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What could your future workspace look like?

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What could your future workspace look like?

Jeremy Horey | Group Consulting Director

It’s a Monday morning in the year 2025 and you just turned up at the office at 10.30am. Your boss doesn’t mind that you’re late, however, because your productivity data shows you are personally more productive if you avoid the stress of rush hour.

Your company has a hot desk policy, and from an interactive board in the lobby, you can find a desk which is free – thanks to IoT sensors which discover where there’s space for you to work. Sitting down at your desk, the office chair automatically adjusts to your height, and an ambient lighting system changes overhead lighting to suit your preferences.

Your desktop terminal instantly ‘recognises’ you with AI technology which scans your face and ensures that you – and only you – can access your company’s systems. Once ‘logged on’, a personalised task list is presented to you, which has been configured to your preferred working style, of ‘bitty’ tasks in the morning, before progressing to in-depth projects later.

What you notice from this vision of a future workplace is that a lot of mundane tasks that don’t add value to the person’s workday are automated. This leaves more time for the person to focus on the tasks that add more business value.

Imagining what the future workspace might look like is more than just an entertaining thought experiment. By developing a picture of what your workspace could look like, you can begin ‘working backwards’ to your current working environment, asking: “Where are we now, and what do we need to do to get where we want to be?” These are the fundamentals of a Digital Workplace strategy.

Organisations that begin picturing how they can start to change their workplace in the coming years, and then act on that vision, will reap long term benefits. So, what are the things that you can do to help create that vision?

Building the Case for Change

If you are serious about changing your workspace, you can start by building support for the change in your organisation. A good place to fertilise your thinking is the 2017 Digital Workplace report. Once you have read that, there are three things to think about:

  1. Why do you want to change your workspace in the first place?

The working environment has always changed, and so being adaptable and open to change is essential. However, having a clear idea of what your reasons for changing are is very important – it means you avoid investing in technology or working styles which are fashionable, yet which offer little objective value to the business.

So, is your goal to offer better customer service? Or boost profit? Compete in a different market? Or do you plan to reduce staff turnover?

  1. Why do you need to start the changes now?

While many people will agree that change is needed, it is hard to get the budget and the help you need to make the change. If you can answer the question ‘why do we need to start the changes now?’ you will have the ammunition to get your organisation to take the first steps down this path.

  1. What is your vision for your future workspace?

Finally start thinking about what your future workspace might look like. Now’s the time to think big: how could your working environment be changed to support better, more creative working? What could you do to improve customer experience and boost profits?

You need to create a realistic vision, which takes into account how technological, cultural and technological trends will affect your market in years to come. When you come to actually start building a strategy that will drive the change, you will develop a more detailed and comprehensive vision of the future workspace. But if you have some key ideas now, you will find it easier to inspire others and get the support you need to start developing a strategy.

You might start by using the vision that you read in the first three paragraphs of this blog. But to be effective the vision you build will need to show the business benefits that the organisation can expect from the future workspace. Read our 2017 Digital Workplace report today to find out how the workplace is changing.

Next Steps

Once you have some organisational support you will need to find the expertise to help you build and then implement the strategy for your future workplace. If you are lucky, you will have some in-house experience and skills to draw upon. The extent of those skills and experience will determine how much specialist help you will need from outside your organisation.  While technology knowledge and skill are important, they are not sufficient. There are other important questions such as: `Who will run the technology?’ `How can we ensure users adopt the technology?’ and `How do we prioritise the changes that will deliver the most benefit?’.

Dimension Data and your future workplace

Every business is different and so the way that new technologies and business activities play out for your organisation will be specific to your sector.

For airlines, we can expect a future where air stewards wear Augmented Reality eyeglasses which provide them with information on specific customer needs. For accountants, it will involve using Artificial Intelligence to support the processing of client tax returns. For media companies, it will involve discovering new ways of displaying entertainment to customers.

As one of the world’s biggest and most successful systems integrators, Dimension Data has the breadth of skills and depth of experience to help organisations across industries on their journeys to the workspace of tomorrow. Our Workspace Assessments are the first step in helping organisations begin this journey, where our industry experts deliver a comprehensive workshop that helps you begin your preparation.

Learn about our Workspace Assessments here, or get in contact with us today to organise your assessment.