Everything has changed drastically these past two years, and while a lot of the change has been detrimental, we’ve seen some positive transformations – particularly in the office space. The monotony of the traditional, drab office is finally being challenged with the arrival of the smart office and all its capabilities. Let’s take a look at some of the things to look forward to in the 2022 office space!
1. 5G and video conferencing
The arrival of 5G is transforming our communications for the better. With remote work a necessity for many, and international markets ready to be explored, the need for faster, reliable connections is greater than ever. The rollout of 5G networks continue to make South Africa relevant in the digital age. Uninterrupted video conferencing forms an integral part of the new digital space with products like Virtual PBX a definite emerging trend. This advanced telecommunications product comes with so many benefits, among them:
- Seamless multiple location platforms;
- Flexibility and scalable technology;
- Automatic upgrades;
- Superior voice quality; and
- Lower maintenance costs.
2. Sustainable technologies
The climate realities and commitments made at the recent COP26 will also push the sustainability narrative going into 2022. Businesses are much more conscious about investing in technologies which are carbon neutral, and smart office environments that do no harm. This means considering things like:
- Replacing artificial heating and cooling appliances;
- Replacing old and inefficient windows;
- Installing building insulation;
- Replacing office equipment such as printers and computers that aren’t energy-efficient;
- Installing energy-saving lighting; and
- Replacing old plumbing with more water-efficient devices.
The smart office of 2022 will welcome a lot more in terms of automation. Sensors located throughout the office space will monitor, collect and transmit data that can be used to save time and money. Some of the automated tasks you can expect to see will be:
- Temperature monitoring with alerts to indicate if air-conditioning or heating units are left running;
- Leak detection that indicates of any water leaks in the building; and
- Security automation for entry as well as to indicate any breaches.
As our smart offices get smarter, so too do the cybercriminals. That’s why we’re likely to see a real spike in cybersecurity as we enter 2022. In fact, Security Magazine has named 2022 ‘The Year of Cybersecurity’. More advanced security measures are likely to be implemented throughout your office with more verification processes to protect valuable company and client data.
5. Flexible workspaces
We’re getting long past the days of a dedicated desk and workspace for a 9-to-5 employee, which is why we’re going to see more flexible workspaces in 2022. This will mean many are still working from home part-time, but there is still a need to get into the office, interact with co-workers and brainstorm ideas. This hybrid work setup will see the emergence of adaptable workspaces in offices, with functional furniture and outlets so you can sit down, set up and get to work.
6. Healthy buildings
We’ve discussed the drive for sustainability in equipment, but the drive for sustainability continues into the actual structure itself. Ventilation is now key as we realise how quickly germs and viruses can travel with the Covid-19 pandemic. We can expect a focus on improved air quality, thermal health, dust and pests, water quality, noise, lighting and safety. Smart offices will incorporate items such as:
- Humidifiers and air filters;
- In-office healthcare services;
- Fitness facilities;
- Daycare and breastfeeding facilities;
- Ambient lighting and temperature control;
- CO2 sensors; and
- The incorporation of natural elements like views, natural lighting and gardens.
7. Internet of Things (IoT)
With the hybrid work environment, everyone is using a wealth of different devices that will need to seamlessly connect in an instant. That’s why we’re expecting to see a spike in IoT technology in the office. This makes working between home and the office that much easier. It also gives management the option of monitoring employees and data, identifying areas of weakness and potential growth. Areas where IoT sensors can improve operations include:
- Optimising office design by monitoring work habits;
- Providing a more sustainable environment by controlling heating, cooling, lighting and cleaning;
- Supporting the wellbeing of employees through monitoring; and
- Creating a seamless work environment.
It’s an exciting new world out there. To make sure your business is fully prepared to meet the smart office trends of 2022, contact ECN, a leading communications provider. ECN offers a broad set of cost-effective, voice, data and hosted service to meet all your technological needs!