Workplace of the Future: 4 Developments You Should Know Better
A new era is dawning.
It will never be the same as you once knew it.
What was once whispered about before the pandemic is now present and everyday reality, even in your office.
Since the future of work knocked on your office door, the work environment 4.0 has been established. You may still be observing this development from the sidelines.
But what exactly is the work environment 4.0?
It is the phase that marks the beginning of the digital transformation of the working world. The three previous systems since the 18th century were characterized by the beginnings of industrial society (Work 1.0), mass production and the welfare state (Work 2.0), and the social market economy and workers’ rights (Work 3.0).
The concept of a fixed workplace, as you understood it, is fading from the minds of your employees. They perceive their workplace as the ability to work from anywhere and at any time.
Bid farewell to the notion that only IT geeks work remotely. No, even your personal assistant is calling you from Bali because they decided to live there for a few years.
Wooden toy makers are operating high-tech CNC milling machines. Orthodontists create 3D scans of your teeth. And HR managers scout the most suitable talents for your company through social recruiting on social media platforms.
Welcome to the workplace of the future.
Your team works half remotely, one-third hybrid, and the rest in the office. Your employees talk to you about work-life balance. Higher salary no longer entices them. Their mental well-being is more important than ever.
At the same time, they worry about their social interaction and integration into the team. The other side in the office wonders how to handle virtual collaboration and remote work. New technological developments such as artificial intelligence, automation, and the metaverse accompany the digital transformation of the working world like crutches support a frail person.
News of job cuts, cyberattacks, and data misuse haunt the working world like ghosts in a horror movie. The fear of becoming obsolete, the inability to separate everyday life from work, and increasing dependence on IT experts adds to the concerns.
Flexibility is the new buzzword. It dominates the discourse, from working hours to workspace design.
Ahead of you lie challenges as daunting as a 20-meter-high wave rolling towards you. The question is whether it will crash over you or whether you will elegantly ride it with your surfboard.
In this article, you will learn how to surf the wave of challenges of the flexible workplace of the future instead of succumbing to them.
1. An organization that listens and promotes
Your role as a business leader, project manager, or HR professional is to listen to the needs and concerns of your employees. In the workplace of the future, you align the interests of your staff with the success of the company.
In the work environment 4.0, communication, openness, and empathy are as important as the popular coffee break with colleagues. Take the time to address your employees’ concerns and communicate directly. Organize team activities online and hold team-building events on-site. And meet your employees in person for a shared dinner.
This strengthens team cohesion, cooperation, and fosters employee engagement. Shaping your employees into a strong team is essential for the workplace of the future and should be nurtured like young plants.
It is also your responsibility to enhance employees’ skills, redefine roles and responsibilities, delegate more complex cognitive tasks to existing employees, and introduce new working methods such as continuous learning and open work environments.
Next, find out how you can design your office to meet the requirements of the workplace of the future.
2. Designing the Office Flexibly, Sustainably, and Healthily
A modern office consists of unassigned workstations and various ergonomic options such as open spaces, co-working spaces, and private rooms.
Open areas encourage interaction and collaboration with colleagues, and they are used for spontaneous brainstorming, group work, and discussions in small groups. Private rooms enable focused work for oneself, undisturbed phone calls, or a quick nap.
Your employees start their day sitting at a shared desk, move to a sofa for a group discussion, and end their day at a standing desk in a private room. This principle is also known as hot desking and is a current trend.
The office becomes a second home. Employees should enjoy coming to the office. It should be worthwhile, like having an ice cream on a hot summer day. Those who despise remote work should be freed from the burden of commuting, as the workplace becomes a place of socializing and building relationships.
This flexible office concept fosters creativity and performance by providing different environments for different work phases.
Modern offices consider employees’ stronger desire for a healthy work environment. They are designed to allow good ventilation and natural light to fill the space. They integrate green spaces such as living walls, plants, and flowers to promote physical and mental well-being. Such biophilic offices help employees to be more active, uplift their mood, and become calmer and more relaxed.
Sustainable office design also includes energy efficiency, the use of recycled materials, furnishing with second-hand furniture, conscious water usage, as well as plastic-free kitchen equipment and waste separation.
Is anything missing?
Yes. Technology in the workplace.
In the era of digital transformation in the working world, technology asserts itself relentlessly, much like the merchants in a Moroccan marketplace.
Next, take a look at how you can integrate artificial intelligence and other technologies into your workplace of the future.
3. Utilizing Technologies Mindfully
Your employees want flexible working hours and locations, as well as social interaction and a sense of belonging. You want effective collaboration, success, innovation, and problem-solving.
Bringing all these interests together will not happen on its own.
You need technological solutions that allow your team to feel like an integral part of the company, rather than excluded and distant. You also need solutions to onboard new employees, provide training, and upskill existing colleagues.
This requires banishing the old clattering fax machine and introducing modern technology in the workplace. This includes powerful laptops, messaging services, connected tablets, high-tech projectors, and ultra-fast, reliable internet.
Sure, it can be daunting to witness how rapidly robotics and artificial intelligence automate processes at the workplace, rendering certain tasks no longer necessary for humans. But technological advancements create space to take on more complex tasks, acquire new knowledge, and develop new skills.
Technology in the workplace provides you with tools to build a collaborative team. Overall, you can increase the efficiency and productivity of your company through technological innovation.
How can you utilize technology for yourself?
Robots can take on unpopular, dangerous, and repetitive tasks. They can automate processes. Artificial intelligence will adapt human work patterns and help employees become more productive, efficient, and better organized.
Virtual reality, augmented reality, and hologram technologies will create spaces where employees sitting in the office can connect with colleagues who prefer remote work.
And the Internet of Things (IoT) helps you establish labor-saving processes. With billions of devices connecting and collecting data without human intervention, you can automatically order new whiteboard markers when they are running low, or turn off lights and air conditioning in unused rooms. This allows more time for creative thinking and focusing on complex tasks.
What is missing?
This will enable your employees to navigate a virtual world as 3D avatars. Science fiction becomes reality.
4. Harnessing Social Recruiting as a Team
The physical location as a workplace has been obliterated by the pandemic and digitalization, just like the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteorite.
If you are open to the flexible workplace of the future and ready to tackle the challenging aspects, a talent pool as vast as the universe is at your disposal. With social recruiting on social media platforms, you can assemble a diverse and talented team.
What’s the catch?
Your team is dispersed, and in the worst case, team members may be working in time zones as different as New York and Bielefeld.
However, with today’s technologies and social recruiting, you can connect your team, build relationships among team members, and enable them to collaborate virtually.
If you use social recruiting not only to post job ads but also to let team members share their workplace, challenges, and successes, it can strengthen and solidify the relationships between team members alongside in-person meetings.
Colleagues can comment, give likes and hearts. When your employees act as ambassadors, it also becomes marketing for your company values and provides insights into the working environment you offer to your employees.
If you also make your application process mobile-friendly and allow video interviews, you are well-equipped for the workplace of the future.
With the pandemic, flexible working hours, home office, and remote work have stormed into the working life like an unstoppable avalanche. And the digital transformation of the working world is racing toward the workforce without speed limits.
The executive levels of companies have the task of transforming the avalanche of changes brought by digitization into opportunities for their employees. Instead of monotonous, repetitive tasks under the neon lights of ceiling lamps, with fax machines and 16-bit computer floppy disk drives rattling in the background, modern workplace technologies and employee training programs should take center stage.
How far you go is up to you and your team. There are many solutions for the workplace of the future.
Social media recruiting is one of them. If you would like professional assistance in finding the most suitable employees, take a look at our service.