The future of work isn’t all about the technology itself. But it is about how new technology can be applied to make the workplace experience a better one for everyone. You’ve seen the buzzwords and acronyms, but here at Condeco by Eptura we’re serious about making the future of work an incredibly useful reality.
At their core, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the internet of things (IoT), and smart automation are and will be vital elements of digital workplace technology. But these elements exist in service of people at work. They need to be useful in a workplace setting that cuts across any environment or work model – hybrid, remote, coworking, kitchen table, home office, or satellite field office – wherever work takes place by people. Even technologies that seemed far away, such as digital twins, are beginning to make an impact for workplace and facilities management teams.
We think it’s so important it is deserving of its own, standalone category. For IT and technology research companies that follow markets and innovative companies across the tech landscape, you see many different and unique names. IDC, for one, dubs it ‘Intelligent Digital Workspace’. But all the major analyst firms from Gartner to Verdantix are watching the digital workplace experience and have their own nomenclature for it.
The future of work will leverage a new category of workplace technology called worktech. What is worktech?
Worktech is the digital manifestation of people and assets working together harmoniously — regardless of location. Built for business outcomes, worktech anticipates and delivers desired workplace performance through a single, unified experience to enable everyone to reach their full potential.
Smooth and secure building visits. Easy, reliable workspace booking. Automated energy management. Optimized and accurate utilization metrics. Predictive and proactive facilities, inventory, and asset management. And when it’s all connected? That’s worktech.
It’s modular by design. Integrated for flawless work experiences. Ready to scale on demand.
It’s fueled by AI and ML, and is fronted by human-centered design principles. It’s fundamentally simple, easy to use, and enables mobility.
Workplace technology and processes shouldn’t be fragmented. But when they are, worktech can bring them together to help meet business goals. Isn’t that the objective of true digital transformation?
Worktech doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It adapts to real-world conditions whether in traditional corporate offices, manufacturing plants, hospitals, hotels, fleets, coworking spaces — wherever work happens.
The pandemic accelerated worktech adoption, but worktech continues to evolve as hybrid workplace policies — and ever-changing work behaviors and processes — influence how, when, and where we work.
The future of work cannot be less empathetic to human needs, but it will be more automated and streamlined, especially for rote, manual, or paper-based tasks that will benefit from digital transformation.
The goal of worktech isn’t efficiency on its own, but it is a benefit. The goal is to simplify and integrate workplace systems so employees, teams, and workplace leaders are able to perform and manage at their highest levels. As integration becomes more and more seamless across workplace reservation, space planning, and asset management systems, the data available to everyone will become exponentially more useful.
But it still needs to be empathetic to human beings. Again, this is what we mean by a digital workplace experience being useful. It’s only useful when it’s built with an empathetic experience in mind. Without this human-centered design, employees and managers will not adopt a new technology.
“Apps and other technologies are doing a lot of the work that people used to do — and you can’t train an app to have empathy,” reflects Martin Lindstrom in his Harvard Business Review article “Don’t Let Digital Transformation Make You Less Human.”
“It’s not possible or desirable to turn back the clock on digital transformation, of course, and it’s not always easy to re-engineer operations without losing the personal touch. That said, this is a particularly good moment to remember that efficiency won’t get you anywhere if emotional intelligence isn’t built into your operations,” writes Lindstrom.
The future of work has to account for change management and the digital disruption it will cause to traditional facilities and asset management roles – and to the employees and leaders using worktech.
In the last few years, workplace convergence has become a reality. As important elements and job responsibilities from human resources meld with duties often found in facilities and asset management, space planning and optimization are fusing with areas that are now being labelled as “people operations” or as a specialty in “workplace experience strategy.” Your workspace is now an experience for employees. It has to cater to a spectrum of employee and technological needs.
The office ceases to be a Monday through Friday experience alone. Why we visit the office is as important as when we visit now. And most of us are only there a few times a week. Office occupancy tends to surge during the mid-week right now.
As we expect in our 2023 trends report, worktech will help eliminate silos because it will eventually go well beyond the day-to-day operational worktech stack: space planning, visitor and asset management, building automation, IoT devices, real estate management, and digital resource scheduling systems. It’s all the assets within systems that bind the enterprise workplace experience together — including enterprise resource planning (ERP), human resource information systems (HRIS), service and ticket management, security and access control, and design, construction, manufacturing, and industrial systems.
To better manage the future of work, focus on process improvement and an integrated digital workplace that condenses software and application overload.
But this ecosystem and the change that it brings need to be managed by humans. Automation will help ease a lot of the complexity introduced by all the process and workflow changes. But cross-team awareness and joint decision-making will continue to be crucial.
Our partner Accenture puts this in real-world context in its article “Creating a Modern Digital Workplace.” The consulting firm reflects on all the change happening in today’s work environment and advises organizations to think in terms of “workforce, workplace, workspace” which are all interconnected by the human, the physical and the digital. The firm details guidance for all three areas including taking advantage of automation and putting more trust and decision-making in the hands of employees given the proliferation of low code/no code platforms.
Accenture also advises creating “process improvement as a service” teams that focus on fixing business challenges: “A good example is a productivity studio concept. Here, a cadre of specialized process improvement experts help the business create new solutions to specific problems, which can then be spun off and reused elsewhere in the organization.”
The major consultancy also advocates organizations condense and collapse fragmented systems and siloed applications: “Instead of having to go to 20 different applications to do their job, workers should have access to the necessary tools through their primary environment. That could be a central work hub for email, Microsoft Teams, or any other enterprise workplaces.”
Go deeper. Dive into our report “2023 Workplace Predictions: 5 Worktech Trends to Watch.”