The future workplace: trends, technology and evolution

The workplace of the future is one that is mobile, flexible and IT-intensive. Advances in many areas of technology have reformed the future workplace, and conventional practices are no longer as relevant as before.

The Impact Hub is one entity that has arisen from such changes, redefining what a workspace could be. It consists of a global network of people, places, and programs that inspire, connect and catalyse impact, all condensed into one collaborative space. What began as a single Hub in London in 2005 has evolved into a rapidly expanding, diverse global network of more than 15,000 members in over 80 locations.

With regards to the future workplace, Grace Sai, CEO and co-founder of The Hub Singapore, observes that there are three trends to look out for. She elaborates:

1)    Collaborative future

52% of Fortune 500 companies in 2000 are not present in 2016 – this shows that market leadership and dominance are not guaranteed. Companies are realizing that there is usually more wisdom and innovation outside of their organizations than within. Corporate start-up collaborations in Singapore and across the world are becoming increasingly common, and the way we work has changed.

2)    Personal touch within the digitized future

As the world becomes more digitized, we crave to be more personal and communal. Widespread and massive network connections do not necessarily equate to meaningful connections. As social beings, we still need to connect and be person-to-person, rather than byte-to-byte on the cloud or via wires. That is the way business has always been done, and will continue to be. Technology simply quickens and simplifies the process, and levels out unequal access to opportunities around the world.

3)    Idealistic future with the rise of millennials

Millennials differ vastly from previous generations. They are impatient for change, and are idealistic – they want to have and to achieve everything instantaneously. Compared to previous generations, millennials characteristically have more friends across the globe, and this implies that they possess a greater understanding of international issues. There is no question that technology facilitates the development of such talent, and companies should capitalize on these desirable traits.

Technology and the future workplace

Technological advancements seek to streamline processes and procedures, migrate information as and when in a safe and secure manner, and connect key personnel from all over the globe. This enhances the collaborative power of the future workplace. To survive in this new environment, organizations have to advance in their methodologies. Conventional practices no longer suffice and they must keep updated with latest developments in IT aimed to serve the modern workforce.

One such application that could help facilitate the advancement is Cisco Spark. Cisco Spark is a cloud-based, all-in-one messaging, meetings, calls and conferencing platform designed for the workplace of the future. It is a tool that helps meet the demands and expectations of younger, always-on, and mobile first staff.

With global collaborations in the future workplace, workspaces like the Hub would benefit from applications such as Cisco Spark. With their teams working interdependently across 80 nations, such technology will enable them to do their business more easily, promoting interconnectedness and boosting collaboration over a widespread network.

“Global connectivity has changed the way we work, and technology like the Cisco Spark is pushing that evolution even further.” says Grace. ”It will alleviate some of the challenges, such as creating a human connection, but as the landscape evolves, new challenges will arise.”

Evolution of the workplace

These trends attest to the evolution of workspaces. The transition from the traditional workplace to the future workplace is not without its complexities. On the potential challenges of the future workplace, Grace establishes that there may be difficulty in understanding the fast-changing dynamics of the workforce, as 50% of it may not look for traditional employer-employee relationships the way that previous generations have.

“They want responsibilities while having freedom, a stable revenue inflow but also flexibility surrounding their work. Employers and organizations who fail to understand or tap into these shifts may lose out on the global talent war.”