Oct 02, 2018 in Viewpoint

How to deal with the endless workplace options?

Activity-based working environments equal more freedom in making your own choices regarding workplaces. However, we are now at the crossroads where we can ask ourselves to which extent everyone benefits from the endless workplace options.

Anne Wernand
by Anne Wernand

The basic premise of flexible, activity-based working is common ownership of the workplace. The workspace provides employees with a variety of predetermined activity areas where they can perform their specific tasks. They are also free to leave the office at will and are encouraged to work from home. It has been demonstrated countless times that this sense of autonomy is good for the well-being and productivity of employees.

In recent years, the consequences of constant decision making have also affected worker productivity and happiness. Due to the sometimes overwhelming amount of choices people are forced to make constant conscious decisions. Where they are going to work, or what suits their activity best. However, people want to get to work when they arrive at the office. So, despite the fact that certain work environments have been proven to be stimulating for certain activities, it is too much to ask for people to make this choice every two hours. This is exactly where technology can help.

Smart office technology

Smart office technology can give people a sense of control and take away the fear of not having an available place in the office by giving people suggestions. The first step is to collect and collate data regarding variables such as workspace ratings and the factors that determine the popularity of a spot, mobility profiles, personal preferences related to personality traits and habits.

Once data has been gathered, it can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict and determine ideal workplaces for the individual. Ultimately, smart office technology will be able to differentiate the best match between a person and a workplace in the next five years. It then comes down to how much freedom you give people in choosing the perfect spot. Do you direct them to this place, or give them the best suggestions from which they can choose? This is a policy decision that should reflect a company’s strategy.

We use artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict and determine ideal workplaces for the individual

Smart offices know the best match between a person and a workplace

Let me give you an example. In the future, technology will know how your day looks and present you with five spots for you to start working that day. This will continue during the workday. Employees will start to experience that there is always a place for them and that they still have a certain amount of option and freedom of choice. This is similar when we shop online, for example. You'll get three other suggestions that you might find interesting alongside the sofa you viewed. This will also happen when it comes to workplaces and meeting rooms.

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