Raydiant’s Future of Workspace Series featured interviews with experts and professionals to learn more about how the workplace experience will evolve.
Here are some of our favorite responses:
What Workplace Technologies Will Be The Most Important In The Years Ahead?
Nick Iovacchini, CEO of KettleSpace
A hybrid infrastructure includes more obvious communication and collaboration tools that are key for employees to manage and track projects; but also more sophisticated technologies to coordinate and measure hybrid preference among employees and leadership.
With the right tools, a hybrid work model will help business leaders manage talent and employee engagement with the same rigor, depth and transparency as they are used to. With real infrastructure in place, employers and employees can work together to coordinate in-office and remote activities, gather data on what’s working, and over time optimize for the ideal blend of hybrid.
Zoë Morris, President of Frank Recruitment Group and Mason Frank International
A make or break for companies this past year was their digital infrastructure. Companies who were digitally ready to operate remotely did so rapidly, whilst companies with long-made plans to move to cloud were presented with a recipe for disaster. With a digital revolution underway, migrating processes to the cloud is set to remain on most companies’ priority lists in the years ahead.
Another trend which was sped up by the pandemic is the uptake of AI and automation. These technologies provide businesses with immense potential to grow and transform. Whilst we’re yet to understand the impact these will have on the workplace, it’s safe to say that it will most likely alter it, helping create new jobs and improve the already-existing ones.
This past year has led to the rise of many workplace technologies, but the one that almost all of us have made use of is collaboration software. We’re likely to see an evolution in the features these platforms offer, set to advance in parallel to businesses’ needs, particularly for hybrid work arrangements.
Lauren Leach, Director and Commercial Real Estate Expert, Conway MacKenzie, Part of Riveron
Technology becomes an important piece of the puzzle when determining how to best move forward in an environment that allows employees to attend meetings both in-person and virtually. Meetings will involve employees who are in the room physically, as well as employees who are participating remotely. With this dual presence, meetings can feel disjointed and awkward. Businesses should anticipate an increased cost for IT infrastructure, including security to protect internal and external end users (employees and clients). For the office, companies will focus on increasing their internal conferencing solutions, which means updating conference rooms to include more significant screens, cameras, microphones, and speakers. When it comes to enabling employees to work from home, professionals need to have proper technology to work effectively. Companies that rely on desktops will transition to a mobile-based device because mobility is vital for success.
Isaac Smith, Marketing Operations Specialist, FreeAgent CRM
Cloud-based collaboration software, such as CRM (ok I’m biased) will be more important than ever. This technology can allow teams to work together from anywhere and not miss a beat.
Alongside that, HR software that allows for the managing of employee needs, such as payroll and benefits, across a variety of countries and legal systems will be vital.
Remote communication technologies like video-conferencing programs such as Zoom will see significant adoption as well.
Tonya Dybdahl, Space Planning and Design Manager for National Business Furniture
We’ll need to acknowledge the infrastructure necessary for software to work. Building upon the first point in question one, this will affect both personal workspaces as well as collaborative areas. Making sure that employees have furniture that’s friendly to laptops/docks, such as built-in risers, as well as adequate power sources will greatly define cubicle design. If you’ve added a standing-height desk to each station, make sure that it can accommodate all peripherals, monitors, and laptops, not just a small split from the larger desk.
In conference rooms and touchdown spaces, incorporating screens, cameras, and speakers is just the start. Conference tables with built-in outlets, USB ports (including the latest supported ports), and A/V ports will become the norm instead of a bonus. Charging storage, tech caddies, and helpful accessories will need a home. Building this into your layout is key.
Teresha Aird, Founder & CMO at Offices.net
Technology that facilitates digital communication will reign supreme in the years ahead, with platforms such as Zoom, Discord, and Slack already serving as indispensable assets to a variety of companies.
In addition, the continued integration of smart technology in office buildings is tipped to further improve employee experience, allowing occupants to use their devices to control temperatures, book meeting rooms, check in for the day, and much more. We also expect to see added value being placed on data privacy and security, particularly as employees work on sensitive documents that are stored on the cloud to be accessed at home and in the office.
Arthur Iinuma, President of ISBX
Collaboration tools will be vital to every workplace. Even businesses that are not going to adopt fully remote working will need to be compatible with collaboration tools as other businesses will be using them.
Workspace analytic solutions will be vital to enable team-wide communication and collaboration. Decision-makers need these solutions to re-evaluate the communications hardware and software ROI. This is especially important in future planning as organizations return to the office.
The adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) will accelerate as connected devices continue to play a key role in COVID-19 strategies. IoT allows organizations to adapt across multiple sectors with automated tools to cultivate a more productive remote work culture.
Dave Herman, President of General Indemnity Group and EZ Surety Bonds
Business automation tools will become the most crucial workplace technologies. Because of the pandemic, more and more businesses understand the importance of digital transformation, and these tools can help any business become a truly digital company.
Apart from that, they can play an integral role in the overall efficiency of the business by giving employees a quicker way for tedious tasks that consume time, allowing them to focus on what really matters in your company. These tools can also minimize your overall operational costs, helping businesses recover from what they lost during the COVID pandemic. This is why business automation tools are the future of workplace technologies.
Reid Hiatt, Founder and CEO of Tactic
Hybrid workplace experience platforms. It’s no secret that the role of the office is changing and companies that are able to adapt to these changes best will come out on top of the competition.
Office space has always been a means to recruit talented individuals (e.g., Google and Apple’s campuses) and now that’s not enough.
Companies must strategically deploy their office space in a way that maintains company culture and collaboration, while still giving their employees the flexibility they want over when they work at home versus the office.
Leslie Saul, President of Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc
Video meetings are here to stay. I hate when people say that they are “zoomed out” because the world would not have been able to function without video meetings during the past 15 months. (We use Teams).
There are other software platforms that our office has used, including Google JamBoard.
I believe that some of these technologies will continue to be used even after many have returned to the office.
Pavel Stepanov, CEO of Virtudesk
The workplace technologies that will be most important in the years ahead include productivity trackers, online meeting apps, and AI technology/automation apps.
With remote work or the hybrid-work model, you will have little to no physical contact with your employees. Therefore, you must have a time tracking tool to monitor their attendance and productivity. This also calls for more online meetings in order to stay connected and updated on projects. So, online meeting and communication apps will continue to be high in demand. AI technology and automation tools will become more robust and become a part of every business if it hasn’t already. These types of tools increase business productivity and efficiency and are vital to continue business operations.
Ginny Caldwell, Director of Interior Design, Southeast Venture
Companies are paying more attention to the utilization rate of office space. Some are using sensor technology to determine what spaces people are occupying, when and how often. Companies can then use this data to validate their office space decisions.
Another technology that is already becoming a norm is room/space reservation technology for collaborative spaces. This is the biggest request we are getting right now when planning office space design.
In addition, with COVID and a new concern about the spread of illness, air filter technology will be a lasting addition to many spaces, including offices.
Some of these technologies were being used before the pandemic, but the pandemic has definitely increased their prevalence.