What does the workplace you create say about you?
In the first article of this two-part series, we outlined three elements that should be considered when taking workplace design decisions: flexibility, authenticity and primary needs. Here, we’ll explore wellbeing and technology and how these attributes enhance the success of the workplace and employee satisfaction.
Employee wellbeing is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to workplace design. There has been a gradual shift in people's perception about this concept, from simple awareness to eventually being a top priority for organizations. Noticing the impact on employee recruitment and retention, many companies seek to include in the workplace elements that increase and maintain employee wellbeing. Unfortunately, most of the time, these specific items are the first to be given up when costs are optimized.
However, recent studies and research show that there is a correlation between the physical environment of the workplace and the physical and mental health of the users. As a result, companies begin to realize that it's not just a social responsibility they have, but it is also an essential feature that employees are looking for. More and more manufacturers are investing in research and development in terms of ergonomics, so we are expecting to see more products that will contribute to a healthier workplace.
Wellbeing is more than just a green wall or a height-adjustable desk; it is about finding ways and methods that truly support the physical and mental health of individuals. We expect to see several projects that include: circadian lighting (color and light intensity adjusted for certain times of the day), meditation rooms, spaces that improve one's mood (the use of crystals), the use of materials and models that imitate the natural environment, more attention given to the sensory elements in the office.
Devices will become stronger, allowing for local data processing and artificial intelligence capabilities. These will reduce the volume of data transfers, increase dependency on the cloud and give employees more flexibility. In this respect, industries requiring immediate action will be significantly affected based on a complex real-time data analysis (for example, production, public security) as well as cases where cloud-related connectivity can be restricted (transport and logistics).
The popularity of communication platforms such as Slack and WhatsApp increases exponentially. People will benefit more from artificial intelligence, as various software systems can be developed to streamline employee work both in HR (for example, we see applications that automatically generate the number of vacation days left), as well as in business (automatic reminder to call a customer for a meeting or congratulate them on their birthday). We are very close to the kind of technology that completes many of our daily tasks, such as meeting schedules or reporting.
There is a new paradigm of communication inside the workplace: messages / texts and various alerts. Many data are collected so that Appel's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant can be intelligent speakers who are easily integrated into our lives. Their responses will continue to improve: as technology becomes more sophisticated, it can drastically change what we do during a working day and it can have an impact on how we design the spaces where people work.
The way in which society supports and promotes productivity and progress is found in the features of a workplace, in the added value that it provides to an organization. By discussing these trends, along with using the resources and tools available, companies will surely continue to develop their offices as a key factor of their success.