The changes in the technology we use in the workplace has changed immensely over the past few decades, affecting the way we work, as well as the office design we exist in. In the last thirty-or-so years, we have gone from using typewriters, writing reports by hand and taking payments in the form of cheques to high-speed electronic systems that are mobile and able to be accessed via The Cloud from remote locations.

But what will the next innovations in the tech we use be? What will our offices in the immediate future look like? Will the office as we know it even exist in the next decade? Here, we're going to look at the current tech trends in the workplace and gauge how they're changing how we work now, and in the future.

Changes in tech in office design

  • Wi-Fi and The Cloud. We’re already in the future (to some extent), with the virtual storage medium provided by The Cloud and the mobile internet connectivity supplied by Wi-Fi hotspots. Such innovations have made the need for physical storage mediums to be dispensed with; we’re not just talking about filing cabinets here but discs, hard drives and any other physical storage method. Not only does this eliminate the opportunity for such devices to break down, be lost or even stolen but it also helps to clear space in the office design, allowing a business to utilise it for something completely different.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term used to describe how a network of devices interact with each other and exchange data. In the modern workplace, this could involve the use of a number of smart devices (tablets, smartphones etc) and artificial intelligence to improve efficiency.

    The infrastructure behind an office design has been working ‘smart’ for a number of years already; heating, air conditioning, lighting and security systems are all able to be accessed remotely. Therefore, it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that tech will continue to integrate itself within the systems we use to perform our everyday tasks, with the internet providing the means to connect them all together. Sensors that are activated by motion, air quality and voices may well be the standard sooner rather than later.
  • Gesture control. A mainstay of many a science-fiction story set upon a spaceship, the prospect of controlling doors, devices and other inmate objects by a simple gesture is tantalisingly close to becoming commonplace within modern society. Currently, gesture motion devices enable users to control their computers with a simple swipe of their hand, facilitating a somewhat ‘natural experience’; ideal for when they’re carrying out tasks such as giving out presentations or demonstrations. As time moves on and with gesture control cutting down on the time and effort to control things, expect to be on board that spaceship before long.
  • Working remotely through robots. Telepresence robots are devices that are designed to place the remote human at their desk, without them being there. The robot can be controlled by the human through a computer, tablet or smartphone and comes complete with a video camera, screen, microphones and speakers so that the people interacting with it (as well as those using it) will be able to work as if they were physically present in the office. Whilst this technology is in its relative infancy, with remote working constantly on the increase, robots could yet make an impact on office design.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality. Whilst the concepts behind Virtual and Augmented Reality are nothing new, this technology is still yet to be explored to its full potential. Currently, it is a great aid in providing training and walkthrough presentations/visuals in a computer-generated environment. VR desktops could also block out unnecessary distractions and conferences that are held in VR are already proving to be effective at uniting employees; helping them to work together to achieve a common goal, despite them being present in different remote places. In years to come, it could replace the office entirely.

Whilst being able to work remotely and having easier access to computer tech that improves the ways in which we work, today’s office design should also be built around offering employees the opportunity to connect socially with each other. As it seems tech is taking us away from real interaction, many forward-thinking firms have hit upon the need to create a more social working experience – this is why breakout rooms, tea points, cafeterias and even bars and gyms are becoming part of the modern office.

Need to improve the effect of your office interiors? Get in touch with the experts

If you’re thinking about improving your own office interiors for the future, why not get in touch with the expert workplace design team here at Oaktree Interiors to help you to realise your project?

For over 30 years now, the Oaktree team have been creating bespoke office environments across the south east of England for a wide array of clients. Regardless of their industry or particular requirements, we have a proven track record of working with our clients to understand their precise needs, creating effective workplace designs around them. We believe, first and foremost, that office design must reflect the thoughts and feelings of the business and everyone who works there; how can it be a bespoke design otherwise?

To find out more about how we can help your business, please feel free to get in touch with us by calling 0345 21 86955 or send an e-mail to hello@oaktreeoffice.com and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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