The future connected workplace
3 Jan 2019
In the future, the best workplaces will harness ever-changing consumer, industry, and digital disruption, to empower every employee to be healthier, more creative, and purpose-led.
There are global disruptive forces affecting the real estate industry including automation and artificial intelligence, urbanisation and demographic change, new leasing and financing models, and climate change.
Furthermore, technology and consumer expectations are rapidly changing. By 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet and high-speed connectivity will be commoditised. Share economy platforms, such as Uber and Airbnb, have already enabled us to be more connected to each other and the places around us, both digitally and physically.
Global megatrends, ever changing consumer expectations and digital disruption, are driving a new future of work. A future where every employee will be empowered to be healthier, more creative, and purpose-led, enabled by invisible and seamless digital technology.
There is a growing importance of purpose at work and this will become increasingly important in future generations.
Technology will be a key enabler for employees and organisations to achieve this. For instance, a virtual assistant will make administrative tasks easier and quicker to perform, and as administrative tasks become more effortless, employees will have increased capacity to perform meaningful and complex work tasks. Additionally, the mainstream adoption of robotic process automation in organisations will mean that employees will not be required to perform repetitive and tedious tasks. This may eliminate some process-orientated jobs, but will likely also lead to the creation of many more purpose-led jobs.
As people perform more complex and creative work in the future, it is important that we design the future workplace in a way that enables people to be successful in these new roles, including technology to support increased mobility, collaboration, creativity, and usage of augmented and virtual reality tools.
The health of employees is directly aligned to the productivity and success of businesses. The total cost to businesses in Australia of sickness and absenteeism is circa A$7 billion per year, while the cost of ‘presenteeism’ (not completely functioning at work because of sickness) is circa A$26 billion.
Reducing isolation by connecting employees to others and their environment, is critical to employee health and wellbeing, thereby reducing absenteeism and presenteeism. Online platforms that digitally connect people with place and community, can drive a sense of belonging as well as provide access to local and meaningful experiences, personalised services, and information. For a landlord, an online tenant platform provides new insights into client demographics and interests, but most importantly, gives landlords an opportunity to enhance communication and tenant engagement.
‘Healthy buildings’ can also positively impact cognitive performance, productivity, and happiness. For example, we know through research that common CO2 indoor exposure levels can decrease cognitive and decision-making performance by more than 50%. As such, by utilising technology to actively monitor and adjust the atmosphere in the workplace, a very tangible improvement to the way people feel and perform can be created, with almost no human intervention required.
ENABLED BY INVISIBLE & SEAMLESS TECHNOLOGY
Seamless connectivity in a building refers to the connection of base building services, fast and reliable internet, and voice and data mobile phone services for building occupants. Seamless connectivity is critical to enable the digital technologies that make occupants of a building healthier, more comfortable, and productive.
Many of these digital technologies however, including smartphone apps and Internet of Things devices, require a human to make a deliberate action for users to receive the experience, service, or information they require. Technology in the workplace of the future will be invisible. The Internet of Things coupled with artificial intelligence and building connectivity, will learn the unique needs and wants of each worker, enabling the workplace environment to appropriately respond without any human effort.
The future connected workplace will purposefully connect people, place, and community.
This article was first published on lendlease.com