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    The office of the future is here now

    Elizabeth Dukes

    The Office of the FutureFor many cutting-edge businesses, the days of traditional office spaces are long gone. In place are remote workers, tablet-toting professionals and always-on executives that rely on 24/7 connectivity more than desks and file cabinets.

    This shift can present problems for companies that refuse to innovate, but provide opportunities for agile businesses to bring in new technology, integrating workplace management software, which can identify inefficiencies and reveal streamlining alternatives.

    Prepare for a Millennial takeover

    As members of the Baby Boomer generation retire, they will be replaced with Millennials who grew up in a digital era and expect to perform their work on the devices they prefer. Now, more than half of consumers own smartphones, and tablet adoption is growing at a rapid rate. As individuals invest in these devices and learn how to use them to tackle personal responsibilities, they are also asking to bring them to work as a way to better manage schedules, perform research and stay in contact with colleagues.

    The "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend took off in 2012, as more enterprises developed policies and acquired the security necessary to manage their mobile device-armed workforces. AppSense A/NZ managing director Michael Bosnar recently told ComputerWorld that he expects this to continue into 2013, as business operations become even more people-centric.

    "Users seek to make their lives easier by equipping themselves with the tools and processes that will make them the most productive in the context of their work and personal lives," Bosnar told the source when explaining why this trend has taken off and why he expects it will continue.

    Allowing employees to supply their own devices can decrease companies' financial burdens because they may not need to supply each employee with computers, desks and other office tools. However, firms may find they need to track assets more closely in the office of the future to ensure resources are being used more efficiently and to eliminate any potential waste.

    Office of the future is smaller and less expensive

    Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile technology, businesses might find the office of the future does not require as much floor space, furniture or equipment as was previously found in traditional facilities.

    According to a study that was published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the June 2012 Monthly Labor Review, Mary Noonan of the University of Iowa and Jennifer Glass of the University of Texas at Austin revealed that approximately one-quarter of American workers are already performing some of their tasks from home every week. As businesses recognize the advantages of telecommuting workforces, including smaller utility bills, reduced real estate requirements and declining absenteeism, that number might grow and put a strain on facility managers to adjust their strategies.

    Manage your resources better, faster

    Facilities management software systems can help businesses track assets like computers or office equipment as well as keep tabs on resources like office space and conference room use. This information provides management the ability to tailor current resources to actual need which in turn controls operational cost and maximizes organization productivity.

    A business that allows employees to work remotely or use their own tech tools can eliminate waste by moving into smaller facilities, redistributing space and updating asset management systems. Using advanced programs such as integrated workplace management systems, facility managers can keep up-to-the-minute accounts of all assets, visitors and activities taking place on-site or at another location, so square footage, equipment and supplies can be allocated to individuals as they need it in the most efficient manner possible.

    Elizabeth Dukes

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Elizabeth Dukes

    Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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