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Predicting the Workplace of the Future
In many ways, the workplace of the future is already here, but most organizations have a long way to go to take full advantage of available capabilities. Some companies use a wait-and-see approach to technology investments, while others are eager to move ahead but lack a strategic plan. The most significant trends and technologies transforming the enterprise are:
- Internet of Things -- Many devices are already connected, but IoT is set to become more commonplace and more thoroughly integrated throughout the workplace.
- Automation -- Workflows, reporting, building systems, and more will become automated in more organizations and more areas of the enterprise.
- Artificial Intelligence -- AI will be the solution that takes the data generated by other technologies and makes sense of it. AI will make business decisions, while robots and other AI entities (voice control systems, etc.) will play a larger role in the more autonomous workplace.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality -- There are countless potential uses for AR and VR in the workplace, from low-risk training to low-cost prototyping and testing. Though this technology is already providing these benefits, there will eventually be little need to go to the office at all. Workers will be able to make their virtual offices look like physical offices, and meeting attendees can virtually appear in other's virtual spaces.
The purpose of bringing any of these technologies into the workplace is twofold -- to improve the nature of work and to improve the outcomes of work. You can use technology to inspire employee engagement and innovation in ways that also boost productivity, increase efficiency, improve the customer experience, and stand out among the competition.
When strategizing for the future, some considerations will give you clearer direction. Here are a couple of angles to examine before jumping into new investments:
Measure the way you work today, and set goals for tomorrow
Set up proactive monitoring and management of your meeting room estate to understand which rooms, technologies, and devices are used most often so you know what's most crucial to your business. Then, assess current business goals and map how your current meeting room solutions will evolve to support new growth.
Study what this means from an IT, space, and end-user perspective. Is the goal to reduce real estate footprint by providing more team workspaces? Is it to support collaboration among small work teams? Is it to increase business agility and time to market? Identifying the desired outcomes should lead decisions about room types, technology choices, and service needs.
Anticipate the changing roles of the future
The conversation around AI, connected workspaces, and other trends has matured beyond whether everyone in the office will be replaced by robots to how technology can enhance the human experience. Some roles are already being eliminated but new ones are appearing. Office workers already use technology every day, but many new roles will involve managing the latest solutions.
Roles will continue to change. Even those once considered fundamentally human -- like copywriter or customer engagement agent -- are being replaced by bots and other forms of AI. However, people will continue to control and manage those technologies.
By considering impending challenges and envisioning the potential of technology, you can develop a plan to create the best workplace of tomorrow for your organization.