Everything related to a workspace has been disrupted by various experiments – from closed cabins to cubicles to an open floor with everyone working together
Walk in at 9 with a crisp tie and a briefcase. Sit at your desk while your fingers dance at the keyboard. Bury your head with designated tasks and then leave for the day. This was a typical day at work in the 1980s defined by fixed working hours, hierarchy, silos, and fragmentation.
With the advent of technology and constantly evolving management practices, the traditional Indian offices have evolved too. Everything related to a workspace has been disrupted by various experiments – from closed cabins to cubicles to an open floor with everyone working together. In a modern workspace, colleagues become friends, companies become sample audience for pilot studies and an office becomes a plug and play environment. Great minds think alike but multiple minds think differently, and this forms the genesis of disruptive ideas.
In today’s day and age, employees value their work-life balance more than ever. According to a CBRE study, 70 percent of millennials would make various trade-offs to secure a better workplace that allows for more harmony between work & life. And the same is being achieved by collaborative workspaces. These are set up keeping in mind the individual’s needs and interests which in turn increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the employee.
Technology that serves people
Technological advancements have further enabled the workforce to achieve their full potential. Leveraging IoT and by integrating it with AI, workplaces can be transformed into smarter, dynamic and interactive offices. Automating the entry & exit; improving security; controlling energy consumption & utilization, and enabling cashless payments allows professionals to work in an accelerated environment. In the 1980s, it was hard to believe how personal computers would transform our lives. Similarly, today it is difficult to envision what AI will mean to us over the coming decades. The IoT’s growth, in turn, drives an exponential rise in the volumes of data gathered, providing meaningful insights for future strategies. Individuals within organisation are more connected than ever. Cloud computing, web conferences, instant messaging and e-diaries have enabled better communication around the world and within the organisation. The ability of devices to interact with individuals provide for a personally curated workspace that inspires productivity. Hence, by facilitating the nexus of communications, IoT will define the future of work.
Mobility: The secret weapon to flexible workplace
Another important facet of the future of workspaces – ‘Mobility’ is revolutionising the way we work. Work is not only limited to designate tasks for the day, but it is also to go above and beyond what is expected. For the same reason, people are working on the go too. To keep up with the changing nature of work, the new breed of workspaces provides convenient options to work from multiple locations seamlessly. Millennials who contribute 3/4th of an organisation’s workforce require the ‘right’ environment or they choose their ‘own’ environment i.e a coffee shop or library. According to an article in Time magazine, polls show that millennials “want flexible work schedules and more ‘me time’ on the job.” Keeping in mind the needs of today’s generation, shared workspaces provide a bouquet of mobility solutions like virtual offices, national pass, etc. for today’s on the move workforce to thrive. Shared workspaces fitted with activity-based settings allow for greater collaboration and alternate meeting/working points other than one’s work desk. In fact, collaboration areas & meeting lounges allow for stimulated informal interactions that cater to the much-wanted ‘work-life’ balance.
Since work timings are not rigid anymore, individuals are perpetually working. People highly value comfortable, inviting workspaces with flexible working arrangements and built-in communities. The flexibility of time and space has become of utmost importance. For workers across levels and industries, flexible work options provide more freedom to accomplish a variety of tasks. Organisations not only want to retain talent but also want to make sure they are being productive. Flexible workspace culture is promoting a lifestyle, not just a place to do business.
Co-workers as Communities
As the corporate world adapts to technology and design trends, it is crucial to keep in mind employee needs. Many people, especially the Gen-Z employees, benefit from a space that encourages the growth of a community. People share opinions and formulate opinions basis their continuous interactions with other colleagues – encouraging a highly open environment. A community at the workplace promotes an open culture which is beyond hierarchies. A co-working culture solidifies bonds amongst employees and breaks traditional stereotypes of formality and protocol. A sense of belonging in the workplace is not only about self-entitlement but also a huge motivational factor for the employees. And as rightly said by Henry Ford, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
It will be extremely intriguing to witness the next big trends in the Indian office space. However, it is safe to say that the future of work will see more of co-working and less of traditional workspaces & traditional work methodologies.