March 28, 2016
Look no further than Google as your model to create personalised employee work spaces. The lobby at Google’s Sydney, Australia office makes visitors feel like they’re about to embark on an Outback safari expedition rather than drown in a concrete jungle. While depersonalising spaces at work to fit the geographic locale or the personal tastes of employees has become common in the modern workplace employees’ digital spaces are also benefiting from a personal touch.
The future of the workplace appears more science fiction than reality at times as the coming years bring artificial intelligence (AI) and digital interfaces will become an increasingly integrated component of the workplace. By 2018, 60 percent of companies will have programmes for personalization and accessibility specifically designed to attract and retain older and disabled employees. For example, head-mounted displays (HMDs) could be adopted to help visitors navigate a vast work campus or help employees make workplace repairs. Devices such as these not only save time for the worker as they can automatically pull up manual directions on a suspended computer screen, but also increase overall productivity for the company as technological advances speed up otherwise cumbersome activities.
Soon, AI technology will be able to anticipate the needs of the new employee. What should his workspace look like? M&Ms or Snickers? Sitting by the marketing team or the engineering group? By catering to the needs of the employee, the company as well as the overall workforce profits. Employees are able to feel more comfortable at work and not (as much) anticipating their daily escape from the office.
Company workspaces are already becoming more digitally personalised for employees. If an off-site worker needs to clock in, they don’t need to keep a daily off-site log and then manually transfer the information later. Rather, using mobile facial recognition software, an employee can clock in and out or get work done from wherever, whenever: the information automatically uploads to the company’s system. Bring your own device (BYOD) programmes are another step companies have taken to make the workplace more personalised. Olivia can bring her personalised laptop to work ready to go with all her browser preferences, allowing her to quickly access information rather than having to adapt to a clunky or impersonal workplace device.
In a study done on the effect of workplace design on an employee’s emotional health, researchers concluded that depersonalising one’s workspace is integral for the success of an employee.
“Creating a place of one’s own in an otherwise public workspace environment should further contribute to individuals’ positive cognitive and affective states, resulting in enhanced mental resources, enabling better coping with the potentially debilitating interferences associated with low privacy,” the researchers noted in The Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Offering employees the opportunity to personalize their physical and digital workspace allows for a more accessible and comfortable environment. Productivity is increased as the workspace is customised to the preferences of each employee. Good employees working effectively are the lifeblood of any successful business.