Ambient Workplaces: The Future of Work

Removing constraints within the workplace brings with it massive opportunities and new challenges for employee engagement.

With the advent of the internet of things we start to look at a world and work environment where systems are helping us in ways that we don’t notice anymore. It’s become all surrounding and almost invisible.

Workplaces are becoming more supportive without us even noticing, from the minute we enter our offices, lifts are using predictive algorithms so that they are continually becoming more attuned to what we need. We enter the office and the temperature is regulated, we sit wherever we want and the net is accessible and fast. We log onto our device whatever that may be and its configured to what we need, we do a search that knows where we are and gives us the local results. This has become normal to us, now we are starting to see truly assistive technologies get in on the act.

Assistive technologies are often thought of as areas that are only focussed on helping people with disabilities. However this has now, in the same way as web accessibility helped us move forward, they are morphing into tools for everyone and been leveraged and relabeled. The reason the mobile web exploded was based on the work started by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) now we are seeing the same thing happen with the uptake in wearable technology and the internet of things.

Technology, data and algorithms are outpacing organisations’ ability to react. This will probably never change back until we can plug ourselves in directly to the Net. In the meantime we have to give ourselves the best possible chance we can. We need to drive these methods from a constantly reevaluated risk model and develop systems that allow instant change and delivery.

Being in a state of flux is the norm and permanent. Companies are going to have to figure out how to deal with these changes and develop new processes and techniques, however with the spread of different possibilities what becomes critical is the method of interaction.

As control shifts to the individual it becomes all about getting and keeping people engaged. It is about being able to deliver the message at the right time, in the right place and in the right way.

In order to engage employees it becomes about using all the things that surround them to deliver the support, information and assistance they need to do their jobs. These things that surround us all now become tools that we need to leverage to create a supportive ambient workplace that supports not only individuals but adhoc groups.

Workplaces need to become hubs of assistive technologies that engage communities and provide collaborative systems in the most ambient of ways.

Intranets need to become responsive in the truest sense of the word.  They need to respond not only to the individuals needs at any given moment but the needs of groups often spread across geographic locations with varieties of devices and individual needs. Intranets need to connect to things, places and people and provide a way for all of these to be leveraged to engage organisations in a way that has never before been possible.

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