Organizations are not static entities, but living organisms. Knowing how to adapt the workspace to the needs of each company is essential for the proper functioning of the company. This influences the performance of workers, the personal relationships between teams, the exercise of leadership, etc.
To respond to these new needs, technologies are playing a vital role. These are acting as facilitators, providing the possibility of reserving workspaces and automating processes that, until now, had to be done manually.
To sum up:
- Before making a change to a workspace, employees must be interviewed to identify hidden needs.
- New work systems such as the hybrid model or teleworking have changed the way workspaces are planned and structured.
- The current trend is to reduce the weight and size of furniture and reduce the number of walls and cubicles in these centers.
- AI and Augmented Reality enable new workspaces to be planned and managed.
Detecting the needs of teams
Before adapting a workspace for an organization, it is necessary to identify the present and potential needs of workers. It is necessary to take into account whether the activity is carried out in a face-to-face or hybrid way, as well as to consider possible staff expansions in order to avoid the problems associated with it.
The organization’s own activity is also a fact that must be taken into account. It is not only necessary to have workplaces, but also storage space, a space for receiving visitors, meeting spaces, parking spaces, etc.
Whether you are a start-up organization or an existing one looking for a new workspace, it is essential to have the input of your employees. They will provide a series of inputs of great value when it comes to thinking and configuring the place where the company will carry out its activity.
Taking all these factors into account will create an approximate vision of how to adapt the workspace for an organization.
Outlining the physical space
There are a number of inclusionary and exclusionary factors when choosing a location as a workspace. While there are certain aspects of it that are modifiable, others are not, so it should be an informed decision and the result of deep reflection.
One of the first considerations to take into account is the physical location of the office. It should be in an accessible location, with good public transport connections to promote sustainability and parking spaces to avoid wasted working hours for employees who cannot find parking outside.
Although the location of a site largely determines the price of renting or selling a space, it is an investment that has a return in the form of increased employee productivity.
The workspace offers its inhabitants a variety of options, from private spaces to hold meetings or isolate themselves from the rest of the team to common areas that encourage collaboration.
New workspaces must be open-plan, accessible and easily adaptable in case priorities change. In this scenario, there is no room for heavy, hard-to-move furniture. These have become a thing of the past due to digitalization, since there is no longer a need to store large quantities of paper documents as was the case a few years ago.
To create a modern office it is essential to have spacious desks. Whether shared or individual. In these, workers should have plenty of space to operate with all their equipment without wasting space.
Chairs are another element that must be chosen with care. Some workers spend a large part of their working day sitting down, so no expense should be spared when choosing them. They should be ergonomic and allow the height and position of the backrest to be adjusted. In addition, they can avoid days of sick leave for the company, as back problems caused by poor posture in the workplace are common.
To avoid this and other physical problems, it is necessary to encourage movement. Encouraging employees to be active – even going so far as to provide a gym in some cases – not only improves their physical well-being, but also their productivity.
Thinking about communication
New companies no longer only have employees in different spaces, but also in different time zones. This is called asynchronous working. These new ways of working mean that the ways of communicating have had to be reinvented in recent years.
With the focus on creating an effective work system, these factors must be taken into account before adapting a workspace:
- Connection. High-speed Internet access must be guaranteed. It must be stable to avoid crashes that have a direct impact on production.
- Architecture. We have gone from spaces with cubicles and partitions to totally open spaces. Walls are barriers that hinder dialogue and teamwork. Hence, the idea is to reduce them as much as possible and create shared spaces in which to interact.
- Data storage and access systems. The cloud is the trend that has become dominant. It allows teams to access the necessary documents regardless of their physical location 24 hours a day.
- Channels. Platforms and tools such as Slack or Teams for effective internal communication. These centralize all messages and facilitate the search for internal information.
- Meetings. These must be more effective than ever and serve to share points of view in these new hybrid spaces. It must be taken into account that many will attend in person and others will do so telematically.
A modern office must have technology that is capable not only of meeting the daily challenges of the organization, but that is flexible and adaptable. In this sense, the laptop has become the best option, since it is not only versatile and relatively powerful, but also allows working from home when required.
Tablets are also elements to consider. Although their functions are limited compared to those of a laptop, they are especially useful in meetings or in cases where notes or hand-drawn sketches need to be taken, thanks to the stylus pens.
Currently, one of the most widely used options for adapting the workspace is online commerce. Through the network it is possible to find solutions to demands more quickly and efficiently than if the queries were made physically. Those responsible for this task achieve substantial savings in their time, which they can devote to other tasks.
What solutions improve the day-to-day running of companies?
Technologies 4.0 have become an ally of companies that want to design modern and flexible workspaces. For example, Artificial Intelligence can be used to analyze a situation and provide an effective response to it through the following applications:
- Data analysis. This technology makes it possible to analyze demographic data, employee behaviors, trends in space usage and other considerations to help determine office needs.
- Planning. It helps plan space usage, optimize traffic flow, and maximize office efficiency and performance.
- Customization. Defines a workspace based on employees’ individual preferences and needs, such as their work style, schedules, and privacy needs.
- Monitoring. Study the use of the office in real time to identify any problems and provide solutions.
Along the same lines would be Augmented Reality. The existence of hybrid offices opens up the possibility of sharing spaces and parking spaces more easily. Solutions based on this technology make it possible to reserve these resources through the cell phone, informing about their availability in real time.
As with AI, planning is one of the main advantages enabled by this technology when adapting a workspace. Augmented Reality also makes it possible to visualize what a future workspace will look like. This projection on reality gives a fairly reliable idea of the final result. Thus, it allows modifications to be made before executing a project, saving resources and money for organizations.
Technology at the service of the modern office
Technology has become a differential factor when it comes to adapting an organization’s workspace to its needs. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality it is possible to plan and visualize changes in the physical structure of offices and the management of these resources once they are available to employees.
Before making in-depth changes, it is essential to consult with the employees themselves. They will give valuable feedback on the present and future needs of the organization, allowing to anticipate problems that may arise in the short and medium term.