March 8, 2016
The way we work changes rapidly. The intersection of technology and architecture offers a glimpse into the workplace of the future. A typical workday no longer resembles a worker sitting in rush hour traffic for an hour, and then at a cubicle for eight more. Advances in workplace architecture and emerging technologies are changing the face of the work environment. These changes are having positive effects on productivity.
Workplace architecture involves more than drafting office layouts with enough desks for the workforce. It requires a subtle mix of engineering, behavioral science, demographics, technology, and change management. The end goal is to provide the best performance for the company that occupies the space. Today's popular trends in workplace architecture include:
- Lighting– Bringing natural light into the office space is now a top priority for many companies. It's the law in Germany, where every employee must be within at least seven meters of natural daylight.
- Standing Desks – More than just an novelty, standing desks have real value for employees and productivity. They are considered a healthier choice than traditional desks, are a better use of space, and are more effective for collaboration.
- Collaborative Space – Collaboration is the new buzzword of the workplace of the future. Offices are designed to encourage employees to come together. Workspaces are strategically modeled to allow for both informal meetings, and more large-scale collaborations.
Technology in the workplace has nearly always had the aim of the streamlining operations and achieving gains in productivity. Today, you can add the goal of increased employee satisfaction and comfort. It has been proven time and again that workers who are happy at work, comfortable, and motivated are more productive. Many of the emerging technologies not only make the core business goals achievable but address these issues as well.
- Automated Buildings – The automation of building systems provides enhanced comfort for those who work in them. Centralized systems controlling a building's heating, AC, ventilation, and lighting optimize comfort and efficiency.
- Mobile Workforce – Flexibility in the workplace is on the rise. Technology allows workers to do business from anywhere, at any time. Today an estimated 4.9 million workers in the U.S. are working remotely. The average annual savings to a company from a mobile worker is $11,000 per person. Productivity gains from greater job satisfaction can be added to that figure.
- App-Centered Tools – While email is still heavily used around the world, the future of business communications looks much different. Real-time messaging through apps is gaining popularity, as are apps designed to streamline business processes.
Fueled by the evolution of both workplace architecture and emerging technologies, employees and businesses are more efficient. With greater flexibility and mobile work options, employee satisfaction escalates. As a result, in the workplace of the future, businesses will reap the benefits through productivity gains and a better bottom line.
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