From chill spaces for employees to tea-making drones, the office of 2030 has a lot to offer future employees, according to Plusnet.The phone and broadband provider has recently launched research into what the office of the future will look like.
“What surprised me was how quickly new technology is coming in,” Matthew Foster, Media and Online Relations Specialist, tells HR Grapevine. “For instance, Christopher Barnatt, who is an Associate Professor at Nottingham University, talked about how virtual reality can put people in a meeting on the other side of the world, purely through wearing a virtual reality headset and being projected into the meeting. While we looked at the 2030 office space, that’s something that is happening in the next five years or so.”
Future offices could also include such high-tech features as hologram receptionists run by AI, foldable computers, full cloud integration, 3D printers, universal translators, diagnostic toilets that analyse the health of employees, and virtual gaming machines for staff wishing to plug out for a while.
However, Plusnet’s study is not the only one commenting on how offices may need to change. Steelcase has released new research that shows that UK workers are less engaged than other workers around the globe. 12,000 workers in 17 countries were surveyed. It found that 59% of UK employees felt a lack of control of their working environment, 43% reported concentrating difficulties and 50% said that they were unable to work without being interrupted.
“While open plan offices and hot-desking have their benefits, there is evidence that they are contributing to lower levels of engagement and workplace satisfaction in the UK, through limiting the control employees have over their work environment,” Bostjan Ljubic says. He is the VP at Steelcase UK and Ireland.
“We have consistently found that the most engaged workers are those who have more control over their work environment, including the ability to concentrate easily and work in teams without being interrupted. To cater to these needs, employers should provide a range of working environments, including private spaces, meeting rooms and informal break-out areas, to suit different styles and types of work.”
The Plusnet study suggests that other additions to the office of 2030 could include nap spaces, changeable walls and slides, and open space and collaboration rooms where people can throw around ideas.
Additionally, Plusnet also predicts that the office of tomorrow will put a lot of emphasis on employees being able to change their work station to fit their needs with fully adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs that can remember employees’ preferred working positions.
“That has come through the healthcare and the more traditional office workspace may affect health,” Foster says. “More people are waking up to the fact that sitting stationary for hours a day is quite detrimental. So, it is more about making the office work with the employees rather than employees moulding themselves into to the office.”
The video follows the Samsung Smarter Futures report. It has been put together in collaboration with The Future Laboratory, Google and IBM. Computer screens will be invisible and be activated by gesture controlled signals. Our digital selves will meet with anyone, anywhere, at any time in a way that optimises employee productivity and allow workers to focus on their core roles.
“Smart technology is the future; it’s happening now and those who fail to make the most of this may well not survive into the next decade.”