Technology and the pandemic have changed the way we interact within an organization forever. More flexible environments are needed that, in turn, respond to the needs of these entities. New trends in workspaces are moving in this direction, with versatility taking precedence over aesthetics.
The new offices are living entities that adapt to what workers need from them. These new environments seek to take productivity to a new level without sacrificing sustainability, a requirement for many companies today.
What are companies looking for in the properties in which they set up shop?
To sum up:
- Many companies have stopped imposing mandatory presence in their workspaces. The hybrid model and teleworking are fully implemented.
- New trends in workspace integrate technology to improve the effectiveness and well-being of workers.
- Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence applications facilitate the management of these new workspaces.
- Sustainability is another key factor in the offices of the future. Responsible use of resources is a priority today.
New guidelines for new workspaces
The photos of major technology companies such as Google, Meta or Twitter are going around the world and have become, for many, an example to imitate. Open-plan spaces with lots of natural light and attractive leisure areas. But is this what today’s companies need? Yes and no.
The new workspaces in big cities integrate technology to improve the quality of life of their employees. Not only is location key, but so are parking spaces to avoid wasting time looking for a free space outside.
Some of the current demands of office seekers in recent months are:
Hybrid work models require reliable interconnectivity systems that ensure communication between those at home and those who have chosen to go to the office. Email has become obsolete, and more and more people are saying that it is inefficient.
Many companies have implemented a bring your own device policy, where the employee chooses the device they prefer to work on. Slack, Teams, etc. have become almost indispensable. A second derivative of this trend is the need for more secure networks to prevent system hacks.
This new way of working has definitely boosted the cloud as a place to centralize information. This system allows access to documents from any device that has access to them, regardless of their nature, browser or user location.
Apps and software
These new ways of working require logistics that are difficult to manage without technology. These new trends in workspaces would not be viable without tailored or highly customizable solutions that meet these needs.
Through systems based on Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality it is possible to predict and reserve the available resources of an organization. This function can be automated, for example, if a professional needs the same workspace every Tuesday, these systems can assign it without human intervention.
These solutions have the great advantage of allowing space management remotely. Thus, the user guarantees the resource he needs without necessarily having to be present on site to reserve it. Excel spreadsheets to reserve spaces are history.
This technology has gone beyond the domestic environment and is having very interesting applications in the world of work. There are many companies that have enabled this technology in their workspaces to perform tasks by voice, saving time and increasing productivity.
Thus, it is possible to ask Alexa or the chosen assistant to reserve a room, add an appointment to the calendar or ask for some internal data, such as the annual turnover of a division. It is also having playful applications, especially in break areas, where it is possible to enjoy with some games that encourage teamwork and socialization among employees.
Desks have become obsolete. Instead, collective spaces where no one has a fixed seat are preferred. This not only provides flexibility to the organizations that implement them, but also:
- Encourages the creativity of individuals.
- Stimulates collaboration between workers from different departments.
- Creates closer personal and work relationships.
It also accommodates non-regular office staff. External professionals and associated freelancers can more easily find a place to work and, at the same time, feel more integrated into the company’s corporate culture.
After covid-19, these spaces were no longer used in order to respect the safety distance, but they are now back in vogue.
In the same vein, organizations are opting for more flexible and lighter furniture. This is much more adaptable to the day-to-day and to the needs that may arise. This is yet another example of facilities adapting to companies and not the other way around, as was the case until recently.
Reducing the environmental impact in the creation of new workspaces is one of the priorities of those who design them. Not only are recycled or reusable materials used, but also a rational use of resources is encouraged, free of substances that are harmful to health, such as lead or formaldehyde.
These new sustainable designs also seek to maximize the benefits of the environment in which they are located. In this regard, natural lighting plays a vital role. Not only does it improve the mood of those who work in the building, but it also makes it possible to dispense with artificial lighting, thus being more environmentally responsible and reducing costs.
Some of the most resourceful companies have created green spaces within their offices. This improves the quality of the air inside the office and creates a more natural environment, in which employees are more likely to give the best of themselves.
Challenges to solve
Although these trends are guiding us towards more flexible, sustainable and employee-centric models, there are still a number of challenges to address.
- Video calls. Many experts believe that too many are made every day and that they are often not productive.
- Weaker links. Since face-to-face attendance is not compulsory, the ties with the company are lost.
- It is not for everyone. There are sectors that, by their nature, find it more difficult to implement these new models, as they require the physical presence of their employees.
Trends in the creation of workspaces are already seeking to solve these pain points common to companies that are committed to hybrid models.
The future of workspaces, today
Beyond aesthetic changes or diaphanous designs, the new trends in workspaces go through the integration of technology. In this way, productivity and efficiency can be increased, and the needs that have arisen as a result of the change of model in recent years can be met.
Thanks to apps based on Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence it is possible to organize the logistics of workspaces. From predicting the influx to the office on a given day to booking rooms, technology enables this possibility without the need to travel to make the reservation.