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THE FUTURE WORKPLACE IS HERE

It is commonly said that how we spend our days is, how we spend our lives. For many of us, a large portion of our days is spent at work; in fact, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.

Well, that was pre-COVID

In a recent research, over 64% of respondents said they spend more time working remotely, most times throughout the seven days of the week, attending to emails, projects, holding interactive virtual meetings etc.

It would be helpful if we look at how the COVID-19 virus changed the workplace, what we can expect from future workplaces after 2020 and what interactive tools you’ll need to prepare for the future of work.

office work space huddle space team work discussion interaction

The pandemic has fundamentally changed our work environment and how we interact with our colleagues. But the shift in how and where we work presents an opportunity to reshape and reinvent the workplace for a post-COVID-19 reality. Instead of defining “work” as a single office location, moving forward, a significant percentage of employees will be allowed to perform their job duties from anywhere they can connect to the internet. Thanks to advancements in telepresence (video & audio communication) and interactive technology- the ability to manipulate on-screen data; you can write, draw, erase, import and export content, save and archive work through annotation

However, a distributed workforce is only possible if companies support their employees with the right tools, support and strategy. It’s critical for business leaders to understand that large-scale shifts are changing how people work and how business gets done. HR leaders who are proactive and who respond effectively can ensure their organizations stand out from competitors.

While a majority of employees worked in-office before the COVID-19 crisis, some organizations were already considering distributed work or starting to transition to a hybrid work model made up of remote and in-office employees, the advent of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 forced businesses all over the world to begin the immediate shift towards remote work and work-from-home schedules on a large scale

What We Can Expect from Future Workplaces

office work space huddle space team work discussion interaction

It is quite certain that the workplace of the future will look a lot different after 2020 than it did before, though it remains to be seen to what extent the virus would have on office space demand after the threat of the virus has subsided. Based on current trends, we can expect workplaces after this year to be more accommodating of distributed work and remote work schedules.

Here are a few ways that future workplaces may look different:

Virtual workplaces  

Jobs that don’t require employees to work on site may see a big turn toward remote work. Manufacturing, distribution, health care and service-related industries may still need a regimented percentage of their employees to commute to the workplace for the business to operate or to visit customer sites. However, jobs outside of these industries may go fully remote or have a much more significant percentage of employees working remotely.

Distributed offices

With more employees working remotely, organizations may open smaller regional hubs or provide remote workers with access to local co-working spaces rather than have the majority of their workforce commute to one central office. Before the pandemic, co-working spaces were a form of fast-growing type of office space. It is obvious that people will still gather for work, but the amount of time you work in proximity with others, and what your work week looks like may be the biggest cultural shift moving forward

Online Business meetings

As business travel and commuting to the workplace largely halted during the pandemic, video conferencing usage skyrocketed for the likes of Zoom. The remote workforce could safely and effectively meet and collaborate face to face through video calls with their colleagues, clients and customers. As companies continue to cut costs and balance their budgets, many experts believe business travel as we know it will be a thing of the past.  “There are a few things, like business trips, that I doubt will ever go back,” says David Ajagba, a renown travel consultant. “It’s simply a measure of necessity and risk.”

Since video conferencing has become the accepted alternative to meeting in person, we will see an increase in virtual meetings in the future. It is a major cost-effective and efficient method for conducting business and communicating with people all over the world.

Work from anywhere

Work from anywhere will be the new mantra post COVID-19. Just as organizations have begun settling into work-from-home arrangements as their ‘new normal,’ there is going to be a ‘next normal’ emerging quickly on the horizon — one that makes returning to work-from-everywhere scenarios possible. This will, yet again, alter the realities of our personal and professional lives, as knowledge workers (educators, bankers, architects, as well as frontline workers in healthcare, retail and customer support contact centers) strive to deliver high-touch services from locations outside traditional physical settings

The end of open-floor offices

While it is worthy of note that open floor spaces break down barriers between employees and managers and increase team collaboration. If viruses such as COVID-19 become more commonplace, it may be the end of open-floor plans and a move toward more private workspaces.

An investigation recently published by South Korea’s Center for Disease Control shows how easily a virus can spread in an open office. On one floor of a call center where 216 employees worked, 94 people tested positive for coronavirus over 16 days. Open offices aren’t going away completely but will significantly be rethought for the new normal in the workplace. Open offices may wind up serving half the employees they used to due to cost-cutting, safety and worker preferences

Conclusion

The workplace of the future is no longer a single location but a collaborative environment enhanced by technology that enables employees to work from wherever they are most comfortable and productive. This means designing workplaces around flexible work arrangements where employees can come and go from the office based on preference and as project work dictates. More importantly, this means investing in tools that enable seamless work and collaboration regardless of your employees’ locations. The workplace of the future is flexible, mobile and connected.

To take learning, business interaction, ideation and team collaboration to the next level using the best of technology available, let us take a look at what you presently use, assess your needs and recommend what would best suit your establishment for enhanced productivity, while giving you a leg up above your competitors

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