Our workspaces today have undergone a sweeping renaissance. Gone are the days of the factory farm-like cubicles of yesteryear. With this evolution we see offices transformed into engaging environments designed to attract the best talent, and inspire them to innovate and collaborate.
Human Capital is King of Workspaces
This regeneration of office space has largely been driven by the rapid evolution of technology, changing work habits like flexi-hours and economics. We have advanced from a clerical processing era to the knowledge economy where maximising human capital is the ultimate goal. This is achieved by mixing people, tech, and inspirational space to facilitate collaboration and innovation.
Ergonomics Rules Design in Workspaces
The evolution of workspace design has been informed by Ergonomics – the science related to the suitability of an office design to people. Ergonomics helps provide the tools necessary to see that there is no undue strain on the body parts of an individual. The benefits are indisputable. These include improved work productivity, quality of work, reduced company costs and enhanced staff engagement. There is even a disorder that is now associated with workplaces called Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSIs). These injuries result from a poorly-designed chair or desk that could result in eye-strain, headaches or carpal tunnel syndrome. By designing a job to allow for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and better heights and reaches, the workstation becomes more efficient. The use of good ergonomics is considered as critical in modern-day office designs.
Technology a Personal Assistant in Workspaces
Technology can integrate well with Ergonomics by making the workstation more efficient, paperless and requiring fewer motions, better heights, and reaches. A great example is a sophisticated piece of technology called the Vissan Document Scanner from Zamax. It not only scans documents at 1 second per scan, it captures high-resolution images, records and displays live video and creates eBooks too.
This high tech gadget can automatically detect document size and converts them into multiple formats (word .doc .pdf .jpg). The scanner works with any software allowing the camera to seamlessly fit with workflow. And the live feed of the camera can be displayed on a presenter or screen. It’s essentially an all-in-one office personal assistant. Its suitable across industries like hospitals, banks, libraries, schools, accounting firms and small businesses.
The Workspaces of the Future
Co-working spaces or ‘rental business studios’ have been around for a while now. They provide the perfect mix of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers with shared services like WiFi, conference rooms, and trendy breakout spaces. This shared workspace is also the ideal hatching ground for networking. With flexible monthly terms, the ability to upsize or downsize as needed, and the ease of the relaxed environment, this new sharing economy is predicted to continue to grow.
Microsoft is redeveloping their headquarters in Redmond. “In the past, the employee had to flex to the space. Now, the space flexes to the employee,” said Michael Ford, general manager of Global Real Estate and Facilities. Imagine an ‘office campus’ that incorporates a community plaza where employees can gather, learn, and play. Car-free zones and a cross-campus bridge just for pedestrians and bicyclists. Energy-optimized smart buildings; spaces to spark creativity with teammates; trees, trails, and transport close at hand.
Microsoft says this technology-fuelled re-development “will rocket forward a modern vision of workspace that has already started, in recent years, to lift off across the campus and the globe.”
Check out Ten of the Coolest Offices around the world.
We are sure you’ll agree that we’ve come a long way. It’s good to see that companies are placing more value on human capital, and the older metrics that took the ‘human’ out of ‘human resources’, are rapidly becoming obsolete.