A few years ago, one might have imagined a towering skyscraper or a floating city when picturing this concept, but the idea of “the workplace of the future” has completely transformed since the beginning of 2020. Lockdowns and self-isolation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, although sudden and disruptive, brought on changes to the workplace that are seen by experts as the inevitable evolution in the way that we do business and use the office. By its own estimations, the American research and advisory firm ISG reckons that the workplace has evolved 5-10 years within the span of a single year.
This level of growth is certainly not unprecedented – innovation and creativity have always flourished during times of crisis. A good example is the Second World War, during which perseverance and tenacity lead to, amongst many others, the invention of computers, jet engines and flu vaccinations, all of which still shape our modern lives. It is this instinct of people to unite around a purpose and to work together during emergencies that also drove the leaps and bounds of innovation we saw during the Covid-19 pandemic. Distilleries started producing hand sanitizer instead of alcohol, hospitals were jury-rigging ventilators to work at double capacity, and the Chinese scientists who sequenced the previously unknown COVID-19 virus did so in a record time of three weeks.
This very same attitude of restructuring and transformation has also been applied to the way we work here at Vizi and how we perceive the workplace. With the implementation of lockdown regulations, workers all over the world were suddenly forced to start working remotely, initially with disastrous (and sometimes hilarious) consequences. Applications like Zoom, Discord and Teams suddenly went from being a useful gimmick to becoming the norm, and although it was initially awkward and took some getting used to, we realised that for many cases – it works. These techniques have been implemented at Vizi with great success. This revelation had some rather profound consequences – driving to the next town over or flying across the country for a meeting suddenly seemed like an extreme waste of time and resources, and for good reason. The infrastructure to avoid such waste and to work remotely instead was already in place, most of us had just been too stubborn to use it. With an internet connection and a device to access it with, a person can now be empowered to communicate and collaborate with almost anyone on earth – a realisation which is quite some time overdue and one which the organisations of tomorrow will certainly need to consider.
The workplace of the future is therefore not a physical space, but rather the technological infrastructure that will allow people to collaborate online at a tempo that exceeds even the most efficient in-person office. New technologies that will make this possible are being developed every day, such as faster internet speeds, quantum computing and even virtual reality. Can you imagine being able to step into a digitally constructed environment to work in a virtual office alongside your colleagues, all from the comfort of your own home? Anything is possible, as tech companies across the globe are working to bridge the gap between physical and digital workspaces and seamless integration may soon be at our fingertips. Soon we will be able to kiss the daily commute goodbye, as the workplace of the future may very well be our own bedroom. Start looking forward.