For most businesses, the office has long been at the centre of how they operate. But this is changing as more people embrace flexible and remote working, while improved technology such as fast wireless connectivity and cloud communications mean employees no longer have to be tied to a desk in order to work productively.
But if people don’t need to be sitting at their workstation all day every day, what does this mean for the future of the office? The chances are that in the coming years, the workplace will become smaller and more socially-focused, and this means many firms will need to rethink how they view their physical spaces.
A more multifunctional office space
Companies will therefore have to offer a more compelling reason for employees to come into the office, with new, innovative technologies that offer functionalities not available elsewhere at the heart of this.
The goal should be to create a more multifunctional, immersive workspace that provides an exciting experience for employees. For instance, while they may still prefer to work at home for day-to-day activities, connecting with colleagues around the country for important meetings may still require technologies only a well-equipped office can provide, rather than having to get by with their laptop’s webcam.
A key part of this is that these spaces should enable people to present and share information easily, collate contributions from all participants – whether they are physically present or not – and ensure that any communications are clear.
The tools needed to collaborate effectively
To support this, it’s important firms look carefully at the technologies they use in their meeting rooms and social spaces. For instance, running a successful hybrid meeting, with participants attending both in person and remotely, will be about much more than just effective videoconferencing software.
An important factor will be the display screens. A single large-screen TV will probably no longer be adequate for ensuring everyone can take part on an equal footing – especially when it comes to sharing presentations and developing new ideas.
One solution may be to increase the number of screens in use. This allows full-screen presentations to be shared with those in the room, while still enabling the speaker to be easily seen on a second screen. This is vital in ensuring communications are as clear as possible.
Other technologies such as interactive whiteboards can also be combined with this in order to improve collaboration and give people more reasons to work from the office, rather than from a single laptop or desktop PC at home.
Whether the space is being used for critical meetings with clients, roundtable product development discussions or for more social activities like team-building, rearranging offices from traditional banks of desks to more collaboration-focused hubs that people can drop into and out of as needed will be the future for many businesses. It’s therefore vital firms start planning now to ensure they’re able to take full advantage of more flexible ways of working.
Find out more about how offices will need to adapt for the age of agile working by downloading our latest white paper, Reshaping the workspace: The future of AV in the office.