Modern Technology and Workplace Design

July 2017

Today the world is fast-paced and ever-changing, and the modern office is now a home to some of the most advanced technology you’ll see anywhere. Go back 10 years and the iPad didn’t even exist; 20 years ago, mobile phones were in briefcases executives had to keep in their cars, but now offices are smarter, more flexible and, ultimately, more user-friendly than ever before.

Breakout area

In any company that embraces new technology and innovation you’re likely to see items such as laptops, MacBooks or tablets, smartphones, wireless keyboards and mice, flat screen dual monitor setups, to name a few. And it doesn’t stop there, with wireless technology and digital working, furniture companies are working overtime, constantly developing new products to make sure they are ahead of the curve.

Yes, technology is here to stay — and in addition to being a kind of design trend on its own, it’s also heavily influencing the areas in which we perform our work duties. In this article we have put together some examples of trending technology in the world of office furniture:

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality and the development of gadgets such as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive allow people to step into a virtual view to truly envisage the full space and show how a finished office furniture project will look. Renders and floor plans provide an idea of how the space will look, but they are often difficult to fully visualise and truly appreciate the finished plan. Virtual reality walk-through floor plans provide a more realistic all-round viewpoint.

At Dams we are embracing this new technology and using it as a tool for customers to visualise their new space before construction begins – whether it be an office refurbishment or student accommodation project. The natural next step will be augmented reality, which superimposes a computer-generated image over a view of the real world to show how a product or design will look in an existing workspace.

Tele-Conferencing

Every business is likely to have conference rooms or a boardroom available for corporate meetings and staff briefings. Apart from suitable furniture with ergonomic chairs and a central table, a conference room should also be tech-friendly. Using the latest technology, meeting rooms can be transformed into interactive and inspiring workspaces using conferencing software like Skype and GoToMeeting on a regular basis, while employees can keep the software handy on their laptops for smaller interactions.

People are having meetings anywhere and everywhere now, and they often take technology with them when they go. Imagine having a conference call in a room that incorporates table top tablets, tech-charging furniture pieces or interactive touch screens to create a more efficient and productive workplace. These are just a few ideas that can turn a simple meeting room design into a technologically advanced working environment perfect for doing business.

Smart Furniture

It's no secret that technology is changing the way we work, but it's also changing the furniture we use in the office every day. Whether it’s a bench desk set-up that encourages interaction across a multitude of devices, or modular seating and meeting pods with access to charging ports, manufacturers are designing adaptable, smart furniture to help create workspaces with flexibility built in and where new technologies can be integrated with ease.

Employees expect the same mobile and seamless connectivity at work as they have in their everyday lives. Furniture and equipment that allows quick set-up and connections is a high priority so people can pick up where they left off in another working area, whether that’s in the same office or a different location. We'll also see a growing number of multi-use furniture solutions that offer connections to shared displays which enable people to collaborate on projects in real-time, helping to improve workplace productivity.

Wireless charging will become even more popular now due to Apple unveiling their new smartphone line up in September, all of which support wireless charging. In the second edition of the Social Spaces portfolio, Dams are now offering the option to have furniture with integrated wireless charging built in for situations where employees struggle to access power to charge their devices. And we can definitely expect to see more furniture with integrated wireless charging from Dams.

Height-adjustable furniture has been around for a few years now, but the next generation of Dams best-selling Elev8 sit stand desks will allow employees to set preferences for sitting and standing and move comfortably between the two throughout the day. When used in combination with apps and wearables that remind people when it is time to change postures, users can adjust the Elev8 desk height with the touch of a button, achieving activity goals and helping to create a healthier and more productive working environment.

Data-Driven Workplace Design

Wearable devices and big data have made it possible for companies to know how employees work and interact, and this is already being used to influence workplace design. Sensors fitted to work surfaces, furniture and light fittings within an office space can monitor employee movements and in turn control the lighting and heating to make workspaces operate more efficiently.

This information on occupancy and space utilisation of workers can also allow a business to understand how the workplace is used. These new technologies mean data can be used to create an office design that encourages work methods and collaboration in the most positive way specifically for the company, but it also raises questions about employee privacy and what happens to the data being collected.

Technology to Improve Workplace Productivity

In conclusion, all these products and solutions have earned our technological nod of approval. But it’s not just about splashing out on the latest kit all the time, the main focus for businesses has got to be which products will improve performance and increase productivity. The growth of wearables and the development of tablets as useful tools will be embraced as future workplace solutions, and using data to influence design will also help to future-proof the office layout.

However it is the influence of technology on furniture designs which have seen some of the biggest and exciting advancements in recent times. Productivity and employee engagement are paramount to a company’s success, and by taking these products into consideration when designing an office space, any business and their employees will reap the benefits of these technology trends and become a more connected, personalised workplace.



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