At Paramount, we approach every office fit out with one thing in mind, how it’s going to be used today, tomorrow and in the future. It’s the concept behind our Future Workers video and it drives every design project that we work on.
Here are a few recent advancements in office technology that bring us one step closer to the kind of futuristic offices that you normally only see in sci-fi movies.
With a Japanese bank introducing robot workers into some of its branches and a study saying that by 2025 25% of jobs in America will be automated, it’s hardly surprising that we’re already starting to see mechanical members of staff in the office.
Meet Jenkins Steel the latest recruit at First Light PR. They invested in the gyroscoped telepresence technology for a member of staff who couldn’t commute to the company’s offices in central London.
Essentially a Segway with an iPad on top, Jenkins is controlled remotely using an online tool. Now anyone can work from home and still communicate face-to-face with the rest of the team thanks to a live two-way video feed.
With smartphones, wider access to Wi-Fi, video conferencing, the Internet of Things and wearable tech reducing the need for a fixed working space, the office is evolving. The staff at First Light are now used to seeing the disembodied head of a colleague rolling up to their desk, so much so they’ve written a blog article about working with Jenkins and he even appears on their website’s team page.
Heat sensing hot desking
Flexibility will become even more important in the office of the future. As well as being able to work from home or remotely, staff members will also want their office space to be adaptable. The flipside of this is the need for businesses to know how effective a space is being used. It’s all very well creating an office environment that gives people plenty of different options for where they can work, but if certain areas aren’t being used then the design of the office needs to be assessed.
To solve this, work-based technology specialists Condeco Software developed infrared heat sensors that can detect when a space is being used. This allows companies to make informed decisions on the efficiency of a space.
Staff will be able to walk into an office, see an available space, book it for a few hours on their smartphone or tablet, then sit down and work. If you leave the area for more than an hour, the sensors will send you a message asking whether you have finished with the space and it can be freed up. In the future, contactless technology could mean that you use a touch in and out system instead.
Home Sweet Office
Inc.com reported on one aspect of the office of the future that we’re already starting to see in office design. Our own modern office furniture partners, Steelcase, created a new brand called Turnstone. It was conceived to reflect the fact that designers are taking inspiration from spaces like cafes, hotels and home interiors. This approach not only gives people choice about where they work and how they work but also offers an environment that people actually want to go to.
To launch it, they created a model office in New York, overlooking Central Park, and filled it with products from the new Turnstone range, including;
Images from Steelcase
With Millennials, Generation Z and more (not forgetting robots) working in the multi-generational office of the future, the need to carefully consider its design and layout is more important than ever. A workplace will not only have to reflect a more flexible, remote style of working but also be the kind of space that staff feel comfortable in and want to come to on a daily basis.
The office of the future isn’t that far away, and we can help you take one step closer to it.