Earlier this year, a research study by Unispace found that technology will be one of the key drivers of collaboration in the future. And though there’s still some debate on whether technology alienates people or if it brings them together, fact remains that technology is here to stay, so we might as well embrace it and use it to our advantage.
“New technologies are tools; what we do with them is up to us.” -Tony Bacigalupo
“When computing was something you had to do plugged into a computer in your home, it was hard for you to use it to connect in real life. Now, however, mobile tech gives us ways to connect in real life around shared interests.”
One way technology is enabling people to connect in real life is by allowing workers to take their work with them anywhere they want. Flexible workspace operators have greatly benefited from this mobility, leading to an increase in demand and popularity of flexible workplaces, particularly coworking and shared spaces.
But, the physical space only gets you so far–people could as easily work from a cafe or from home. It’s the fact they choose not to that should interest workspace managers. Many coworking leaders and advocates firmly believe that it’s the community aspect of these spaces that drives people to them and keeps them coming back. Workspace managers need to differentiate themselves from one another, and one way they do this is by creating a strong sense of community through different methods and events.
So, where does technology come in? How can workspace operators use it to their advantage?
It can be something as simple as having a FitBit challenge to something that incorporates the latest technology and the latest trends. Tony uses Pokémon Go as an example.
“While there’s a lot of focus now on attracting foot traffic to a location by dropping Lure modules at nearby PokéStops, most workspaces don’t have a PokéStop within range. Facilitating the organizing of team outings could be valuable for some members.”
“Workspace managers can organize quests for members to go on together, walking around the neighborhood and forming cooperative teams to level up their players.”
But technology’s power to drive collaboration and strengthen a community go beyond Pokémon Go. Implementing the latest technologies in the workplace can help you attract new clients, and IoT and sensor data can help you measure the effectiveness of your space and figure out ways in which to make members feel more comfortable.
Technology also facilitates communication, and using platforms that encourage members to interact with one another can go a long way. It can help them find help, organize events, and find common interests–therefore stimulating encounters and interactions.
It comes down to what Tony said, it’s up to us how we decide to use it. Flexible workspaces are about facilitating interactions, facilitating work, and facilitating work-life balance. Let technology help you, the results might shock you.