What does the modern office look like? It’s no secret that advances in digital technology have had a transformative impact on working practices and environments over recent decades. But the impact of the Internet of Things has been particularly dramatic, ushering in a new era in terms of where we work, when we work and even how we work. Let’s take a closer look.
Where we work
Remote and mobile working practices were already in the ascendancy before the advent of the IoT, but the ease with which they can now be undertaken is hugely significant. Powerful connected devices, coupled with cloud data storage and critical business applications deployed via the cloud mean that a huge variety of roles can now be undertaken with equal efficiency from home, on the move and in remote locations.
Little surprise, then, that co-working and hotdesking spaces are some of the fastest-growing segments in commercial property, enabling both corporate employees and freelancers (recent research has suggested that a third of today’s workforce is made up of independent or freelance workers) to work flexibly at locations which best suit them.
Another dimension of the relationship between the IoT and office environments is the rise of smart buildings. As reported by Deloitte, the IoT is helping office buildings to become ‘living structures’, self-diagnosing problems and needs such as the requirement for an increase in temperature or for lights to be switched on and off. This drives efficiencies, making office spaces more cost-effective and flexible, and helping to fuel the development of start-ups and SMEs.
When we wok
Just as the model of connected devices to work from, and data and applications deployed via the cloud are enabling flexibility in terms of wherepeople work, so they are enabling flexibility in terms of when people work. ‘Anytime, anywhere’ is a well-worn phrase for a reason.
A cultural shift away from focusing on the time spent on different tasks and towards the outcomes required of each employee is already afoot in many start-ups and SMEs. As the number of freelancers and contract workers continues to increase, it is likely that this evolution will continue also.
How we work
The nuts and bolts of how individuals and teams undertake their work are undergoing significant transformation thanks to the IoT. Greater flexibility and dynamism in terms of accessing data and applications is building more collaborative working practices, both internally between teams, and externally between organisations and their clients or partners.
Then there’s the fact that the IoT is ultimately all about generating insights from data. No matter what sector your organisation operates within, being able to capture previously untapped information, analyse it automatically and turn it into tangible insights and actions can be enormously impactful. Organisations that are truly embracing the IoT are learning how to make use of real-time data on everything from the location of vehicles within a fleet to the performance of machinery on a factory floor. Furthermore, they are analysing that information with the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics, which are enabling more sophisticated, intelligent and dynamic interpretations of data than ever before.
The IoT, then, is having a truly transformative impact on the modern office, no matter what sector, no matter how big or how small. Are you ready to feel the impact in your workplace?