The future of work: office 5.0

Since the days of the first industrial revolution, professional tasks and the organization of work have been changing at an ever-increasing pace. In our time, we are witnessing a new technological revolution, the potential of which is still difficult to gauge. Most of us are already experiencing the changes in tasks and work patterns brought about by technical progress. But what will the future of work look like? Join us to discover the 5.0 office.

Technology and work

We are already familiar with the impact of information technology on professional and industrial processes. In a very short time, yesterday's emerging but every day more consolidated technologies such as Big Data, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality will also flood work models and workspaces.

Technological development will continue to transform both the way we work and the physical spaces in which we work. The goal: to maximize the values and capabilities of individuals and teams by optimizing time, talent and performance. Physical environments and spaces will also be transformed accordingly, anticipating the needs of each worker and development teams, thanks to the presence of elements such as intelligent sensors, voice recognition software or augmented reality applications in organizational management.

Workspace, commuting times and remote working

One of the most relevant aspects in the new organizational models is time: the employee's travel time to his or her physical workstation, and organizational efficiency in the office. Remote work is not always the solution, but at the same time it is essential to detect when it is, and how to integrate it effectively into the overall organization. Design thinking and agile methodology are two of the most successful conceptual organizational models, both of which combine physical elements with organizational structures and leveraging existing or emerging technologies to establish and secure the determinants of optimal organizational efficiency:

  • Easy and fast access to information
  • Empowerment of freedom, creativity and autonomy with adapted equipment and tools
  • Dynamic integration of analog and digital media
  • Configuration of workspaces through appropriate acoustic and visual structures
  • Integrated furniture to ensure comfort and well-being

Finally, the goal of the future of work is to enable the same work experience for all members of the organization, in face-to-face, virtual (remote) and mixed mode.

What is Big Data and how does it affect organizational work efficiency?

Big Data or Data Science, whatever its software and hardware architecture, allows real-time analysis of data generated through all computerized processes in the development of an organization. This analysis, which can (and should) be adapted to the specific needs and requirements of our organization, provides us with indispensable information to examine the real efficiency of the processes and solutions undertaken, from which to redefine the optimal applications of the Internet of Things (IoT, internet of things), Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality.

How is the technological revolution affecting the future of work?

All efforts to optimize efficiency are focused on working models that enhance collaboration and make physical and virtual environments into efficient, comfortable, pleasant and aspirational collaborative spaces: the 5.0 office.

To address specific examples of all of the above, we will focus on three key aspects that will determine workspaces: intelligent furniture, virtual, augmented and mixed reality, and virtual social spaces.

Intelligent furniture

Almost all of the physical elements of our office will be computerized and interconnected in such a way that they will be able to record the behavior of workers. Elements such as lighting, ambient temperature and even desks and chairs will adapt to the worker's state, and will be able to suggest changes in posture or moments of rest.

Virtual, augmented and mixed reality

Virtual reality allows both the execution of technical or administrative processes and the creation of virtual social spaces for the integration of the above in virtual meetings held by members of the organization, or external collaborators. We will see this in more detail in the next section.

Mixed reality integrates virtual reality and augmented reality, again addressing the possibilities offered by VR with elements of AR. Augmented reality is a combination of technologies that combine virtual reality and physical reality to offer high levels of usability and interactivity. A radical difference between them is that AR also allows its use with or without the need for special glasses, for example via web, webcam, mobile or tablet.

Virtual social spaces

Their purpose is to generate workspaces that can be accessed from anywhere, and for this purpose the three types of realities described above have their own characteristics and advantages. In all cases, it is a matter of integrating teams as if they were in a single space, also enabling profoundly revolutionary ways of accessing and representing information. In this way, we will be able to take advantage of virtual tools by making them penetrate the face-to-face environment, and vice versa.

How can Augmented Reality be used to optimize energy and organizational efficiency?

AR is a tool for increasing organizational efficiency in workspaces, integrating the traditional or face-to-face model and teleworking. Its applications enable more efficient and sustainable management of resources: meeting spaces, workstations and even parking spaces. Augmented reality has proven applications, in each case aimed at remote work, hot desking, streamlining workspaces, inclusion of external professionals and mobility.

The 5.0 office will be the future of work: a space where technology serves to create human, warm, pleasant and efficient work environments, where creativity and physical and mental well-being, cognitive abilities and the emotional state of professionals are enhanced.

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