The Modern Workplace – Where Design and Technology Meet

When Blade Runner was released 36 years ago, Ridley Scott envisioned 2019 to be the year of flying cars and androids so life-like they’re mistaken for humans.   

In reality, we still have a way to go. But our world isn’t without its technological wonders. In fact, it’s because of said technology that businesses are able to grow faster than ever before. 

We look at how companies are catalysing growth and transforming their cultures by colliding design with cutting-edge tech 

Powered by People  

When we talk about design, we don’t just mean the decor. It’s the workings of an office. Culture, IT infrastructure, equipment, software, people: the modern workplace.  

Let’s start with people. Your employees are the face of your business; they dictate how good your first impression is to clients. Talented, driven and enthusiastic staff help you deliver an exceptional service and build an attractive culture.  

To make your business more appealing to top talent, you can boost job satisfaction by carefully considering what types of technology will give employees a leg up – like Microsoft Teams. 

This technology unlocks supercharged collaboration between individuals or bigger groups. On the dashboard, you can create as many teams as you need and assign them to relevant projects.  

In these projects, employees can have real-time discussions with workmates via video call or live chat. And with access to other Microsoft Office apps within Teams, such as Excel or SharePoint, pulling information for sharing is easy as pie.  

A lot of companies that use Teams spark informal discussions on the app too. It’s packed with emojis and other fun features making it perfect for the job. For informal companies, using Teams to enable casual chat can boost worker morale and drive an appealing culture.  

Building Virtual Offices  

How do your people work? If it’s from computers, laptops or mobiles, technology can enable versatile system designs for improved productivity and enhanced security no matter where your employees are based.  

Remote working itself can be enabled by providing key technology improvements around mobile devices and desktops.  

For on-the-move mobile use, employers need to be confident that their employees are sharing and receiving sensitive data securely.  

A VPN (virtual private network) enables this, allowing an employee to connect to the business’s private network over an public, unsecured network (like WiFi from a coffee shop) without jeopardising business data. 

And in terms of desktops, Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive fully support document creation and management solutions with real-time collaborative editing and screen sharing (these applications can be accessed on mobiles too!).  

In the system, users can view a document’s history and keep tabs on recent changes rather than firing off emails and having overly-long dialogues to gather information.  

And because SharePoint and OneDrive can be interlinked with Microsoft Teams, you eliminate long pauses from trying to find documents during video conferencing. In this way, virtual meetings can be as interactive and fluid as a whiteboard session in the office 

Without ever leaving Microsoft Office 365, digital nomads have access to internal documents, project management tools and the essential data needed to complete individual or group tasks from anywhere – they just need a good internet connection! Which brings us to the necessity of improved broadband capabilities. 

Blessed by Better Broadband  

Not only is super-fast and robust broadband invaluable for quicker interactions in the office but it’s also a fundamental component for remote work.  

For example, video-calling can be quite demanding, especially if you have large teams working away from the office. Skype needs a minimum download speed of 300Kb for the lowest video quality. For the highest, it recommends 1.5Mb.  

You also need a decent upload speed – which dictates the amount of data you can send per second – for video-conferencing since its a two-way system. Without quality broadband, the performance of software like Skype, Google Hangouts or Apple Facetime will be compromised, negatively impacting worker productivity 

The good news is that superfast broadband and Wi-Fi hotspots have replaced outdated solutions in many public places, such as cafes or airports. In fact, BT has more than five million across the UK and they are all free for BT Broadband and BT Mobile customers.  

This means virtual employees can effortlessly check and send emails, schedule and hold video-conferencing calls, upload documents and edit work even when they’re outside of the office.  

Head of service delivery at San-iT, Amarjit Singh, also describes how better broadband is great for increasing camaraderie between remote workers:

“Seamless ongoing chat during collaborative working is a fantastic way to build stronger relationships. It can help remote workers feel like they’re still apart of the team even when they’re working from home”  

A Cleaner IT Infrastructure  

Digital transformation has resulted in IT infrastructures becoming simpler, more secure and incredibly easy to manage.  

Before cloud computing took the business world by storm, businesses needed to build expensive servers and invest in private data storage. They also needed air-conditioned cabinets to keep systems cool and an IT team to manage servers and fix faults should they arise. 

Today, we live in a different world. Cloud computing erases the need for these expensive and cumbersome IT components. It can: 

Centralise all business files and apps 

Enable private networks, such as email, to be managed and repaired virtually 

Allows easy implementation of new software 

“With the cloud, individuals and small businesses can snap their fingers and instantly set up enterprise-class services.” –Roy Stephan, solutions architect, Amazon Web Services 

As the cloud curtails the cost of IT, business leaders have bigger budgets to catalyse improved systems for enhanced productivity.  

For instance, older laptops can be replaced by lighter and newer devices like Surface Pros. No more: “My computer is being slow today.” The modern business is all about having faster equipment to save vast amounts of time. 

Plus, since your network can be accessed virtually,  IT support can be outsourced as a fully-managed service. Hiring an in-house team would be much more expensive.  

The final benefit? With the latest technology sprucing up your IT infrastructure, you have the ability to mould an office culture around innovation, modernisation and exceptional service delivery, putting you well and truly ahead-of-the-curve.  

Faster, Deeper Insights 

Data is critical to business design. The insights gleaned shape a business’ unique selling pointimprove customer serviceboost relationshipsdrive sales and provide a competitive edge 

As technology advances, companies are able to pull never seen before business data. For example, Microsoft’s Power BI allows managers and directors to mine data from hundreds of sources, such as Excel, Sharepoint and Google analytics in the blink-of-an-eye.  

This is especially useful in analysing a database’s contents. The goal is to find and put this information in a new spreadsheet for sharing. Rather than spending time duplicating the data, Power BI automates this task so that the data already exists.  

Through this tool, all stakeholders can access the information they need swiftly to tell the business story at the right level. Plus, data-entry mistakes are eliminated, which is especially important for sales forecasts and budgeting.  

The icing on the cake lies within Power BI’s stunning visuals. It’s a move away from ugly reports that are difficult to decipher. Instead, stakeholders gain reports in the forms of graphs and statistics. The latter can also be easily shared on company pages to drive further value.  

Our Future: Symbiosis Between Man and Machine  

“Technology should work with us, not just for us.” – Barry Lowe, managing director at San-iT 

It’s impossible to predict the lasting result of technology’s effect on our world. However, we do know it can be used for good – just look at the way Japan has invented baby seal robots to keep the elderly company in care homes!  

In business, technological feats are no less impressive. Employees work side-by-side with tech to create offices that are fun to work in, virtually or otherwise.  

They also leverage cutting-edge tools and equipment to make work easier, supercharging productivity and boosting creativity.  

In the process, customers receive a knock-out service and game-changing products to improve their lives, while businesses reap the benefits of a stand-out culture.   

Need help implementing the tech we’ve discussed today into your business? Or perhaps you have a few more questions. Either way, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call on 0800 084 2575 or email us at [email protected].