Technology & Employees: How Will They Affect The Future Workplace?

11th January 2016

Following on from Rapports’ recent interview with our Workspace Analyst Lily Bernheimer on the future workplace, part two of our interview focuses on the future of technology in business. how organisations need to adapt to a new generation of workers, and how you can utilize these insights to future-proof your own office workspace and design.

Lily, we looked at developing social and lifestyle changes and the effect this will have on businesses in the future recently. Looking at advancements in technology, it’s no secret that social software, mobility and cloud-based services are making it easier for us to work away from the traditional office.

What impact will this have on the future office?

Technological innovation is transforming our working spaces, hours, and practices at an unprecedented rate of change. As technology for communication, collaboration, and organisation improves, flexible and distributed working will continue to grow. But these trends are countered by the need to have really high-quality spaces for face-to-face interaction when workers do come together.

Not only will these technologies have an impact on greater productivity, but the immediate and future effect of a new generation of workers vs the need for a less traditional office space is a factor all businesses need to consider.

You work closely with universities. What trends or shifts do you predict with the new generation of employees?

These overall trends appear to be even more salient with the younger generation of workers. Millennials are more “fickle” (or flexible!) in their careers, quickly moving on to new opportunities if their high expectations for jobs and workplaces are not met.

International research has found that 56% of Millennials, especially those in the UK and US, preferred flexible working arrangements. Younger workers tend to want to find a job that is an expression of their identity. A workspace that allows them to express their identity is a big part of this.  

*It is also important to consider the aging population of workers. As the age of retirement increases, businesses need to be able to cater for both a new generation of workers and older workers.

Getting the balance right isn’t as difficult as it sounds; as many parallels and considerations of office design and office space can affect people of all ages equally. 

Jeremy Myerson makes some valuable points in an article about ageing workers in The Guardian here.

Can you explain what a Time and Space Utilisation study is, and how it can benefit businesses in the future direction of their workspace design and employee wellbeing? 

Time and Space Utilisation Study is a systematic assessment of how a workspace is used over the course of a normal working week. Quantitative methods such as behaviour mapping and decibel measurement are combined with qualitative data to present a picture of how fully your businesses space is being utilised, and how well it is meeting individual and team working needs. Different organisations need different workspace “tools” to work at their best—a utilisation study reveals how well a workspace is performing. It identifies areas that can be made better use of, for example;

*How many hours a week are workers in the office?

*How much space is needed for different functions and teams?

*Will technological advancements reduce the need for extensive office space?

These crucial insights transform an office move or fit-out into a valuable opportunity to make the workspace support organisational performance and employee well-being.

We work closely with businesses to identify these needs based on the businesses future direction and advice best practices based on the analysis.

Working closely with Rapport’s services in this way can really help make long-term financial savings and the longevity of any design or relocation of a business.

About Lily:  As an environmental psychologist, consultant and researcher Lily Bernheimer has been working in human-centred design since 2007.

Her specialisms include behaviour change, agile workspaces and qualitative research.

You can speak with Rapport on; 01252 712590 or email us for advice on utilising your current space, an office move,  design or fit-out at; info@rapport-solutions.org.uk

To view our portfolio of work click here.

The data from this article comes via the Tomorrow’s Home: Social Trends Report written and researched by Lily, in consultation with Robert Adam, Hugh Peter, ADAM Urbanism, Kurt Mueller, Grainger.