Technology – enabling change or driving it?

In the last 20 years there has been a seismic change to the office environment and the way we interact with it.

This largely comes down to technology.

Mobile technology has extended the span of technology far beyond the physical environment and the technology that we use within the office space is much more advanced than ever before.

The newer generations active in the workforce know no different. We are now encountering the first generation to have grown up with advanced technology, mobile and social media, as it establishes itself in the working world. So who or what is in the driving seat and how is change negotiated and accepted?

Changes in working practice

Perhaps the biggest change that technology has enabled in the last two decades is our ability to access data from anywhere in the world. We no longer have to be present in the office environment to do the work and to interact with each other. Video technology means that face to face meetings can take place between any number of attendees, from a whole range of locations.

These changes to working practices have two principle benefits for companies, both of which provide major cost savings: Companies can recruit from a wider pool, without being restricted by potential relocation costs, having to incentivize candidates to move around the country; and they can adopt a more agile working model, cutting down on space and rental costs.

In terms of square footage, and its associated costs, and team selection, technology has, therefore, proved itself to be a game changer.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is viewed by many as the most important technology – both now and in the near future.

There are very obvious advantages to incorporating it into daily working life: It has the potential to reduce a company’s IT costs, it encourages shared knowledge and employee collaboration and it can increase security levels, offering an improved working methodology overall.

Again, it’s that improved level of accessibility. It doesn’t matter where you are and what device you are working from.

The smaller picture

Apart from the freedom that the worldwide web, digital and mobile solutions have initiated, there have been other smaller improvements and advances in technology that have made a significant difference such as light weight desktop technology, new software, sensors that track activity and movement and speakers which can provide virtual assistance.

All of these advancements, while meaningful, present challenges as it rests with key individuals within a company what should be adopted; what will make the most difference and what will be cost-effective.

There needs to be an element of consultancy around technology when planning a new office design, or office move, to take on board what’s current and to second guess what will future protect the business ie. What changes are still to come.

Technology is a broad area, covering many aspects, and how it is integrated into the workspace requires a level of expertise.