The pandemic has pushed us to adopt new ways of working, but it was only a matter of time before this big reshuffle started. Covid-19 has simply acted as an accelerator for flexible work and workplace technology by showing how both can support us in our jobs. However, the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation is also happening at a very high speed. How is it going to impact our work life? Anticipating the change is a must for every company.
On the one hand, digitalization enhances productivity, plays a huge role in employee retention and talent attraction, plus helps businesses remain competitive. On the other hand, it has some downsides that you need to be aware of in order to prepare for a smooth transition. But first, let’s discover which types of tech are already available in modern offices. What effect will the rise of technology have on our professional lives? What kind of digital tools should we expect to see in the future? This is what we will discuss in this article!
Examples of current workplace technology
Workspace management software
Over the last few years, digitalization has started to become key for managing office facilities. Sensor devices are now a standard solution to save energy and money. The use of hybrid workplace technology is rising as many companies realize the benefits of more flexibility. Space management tools have also become essential to improve the workforce experience. The workplace analytics collected by these digital solutions provide a better understanding of employees’ expectations of the office space. Do they require more meeting rooms? Are they struggling to book the desk they want? Office tech helps you to determine their needs to cultivate a great employee experience and enhance productivity.
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Digital collaboration tools
For most office employees, online collaboration platforms are now the norm. Workplace apps such as Slack, MS Teams, Zoom, or Google Meet enable hybrid teams to interact and share information seamlessly and effectively. As more and more organizations embrace the benefits of hybrid work, the use of cloud-based systems is also increasing and becoming a must-have in the digital collaboration tools set. The number of options is endless with more and more detailed features to help you meet your employees’ expectations. Later in this article, we will see how Virtual Reality (VR) is about to change our way to work together.
Employee well-being is one of the top priorities of every company, therefore, wellness technology is slowly making an impact on the world of work. You may think about wearable technology such as smartwatches, but workplace technology is a lot more than that. Robots and digital tools are now part of organizations’ strategies to make the office a better place and enhance productivity. Telemedicine apps or HCL (Human Centric Lighting) solutions that both aim at improving workers’ well-being and performance are some examples of professional wellness tech.
Companies have started to implement green tech in their buildings for greater environmental awareness. For example, an increasing number of businesses are now referring to the insights provided by technology to become more sustainable. The information collected by these devices allows them to make data-driven decisions to lower their carbon footprint. Green technology at work can also include the use of smart sensors to decrease energy consumption or adjustable AC filtration and airflow, for instance. Not only does it regulate AC usage but it offers greater comfort for workers.
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The impact of digitalization on our lives
The unstoppable and rapid progression of automation and AI
Did you know that ‘Artificial Intelligence and automation are progressing three times faster than Moore’s Law,’ which suggests the speed of computers is rapidly increasing? (Source: Technology and the future of work, SHRM.) Some people start to fear the impact of workplace technology on their jobs. What are our lives going to look like in a world where digitalization plays a bigger part every single day?
There is one thing all experts agree on: companies must help their workforce learn how to collaborate with these machines and robots. As the development of technology is not going to stop, building trust between humans and automatized tools is a priority to benefit from digital evolution. It is crucial that employees understand the utility of this technology in order to work with them and get the most out of them.
The dilemma: will workplace technology support or replace us?
The effect of technology in the workplace is a very hot topic as some people raise concerns about the future of our professional lives. For example, AI will soon be smarter than humans and machines will be capable of performing coding tasks by themselves. For the last 50 years, robots have been replacing employees little by little, allowing businesses to produce more with fewer staff members. Obviously, this will continue to have a disruptive impact on the labor force.
On the bright side, the introduction of more workplace technology is a great opportunity for reskilling, upskilling, and a more purpose-driven career path. Some professors like Benjamin Hunnicut even talk about a new economic model. A system where money will be less important and, therefore, working won’t have such a fundamental position in our lives. However, the smooth transition to a more digital workplace will be highly dependent on how organizations and governments implement this technological advancement.
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The next level of workplace technology
Virtual reality at work
Since hybrid work is here to stay, new digital solutions such as virtual teams technology are about to change the relationship we have with our jobs and the workplace. Tele-presence will enable remote workers to virtuallybe ‘sitting in the same room’ with their colleagues who are on-site. This will lead to an innovative model of collaboration that will enhance better teamwork and performance. Training will be attended via VR devices as well. One of the main advantages of learning through a virtual reality machine is the possibility to make a mistake without any consequences. These are just two examples but there is much more to come, so, is your business ready to dive into VR?
Occupational Health and Safety and digitalization
Touch-free technology is a big component of the future tech in the workplace. As Covid-19 has forced everybody to implement social distancing and to be even more thorough about hygiene, digitalization will help us to maintain a safe and healthy workspace. Voice command, eye tracking, and facial recognition software will represent the main types of touch-free systems. Moreover, it is important to highlight that this technology will also improve security at work.
The future of the workspace
Recently, the traditional office layout has been reshuffled with increased work flexibility. Modern workspaces tend to be designed to match hybrid work and employees’ needs. New technology in the workplace will help organizations prioritize employees’ experience. Space management tools will enable companies to have an adjustable office space that acclimates to the expectations of their workforce. For example, these tools will be able to determine how many individual desks or meeting rooms are required each day and redesign the workspace accordingly. Every single day, a new office allows your team to perform in the best conditions possible.
Workplace technology is already supporting us in our everyday lives, sometimes even without us realizing it. How will technology change the future of the workplace? There is no doubt that a big transformation is currently happening and the impact it will have on our careers depends on how organizations, governments, and employees react. Has your company incorporated digitalization yet? Are you using an online office management solution to help your team members embrace the new way of working?