- Technology and physical spaces must work together to deliver positive workplace experiences.
- From BYOD to wellness, there are six key areas that will play a vital role in the future of successful workplaces.
- Jeanne Wood, Senior Associate Vice President at CallisonRTKL, explains how tech is revolutionizing the workplace.
This article has been supplied by CallisonRTKL, a global architecture, planning and design firm, with commentary by Jeanne Wood, Senior Associate Vice President.
How can technology and physical spaces work together to deliver an outstanding experience for people, a collaborative environment for teams, and a productive outcome for employers?
As designers of future workplaces, CallisonRTKL believes the solution to complex challenges can be broken down into four distinct categories: the human-centric perspective; wellbeing practices; technology and mobility; and resiliency strategies.
Within these categories, there are six key areas that will play a vital role in the future of successful workplaces, whether for more traditional corporate occupation or flexible new age working. CallisonRTKL’s Senior Associate Vice President, Jeanne Wood, explains.
1. Technology and Big Data
Utilising technology to collect and manage big data from a work environment can be highly informative and useful for the future of workplaces. Being able to gather and evaluate the data not only informs companies of their current status but it can also highlight a variety of opportunities to help improve awareness and operational inefficiencies.
“Building monitoring systems can reduce costs by an average of 15% by helping with predictive maintenance and managing downtime,” says CallisonRTKL’s Jeanne Wood.
“Sensors are an easy and cost effective way to gather information, with many available in a wireless version that is able to operate through the existing building’s infrastructure. This can promote more efficient space planning, changes, and equipment procurement decisions, and aligns design and planning changes with actual usage patterns and needs.”
- Use sensors to determine occupancy levels in the workplace
- With shifting work patterns, occupancy sensors can be utilised to determine space utilisation – the amount and types of space needed
- Use technology to determine general maintenance – when and where a space needs to be cleaned
- Adjust HVAC levels based on occupancy and zones
2. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Personal mobile devices will become a more robust method that individual users can use to not only communicate with others, but also connect with smart systems built within a workplace environment. This will create a safe and seamless journey to and from the office for individual users by using the functions on their devices.
“Personal mobile devices have become integrated into our lives. Through the connection of smart systems, our devices will enhance the day-to-day workplace experience which will save employees time and increase productivity.”
- Scan for security access to an office building using a secure QR code on device
- Remotely access destination dispatch for building elevators
- Schedule and reserve conference rooms for meetings and/or desks for individual use
- Real-time office announcements
3. Seamless Conferencing
Most employees have become “power users” for video collaboration technologies such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Cisco Web Ex. The need for collaboration technologies that foster highly effective and modernised experiences seamlessly in spaces on-site and virtually from home will become more prevalent in the future.
“Hardly a day goes by where we are not interfacing on a video conference platform. As people return to the office, we need to transform into a hybrid virtual/in-person approach.
“Effective workplaces now and in the future need efficient collaboration technologies that foster seamless conversations both on-site and at home. Ideally, while in the office, employees will have access to virtual conferencing that is nearly identical to what we have grown used to at home, presenting minimal technical difficulty when dialling in.”
- Provide an identical virtual conferencing experience without the need to always bring your own device into the office.
- Implementing systems within conference rooms that accommodate ‘one touch’ or touchless functionality for easy activation.
- Easily mirror the home experience to avoid video conferencing struggles
4. The Digital Creation Lab
The need to build immersive experience centres and innovation labs at the workplace is vital when building the workplace of the future. These spaces can be used for multiple functions but its main purpose is to spark innovation and collaboration.
“Using 3D digital replicas of workspaces can create impactful sensory data that shows real-time visualisation and analysis of usage and facilities, with static construction and manufacture documentation on a single source. These green ‘digital twins’ can be instrumental in helping make important decisions about the workspace’s future.”
- Promote company culture and brand
- Graphically showcase positive, inspiring, branded messages in support or a company’s values
- Display a company’s latest portfolio or products
- Provide multi-dimensional spaces for various purposes
- Digitally showcase the office’s sustainable and wellness data in a dashboard
Sustainability will continuously be a key influencer in future workplaces. It has grown to become a large factor in designing today’s work environments and can immensely impact the physical nature and comfort of a space for employees through technology advances.
“Technology plays an important role in sustainability. Strategically implemented smart systems can gather important data on green performance, informing operational decisions for a more environmentally friendly future.
“Technology can be used to easily adjust HVAC filtration and air flow; sensors improve comfort and operational efficiency and moderate other systems that contribute to an office’s carbon footprint.”
- Smart systems integration to help manage and collect data related to the office’s sustainable performance (i.e. air flow, energy usage, and water consumption)
- Systems that can automatically adjust HVAC filtration levels based on-demand ventilation
- Sensors to improve comfort and operational efficiency
6. Wellness Through Technology
Employees are the heart of any company and their wellness is vital. Technological enhancements in a work environment can ensure that their health and wellbeing are continuously supported on a daily basis.
“Technology also contributes to important wellness systems that are integral to the occupant’s experience. For example, lighting that mimics natural light patterns to regulate workers’ circadian rhythms and regular notifications that remind you to stand up and stretch or take a quick mental break.
“Equally, installing a visual display showing real time data for indoor air quality, temperature, and sound levels can reflect the building operator’s commitment to a healthy and productive environment. Ultimately, this can help drive occupancy.”
- Automated systems that adjust HVAC filtration and air flow levels based on occupancy
- Sensors to measure data on temperature, humidity, CO2, VOC, and sound levels
- Indoor lighting systems that mimic natural light to regulate circadian rhythms
- Regular notifications to remind employees to stand up and stretch
- Dashboard notifications to notify when spaces or desks have been cleaned
Jeanne Wood is the Senior Associate Vice President at CallisonRTKL a global architecture, planning and design firm that’s committed to creating a better world.