Using workplace data to guide our decisions


Technology has enabled us to mobilise and connect a distributed workforce and we’ve discovered that with the right tools, work can happen anywhere… something maybe we knew all along? 

Organisations are beginning to re-imagine their workplace of the future, contemplating what this surreal period taught us about the design of our working day. How can we create a future-proof workplace that’s more responsive to change?

The seamlessly connected office  

Technology has helped us to efficiently manage tasks, using communication platforms to connect our dispersed teams in both a work and social sense. If a significant percentage of us continue to work from different locations, the office needs to be adaptable, leveraging technology to support the evolution of team dynamics. Organisations will need to ensure those who work remotely have an equally fulfilling experience. 

In the past, meetings looked quite different. We used to book a one-hour slot in a conference room, scrabble under desks to set up cables and prepare for a formal meeting defined by a paper agenda. Since working from home, we’ve become accustomed to regular and informal video calls over Zoom, Teams or Skype. While these ad-hoc meetings have their benefits, organisations need to be careful not to create a culture where employees feel unable to concentrate on individual work. There’s a danger that we’ll fall into a culture where people feel they can’t switch off. 

To ensure that we build upon this positive change, we’ll need to embrace collaborative technologies and platforms that enable innovation, effective communication and participation – ‘dialling-in’ is no longer an inferior experience!

Using smart data 

Data gathering technology and predictive AI collects real-time information about how people work and uses machine-learning to predict future usage patterns. Apps that utilise geofencing help to track how the workspace is used so that businesses can make informed, strategic decisions and get the most out of the office space. For instance, monitoring the supply and demand for specific areas within the office can inform how the workspace should be used. Can certain floors or zones close for the day if they’re not needed? Or, can the platform encourage meetings and activity in spaces that are under-utilised? 

Smart software and apps help teams to schedule their day and book out areas of the office that will support their tasks, whether that be individual or collaborative work.  Background data capture enables users to locate colleagues, book facilities or navigate routes to far-flung meeting rooms.  

AI-powered technology supports a more personalised, immersive experience – one that we take for granted in apps and platforms we use in our personal lives. It has the potential to combine quantitative data and employee sentiment measures to shape a better workplace experience. 

Creating an evolving office design 

Typically, an office is re-designed on an eight-to-ten-year cycle. As we begin to utilise technology and capture real-time data, there’s an opportunity to create more timely and strategic solutions. Organisations can make evidence-driven design changes and adaptations more regularly, responding to evolving employee needs and job-role demands. 

Craig mentioned in his article about the unbound workplace, that as we loosen the ties to the primary workplace, there are new opportunities to empower people to work from a variety of settings. We can help to support this new flexible way of working by designing workplaces with modular elements such as meeting pods, shielded work settings and settings that can be reconfigured to respond to demand. When designing a working environment, we should consider how to make it as adaptable and connected as possible. Maximised desk density should no longer be the prime motivator.

A digital-first mindset

We live in a world where sensor-operated doors, taps and hand dryers are the norm. Navigation apps give us real-time traffic alerts, social platforms feedback notifications from across networks and we can pre-order a take-out coffee from our phone – we’re used to contactless.

Why can’t we have this same quality of experience when considering our workday apps, using digital to help us make informed decisions about where, when and how we can get work done? 

With increased concern over physical high-touch points, how can we continue to make the office contact-less and adopt a digital-first mindset? To effectively support employees, organisations will need to embrace the future and empower people with alternative ways to view, share and contribute. The application of contactless technologies will go some way to achieve this but acknowledging the cultural shifts of the past few months, such as the liberation of video conferencing from the boardroom and the redundancy of printed documents, new behaviours will be the real driver for change. 

Deloitte found that 70% of millennials admit to using their own apps to speed up and optimise their work; this is a wake-up call to senior decision-makers within organisations. How can we use agile and innovative technologies to create the workplace experience that employees now expect – where they can communicate with one click, be productive wherever they are and at the same time feel connected to the organisation’s purpose?  

It’s time to look at the workplace differently, integrating tech solutions to get the most out of the workplace for our people. The tools are already out there – we just need to think differently about what problems we’re trying to solve, ask the right questions and be open to using technology to guide our decisions.

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We are hosting a webinar on Wednesday 8 July at 9.30am

As organisations navigate through the various challenges brought about by the pandemic, exciting opportunities will emerge as we explore new possibilities and re-imagine the workplace of the future.

Join our ‘Workplace Reset: Future’ webinar as we explore:

  • The energised organisation – designing workplaces where people flourish
  • Employee wellbeing – creating positive employee experiences in a distributed world of work
  • An elemental approach – fundamentals that will be as important as ever
  • A time for experimentation – the human-centred & technology-enabled workplace

If you are interested in hearing our thoughts and those of leading businesses register here.

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