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What will the office of the future be?

With the development of technology, work spaces are being transformed at an accelerated pace.

How will they compare in just a few years’ time?

A few decades ago, thoughts about the future imagined flying cars, androids, space suits and intergalactic travel. Today, thanks to the rapid development of technology, many of these things have come true; others not, but perhaps we are not as far away from seeing them materialise as we think.

Therefore, it can be said that the only constant is change itself. This also applies to the way you work and the tools with which we now have to undertake and conduct business. For example in recent years, new, more efficiently run office models arose. This was to assimilate all these changes to meet the needs of users who sought to maximise their performance and make use of available resources.

Currently, the lines that are leading the way in working spaces are interdisciplinary collaboration, mobility, connectivity, sustainability and real-time response. Also, gone are the cables to connect to the Internet, the outdated furniture and equipment such as fax, to make way for wireless connections, ergonomic furniture and tablets from where you can conduct business accounting to installing videoconferences and design prototypes.

  • First step: the design

Thinking of the future office, your mind travels to places like Google’s corporate headquarters. There, employees have the flexibility to work in different areas, according to their personal taste and at their own pace. Although the concept sounds great, not all small businesses or start-ups have a place or budget to replicate the same practises. However, this is no excuse to not be part of the new trend of work.

The main, but not exclusive basis should be the design. This refers to more than just furniture. The design of the physical space of every business is not limited to the aesthetics. It should be part of the branding. Positioning your brand is crucial for innovative companies and the design is a large part of a greater message, a constant reminder of who they are and what they represent.

Moreover, space has the ability to stimulate conversation, cooperation and creativity. The first important concept in traditional office change came with the creation of the cubicles in 1967. The idea was to isolate workers and create fewer distractions, promoting a more practical, modular space. At that time, it was almost revolutionary, but today is somewhat outdated and limiting.

Cubicles, as with many models to which we are accustomed to, are changing or disappearing. Hierarchies and confined spaces will soon be a part of the past. Companies are rethinking the way they grow a community and the context provided for interpersonal connections; the result can be seen in the design of space.

Experts agree that transparency should be the key element that defines the new design of offices. For almost all sectors, (except traditional) formality is no longer a priority, which is reflected in the layout. By incorporating walls and glass doors and open spaces, used by any employee regardless of their position, barriers are broken and the flow of ideas is increased. Similarly, open minds are encouraged.

This trend also extends to areas designed for customers such as reception or meeting rooms.  The detachment between different areas within a company is long gone. Customers value the access to ideas; a traditional lobby evokes nothing.

  • Culture Change

Business owners and entrepreneurs have a challenge and also an opportunity to improve their practices, achieve higher growth rates and even save money. For this, it is essential to keep in mind that the concept of the future office does not refer exclusively to the design of space or adding more gadgets as work tools or the latest technology.

Yes, more and more companies, especially start-ups are more aware of the individual needs of their employees, because some people work best in private spaces, others prefer to live together and exchange ideas or those who work best when operating from home . An alternative to foster a collaborative work environment are centres of co-working. This is a group of people who do not necessarily work for the same company or project, but share the space, infrastructure and resources.

On the other hand, there are virtual offices, which consist of business centres usually located in major corporate areas of cities. In return for a membership and a monthly payment (or contracted service), the user has sales management, package delivery management, a virtual receptionist and secretary, local phone number, mail forwarding address, access to a boardroom, among other features.

  • Tailored solutions

Besides co-working spaces and virtual offices that can represent considerable savings in rent and equipment, entrepreneurs also have at their disposal a range of solutions designed to solve many of their basic needs for communication, administration, data storage in the cloud collection systems and mobile cards, among others. The good news is that these providers want their customers to maximise their time and resources, offering flexible schedules and options to order.

Before deciding what services to hire, analyse what the requirements of your business are. For example, if you want to be in constant contact with your customers and suppliers, but it is not always possible to be aware of the phone, then perhaps hire a receptionist. This solution allows a fixed number, which can be answered from a landline, mobile and Skype. It operates through the purchase of credits according to user needs.

Another key point is to have a permanent Internet connection. To do this, it is best to hire a mobile data plan that you can use on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Also make use of cloud solutions to always have access to your information and used tools like Google Docs that give you the opportunity to work together remotely and in real time. Just remember to protect your computers with antivirus and firewalls.

Also, caring for the environment is not a fad, but a fundamental part of any business strategy. Soon you will notice that in addition to reducing the impact on the planet, it is also a way to save money and attract more customers. Therefore, a good measure is to reduce the amount of paper you use. How to do this? Through the software PrintEco , the format of your impressions are more efficient. It even encourages the use of alternative means of transport such as cycling, installing racks in your workplace or, hires shipping services messaging through bikes.

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