A lot of things are happening within office management and with the modern workplace constantly evolving and changing it is interesting to follow the development of workplace innovation. The modern office environment is a dynamic and ever-changing climate and a lot of exciting things are happening these years. For most people work is no longer 9-5 in a cubicle. Employees seek flexibility, mobility, and greater freedom and the modern office environment has to cater to the modern work life.
Here are my predictions for the top 5 trends of 2018:
With technology enabling us to be connected everywhere we are able to work from anywhere – and at any time. This mobilization means rethinking ‘work’ and the office environment. Mobility is a still a growing trend and experts predict an even more significant <a href="https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/people-organisation/workforce-of-the-future/workforce-of-the-future-the-competing-forces-shaping-2030-pwc.pdf">increase in mobility by 2020.</a>
Mobility and technology empower employees to do more of their work remotely which reduces the need for an individual office or desk space. This growing trend of on/off-site work days’ means challenging the need for a traditional office space with designated work areas for every employee. The dynamic work patterns make way for the rise of flexible workspaces such as ‘hotelling’ or ‘hot-desking’. This may result in employees working in different spaces every day and a demand for having various different facilities and working areas depending on the requirements of the work they are doing (e.g. a privacy pod for concentration work or a creative meeting room for brainstorming). This touches upon the next trend I foresee in 2018 which is shared workspaces and activity-based working.
2) Shared workspaces
The way companies are setting up their office space is rapidly changing. Single offices are disappearing and multi-room offices are growing rapidly. This makes room for more employees on less space. Some companies take this a step further and introduce shared workspaces and activity-based working. Activity-based working is, in essence, an encouragement to employees to physically locate themselves where it is most suitable for them to complete their work. Spaces are designed to create opportunities for a variety of workplace activities from concentrated focused work to informal meetings.
Working in an environment with Activity-based working means that no one has a fixed desk. Employees have to choose and book an available desk each morning in the area that suits them for what they need to do today. Activity-based working and shared workspaces are growing rapidly because it brings many advantages. Studies show that organizations can bring down the need for office space with up to 30% if they introduce shared workspaces. But not having a fixed desk also brings challenges. You need to introduce the right booking system that makes it easy to book desks, find employees, and track utilization and no-shows.
An important factor to consider when introducing a desk booking system is which platforms employees should be able to book from (Outlook, Mobile, touch screens or desk booking panels) and how employees easily can confirm and release their booking.
3) Navigation and Wayfinding
Wayfinding and indoor navigation are going to be extremely hot in 2018. How to find indoor points of interests like for instance your desk, meeting room or the nearest printer room can be difficult in large office environments. Both employees and visitors can waste time wandering around confused inside an office building trying to decipher reception screens and decoding the office room naming system.
New navigation systems can provide navigation based on Google Maps and give both indoor and outdoor directions. This can, for instance be used to enhance the visitor experience by giving them directions to the correct office location and even the right meeting room inside the building. Indoor navigation systems can be used on many different platforms, like for instance large touch screens, a dedicated navigation app or the navigation system can be incorporated into a room and resource booking system that can guide employees or visitors to their desk or meeting room. Maps- and navigation solutions are something I believe is going to be a top trend in 2018.
4) IoT and Sensors
IoT has been hyped for some years now, but I think that 2018 is going to be the year where beacons and sensors are going to be truly utilized by suppliers from many different industries. Sensors and beacons have many different use scenarios. The most searched IoT associated feature on Google is smart homes where lights, locks, kitchen appliances, etc. can turn on or off according to who is present in the house or room. IoT can be used for many other things like for instance to trigger the right message or offer to customers at the right time, connect cars and corporate software like for instance room booking systems, navigation systems, lighting systems and air condition systems. I believe that suppliers of corporate software will use IoT technology much more in their apps in 2018. At Fischer & Kerrn we are for instance using IoT to automate many of the room and desk booking processes according to who is present in a meeting room.
5) Analyzing and using data
I see a much greater focus on analyzing workplace usage and booking data. This is to ensure that the right decisions are made regarding equipping your office space with the correct amount of workspaces and meeting rooms – and in general basing decisions on data rather than feeling.
Analyzing data and behavior can help you understand what the optimal sizes of your meeting rooms are, and what facilities they should have. Other data like peak times in the reception or in the kitchen can also be useful to investigate. The right workplace and room booking tool offer good and valid reporting and analytics capabilities that makes it easy to analyze the data that you find most important. With the increase in costs for office spaces all over the world, I believe that 2018 is going to be the year where analyzing workplace usage and booking data will become extremely important in order to streamline and optimize offices to employee needs.