In September 1994, over 32,000 AT&T employees stayed home to work. This was the first large scale attempt at telecommuting – and a key turning point for exploring how far businesses could go in transforming the workplace. Prior to this, the workplace followed a 19th century model of work, focused on inputs and outputs, and a distinct lack of worker autonomy.
More than 25 years later, what’s interesting is that while behaviors and attitudes have moved on to allow higher levels of flexibility and flat hierarchies, data shows that the physical workplace is still an integral part of work as we know it:
So why do we continue to prefer to be in communal offices? Well, as I explained in our recent virtual event with WORKTECH, the human need to collaborate is hardwired in us, and while virtual technology is a great facilitator, it’s not a replacement. We need to see all the haptics to be able to respond accurately.
At Konica Minolta, we understand this and are advocating a change in workplace practice, so that the next generations of employees are enabled by technology to make the most of their physical locations. It’s time to redefine the workplace.
Placing the emphasis on flexibility
Just because the evidence is showing us we still need a physical base, it doesn’t mean that your workplace should take the ‘old-school’ approach and capitalize on available square footage by organizing linear rows of employees. COVID-19 has driven an acceleration of digital transformation within organizations of all sizes, and we’ve seen the workplace become dynamic with resiliency and agility to adapt to rapid changes in economic, social and market disruption.
Further, technology and evolving working policies have enabled a flexible practice that means we’re no longer tied to perceiving success from physical visibility, and instead look for spaces that help enhance our collaboration and productivity. What we’re seeing as part of this approach is the focus on ‘workspaces’ instead, which can appear wherever we want to work, within your wider office campus or even co-working facility. These modern places to work give employees the freedom to choose the space that works for their current needs, whether it be a quiet room, open-plan or a bustling cafeteria.
Unlock the potential of your physical workplace
This redefinition of people, spaces and technology means the workplace becomes your key to truly support synergy. For example, the chosen workspace might be smaller, but if it is brilliantly managed and perfectly attuned to the changing requirements of individuals then it offers so much more value to employees because it is actively enabling innovation.
Businesses should then look to provide access to information and resources around them in flexible and creative ways. Most importantly this means providing a consistent and unified experience across all touchpoints – using more compelling and informative ways to collaborate, learn and do. Both physical and virtual spaces should work in a way that feels intuitive and seamless, allowing employees to unleash their knowledge and expertise to its full potential.
The future of work
With continued innovation in AI, machine learning and IoT, decision support from intelligent systems is no longer a sci-fi dream. Connecting disparate data points means technologies like these can be deployed anywhere, and using real-time insights can help businesses make faster and better decisions.
This is where the workplace becomes truly connected to the individual, with strategic decisions being facilitated by technology and allowing human-led creativity and collaboration take center stage. Spaces will react to our moods and needs, increasing our well-being and helping us to do more and better things. This is the intelligent connected workplace.
Build the workplace tailored for you
The redefined workplace will revolutionize what we can achieve together, liberating each of us to be more productive and more creative in our own, unique way. At Konica Minolta, we’re always looking to see how we can equip your workforce with the essential tools to modernize ways of working and unlock greater potential. Find out more online.