In 2030, the way we work will be noticeably different from today. Emerging technologies will improve the employee experience, enabling a more flexible and dynamic way of working. But to get to the workplace of the future, you have to start investing in the right technology today.
The rise in flexible work models like hybrid work has started to move companies in the right direction. IT spending is expected to exceed $4.6 trillion just in the next two years alone. But where exactly are companies investing?
Here are the workplace technology trends that you can expect in 2023 and beyond.
Workplace technology trend 1: Smart tech in the workplace
We’re already starting to see smart home technology creep into our everyday lives. At this point, Siri and Alexa are household names. Next, we’ll see this smart tech enter the workplace—but they’ll be even better. (Think: controlling appliances, lights, thermostats, and other devices using your voice and phone.)
To make this work, new open-source software will come onto the market replacing walled gardens that prevent workplace tools from talking to each other. These open ecosystems will turn the workplace “on.” This will enable an on-site experience that’s tailored to people’s unique needs and preferences.
Beyond ergonomics, this smart technology will help you find that desk you booked for the day. When you approach it, your desk’s light will start blinking so you can easily find it. With a simple tap of your phone, you can change the color of the light to indicate that you’re doing heads-down work so others won’t disturb you. Like smart homes, this kind of future smart workplace will improve efficiency in all sorts of ways—from energy efficiency to working efficiency.
Workplace technology trend 2: The rise of telepresence and digital collaboration tools
Technology will finally give remote employees a true “in-the-room” experience. Instead of digital meeting room booking, the meeting room of the future will allow people to join meetings using virtual reality devices. They’ll be able to interact with their teammates as though they’re in the same room. This may seem like it’s years into the future, but this technology already exists today. Take Google’s Campfire for example—where employees sit in a circle, and remote attendees appear on life-size displays between on-site folks. These meeting spaces will replace the standard meeting room as the most desired place in the workplace.
Just about every surface will be digital—countertops, tables, refrigerator doors, and glass walls will be game. And all to enable even more productivity and collaboration between onsite and remote employees.
Workplace technology trend 3: The evolution of health and safety technology
Today, the market for health and safety point solutions has grown saturated. Infrared thermometers and other touchless technologies are commonplace. Workplaces around the world already have health screening and vaccine verification processes in their back pocket. This workplace technology trend will evolve into more advanced versions that are embedded into the physical building.
This will go beyond today’s HVAC and green building technologies. Desks and meeting rooms will offer real-time feedback on health and wellness best practices. For example, they might suggest when it’s time to take a break from staring at a screen.
Wearable technology will advance to tell people when they’re sick so they don’t go into the workplace. If an employee gets ill at work, their wearables will suggest they go home. They’ll also update the employees’ calendars to show they’re WFH or out sick.
Workplace technology trend 4: Flexible and responsive workspaces
One of the most popular workplace technology trends—one that you can already see in workplaces today—is flexible workspace technology. But what looks like hot-desking now will soon become a future work desk that can move responsively, depending on how many people registered to work on-site the day before. Furniture will be flexible and change depending on how employees need to use the workplace.
When we think about the workplace ten years from now, we can expect this to be even more advanced. If you need more privacy, a robot will inflate a temporary balloon wall in under a minute to give you a pop-up meeting space.
Space management technology will help admins choose a future office layout according to specific spatial needs. Once they’ve decided on a layout, tech-enabled furniture will say, on their displays, exactly where in the workplace they should move. Some may even be able to move themselves (self-driving furniture?), enabling workplace teams to spend their time doing more critical work.
The workplace of the future is built today
The workplace of the future is shaped by trends that we are starting to see emerge today. Collaborative office layouts, integrated technology, smart security, virtual meetings, and flexible working policies are what transformed the workplace of three years ago into today’s modern workplace. Now, you can use the trends above to start preparing for the workplace of tomorrow.
Want to read more about the future of the workplace? Look into our crystal ball in Workplace technology trends: Predictions for 2023 and beyond.