Have a conversation with anyone who worked in an office in the 1990s, and they’ll likely tell you about the rise of email, the invention of Google, and office cubicles. Then chat with someone who worked in an office in the 2000s, and they’re bound to mention smart phones, Skype, and new, hip open floor plans.
Workplaces are always evolving and adapting with new technology and ways of working. This year, we can expect technology to continue changing based on new working norms and employee needs.
In this month’s Workplace Tech Talk, hop in a time traveling machine and blast into the future. Let’s explore six ways workplace technology will look different in 2023 and beyond.
1. Workplaces will be equipped with smart technology
Office spaces have already evolved from closed-off cubicles with clunky fax machines to open floor plans with sleek screens and the latest technology. In the coming year, we can expect workplaces to continue becoming smarter and more tech-powered. If your workplace doesn’t evolve, you risk losing top talent. According to our latest At Work report, 36% of employees say that slow or outdated technology is a major deal breaker for them to return to a workplace.
Workplaces will include smart boards in every meeting room that allow for hybrid brainstorming and also save all ideas into a digital document. Plus, workplaces of the future will no longer require employees to use a physical key, code, or badge to access their workplace. Instead, facial recognition software will be installed on every door. Just like with your iPhone, you will be able to unlock a door with just a glance.
2. Smartphones will be workplace remotes
At home, we can control our lights, doors, and TVs all with our smartphones. The workplace will be no different. You already schedule your days onsite, book a desk, reserve a meeting room, and explore an interactive office map right in the palm of your hands.
In the future, smartphones will also be able to control elements like office lighting, windows, music, and more. You will be able to raise or lower the shade of the window next to your desk. You’ll be able to soften the volume of the music coming from the speaker above. You’ll be able to scan a QR code on an available desk to instantly reserve it. Smartphones will eventually become the only tool employees need to navigate the workplace.
3. Employees will be able to reserve more resources
In addition to reservable desks and meeting rooms, the future workplace includes many other reservable resources that make it more convenient for employees. In our At Work report, we found that 50% of employees say the commute to the office is a major headache. To help employees feel less stressed about transportation, they’ll be able to reserve a seat on a company shuttle or reserve a parking spot in their office lot.
Plus, you’ll be able to reserve lockers to store personal items. You’ll also be able to order their meals and coffee for the day.
Imagine this: You arrive for the day and park your car in your reserved space. You walk up to the front door of your building, and scan your face on a digital pad. The desk you booked for the day blinks to show it’s now occupied and starts auto-adjusting to the right height. Then a food delivery robot stops by your desk with breakfast—a fresh cup of coffee and bagel. All this happens right as you walk up to your desk to begin your workday. A robot barista may not happen for a while (wouldn’t it be nice though!). However, we can expect technology to get better at connecting elements of the employee experience for a seamless workday.
4. Hot desking will become personalized
Hot desking has become the most popular way for hybrid employees to work onsite. In the last year, employees have used desk booking solutions to reserve a desk for days or hours they plan to be in the office. According to Envoy’s platform data, employees across the globe booked more than eight million desks in 2022.
In 2023, we can expect desk booking to become more automated and more personalized. Desk booking solutions already save preferred desks in their algorithm, but in the future, they will save your ergonomic preferences or autobook a desk next to a preferred coworker.
Plus, new smart technology will help you easily find your booked desk. When you approach your desk, a light will turn on to indicate you’ve arrived and automatically check you in. With a tap of your phone, you can change the color of the light to indicate if you’re open to chat, busy, or in a meeting.
5. AI will drive meeting room bookings
The majority of employees spend a third of their work week in meetings. In 2023, we can’t expect meetings to go away, but we can expect meeting room booking to get smarter. Artificial intelligence will increase the functionalities and custom abilities of reserving meeting spaces.
For example, if an employee reserves a room that fits six people for a 1:1 meeting, your room booking solution will automatically move your meeting to a smaller room. This opens up the original room for larger meetings. Or it might simply free up the room altogether if the hosts and participants haven’t checked in to the office that day.
6. Technology will power more digital collaboration
In the coming years, we can expect workplaces to continue fostering unique and easy ways for employees to collaborate. Cloud-based collaboration tools like Zoom, Asana, or Teams will continue to rule the collaboration game because they connect employees together no matter where they are.
However, collaboration technology won’t just stop there. Enter: virtual reality (VR). Remote you will be able to use virtual reality software to feel like you are physically in the meeting with your in-office counterparts. You put on VR goggles and are instantly transported into the room with your teammates.
The future of workplace technology is going to evolve with employee and business needs. Expectations for the workplace are growing, and luckily, technology is getting smarter to keep up. No matter how technology evolves in the coming years, it’s important for IT leaders to stay up to date and make sure their current technology is ready to adapt and grow. You need to be aware of what lies ahead to ensure your workplaces are delivering not just a consistent workplace experience, but a consistently great one.
Want a deeper dive on what the future of the workplace looks like? Check out our ebook on Workplace Predictions for 2030 and beyond.