From remote working and seemingly endless Zoom calls, to team days and return-to office-mandates, the way we work is constantly changing. And in order to stay competitive, organizations and their offices have to change alongside it.
Now more than ever, there are a range of technologies and design strategies that can help leaders transform their hybrid workplaces into spaces that satisfy business goals and help people thrive. These strategies and tools can provide workers with the environment and means they need to collaborate and be productive.
So how can technology and design help you optimize your hybrid office to stay at the cutting edge of workplace trends?
1. Create planned spontaneity
When working remotely, how many of us miss those special moments at the office—like running into an old friend at the coffee machine or bonding with a new hire during lunch? It can be easy to take these spontaneous moments of connection for granted, but it's actually what being part of a workplace community is all about.
However, as flexible and hybrid working has become more popular, many of these little moments in our day have become harder to find. When more people work remotely, it's difficult to know who will be at the office or when. Sometimes employees can go months without seeing anyone outside their immediate team simply because they can't predict when someone will be at the office. This problem can have far-reaching emotional effects, as 24% of hybrid workers have reported feeling lonely in their current work situation.
However, modern technology offers a solution: by using technology rooted in workplace experience, workers can more easily find colleagues at the office and arrange their workdays to account for these casual meetups. Workplace experience technology utilizes a combination of sensors, check-in features, and smart scheduling to allow employees to see who’ll be in the office and when—incentivizing people to come work in person. In addition, there are various ways AI technology can be integrated into a workday; for instance, it can suggest times for a coffee chat between coworkers to help them stay in touch, no matter how busy their days get.
Office design also plays an important role in planned spontaneity. For example, the Olympic Committee headquarters was designed with a wide range of communal spaces—such as lounges, kitchens, and break rooms—to encourage casual interaction between people. By instituting spaces that promote these impromptu moments of human connection, the committee was able to foster a greater sense of community and belonging among their employees.
2. Increase productivity
As employees continue to work remotely, organizations are looking to create more engaging work environments that can attract workers back to the office and help them be productive once they’re there. To achieve this, companies need to consider the design and layout of their office spaces, as well as the technology they use.
Plants, lighting, and desk layouts have proven to improve employee experiences at the office. Research has shown that plants and natural light can improve air quality, reduce stress, and increase productivity by up to 15% in the workplace. Similarly, a well-designed desk layout—with a comfortable chair and the equipment workers need—has been found to increase employee productivity by up to 65%.
Additionally, technology can play a major role in streamlining work processes and reducing employees' time spent on administrative tasks. For example, simplifying collaboration and coordination among team members by automatically booking meeting rooms based on the type of meeting and availability of conference attendees. This reduction in manual admin tasks allows workers to spend more time productively working on what matters most that day.
3. Develop employee personas
We all know that an office is more than just for walls, some desks, and a coffee machine: it's the people who work there that make the office truly special. But in larger organizations especially, it can be difficult to truly understand the employees who work there and what they need from a workplace. By collecting data through technology, organizations can create employee personas, which represent how employees behave, what their preferences are, and what kind of environment motivates and inspires them.
Companies can use these personas to design a workplace tailored to their employees' needs—creating a flexible work environment that can adapt to the changing needs of its employees to support their growth and development.
Technology has made collecting and analyzing large amounts of data easier, allowing organizations to create more accurately developed personas. By using sensors, we can now see how employees navigate their workday to determine their preferences and needs. For example, sensors can track if a desk is empty, actively occupied, or even passively occupied, providing organizations with a better understanding of how employees navigate their surrounding throughout the day.
Office design features like flexible workstations, collaboration spaces, and call booths can be adjusted based on employee personas—tailoring the workplace to different work styles and preferences. For instance, a highly social employee persona may benefit from an open-plan design with communal spaces, while a more introverted employee persona may prefer a quieter workspace.
How can you use technology and design in your workplace?
Hybrid working is here to stay, but by creating moments of planned spontaneity, increasing productivity, and developing employee personas, you can retain the magic of an in-person workday. Now is the time to upgrade your workplace, and technology and design are the tools that can make that transformation possible. Start by using technology to understand what motivates and inspires your workers, and then harness those insights into data-driven design changes.
If you're ready to improve your office, Mapiq is the perfect tool to help you improve your hybrid workplace. With our workplace experience technology, you can easily create a productive, meaningful workplace that's both productive and meaningful. Contact us today to learn more!