Ever since the introduction of the typewriter at the turn of the 20th century and up until the mid-1970's the office environment remained pretty much the same. It was with the Wang word processing systems that the office look began to change. Sometimes in the 1980's, personal computers became the primary tool for office work, exacerbating the change even further. And like with the introduction of these technologies of the past, so does modern technology influence the present and the new look of the modern workplace.
New and disruptive technologies don't only change the way we interact with each other or how companies do business. They can also change the look of the entire office environment. In a sense, the office environment was redesigned and reorganized around the PC and in more recent years, around all the digital and mobile devices as well as other similar technologies. And by extension, this change is also affecting how employees conduct their daily duties.
So, how does a modern workplace look like in this day and age? Here are two key elements that heavily influence the contemporary workplace.
The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) and all the technologies that accompany it have made it possible for an increasing number of people to work remotely. Commonly known as telecommuting, it is a global phenomenon where around 70% of all professionals, worldwide, work from home at least once a week. Also, 53% telecommute at least half the week.
With a combination of mobile devices and cloud computing, many staff members are no longer obligated to come to work under a strict 9-to-5 schedule. As long as their job gets done on time, it doesn't matter exactly where they work. Since their work is mostly over the internet, many e-commerce businesses don't even have a physical office, to begin with, relying solely on telecommuting or virtual offices, if and when the situation calls for it.
For those companies that still require a permanent physical presence, offering their employees the benefits of work-life integration is the way to go. For those of us who don't know, work-life integration is a means by which people can integrate both their personal and professional lives in such a way that both can be achieved at the same time. Providing flexibility in the workplace was shown to increase employee morale, happiness, health, and productivity.
Efficiency and Automation
Did you know that the average office employee spends roughly 28% of their work time sending and receiving emails? Also, they spend another 20% of their time searching for relevant internal information or looking for colleagues who can help them with their tasks. Cloud computing and social technologies, however, can reduce this wasted time by as much as 35%, in some cases, and raise employee productivity by as much as 25%.
Automation also plays a crucial role in shaping the modern workplace. Numerous automation software can now eliminate much of the grunt work and tedious tasks that would otherwise fall onto the employees, themselves. Financial or medical institutions, for instance, will no longer have to spend countless hours looking through documents, trying to find relevant information. A piece of software can do it. It will free up your employees to spend their time on more meaningful tasks that require their attention.
It would be a mistake to look at a modern office today and think that it will remain the same in the future. As mentioned before, the workplace environment is highly susceptible to any technological developments, meaning that the office environment will also change with them. We are currently going through a technological revolution, after all. Are you ready for what’s next?