The Perfect Office: Design, Technology and Culture
Traditionalists may call it pandering to the millennial age, who now make up the largest number of people in work today, but the ‘work/life balance’ is here to stay. Whether or not you buy into the myth of the millennial, the truth is that they have greatly influenced the modern workplace. This has happened to the extent that even older generations are throwing themselves into new working practices, realising that they can get more, and give more, from work than they ever have done.
Gone are the days when staff were expected to work standard 9-5 hours, with a standard break, at a standard desk. The reason for this? A standard environment breeds standard work; the office of the future is aimed at creating and driving a culture that tries harder, but receives more in return. What they receive is wellbeing and the knowledge that they are valued and appreciated.
Building the perfect office environment requires a healthy mix of technology, design and culture. The latter depend very much on your industry and location, but the former can be widely dispersed due to the versatility of current workplace tech. At Videocall, we understand the workplace of the future must enhance operations for all levels of employment, whilst still being familiar enough not to disrupt current workflows and working patterns. This is as true with technology as it is with design and culture.
The design of the modern workplace is built upon a concept of encouragement of both creativity and team collaboration. Historically, office layouts and designs have echoed the socio-economic trends of the time: the clinical layout of the 1930s to the more aesthetically-pleasing Burolandschaft style of the 50s and 60s. You can find out more about this in our whitepaper, but sufficed to say, the office of 2016 is made to support employees, not the other way round. Polycom’s guest blog, The View from APAC, states the same, “… A company’s ultimate aim in designing their workspace is to create zones that enable and empower your employees to make them more productive.”
Therefore, the design or refurbishment of your office must consist of furniture and colour that is conducive to work. Whether this is done by communicating with your employees, or in a more scientific way, is up to you. Studies have shown that green and blue enhance performance and helps to create new ideas, whereas red is a colour more suited to analytical tasks that require attention to detail.
It may be obvious that a nice view, lots of light and high ceilings help to generate feelings of freedom and creativity; but we cannot all work in California or the countryside. Many offices are located in cities with little to no view of nature and, in this case, it is important to take the best ideas from offices like Google and scale them down to a level suitable to your workplace.
We have been promoting the use of remote working and collaborative video tools since before the work/life balance was a primary concern. Because of this, we are able to offer solutions that are futureproof, scalable and interoperable with any video-enabled device. The perfect office can have multiple video conferencing solutions, from full telepresence suites to a BYOD (bring your own device) protocols for cloud-based video as a service (Vaas).
For example, a business that would like to support workers by giving them the choice to work from home would remain connected with these employees on a deep level due to a simple cloud-based video conferencing solution. Remote workers can attend group meetings, project work groups, and even important client meetings, thanks to high quality displays and an interoperable platform that is device agnostic. Moreover, workers situated in the office can still collaborate and share documents quickly and efficiently, so they do not decrease relationships with colleagues.
Polycom have designed a wide range of solutions to suit any office or vertical market, such as the versatile RealPresence© Centro™ for huddle rooms and the RealPresence© Trio™ for training or teaming spaces. The idea is to bring about a technological shift that is at one impressive and yet uninvasive. Our previous blog discussed various room types and the solutions that will make the most of these spaces.
Our ICE (Intelligent Cloud Experience) platform leverages powerful Polycom technology for high security, high quality and simple deployment. With this solution, millennials are able to use state-of-the-art hardware and software to conduct contemporary communications, and those who are not used to video are able to use it with their existing infrastructure, such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Office 365. The perfect office therefore adopt technology that works with, and not against, current workflows.
The most important aspect of the modern office, and the thing that a lot of businesses do not consider, is culture. An office is a melting pot of ideas, and ensuring that your design and technology actually echo the mentality of your business is key to a smooth adoption.
Polycom, whose products power enterprise-grade video conferencing across the globe, says that new methods can be useless if the culture isn’t there to back them up, “New ways of working require new tools so look for solutions that offer functionality with innovation. Having great collaboration tools that no-one can understand how to use is counter-productive.”
But how can you create a culture that works to encourage better productivity and a better understanding of technology? The crucial aspects are awareness and training. As long as a team is prepared for the changes the future will bring, adoption can be a simple and straightforward process. A newly-designed office is likely to breed creativity quickly, which can then lead to a stronger take-up of new technology and a willingness to try new things. The combination of creativity and willingness will equal a new culture than can keep being cultivated for a content, and futureproof, workplace.