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Offices aren’t just places to work anymore. They drive change and competitive advantage, so they have to keep up with the evolving needs of organizations and equip employees with tools that allow them to work as efficiently and productively as possible. More employees are now willing to switch employers or stay with their current employer based on the availability of flexibility programs, so implementing such tools can help companies stay competitive and attract top talent.
A topic that always seems to come up is workplace flexibility. Shifts like the rise of telecommuting and the growth of co-working arrangements have led workers to demand flexibility. Many of the workplace trends that will become more prominent in 2016 existed previously, but their significance is expected to grow this year.
In the West and industrialized world, gone are the days of cubicle farms where workers sit at their desks and shuffle papers for eight hours a day. Offices have become more flexible and inspiring, providing collaborative spaces that employees can use for a variety of purposes, from holding meetings to giving multimedia presentations.
A concept that has become wildly popular in large cities over the last few years is hot desking. Individual offices are fading from existence in favor of hot desks, which do away with assigned workspaces and allow multiple employees to use the same desks at different times of the day. Small and large firms have adopted this practice to cut real estate costs, encourage mixing between different teams and departments, and cater to contractors, visiting employees, and others who don’t require permanent, assigned seating. Companies can save millions of dollars by adopting hot desking and decreasing the size of their offices.
Community tables are also becoming more commonplace, as people seek more interaction at work. Large, shared tables have long symbolized unity and kinship, and they are more relaxed and collaborative than traditional work desks.
With the expansion of collaborative technologies and a strong desire among employees to achieve a better work-life balance, traditional offices are becoming more decentralized and mobile workforces are becoming the norm. Office spaces are shrinking overall and a growing number of employees are working remotely either occasionally or full-time. In order to attract the best employees, companies need to offer more flexible working arrangements and provide workers with comfortable yet innovative office environments, so they can be happier and more productive when they pop into the office.
Tools like meeting room booking software and web-based team calendar software that can be accessed remotely allow employees to stay on top of their schedules, plan meetings, and communicate with their team members. This type of software can be accessed on mobile phones, tablets, desktops, or laptop computers, so employees can remain just as productive outside of the office. Mobility has become key to efficiency in the modern-day workplace.
Companies are giving employees greater flexibility, but in turn, they expect employees to always be responsive and available, even during their off-hours. Work is no longer reserved for the 9-5 timeframe. Technology has eliminated the barriers between employees and their offices, so they can get work done anytime, anywhere.
One of the downsides of remote and flexible working trends is that employees may no longer feel like they are a part of something bigger. However, collaboration tools like Skype for Business and Add-On Products’ calendaring tools can help prevent this from happening by allowing employees to stay connected to their colleagues and feel a stronger sense of camaraderie.
Although many companies have become remote-friendly over the years, more and more companies today are built to be remote from their inception. Organizations are less like traditional companies now and more like networks of teams. Thanks to collaborative technologies, it’s become much easier to form a virtual company today.
Looking for tools that will help your company achieve greater productivity and flexibility and join the mobile revolution in 2016? Add-On Products offers a suite of tools for Microsoft Outlook® and Exchange that make it easier to collaborate with your team members, stay abreast of schedules, assign tasks, and schedule meetings while on the move. Please contact us for more information about our solutions and to schedule a free trial or free online demo of our one of our products. We can help make your organization more agile and prepare you to drive innovation in the workplace of the future.