Creating tomorrow’s workspaces today
Working at the office used to be a daily occurrence for many but one of the lasting impacts of the pandemic may be a very different working experience in the future. Much has already been said about the acceleration and likely continuation of working from home but what does that mean for the future of the office?
No doubt businesses will be pleased to reduce some of their real estate space to make savings on expensive buildings. A smaller number of employees will continue to work from these locations but I suspect that many organizations will take the opportunity to use some of the remaining space in a different way; to reinvent the workplace.
Working remotely can be effective for everyday duties, for managing and executing a plan once goals have been set. However, it still falls short when working creatively. For example, working together to solve problems and plan new strategies or when you need to inspire and lead a team in a new direction.
The technology we have quickly adopted for working at a distance has been incredibly effective but I doubt will be able to replace that creative spark of people coming together, bouncing ideas off of each other and hitting on something new. It’s a bit like when a band riffs together and collectively hits upon a musical hook or catchy chorus that is instantly memorable and becomes the heart of the song. If the Beatles tried the same thing over Zoom, I doubt they would have had as many hits.
I think people will still crave this natural stimulus in both their work and personal lives. I, for one, can’t wait to return to my favorite jazz club for the thrill of a live performance. I believe the role of the reinvented office will also be to centered around bringing people together. A location where employees will gather, not every day but on specific occasions, when face-to-face interaction will help them to better achieve their objectives.
What might it look like?
Walk into the building for the first time and you would quickly realize that it’s very different to the traditional office with its usual sterile reception; it’s designed to encourage human interaction. You might be greeted with an open and relaxed cafeteria-style meeting area, where people can gather informally, pick-up refreshments and pit-stop for short spells to work. It would be the place for those informal work catch-ups or unplanned chats with colleagues as you grab a coffee. A chance to spark those water-cooler moments.
Technology throughout the facility just works and the people are free to create. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has evolved to Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM). Walk into any work space and your log-in will grant you automatic access to your personal data environment – your cloud-based files, your email and business critical systems – all connected to your identity, rather than a device. As you move around the building or from one location to another, facial recognition authentication and Unified Communication logic will do away with cumbersome login procedures and allow you to transfer your work sessions instantly from one location and device to another. The requirements for traditional meeting room layouts will disappear as the technology is truly intuitive, picking up the faces and voices of participants as they speak and placing them on the screen. In addition, one person meeting rooms are prevalent. A small meeting pod where employees can connect to meetings and conferences in the virtual world.
Nearby, is the organization’s virtual studio. Video has become the content medium of choice for the consumer but will soon also dominate the corporate world. A small but fully equipped broadcast studio capable of creating quality content with virtual and augmented reality back drops. The studio would be used for a wide variety of tasks such as employee communications or creating training videos, holding press or analyst conferences or creating customer communications and marketing content. Manning the studio will require far less skilled manpower. By using PTZ cameras and the latest IT/IP video switching platform, organizations will be able to produce 4K quality content that can be streamed live or shared on private or public networks.
Panasonic has an important and exciting role to play in creating these new workspaces. Integrating technologies so that they work seamlessly for the user at the touch of a button is never easy. But our focus on collaboration and professional AV technologies, combined with our strategy to work closely with software and services partners enables us to bring these technologies to market. For example, our presentation and display solutions that work out of the box with network systems and leading video conference providers. Our integrated 4K glass-to-glass production systems and our partnerships with video content management systems such as Panopto are already changing communications in corporates and delivering blended learning in education.
All these solutions, and those still to come, are making the collaborative workspaces of the future a reality today. For me personally, I am driven by the team of inspirational people that I work with and making these collaborative workspaces a reality. Whether working from home or in the future at one of our collaborative workspaces. I look forward to seeing you there! Meet me in one of our Panasonic Business Solutions Centers (Wiesbaden or Munich)!
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