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The global mobile workforce is expected to climb from 1.45 billion to 1.87 billion by 2022,as people take advantage of their right to work from home, as well as their mobile working ability. Research shows a direct correlation in Europe between flexible working and employee happiness and engagement – demonstrating that the benefits of such an approach work both ways.
Collaboration-based office space
This shift from relying on a centralised location for daily working will transform the requirements of physical workspaces, with more emphasis placed on meeting rooms (from 20-25 per cent now to 50 per cent) and collaborative workspaces with hot-desking capabilities, rather than individually allocated work stations. A significant proportion of people currently wish to escape their desks (39 per cent) and find places to recharge (40 per cent), which flexible working naturally allows.
Minimising barriers to the remote workforce
This in itself means IT teams need to integrate more flexible solutions within the office itself, such as docking stations which cater for the entire device fleet, but the more substantial task for is implementing an infrastructure for the remote worker; one which delivers the most secure access to central networks possible while maintaining ease of communication and high levels of productivity no matter the location. Robust Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDIs) are one example of will be crucial, as well as utilising devices that all sections of the workforce are comfortable wielding.
AI & Tech in the workplace of the future
Office phones and fax machines are increasingly likely to be deemed inefficient by younger generations used to tools like instant messaging, video calls and collaboration apps, and continuously switching between connected devices and mobile applications. The future is also likely to see Artificial Intelligence (AI) enhancing the employee experience by generating new insight into employee preferences and behaviour. For example, by mining data on past interactions, AI could prompt employees to put meetings in the calendar for contacts they regularly catch up with, or encourage regular meetings with contacts that we are less connected to. AI could also hold the key to managing the workloads and the constantly ‘on’ mentality of human workers in the future, starting with the possibility of virtual assistants within the next five years. Indeed, in this instance, the introduction of AI and automation is looked upon positively due to benefits like decreasing overtime and stress. VR and AR could also become vital compensation devices in an era of decreasing face-to-face communication.
As technology continues to grow in its role as a vital work enabler, limitations on where, how and even when people work will begin to fall away. The more rigid constructs of office working set in place by previous generations, will be displaced by workers seeking the most convenient, productive and comfortable ways to work now that the technology to support such changes is becoming a reality.
For more information on today’s flexible workforce, read our eBook here: Understanding today’s flexible workforce
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