Keeping up with the digital workstyle
Where are you and your company headed?
Lately there has been an influx of digital tools ready to cater to your every need (and even some you didn’t know you had) to make your work days better, faster, stronger. But, as the song goes, our work is never over. Because, all this technology has managed to blur the lines between what constitutes work and what is considered down time.
Does this translate into a more fulfilling existence for everyone of us? Or does it simply trick us into believing our lives are filled with meaningful interactions, when in fact we are just going through the motions?
Let’s take the traditional idea of company headquarters, that is now slowly migrating towards a more flexible approach. With faster, more reliable wi-fi, comes the opportunity to allow your employees to work from anywhere they choose. If you feel like hanging out on a bench in the park around the corner you can easily take care of those important emails that had to go out now. For those who still feel the need to leave their house in order to keep focused, there comes the solution of coworking spaces which allow you to get all the perks of an office in a flexible, relaxed way. This means that the way we think about going to work will slowly shift from Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall, to a more serene image (insert preferred chillout video here).
There is another trend that goes hand in hand with ditching the traditional view of an office space. People will start to focus more and more on common areas with shared assets and a team-work friendly environment. While this might seem like a more humanistic, collaborative approach, there is a caveat to this situation. It’s called lack of concentration because Joe whose sitting in front of you is blasting pop-rock through his headset and he won’t turn it down, even though you asked him 3 times. Or impossibility to focus because two people are arguing over your head about the best layout for that flyer that was supposed to be ready two days ago. You get the gist. While engendering a cozy sense of community does boost work satisfaction, you have to be particularly careful how you go about this, while at the same time still giving people the opportunity to go to a private space in order to meet a deadline or simply clear their mind from all the clatter. That is why you might have to consider investing in room booking systems to make sure that the private spaces or conference rooms you have set aside for these situations are properly used and that nobody feels frustrated by not being able to claim them when they actually need them.
If you want to use facility scheduling software free from any headaches, you might want to make sure that the spaces you offer to your team will fit all their personality types. Lately it feels like the entire focus of office design has shifted to extroverts who want to hang out and trade quips all the time. But what about your shyer wallflowers? What about that quiet guy or gal who only likes people as part of their Sims family? Perhaps you should consider providing them as well with nooks and crannies where they can scurry off when the pressure of being in a room with more than 2 people gets to be too much. This will provide a healthier more relaxed environment for everybody involved and it will definitely improve their quality of life and their wellness quotient.
Other office automation software will also impact how we interact with each other and how much time we have to simply process information and unlock the true potential of our creativity. AI and the rise of VR technology will allow people explore their work environment in new exciting ways that might prove to be revolutionary. Or might make procrastination an even more acute problem. It depends how you choose to look at the problem. Pair this with attempts to integrate microchips into people and you will have a creative, well-behaved army of cyborgs ready to go the extra (virtual) mile for that important project or to win that hard to get account.
And last but not least we really have to consider the very likely possibility of people getting app overload and fatigue. While it’s true that all these wonderful apps are freeing up a lot of time, to simply hang around the office/park/colab space/african safari and think of creative ways to do your job, it is also true that there comes a time when you might find yourself inundated with user names, passwords and user manuals. You could try mnemonic devices to remember all of them, but let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time for that. An easier way to deal with this would be to prune all the excess fat and choose your bare necessities. A meeting room manager, an analytics tool and an editor of one kind or another (text/ spreadsheet/ video/ whatever) are essentials that should be kept. Everything else is up for grabs.