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Office Tech Trends For 2018

Flexibility, data and design will be watch-words for business technology next year.

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Flexibility, data and design will be watch-words for business technology next year.

Opinions

Office Tech Trends For 2018

Flexibility, data and design will be watch-words for business technology next year.

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As we move into 2018, business owners and managers will no doubt be looking ahead at how their businesses will grow, and what will support that growth over the next 12 months.

Technology is arguably one of the greatest drivers of success in modern business. From improving the way we collaborate to increasing our productivity to facilitating inherent changes to our working lives, technology plays a hugely important role in business.

Here are our predictions for office tech trends in 2018:

Flexible working facilitated by cloud technology

One of the biggest changes to the way we work in recent times lies in attitudes to flexible working. Where once business was a nine-to-five consideration, today’s managers and owners recognise that a more flexible approach can lead to improved employee satisfaction, increased retention rates and better outputs as a result.

The cloud has really boosted our ability to work flexibly. Cloud based technologies such as unified communications platforms, which bring multiple comms channels into one platform, make it possible for people working from anywhere to work better together.

No one feels segregated from the business when it’s so simple to set up video calling or to simply jump on instant messaging to get a question answered.

Cloud based working through solutions like Google Docs, too, are making flexible working much easier. When colleagues can collaborate on one central document, and when that document is kept securely in the cloud, when and where they work becomes inconsequential.

Expect to see flexible working more of a mainstay in the office of 2018, and with it, a greater abundance of screens and conference calling facilities, too.

Big data and automation

While it could successfully be argued that 2016/17 has, thus far, been the ‘golden age’ for what we call “big data”, reliance on data analysis and its practical application is set to increase in 2018.

This is because big data, while revealing important information about the way we work, who we work with and how our customers interact with us, has typically been seen a ‘nice to know’ rather than ‘essential to use’.

As technology develops and big data becomes more easily available to us, expect to see more businesses integrating it into their own workflows.

For example, Doodle polls or lengthy back and forths when it comes to arranging a meeting will be a thing of the past. Instead, businesses will use data derived from their communications solutions to identify the best time for everyone to meet and make that happen.

Automation, too, will play an important role.

Fears around the use of AI still exist, but are often unfounded; rather than seeking to take the jobs of people, AI and automation processes exist to improve productivity by taking over those activities which would otherwise be laborious to complete and which don’t necessarily require human intervention.

For example, expect to see more businesses incorporating automation into their customer communications, whereby an action on a website could lead to an email or registration on a webinar, without any human intervention at all.

Investment in physical spaces

It’s not uncommon now to see offices which take a less-than-conventional approach to their design, echoing that new approach to a more flexible working style. Many businesses now incorporate relaxation areas and even games rooms to give employees somewhere to let off steam.

Technology can help here, too. According to office solutions provider Internet Gardener, offices are incorporating plants and living walls into their space far more frequently now and that’s a trend that is only going to increase in 2018.

That’s very much down to the findings that suggest interior nature like plants and living walls can reduce tension by 37% and even depression by 55% - keeping employees happier and more productive.

Apps are now linked to plant sensors and small sprinklers as much as they are the lights and blinds. The smart office of 2018 is going to be catering for its greenery as an integral component of the environment and atmosphere.

Alex Tebbs is sales director at VIA.

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Office Tech Trends For 2018

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