The lines between office and home, work and rest are becoming more and more blurred with every passing day. Employees are increasingly demanding more comfort at their places of work and employers are finding hidden economic benefits from obliging and applying innovations to their workplaces.
The future office could look very different than what we are used to today. Many organizations are now looking at ways to make their office more appealing places to work.
Examples range from adding vegetation to music rooms to even dispensing with the office altogether and letting employees work more from home.
These 17 example innovations could change your workday forever.
1. Smart Desks Will Change the Way You Sit/Stand
How you sit, or stand, throughout the day can have serious consequences for your long-term health. It is very important to get your posture correct or move around if you can, throughout the day.
Some modern desks are able to adjust their position to suit your needs - whether that be standing or sitting, at the press of a button.
2. Green Offices Will Change The Way Offices Feel and Look
Many studies show the benefits of your mood and general health from spending time in nature. The natural development of this concept is to bring nature into the office - the plants at least.
This is exactly what companies like Google have done. Their Tel Aviv office has an actual orange grove as a collaboration space.
Of course, this is not a new concept, Indian Architect B.V. Dhosi released its benefits long before modern companies.
3. Hot-Desking Is Still Shaking Up The Office
Hot-desking or not having an assigned seat has been changing the workplace for a few years now. This free's you physically and mentally from a particular desk or office and has been shown to improve overall morale.
Hot-desking also helps with collaboration between employees and 'forces' them to move around during the day.
4. Music Rooms Help You Blow of Steam
Providing employees with a means to vent their frustration or just have a break and being creative is becoming more popular amongst large employers. This helps relax staff, build camaraderie and helps foster a positive company culture in general.
For instance, Linkedin's HQ in California was provided music room for their staff to use either alone or as a group. It even comes with garage doors to open if the weather is nice.
5. Remote Work Rather Than Commute
Employers who learn to develop trust in their employees by allowing them to work remotely are generally rewarded with boosted productivity, cost reductions, and staff retention.
Some employers might choose to go the whole hog and make a physical office a thing of the past. Why waste time commuting when you can work from your comfort zone?
6. Taking a 'Jobbatical' Could Replace 'Gap Years'
For those who want to travel the world and fund it themselves, or who don't want to be tied down with a 'real job' just yet, taking a 'Jobbatical' might be the solution. Companies like Jobbatical are helping would-be nomad workers find short-term works in foreign countries.
Be able to take long vacations with no end in sight could be the future of working. Of course, you could start your own blog too.
7. Download ForestApp or Dump the Smartphone to Cut Down on Distractions
Apps like ForestApp are perfect ways to boost productivity in the office. This app lets you set a timer on your phone that prevents you from checking messages, answering calls or perusing your social media.
Better yet, you could put your phone in a locked box or break out your old 'brick' phone.
8. Bosses Could Be Joining the Troops on the Front Line
There is another growing trend in business for company leadership to leave their cellular offices, sit and work with their teams. The idea is to remove the visible signs of hierarchy and increase overall company transparency - literally as well as figurately.
Of course like any innovation, there are pros and cons.
9. Private Offices Might Return
There is a large 'push back' on the concept of open plan offices in some larger companies. Some employees are finding they prefer their own private offices/spaces over large collaborative spaces.
Although open-plan offices will stick around the push for more choice is becoming more popular.
10. Bring Your Pets to Work as Company Policy
Bringing your pets to your office might sound like the stuff of pure fantasy, but it is becoming ever more common in the workplace. It has been shown to de-stress employees through re-addressing work-life balance, acting as a social catalyst and generalling improving morale.
Of course, it does have its potential downsides too (distraction, allergies etc), but overall reports seem to indicate its generally a good thing.
11. Focus Spaces Will Become More Important
As great as collaboration is there are times when you need 'me time'. Oftentimes, large open plan offices can be distracting if you have a particularly challenging task to complete.
Clever use of furniture and movable walls or dedicated solitude rooms are useful for removing any and all distractions.
12. Movable Desks Let You Configure the Office as Desired
Another innovation quickly gaining traction in the workplace is the concept of movable desks. This does exactly as it sounds whereby employees can move reconfigure desks to better suit themselves or team-mates.
Said desks are able to fit together like giant puzzle pieces.
13. Electric/Smart Whiteboards Could be The Future
Many companies have started investing in electronic whiteboards. These devices are great for sounding out ideas and any notes can be saved or printed off for future reference.
This allows for employees and employers to save time note taking thus drastically increasing productivity.
14. Cloud-Based Workspaces
To complement the growing demand from employees for flexibility in their working habits, cloud-based workspaces are becoming more popular. They have many benefits for employers too with increased data security and ease of accessibility.
This can help people work from anywhere, on any type of device that they have now or that will be developed in the future.
15. VR Could Change Meetings Forever
Virtual reality will continue to invade many aspects of our life, including the office if companies like AltspaceVR have anything to say about it. AltspaceVR, now part of Mircosoft, plans to make VR-based meetings and headsets commonplace in the office.
With this kind of technology, 2D conference calls will become a thing of the past. Employers and employees alike will be able to meet people around the world, attend live events and interact with others in real-time without leaving the comfort of their office or home.
The potential is enormous for VR and AR in the business world.
16. Smart Dumb Things Could be the Future
Innovations like interactive light could change the way we work forever by turning dumb things into smart things. The idea is to project computer information onto any and all workspaces and be able to interact with the content, like a virtual computer screen.
It works by creating a laser projection onto any horizontal or vertical surface. The image always stays crisp and sharp and literally turns the projection surface into an interactive display.
This kind of innovation could push the boundaries of collaboration between work colleagues and allow anyone to work directly on object, wall and furniture surfaces. This could allow, in future, anyone to interact with virtual content without the need for a computer to be nearby.
17. Dynamic Glass Could Change the Office Forever
Dynamic glass is a very different kind of glass than you might be used to. It features remote control tinting functions that can be either preset or controlled via a smart device app.
You can set tinting to occur based on variables like the time of day, sun exposure, cloud cover and the angle of light. Technology like this comes with four differing tint levels depending on the glass chosen.
This kind of technology could become smarter in the future allowing for personal preferences or to render blinds obsolete. It will also help businesses save energy by reducing heating and cooling costs.
So there you go, 17 innovations that will change your workday forever. Which other, if any, would you have included? Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.