28 April 2021
Curated by: Redazione IVM

The future of the office lies in innovation

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Act now to envisage the future. This is the new frontier for companies aiming to survive an ever-increasingly competitive market, where the focus is no longer on the product as an end in itself, but rather on an innovative approach to the design of furnishings.

Innovation does not mean the creation of new products, but rather to moving in accordance with new criteria, reducing the gap between the present and the future and creating new connections between things, the so-called “Internet of things”.

However, in innovating a workspace, implementing new advanced forms of technology is not enough. Innovation is true organisational ability based on a strategic overturning of company structure and behaviour.

This ability is the result of a combination of various resources: an innovative strategic approach, the optimisation of products, flexible working and intelligent organisation, seen as the creation of agile and innovative workspaces.

The roots of innovation therefore lie in company vision, and innovation embraces a wide range of internal resources that go beyond the product.

Innovation also brings together social and economic factors, influencing the improvement of organisational efficiency and well-being.


A new form of office 

According to an article published by the World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, organisations that adopt an innovative approach to the workplace are ever increasingly seeing improvements in organisational performance.

Furthermore, it has also been shown that interventions with a focus on designing new workspaces that are flexible and intelligent can have a positive influence on an increase in performance among employees.

Workspaces, therefore, that are smarter and more flexible, and that also adapt to new forms of work and to the needs of employees, drawing increasingly on environments that favour flexibility and movement.


IVM Think Lab Smart Office

One only needs to consider that – according to research carried out by Strategy Analytics – 42.5% of the global workforce, equal to 1.87 billion people, will be mobile by 2022.

Faced with this forecast, companies need to prepare themselves, responding in an active manner by acquiring the right forms of technology and designing technologically advanced workspaces.


So, is the classic office a thing of the past? 

The classic office environment is by no means dead and gone; what is changing and will continue to change over the next few years is its purpose.

The office of the future will, in fact, not be just a desk, comfortable seating and efficient space, but will have a much wider-ranging aim, focusing on the creation of social experiences in order to allow workers to interact, give their all, and collaborate both face to face and remotely.


How the Internet of Things (IoT) can change the design of your office 

The aim of an office is to create a working environment that is comfortable and productive, and that promotes an increase in collaboration between people. This is a challenge that companies will have to focus ever increasingly on if they intend to innovate, and IoT technology can be a formidable ally in this regard.

The IoT can favour not only aspects of practicality and comfort, but also radical changes in interaction with company spaces and systems, leading to considerable improvements in productivity.

It is forecast that there will be 41 billion IoT devices by 2027, and that there will be an annual sector growth of multiple trillions of euros (Business Insider Intelligence: The Internet of Things 2020).

Many companies will therefore find themselves having to face up to these changes and implement this solution in their own offices: from companies operating in the technology sector, to clothing manufacturers and health operators, investments aimed at exploiting the potential of interconnected devices will see a constant increase.


A number of examples of IoT integration in the office 

There are numerous areas where IoT can offer tangible solutions, starting with reservations.

Have you ever had to book a meeting room?

It is an extremely simple matter but it can be problematic.

A limited number of places, for example, can lead to double booking of a room and consequentially to time wasted trying to find other available spaces or waiting for the original room to be freed up. The IoT can completely eliminate this problem.

The IoT goes far beyond situations like this, also offering concrete solutions from an office-design point of view. One of the distinctive elements of this technology is in fact the analysis and processing of data which can then take the form of information on which companies can base their new strategies regarding the designing of spaces.

Data regarding the use of meeting rooms, for example, could demonstrate that their employment is less productive than forecast, leading to more efficient investment and use of other company spaces, first and foremost offices.

By comparing data on productivity with that regarding position, it may also emerge that people located in open-space offices are more productive than those in individual offices, or vice-versa.

Beyond reservations, IoT also offers solutions in terms of security and monitoring.

From secure authentication for various reserved-access company areas with biometric-based solutions to advanced surveillance systems capable of automatically managing access to office spaces.

In short, IoT systems offer great potential for rendering an office interconnected.

A smarter and more intelligent office that allows savings in time and therefore money, while at the same time optimising company processes, improving the organisation of workspaces.


Where to begin redesigning your office 

Every workplace has its own history, and as such requires in-depth study and analysis before a redesigning of spaces can begin.

This means that if you are thinking of renovating your office, adopting a new technological approach, you first need to have a clear idea of your requirements and needs, and set them within the context of a design that is tailor-made for your company.

This is the starting point in designing furnishing solutions based on the IoT and capable of transforming a place into an experience, and a simple desk into an employee resource.

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