• How technology will transform the workplace

    6 April 2017

    Technology is playing an ever increasing role in defining the modern workplace. As technology changes, so will the way we interact with our colleagues and the workplace around us. What will the workplace of the future look like? Here are three technologies I believe could influence the workplace of the future.

    Cloud Computing is one of the key technologies that is rapidly changing the shape of the modern workplace. As companies move their files and applications into the cloud, they are finding the benefits go well beyond the cost savings. Having files and applications stored in the cloud means that staff can access them from anywhere, at any time. This means that staff may not require a fixed desk, and depending on their job function may not even require fixed working hours.

    Trends around the world are already seeing many companies adopt hot-desk seating plans for much of their office space. Further to this, many companies are adopting a flexible workplace model, facilitating staff the option to work flexible hours, from any location they choose. Cloud Computing is making it easier than ever before for companies of all sizes to adopt such strategies. This trend will result in companies converting more of their valuable real estate into creative hubs for collaboration and team work.

    Internet of Things is not just about internet connected toasters and kettles. By 2019, the number of devices connected to the internet will grow to almost 24 billion. Almost everything will be connected to the internet. How will this transform the workplace?

    IoT connected devices are already being introduced to gather real time data on movements within the workplace. In the near future, this data could be used to identify where people are spending time and improve productivity by notifying staff when certain zones such as toilets or quiet rooms are occupied. This data could also be used to autonomously control lighting and thermostats, saving on energy costs.

    In the future, IoT will help to automate a wide range of tasks within the workplace, from autonomously maintaining inventory levels, to identifying potential safety hazards and even tracking exact locations of items within a supply chain. With the help of IoT, the workplace of the future will become more connected, more intelligent, and more autonomous.

    Augmented Reality has been the subject of fascination to both consumers and the business world. Augmented reality opens the doors for limitless creativity and innovation. In the near future, the construction industry could leverage augmented reality to visualize and overlay structures, materials or objects in a real life environment. Interior designers could experiment with different furniture and color schemes in real time to give customers a real life perspective. Architects and engineers could use augmented reality to visualize how new buildings or bridges would look like and affect a real life environment.

    In the workplace, augmented reality could be used to speed up training as employees are able to perform their job duties in real working environments, as well as improve safety by overlaying virtual markers or safety reminders for employees. The workplace of the future will leverage technologies such as augmented reality to deliver real-time experiences that will improve productivity, decision making and safety.

    In Conclusion, these technologies won’t transform the workplace overnight. As these technologies are adopted by companies, it’s clear to see that the workplace of the future will become more flexible, more connected and more intelligent than ever.

    As the workforce of the future transforms with technology, one thing is certain; we will need to redefine what we used to think of as a ‘normal’ workplace.

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