Technology is integral to our existence in the modern world. From the time we wake up till we go to sleep , technology is embedded in every activity we do, whether its fitness, shopping, banking, communicating , socialising or relaxing.
In workspace too, the impetus on improved productivity and efficiency have always been key for any business ,big or small . Technology in workspace is ever evolving, from cloud based platforms for team interactions and meetings, to messenger apps for communication, the focus is ensure better productivity by enabling ease in interaction with a key focus on time management. BYOD (bring your own device) has made it easy to work , communicate, collaborate from any location as per our comfort, and thereby evolving a new work culture/
Technology plays a pivotal role not just in management of workspaces but also in workspace design.With the ever changing business trends, growing real estate demands and the growing need for work life balance , technology in workspace design is constantly evolving. The key tools which aid workspace design are as follows
- Real estate optimisation
Organisations world over are realising the need to optimise the workspace requirement to save on capital and operational cost. By analysing data over the years companies are able to predict percentage of occupancy on a daily basis and us use that as the base of real estate planning rather than the Full time employee data. As a result, more offices adapting free seating concepts (no fixed seats are allocated to individuals ) allowing for optimal use of all spaces. Activity based workspace design has also allowed employees to move away from traditional workstation and work from alternate workspaces.
Apps like Space connect , Condeco allow employees to select their seat remotely through an app. They can either block the seat for the whole day or even a couple of hours. The app can be used to block meeting rooms, cabins and even for visitor/vendor management
The data collected from the devices provides valuable information on workspace utilisation, meeting room bookings . This data can be analysed to evaluate the workspace utilisation patterns, meeting room utilisation patterns and use the data to develop new space requirement parameters for future office.
- Energy saving technology
Buildings have BMS system integrated with all their services to monitor and also put in measures to reduce energy consumption. A lot of builders are now providing solar panels so as to utilise the solar energy for utilities, especially in a place like India where most places have good sunlight for 8 to 9 months.
The energy saving can further get translated into the workspace by adopting technology enabled energy saving devices. Day light sensors and occupancy sensors optimise the use of electricity thereby reducing the consumption. Sensor based taps ensure minimum wastage of water .
But in this every hectic life and the need for work life balance has led to development of apps which are designed for our wellbeing, fitness , health ,meditation etc.
In workspace too there has been a sincere effort to focus on the comfort and well being of the employees, as there is a direct correlation between the “happiness quotient “ of an individual and productivity.
Ergonomics -On an average we spend more than 8 hours in our workplace and new data has shown that “sitting is the new smoking”. Stand u desks are playing a pivotal role in workspace design offering employees to stand and work as a result aid in the well being. But it has also been noted though people have stand up desks, many a times we simply forget when we are busy with work. Technology comes to the rescue again, Stirworks, has technology integrated into the table, customising user preferences, collects data and integrated learning algorithm will prompt the user to stand or sit , thereby giving us the push we need.
Human Centric lighting – Human beings were meant to be out in the open, but the nature of our work in modern times, has trapped indoors for a significant amount of the day. Our body clock has evolved to be in sync with the natural light and the same has a direct physiological impact on us. Offices spaces are designed with a static lighting system in terms of colour temperature and optimum lux levels. Research around ciracfdian rhythm has proved that to maintain harmony we need to sit in environments which mimics the natural light patterns., essentially it means that dynamic lighting is essential to maintain our circadian rhythm. (reference https://www.humancentriclighting.org/human-centric-lighting/)
There is direct correlation between fatigue (on account of circadian rhythm) and the lighting in our workspace. The focus has hence shifted to humancentric lighting, which focusses on recreating the natural lighting pattern, which is essential for our well being and health.The technology allows for location coordinates to be fed into the lighting system and the integrated system works through the lighting cycle throughout the day. Read more on this at Trilux, Philips. Lighting design is ever evolving and its exciting to see what more comes up in the future
Indoor Air Quality- One of the biggest challenges in offices in India is the indoor air quality. We spend close to 8 hours a day in a space with recycled air coming through the AC system and the fresh air that is fed into the AC rooms are not really fresh are they. Air purifier seems to be the obvious solution, stand alone units manage air purification over a limited area and there could be pockets without any respite from the impurities. Technology driven in duct solution ensures that the air is purified at the source of the AHU. Photo hydro ionisers are inserted in the duct which results in advanced oxidation producing hydrogen peroxide which oxidises the suspended particles. We at ViaDesign have successfully designed and installed this system and the post installation surveys showed dramatic improvement in air quality, the PM 2.5 &10 was down by more than 75%, bacterial and fungal suspensions by over 75% and also reduces the Volatile organic compound. Read more REME, & PUREAIR.
So what more can be look forward to when it comes to technology in our workspace, I think IOT (internet of things) is the next big thing. Just imagine walking into your office , your coffee is ready at the café, the lighting and air conditioning adjusted to your comfort, your table either in standing or sitting position as per your preference, thats the future of workspace. Follow this blog to be updated with latest trends in workspace design.