The pace of change is quickening in every aspect of life – but nowhere is it more noticeable than in the workplace. Offices are changing beyond recognition – streamlining processes and making work easier and more fun for its employees. It’s a win-win for everyone. Here are some of the latest workplace trends, so you can make sure you’re keeping up.
More human interaction
It might not have been the first trend you expected to see in our tech-reliant times, but companies are starting to encourage more face-to-face interaction between employees.
For example, IBM has stopped its remote-working programme, bringing thousands of employees back into the office, while Apple’s new facility is designed to promote employee relationships and collaboration. Also, the company’s cafés are also designed to encourage more face-to-face interactions between employees across different departments and teams, with people they may not have socialised with otherwise.
There is a growing recognition that ideas spark and confidence is boosted when workers bump into each other in physical environments, and it can also boost performance and wellbeing. After all, we all need work friends we can turn do in the middle of a stressful day.
While technology can, and does, make us more efficient, and allows us to connect with others quickly, there’s no forgetting the value of face-to-face interaction. This is why experts are predicting that the physical meeting is set to last, along with work environments that encourage collaboration.
But all this talk of face-to-face interaction isn’t to devalue the potential of artificial intelligence as it becomes more and more embedded in our daily working lives. Some examples of this are chatbots and virtual assistants, as well as analytics and number-crunching and big data-collection. It’s predicted that AI will become widespread and will soon become the norm, rather than novelty additions.
Companies will use AI to improve IT performance and, using innovations that, for example, allow machines to understand and analyse human speech or text to allow businesses to quickly understand everything happening in their networks.
Another trend set to continue is the prioritisation of employee wellbeing in the workplace. Companies are increasingly investing in ways to boost the wellbeing of their staff on a daily and weekly basis, by offering mindfulness and meditation classes, for example, as well as yoga.
Some employ practitioners to come into the office and teach a lunchtime session in an unused room, for example, while others may offer vouchers for workers to attend classes in their own time.
A number of companies are going one step further and offering nap pods – where employees can climb inside to have a half an hour kip, or just some quiet time away from the office. Many nap pods are installed with TVs inside, in case catching up on Netflix is what’s needed to reset and recharge to finishing the day’s work.
And last but not least, shared office spaces are becoming much more popular, as employers become more flexible, and start-ups continue to thrive, as well as established businesses looking to attract talent and collaborate with other businesses.
For flexible and shared office space, Shoreditch continues to be the model, with copious coworking spaces as well as the fuller packages offered by a serviced office space like Old Street’s Proper Office. However, this is a trend that is spreading far and wide, with everyone from global corporations to dynamic young startups opting for shared, flexible work space over the more traditional office.