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The Digital Shift: Tech Integration in Workplace Furniture

Modernising a traditional office with cutting-edge tech furniture improves employee satisfaction and creativity, encouraging innovative work that secures your return on investment. What does upcoming tech integration look like in the workplace?

Area i Tech Media 2nd Edit Office Curator SMALL 20
Fritha Selwyn Jones

Written by

Fritha Selwyn Jones

Contents

The world is shifting into a deep digital transformation as we enter the workplace of 2024. The emergence of the 6G network on the horizon speaks of delivering omnipresent wireless connectivity. ChatGPT has fundamentally transformed the landscape of information online and disrupted the way virtually every business works.

Global trends in workplace design consultancy are intertwined with tech. World Economic Forum’s 2023 Future of Jobs Report predicts that 23% of workplaces will make structural changes and that workplaces everywhere will see fundamental changes thanks to technology demands in the next five years.

Technology integration into the workplace is not an option or a luxury but an essential layer to the future of workplace design. Employees, clients, and stakeholders expect intuitive tech at a minimum to sustain performance and productivity. Transform your workplace with technology, and you enhance the collaboration and communication needed for the modern, flexible work model. Modernising a traditional office with cutting-edge tech furniture improves employee satisfaction and creativity, encouraging innovative work that secures your return on investment.

Smart Desks and Their Rise

Old CRT monitors have given way to slick, flat-screen modern versions, freeing up desk space for storage or simply to complement a clutter-free mind. As devices become smaller, slimmer, and more streamlined, more opportunities exist to revolutionise your approach to workplace furniture, giving more space to small offices and flexibility with how teams work.

These modernised devices catalysed the creation of smart desks to complete the streamlined work experience. Smart desks and smart workstations offer features that support employees to optimise their workflows in every possible way, featuring:

  • USB ports and cordless charging capabilities for minimal cable mess and tedium finding wires to plug devices in.

  • Height-adjustable desktops (sometimes with remote control adjusting features).

  • Chairs with posture monitoring which track how long they’ve been in use and when employees should take a break.

  • Programmable settings for quick resetting and adjustment (beneficial for hotdesking).

  • Integrated touchscreen and environmental controls (e.g. lighting, temperature, and sound controls).

  • App integration to control the smart workstation via a smartphone.

Together with supporting technological innovations like integrated conferencing platforms, high-speed FTTP internet, and other intelligent furniture like interactive whiteboards and smart screen dividers, your workplace becomes slick and streamlined

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Charging Solutions and Furniture

As office designers, we have to admit we hate seeing untidy wires and cables running around a space. Not only do they look messy and affect the aesthetic, but they create a cluttered atmosphere and, most importantly, present a trip hazard. Modern desks and office workstations are essential to the workspace consultants toolkit. Thanks to new charging and connectivity methods and more minimal devices, they're no longer subject to design restrictions.

As new desk designs shrink, their capabilities expand, charging solutions in smart desks offer these benefits:

  • Pop-up power sockets that can be hidden flush on the desk when not in use keep the visual style clean and optimise surface space.

  • Cable rails with power strips mounted under desks reduce clutter and provide convenient power sources.

  • Built-in wireless universal charging ports eliminate the need to find and use specific wires.

  • USB charging ports can be embedded into desks.

  • Inductive charging areas make entire desk surfaces suitable for convenient charging of devices.

These features are fantastic for workstations but even more ideal for conferencing boardroom tables. Suddenly, all staff and clients can use the features irrespective of their device model.

Clutter-Free Office Design

On the topic of clutter-free office design, wireless charging stations aren’t the only novelty that helps create a cleaner environment. Digital transformation has significantly reduced the need for storage space, with so many activities becoming entirely paperless. This initiative not only opens up space in the office but supports sustainable workplace goals through design.

Multi-functional hubs or centres eliminate the need for printers and scanners, and storage in the cloud means we can focus on how technology is incorporated into the space without worrying about where filing cabinets will go. This means we can put our energy into making comfortable, creative environments for work.

Image source: bene.com

Collaboration-Boosting Tech Furniture

Collaboration is an increasingly important influence on the employee experience of workplace design. This Stanford study on working together found that just the idea of collaborative teamwork can power performance. Social benefits of working socially are increasingly apparent, spurned on by an augmented focus on wellbeing at work (driven partly by meaningful connections with peers).

Technology is being developed to respond to the need to work collaboratively. Multimedia capabilities feature enhanced virtual collaboration, bringing remote participants a more immersive experience. The shift from static cubicles towards flexible, open-plan spaces has resulted in an uptick in productivity (find out more in our article on studies about productivity thanks to good workplace design).

When it comes to client and public-facing zones, technology helps define and enhance areas—incorporating chillout and entertainment spaces for clients and biometric-powered access systems for better security to keep areas secure.

Flexible Furniture Solutions

One particular aspect of collaboration in workplace design involves incorporating flexible furnishing options. The demand for adaptability in fast-paced, creative business spaces means we must consider how furniture can be portable, multifunctional, or transformable.

Configurable desks, chairs, lighting, pods, and breakout areas support businesses that need adaptable space. For example, multifunctional, modular building blocks, PIXEL by Bene, give you almost limitless flexibility in creating a unique work environment. Steelcase Flex screens feature a magnetic edge to quickly create private areas for work and impromptu meeting areas.

Role of IoT in Office Furniture

Automating tasks, improving efficiency, smoothing the creases out of work processes, and making the working day more enjoyable—user experience at work is enhanced by Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including:

  • Smart lighting

  • Smart temperature controls

  • Interactive whiteboards

  • Fitness equipment

  • Voice-controlled assistants

  • Automated checking in and out systems

Accommodating Hybrid Working

Full-time in-office work is a thing of the past Future predictions for the workplace unanimously agree that the hybrid working model is the best for productivity, innovation, and wellbeing. Technology and furniture must rise to the demand for flexibility at work and support the dynamic and ever-changing landscape of hybrid working.

Embracing connectivity in the workplace through mobile and tablet technology for quick on-the-go work and office management and communication should be the minimum here, ensuring staff are connected to the central hub of business operations at all times. Cloud storage enables a localised space for information storage and sharing. Advanced video conferencing and interactive whiteboards enable staff to dial into the office for key events, and AR and VR technology makes way for totally immersive collaborative work and training.

Talk to Sketch Studios about intuitively integrating technology solutions into your workplace to propel your business into the future. We’re ready to help you innovate.

Published on

January 18, 2024