Key Takeaways

  • The “how” and “where” of the workplace is constantly changing, and technology plays a huge role.
  • The modern workforce has unprecedented access and mobility, and this is reflected in the work environment.
  • Explore these six tech trends that are forever changing the workplace —staying abreast will keep you relevant, efficient and inspired

How and where we work are constantly evolving. In the twentieth century the workplace morphed from a large room lined with benches to specially designed spaces with separate rooms and areas for different people and functions.

In mid-century, the push began for a less structured office space, and the open office movement was born. Now the trend has moderated, and office design favors a hybrid workplace, one that combines collaborative spaces with areas for focused work and contemplation.

Over the last few decades, technology has affected the workplace more than any other single factor.  The modern workforce has unprecedented access and mobility, and this is reflected in their work environment. An appreciation for collaborative work and social interaction also help to shape workplace design.

Here are some specific workplace trends ignited by technology:

#1. Coworking

The idea of co-working was popularized by the start-up culture. New companies needed a stopgap between working at home or in a coffee shop and leasing more traditional office space. Co-working and office sharing provide options with less commitment of time and resources, giving young companies time to grow and freelancers a stimulating space to work and interact.

What’s interesting is now large companies are taking huge blocks of co-working space, which is taking long-term lease occupancy the wrong way. In fact, Microsoft just took 300 square feet at WeWork in a deal that’s getting a lot of publicity. It will be interesting to see where this goes.  

#2. Working Remotely

Our ability to store all types of information in the cloud for easy access anywhere has contributed to our ability to work remotely. Flexjobs reports that about 50 percent of U.S. workers have jobs that are compatible with telecommuting, or working from home. While over 3 million U.S. professionals consider their home to be their primary workplace, many more workers spend at least part of their work week outside of the traditional workplace.

They say our dogs are our best friends … this will only become more relevant as we spend more and more time at home.

#3. Integrated Systems

The ability to use digital tools that are compatible, and can “talk” to each other has also changed how we work. Customer Relationship Management platforms (CRMs) are being used to bring relevant information together and make it easily accessible. This type of management tool has drastically reduced the amount of storage space needed in many work settings, since documents can be stored, signed, and sent electronically.

Using these systems give you so much more room to unclog your head and be more creative in your goal of securing business and relationships.

#4. Rapid Dissemination of Ideas

One change that technology has fostered has been an increase in the rate of change. New tools are being developed to meet specific needs in industry, thanks to improved communication and assessment techniques. Partners and colleagues can share their successes and encourage more rapid adoption of relevant technology tools.

This was a dream come true for me,  but maybe not for the people around me! I finally have a way of getting my ideas out of my head and into play faster.

#5. Readily Accessible Data

Instant gratification at last! Thank God for Gen Y and Gen Z because if we didn’t make this happen, we may have had Armageddon on our hands. With new tools for generating and aggregating data, decision-making in the workplace has been transformed. We can now examine trends and identify key developments based on a wealth of relevant and up to the minute data. Research that would have taken months in the past is being constantly updated and presented for use by data aggregation services.

#6. Online Collaboration

Now you can be business on top and casual on the bottom … and no one will even know. With cloud storage and an array of communication options, it’s now possible for teams to work together no matter what their geographic proximity. Shared access to documents, correspondence, contracts, and other key materials keeps things moving smoothly. Updates are instantly shared, so everyone is always on the same page. No need to wait for a weekly meeting.

Staying in Touch

These are just a few of the big tech trends that have forever changed the workplace, and I’m confident that the continuous evolution of tech will keep new technologies always in flux. No matter where your career takes you, keeping up with technology will keep you relevant, make you more efficient, and should inspire you to be the best version of your workplace-self.