It has been five years since I first heard discussions about the future of work. I am pretty sure this conversation was going on already for a while and that it will not fade away any time soon, but I can still remember how futuristic it all sounded back then (and how tangible some of it feels right now).
We all used to discuss how working hours would be re-arranged in the future, how much longer we would bear standing in traffic and getting delayed due to things we had no control over. Back then, co-working spaces were the latest trend and we were all speculating how (or when) robots would take our places. To be honest, the foreseen scenario was something between apocalyptic and hedonistic. However, there used to be very little conversation about work experience, how it could be improved, or how we could make our work journeys more pleasant. Luckily, we are able to embrace this conversation now.
Many waited for the future to arrive - until it hit us all. Five years and one pandemic later, it seems that the future of work is already here, but perhaps it is not exactly what we were expecting.
Migrating from desktops to laptops, replacing workstations with working areas and department blocks for open spaces perhaps worked out as a prelude for work in time of crisis. What before sounded just cool, now seems more as an exercise for what was coming. In fact, the exclusive work-from-home regime adopted by so many of us reinforced the importance of flexibility at work. Not just in the sense of working hours and work-life balance, but also in terms of employee empowerment and how that impacts efficiency when working under unexpected conditions.
In the past year, many of us experienced this transition from office to home. Despite being a bumpy road to many, countless user-based LinkedIn surveys point towards the same direction: whenever people are able to choose where to work from, most would now prefer a more balanced work space, switching between couches and conference rooms, as it pleases.
But how will be the outbound journey, back to office, look like? As we got comfortable jumping between meetings at the click of a button, how will it feel to look for the right conference room or for a free phone booth? After the freedom of working from the sofa or dinner table, how will it be to have a whole desk and chair meant for work only? And for those staying at home most of the time, how can we ensure that the feeling of belonging to a team is still there, whilst ensuring that also those at office remember, that they still do have teammates at home, too?
Technology may not be the answer to all questions, but it can definitely help us with these ones.
As the journey back to the office seems closer, certain routines will change, while others will have to be taken in place. So how can technology ensure a smoother return to the office life?
During the past years, we at Fujitsu have been working on our own Smart Workplace solution, which pays special attention on empowering employees with up-to date information and showing companies the way towards a more effective office management.
Smart Workplace is a mobile application that communicates to employees any changes in office, best work practices and ensures that the employees are able to get all the help needed on their way back to the office. At the same time, it provides companies with valuable insights about their facilities and it works as a direct communication channel among all employees.
With the application on their phones, employees are able to know how many parking spaces and desks there are available for the day, and consequently they can choose between commuting or staying at home. Moreover, Smart Workplace also makes it easier to connect with co-workers, report issues in the office and follow the status of their cases. In summary, we make sure that both employers and employees have an access to the right information whenever it’s needed - and make the best decision based on it. If you are interested in knowing more about Smart Workplace, please check out our video and reach out.
Even though we cannot foresee the future entirely, we can for sure start working towards it already today.