In our most recent blog, Generation Z, the next generation that will be joining the workforce, we highlighted the fact that they are highly skilled in online collaboration, using technology to expand their social circles. With this in mind, we decided to look at how emerging technology can aid collaboration in the workplace and make it a more comfortable place for these tech savvy individuals.

Flexibility

Whether you’re from Generation X, Y, or Z, a Millennial or a Baby Boomer, the fact is that no-one is restricted to working at their desk anymore. The newest generations in the workplace have already stated that flexibility is a major factor when it comes to their job, which is why more and more businesses are incorporating multiple workspace options into their next office fit-out. Hot desk areas, break-out zones and quiet, closed-off rooms support the use of wireless, mobile devices, alongside more traditional desk layouts with static PCs and monitors.

Connectivity

This looser, less regimented layout is reliant on good Wi-Fi internet access in the office, which depends on the coverage for your particular area. Thankfully the Superconnected Cities scheme aims to bring high-grade broadband and wireless connectivity to 11 Superconnected Cities across the UK. Both of the cities that we have offices in, Cardiff and London, will benefit from the scheme, so it’s worth finding out if your region is covered and if you can claim the funding that’s available. At the time of writing, this scheme was open until March 2015.

Collaboration

Clearly, improved Wi-Fi coverage in the office will help you to create a culture of collaboration that is likely to attract and retain the generations of digital and mobile natives who are the workers of the future.

superconnected cities superconnected cities

media:scape (Photography; Steelcase)

One product that uses this technology particularly well is Steelcase’s media:scape. It’s an entire range of furniture designed to help people connect and collaborate, swiftly and effortlessly. Media:scape was designed to provide multi-purpose spaces that help teams co-create content together – not just present and share it.

OPEN CONNECT SHARE

Open Connect Share (Photography; Steelcase)

To use media:scape you simply open the media well in the centre of the table and take out a Personal User Control Key (PUCK). Then connect the PUCK to your laptop, share what’s on it by pressing the PUCK, and the content is shown on a monitor or projector to all users. Content can be shared across the office, across the country or across the globe! And with media:scape mini and media:scape mobile, you can make pretty much anywhere in the office a collaborative space.

As we see these superconnected generations move into the workforce, the workplace will need to become a superconnected environment. Staff members will start to tell their employers what they need in order to work more effectively, but it’s certainly advisable to start looking at how you can create a superconnected office sooner, rather than later.

Written by Helen Bartlett, Design Manager

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