As another year has drawn to an end, we delve into 2018 and examine what trends and challenges will contribute to the next evolution of the working environment.
We collaborated with a diverse group of leading workplace specialists, to discuss what key workplace contributors will be the focus over the coming year, including digital transformation, agile working, automation and employee wellbeing.
Here’s what they had to say about future predictions and workplace trends for 2018.
1.Jane Hammersley, European Business Manager, Collaboration: Maverick:
Achieving true ‘digital transformation’, cannot be achieved by adding more technology alone, the four key components of ‘people, process, space and technology’ must be successfully addressed in unison.
Over the past 2 years, collaborative devices have exploded into the meeting space of many major enterprise organisations. Previously, such technologies have been isolated, created from disparate technologies and often complicated to use.
In order to achieve the promised business outcomes, I predict that successful usage will come from complete integration into business platforms, driving ‘collaborative chat streams’ that follow and guide users across multiple device types and multiple meeting spaces – supporting real-time collaboration – voice data and video.
2. Graham Bird and Jackie Furey, Co-Directors, Where We Work:
2018 will hopefully be the year when we finally pin down the true definition of what it means to be an ‘agile office’. It will also be a year where we see a rapid decline in structured office environments and symmetrical office plans.
Layouts will instead become more asymmetric with a stronger focus on function.
There will be a rise in the influence of wellbeing, in relation to how we consider the design of our workspaces, and the studies that capture the reality of how people react to their workspace -and how they aspire to work- will have a stronger influence on redesign projects.
3. Deborah Hulme, Director, Minerva Engagement:
2018 workplaces will start to see the combined benefit of science and intellect emerging from neuroscience and the technology sectors. Understanding more about human behaviour and what drives personal performance, creativity and innovation will encourage companies to create working environments that increase social connectedness and employee relationship.
This will put a sharp focus on leadership behaviour and the curation of a healthy sustainable organisational culture. Couple this with the growing use of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, combined with conversational platforms; organisations can make a significant change in the way they learn, work and perform within their operations.
4.Guillaume Fleury-Maros, UK Representative; Export Development, Axeos:
2018 will see a significant shift in workplace design, with increased focus on creating an environment that supports and nurtures the needs of employees. Organisations will offer more flexibility to employees with home-based working solutions, seeing a further surge in flexible working. However, I do feel it’s important to remember the office should always remain a place of optimum collaboration, the centre of your organisational culture and wellbeing for everyone.
Shaping an environment that suits everyone’s needs is vital to providing optimum productivity within your workforce. This year will we will see more huddle rooms, video integrated meeting solutions, digital signage, collaboration zones and the use of furniture designed for collaboration between teams. There will also be a rise in popularity of workplace furniture designed for collaboration and the functionality of technology, will become more prevalent in every workspace within your office. 2018 will also see a rise in more efficient technology for those employees who are truly flexible, with the rise in workplace Apps to assist during their working day.
5. Julian Griffith, Director, Condeco
The workplace is an exciting place to be, and 2018 will see more Artificial Intelligence powered workplace automation tools, such as profinda.com which is a tool to help connect the right people inside an organisation based on their skills, work experience and connections. This is the year space as a service will become mainstream, with many large corporates now committing to taking significant amounts of flexible, short-term office space.
I’m really excited about the advances made in voice activation, and the how this will affect workplace management. Voice-activated meeting room functionality will grow in popularity. Walking into a meeting room and instructing your meeting room technology with your requests will revolutionise the way we work, enabling us to increase productivity and help optimise use of real estate.
The use of workplace sensors for analysing occupancy, environmental conditions and even the happiness of staff will grow significantly, but with a gulf still separating land-lord from tenant, the true value of the data that these sensors can offer will not be realised properly. And the arguments about the pros and cons of home working will continue to rumble on,
perhaps Marissa Mayer will make another U-turn on her support (or lack of) for remote working!
6. Neil McKlockin, Partner, Knight Frank:
2018 will see a continued focus on workplace experience, but with more insight driven from Internet of Things. Sensor technology is maturing, and the Apps that are being developed to exploit the technology are being developed at pace.
By the end of the year it will be common place to have your Workplace App that will provide enriching content and service provision. It will be the Apps that focus on experience and value that will survive, whilst many will fall by the wayside. The smart companies will be those that learn from the apps and supporting data to continually enhance the experience.
7. Craig Iles, Head of Client Services, Condeco UK, Middle East & Africa:
This year will see more businesses trialling various flexible working solutions, including reviews of office locations; working hours; contracts and embracing solutions that will enable them to adapt processes to ensure they can support both individual and business goals.
The standard 37 - 40-hour week comes from the 1800’s, this year businesses will truly embrace flexible and open ways of working – engraining this into the business culture as part of its DNA to ensure it’s not just written policy.
There will be even more advances in mobile communication with more increase in live video and file sharing – rich communication services & less reliant on specific apps to do this.
Could 2018 be the death of Explorer with more of a take up on Microsoft Edge as ‘the browser’?
8. Lee Daniels, Regional Leader Consulting, HOK:
2018 will see a rise in organisations developing internal Apps, enabling their employees to fully control their work environment, smart buildings are on the rise, but in the meantime smart offices will provide a more agile workplace for everyone. Utilisation of these Apps will transform the way we work and enable employees to have complete control over their space and personal comfort, including; noise, lighting and temperature. The rise in these Corporate Apps giving employees further choices, such as ordering refreshments and food through a virtual workplace service.
We will see organisations have an increased focus on their people and creating enhanced user experiences. Spaces will be designed to ensure their workforce have options to become healthier and more energised.
Workplaces will become more digital, and working environments will incorporate collaborative tools, such as digital pads which may start us on the path towards a paperless office!
I predict Co-working providers taking space in corporate buildings, creating space as a service and enabling businesses and employee’s greater recruitment and network opportunities.
9.Jamie Levon, Search & Social Media Manager, Oktra:
Community, wellbeing, and culture is the central focus within office design. Businesses are beginning to recognise the importance of idea sharing and collaborative working. Creating spaces that encourage discussion and collaboration is the key to building a great company culture and getting the most out of your team.
The influx of Gen X and Gen Z into the workplace is fuelling the rise in co-working. The boundaries between work and social life are becoming blurred. This has allowed co-working to develop into co-living. Start-ups can rent out bedrooms and share facilities such as bathrooms, kitchens, common areas, co-working spaces and various other amenities. Aside from the convenience, millennials are attracted to the sense of community. Co-working and co-living will continue to grow as the cultural shift spreads and the new generations continue to enter the workplace.
From these insights, it’s clear that 2018 is shaping up to be a revolutionary year for workplace innovation and technology.
Successful organisations are those that are embracing the changes and pioneering the ground-breaking technologies which enable them to transform behaviours and mind sets to support the ever-changing workplace culture.
*This article was compiled by Claire Roper, UK Digital Marketing Manager at Condeco