The Next Decade of Adaptive Workplace Planning

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For years now, many businesses have been on the verge of creating an adaptive workplace, whether they knew it or not. Now, thanks to the pandemic, those companies and organizations are realizing how important flexibility is to their corporate environment and how it can help improve the health and well-being of their employees, as well as productivity and efficiency.

Many things changed for almost everyone who worked in 2020, and the workplace will most likely never be the same. And that can be a very good thing. Let's take a look at the adaptive workplace and how sensor tech can help you plan for the future.

What Is an Adaptive Workplace?

Once upon a time, everyone got up, grabbed their briefcases and headed into the office at 9 a.m., where they stayed and worked in their departments until about 5 p.m., and they repeated these steps the next day and the next and the next. For many organizations, those days are over. Instead, they're learning to create an adaptive workplace. Essentially, this means the organization has the ability to adapt and change to whatever comes its way, whether it's an internal marketing problem or a worldwide pandemic.

While COVID-19 has and will continue to play a role in how companies plan their own versions of the adaptive workplace, the idea isn't new. Some other influencing factors that have been guiding us in this direction for years include:

  • Employees becoming more motivated by a healthy work-life balance rather than just a paycheck
  • Technology advances — like emails and virtual meeting software — that allow employees to work remotely from any location in the world
  • The switch from employees who work full-time for one company for a lifetime to employees who move around, as well as an increase in contract work and consulting roles
  • A switch from vertical decision making to a more collaborative process that involves all or most levels of employees
  • Globalization and access to an international talent pool

And certain industries have had an adaptive workplace for decades. The healthcare industry, for example, changes constantly, and those who work in this field must adapt to new research and technology and anything else that comes their way. Technology-related companies also tend to be more adaptable. In the future, we expect organizations that are typically hesitant to make major changes to their workplace structure, such as government agencies and nonprofits, to find value here too.

What Are the Long-Term Benefits of Embracing an Adaptive Workplace?

One of the biggest changes we'll see over the next decade is the employee's ability to work from anywhere. They can work from home or the local coffee shop. They can come into the office if they want. They can work every other day in a new location. They can spend half the week in the office and half of it at home, or they can participate in hoteling or hot desking. In many situations, the choice will be theirs, and they can choose what suits them best without compromising the integrity of the job.

One of the biggest benefits of the adaptive workplace is employee well-being. According to a FlexJobs survey, 96% of workers want to work remotely in some capacity, even if it's a hybrid schedule. A reduction in stress, distractions, noise and office politics may have something to do with that. FlexJobs, along with Mental Health of America, also found that employees who have flexible work options also claim they experience a big improvement in mental health. These surveys also found that healthier, happier employees are more productive.

Employers who embrace the adaptive workplace will notice several other benefits as well, including:

  • More employee engagement
  • Reduction in unhealthy work habits
  • Elimination of redundant or unnecessary work
  • Attraction and retention of better talent
  • Long-term operational cost savings

How Can Sensor Technology Help in an Adaptive Workplace?

Now that you know that an adaptive workplace is the way to go, you're probably wondering where to start. How do you plan for these big, potentially overwhelming changes tomorrow and several months and years down the line?

Start with sensor technology to learn how your employees are using your current space. The way your employees interacted with the office in the past is long gone, but when you place sensors around the office — on desks and tables, in conference rooms and in other locations where your staff spends time — you can look at real-time data to see what still works for your organization and what doesn't. Sensors leave little room for error, do not impede on your employees' privacy and start working on day one.

In time, you'll find that the data your sensors provide is just what you need to make long-term decisions regarding space optimization, creating a plan for a new adaptive workplace or even when it comes to making decisions about your commercial lease. It will help you make decisions about hoteling or hot desking vs. keeping dedicated space, and it will help you monitor these changes to ensure they were, indeed, the right ones. You can then use your continuous input of data to measure how your new configurations match up to your employees' performance.

Is an Adaptive Workplace Right for Your Business?

If you're still on the fence about an adaptive workplace, it's understandable. After decades of doing things one way, the world is changing. Implementing this type of flexibility is the way to keep up. The tech and healthcare industries are thriving because they caught on long before the rest of us did. It's time for your business to thrive too.

If you still have your doubts, sensor technology can help you with this too. Instead of making changes based on whims and possibilities, you can make informed decisions based on how your employees are using your office today. We call it "measure twice, cut once," because, in the end, you'll have the tools in place to make the best possible choices for your organization and your bottom line.

Learn more about how sensor technology from 4SITE by CORT can help you plan for the next decade of the adaptive workplace. Call us today to set up a demo.