Smarter Workplaces: Integrating People and Technology
As businesses embrace new technologies, Richard Harris, director of B2B market network Okappy, considers the impact on people - the cornerstone of any workplace.
An intelligent workplace should utilise both the capacity and tendencies of humans whilst employing the advantages of automation and new technologies. Technology is improving every aspect of our lives and changing faster than ever before. In the dawn of this Artificial Intelligence and Automation era we must develop and use this to create a more efficient and smart workplace.
The office has never been immune to improvements in technology - from the creation of the photocopier to the internet, technological advancement alters the way in which we work. As we sit on the brink of huge changes to the very concept of the office, how can we implement and adopt new tech?
Utopia vs Reality
In the past decades we saw utopian dreams of a ‘paperless office’ which became further and further from reality as Xerox and printers became currency and basics in most offices. However, with cloud based storage and remote working, offices are steadily moving towards what once seemed a sci-fi utopian ideology. Collaborative workplace software and applications such as Google Drive and Slack are altering our expectations of workers and even how we interact with office spaces. Moving beyond the cloud based and digitally focused paperless office, there are also many other ways that technology will disrupt our current ways of working, now and in the years to come.
As businesses adopt more of these technologies, our understanding and incorporation of them into our everyday life will also change the way we utilise them. Don’t forget, technological change is a social process. As early adopters discover new ways to use these technologies, new models of technological developments are created - and the process accelerates.
Terms such as deep learning, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and cognitive computing may be on the peripheral now - but these elements of technology are altering at a speed beyond belief. We must prepare for this digital disruption and embrace technology that can increase efficiency within the office space.
Man vs Machine
Evidently there are hopes of a sci-fi utopia, but we also must remain resolute that the machine must not eclipse human work. This is not about replacement but advancement. Therefore co-operation and collaboration are key to the foundations of working with technologies such as AI. We should aim to use these changes to enhance human communication - not eradicate it - to develop and build on what we already know and to use tech to push forward and break new ground.
Cloud based management applications and collaborative working platforms are a great way to start utilising technology that can help improve efficiency in your office - saving time and increasing communication. But moving forward, how is it best to tackle the paperless and digital office? Take small steps but don’t be afraid to adopt early, utilise the physical and digital alongside each other to make the technology harmoniously coexist with our current digital landscape.