographic 3-D technology, enabling a face-to-face interaction that negates the actual need for physical presence.
These advancements will facilitate the ability of an individual to communicate, collaborate, contribute and deliver results remotely. There is also a scope of virtual reality to further enhance work-productivity by imitating the required environment. Thanks to high-speed internet connections, wide-scale interaction via video-connectivity is no more a buffering game, which will further heighten work efficiency as well as productivity.
Creation of smart buildings with interconnected smart workstations
With constant technological advancements, the future will bring an interconnected ecosystem. With the IoT analyzing the data received from all the public and private infrastructure in real-time, it will aid in understanding the individual preferences and factors important to the well-being of the people. The real-time analyzed data will allow workspaces to transform, adapt, and react to users instantaneously with health and safety being the centerpieces of infrastructure design and execution.
These spaces shall also be explicitly designed to maximize the lighting and ventilation, complementing the worker’s seating arrangements. Even the idle time for spaces such as desks, conference rooms, and training areas can drop to zero, ensuring optimized usage of space and asset deployment that can help shrink the real estate cost per square foot.
Naturally, we will also witness artificial intelligence become more accurate and automate repetitive, mundane tasks. Automation of these tasks will ensure better utilization of time and resources by directing it to more meaningful tasks and outcomes.
In summary, technology will enable wider, more profound, real-time connectivity and productivity gains by designing ‘individual focused office solutions’ that deliver near-zero idle time. These will drive business organizations to move away from traditional workspace solutions that offer much lower productivity in the congested, far from home, and one-size-fits-all workspace model. Over time, we will witness the workspace solution providers transition from being organization-driven to individual-driven, thus changing the fundamental concept of working.