Is technology turning the MENA workplace into a 'locationless, frictionless' place?
Technologies are disrupting the traditional work patterns in the Middle East to such a degree that soon the term ‘office’ will become obsolete, according to an expert.
In its place will be a new model for work – a flexible and collaborative environment where the mobile device will be the tool around which everything else will flow, said Chris Kozup, senior director at Aruba Networks.
The change has been triggered by the new breed of worker, #GenMobile, who are putting mobility at the centre of their working and personal lives, he said.
#GenMobile see themselves as innovators, and expect their employers to be too, eschewing the nine-to-five and instead working wherever and whenever they can connect to thecloud.
In association with insight consultancy The Future Laboratory, Kozup pointed out some key trends that will shape the workplace of tomorrow globally and undoubtedly in the Middle East as well.
The blending of business and leisure
Owing to the ubiquity of mobile devices, high-speed wifi and cloud computing, the merging of business and leisure has sparked a total rethink of how a working day is structured. Companies are embracing subtle social engineering to create ‘serendipity corners’ and ‘chance-encounter corridors’, because people no longer have to be attached to a plug or a wire.
Businesses are also finding that the more they can make work feel like a leisure activity, the more productive staff will be.
The frictionless office space
If #GenMobile workers are becoming the norm, mixing business and leisure pursuits into one space, then it's no surprise that the nature of workforces will also change.
Companies are following an employee-centric model of working, where employers are using new practices that favour collaboration over competition, productivity over presenteeism and invention over inhibition.
Dawn of the Age of Everywhere
The Internet o Things is changing the practice of an office being a place where things happened, but the employee had to do all the work. Whereas, everything electronic is connected to the web now, according to author Adam Greenfield’s term, ‘the Age of Everywhere.’
Predictive devices are already communicating with one another to make working lives increasingly seamless, and taking away much of the drudgery that gives work a bad name, said Kozup.
The Internet of Things will anticipate an employee’s objectives, learn their behaviour, then create the perfect environment where they can concentrate on what's most important - ideas.
The Personal Information Economy
Data, which is the centre of everything, is becoming the world’s most valuable commodity, and everyone wants to get their hands on it.
Businesses use it to pre-empt consumer behaviour and companies are harvesting it from co-workers, clients and even competitors to enhance productivity.
However, Kozup pointed out that privacy is becoming a thing of the past, with new businesses emerging focused on data stewardship, storing your personal information and keeping it out of the reach of businesses.
The future workspace will look less like an office and more like a multi-purpose apartment or leisure park, where brands work collaboratively, feeding off each other's innovation and productivity, said Kozup.
The research indicated that only 14 per cent of businesses globally have moved to this collaborative style of working.
But as this transition accelerates, IT must be prepared to deliver the All Wireless Workplace to meet the needs of the frictionless office, he concluded.