I’ve studied the evolution of the workplace for many years – and there’s never been such a pace of change as I’ve seen in the past 18 months.
Just two or three years ago, people liked to talk about agile working; but often it was purely talk.
Now, though, it’s genuinely happening, and most people who are planning a change in their workplace – whether it’s a new building, a refurbishment or a look at better utilisation of space – are focusing on agile working.
That’s even in traditionally conservative organisations, such as law firms. Companies have shifted their priorities from cost to looking at how they can make their people more productive, and they are now recognising that wellbeing is a key factor in that.
So how do we design our workplace to encourage wellbeing and healthy behaviours? Many are trying, from HR to facilities to technology and designers, and despite best endeavours, some are still not quite getting it right.
The key is to help people work effectively, without frustration over resources such as finding a desk or a meeting room where they can collaborate – in other words, to support all the aspects of agile working with technology that provides real, practical answers.
This technology can also support the adoption of good working behaviours. For instance, we’ve known for a long time that video conferencing saves time, travel and stress, but it’s often been noted that takeup can be affected because people find video conferences difficult to organise.
Scheduling software can take away the strain by making the booking process effortless, therefore improving use right across a business. It saves staff a drive and encourages enjoyable and productive collaboration.
Looking ahead, I don’t think the pace of change in the workplace will slow very much – and that means companies like ours need to stay at the cutting edge.
The biggest and fastest-growing community we now serve is the mobile community, who want to access meeting and resource scheduling technology via an app.
The second biggest is those who want to self-serve – it’s a trend we’ve already seen in the hospitality sector, and in the workplace it’s catered for by providing kiosks where users can locate and grab the space they need with a touch.
There’s also a growing need for mobile solutions in some back office services, for example, delivering catering or clearing rooms after meetings, and it’s also important to cater for this.
For companies like ours, it’s crucial to anticipate and meet these demands and needs so organisations can provide productive workplaces where it’s a pleasure to work.
There’s a lot more change to come, I’m sure. And I’m confident that with technology developing fast to support it, the continuing evolution of the Connected Workplace will continue to provide benefits for all.