STEP LOGIC in the review "Modern Office: Digital, Eco-Friendly, Stylish"
The development of high technologies affects all the business areas. Changing are business processes, rhythm of work, priorities. What should the workspace look like to meet these changes? Nikita Kochergin, the Director of the Standardised Communication and Contact Centres Department of STEP LOGIC answered questions of ICT-Online on what a modern office is, what parameters form it and what new opportunities its employees receive.
Nikita Kochergin, the Director of the Standardised Communication and Contact Centres Department of STEP LOGIC
- What, based on your observations, makes the best examples of modern offices principally different from those that existed several years ago? What are the trends? Where do they come from (following new technologies, the standards set by headquarters, a kind of fashion and prestige).
In my opinion, a modern office is a digital office where employees are not tied to their workplaces and may work where it is comfortable for them. Such office easily adapts to any changes in a company, including the number of employees and constantly changing business processes. Thus, a situation becomes impossible when a room is provided for a department of 10 persons, and in case of its growth or reduction it ceases to meet the requirement. And then complexities with organisation of moving of the department to a suitable office begin.
- Is it necessary for a modern office to be located in a modern building? What utilities, IT infrastructure, security and information security facilities are required?
Surely, a modern building provides more opportunities to build an advanced digital office with a possibility to transform. But it is true that the novelty of the building is not critical, surely, if this is not an architectural monument where it is impossible to lay cable infrastructure, install specialised equipment, etc.
Each digital office requires modern IT and engineering infrastructure because it is its foundation. As for security facilities, they are necessary for any office, not only for a modern one because information and physical danger continuously increases and requires new protection measures.
- What does the "content" of modern office look like — equipment, multimedia tools, office communication platforms, automation of HR processes, etc.? How does this change the work of office employees?
The "content" of a modern office is, first of all, the newest intellectual equipment and communication platforms that adapt to business processes. It means that it is not the office and infrastructure that determine the way we work, but we and our work functional determine the office infrastructure. For example, there are smart lighting systems that automatically switch the light on or off depending on presence of employees in the office. The same is with climatic equipment: we may set the required temperature in the room or a common temperature regime in the entire office. Smart systems allow to track this on the basis of Wi-Fi analytics and on the basis of integration with corporate information systems. For a meeting room, such technologies allow to know if there is a meeting there, to create the necessary climatic conditions beforehand depending on the number of the meeting participants, to arrange a video conference session if it is supposed to conduct a meeting with remote offices. Employees may come to the room and start to communicate immediately without being destructed by technical issues. After the end of the session, such systems will turn the climatic equipment to another regime, turn off lighting, etc. I will repeat, the office "content" must be smart.
- What are modern means of external communication?
The main trend of last years is that stationary telephones are forced out by unified communication means which are installed on mobile devices, notebooks and PCs. As a result, employees become less and less tied to their workplaces.
Another significant trend is videocommunication which is broadly used not only in business communication, but also in our everyday life. VCS from an exotic and quite an expensive communication mean has transformed into a standard business tool and has become a standard for modern external and internal communications. Also, many budgetary VCS systems have appeared in the market, so called all-in-one solutions for small meeting rooms and even open-space rooms or co-workings just for USD1000. Naturally, the choice of one or another solution depends of business tasks, the size of the room, but in principle, such inexpensive products become mass market today, thus making video communication accessible, common and expanding the frameworks of our habitual office spaces.
- As for smart office solutions, what has already come into common use, what is just gaining popularity?
Surely, smart solutions have already become a kind of a trend in our life, including office fitting-outs. Companies that think of the effectiveness of use of office space, work hours of employees, and environment implement different smart solutions: climatic systems, smart lighting, wire and wireless software-defined data transmission networks, etc.
In terms of the decisions that became classic, this, for example, a unified management system which bounds both multimedia equipment in meeting rooms and climate management systems and a meeting room booking system. These solutions allow to spend significantly less time for organisation of meetings and assess how meeting rooms are used and if they are sufficient in the company.
- Which companies are the most careful in observing the trends in office arrangement (and what unites them — industry, region, number of employees, etc.)? How often are the processes of transformation, introduction of new technologies in these companies? What departments do usually initiate them?
Firstly, these are effectiveness-oriented companies. This also involves use of resources, work of personnel, etc. Usually, these organisations pay a fair amount of attention to development and non-financial motivation of employees. Second, these are growing companies with good strategic planning. They understand that they have loosely 100 employees in the office, but in two years there will be 500 employees. Naturally, they need a modern digital office that will easily adapt to these changes. Third, these are organisations that take care of their positive image.
Any innovations require a strategic approach: a clear planning and understanding which value one or another technology will bring to the company. This transformation may be initiated by the top management, HR department, marketing and, of course, IT service that sees the modern trends and suggests the means to ensure this effectiveness. And the improvements and changes must occur constantly.
- Summing up, please name TOP-10 signs of a really advanced office. Provide a particular example of such office (name its owner and size, location, industry) if your company was related to its furnishing, indicate this, tell about this project.
The following 10 signs may be identified in my checklist of modern and advanced offices:
- associativity of all engineering and IT systems in a single digital environment
- possibility of transformation
- environmental friendliness
- convenience and effectiveness of use
- availability of places for rest and places for coworking in the office
- modern design
- integration into the modern urban infrastructure
- convenience of the entire infrastructure of the building where the office is located: availability of locations for work and rest, which allows to keep the work-life balance of employees at an adequate level.
Over the last years, STEP LOGIC has created a smart infrastructure for several offices of one of the largest Russian financial institutions. Within the framework of one of the projects, we had an unusual task — to create a technological foundation for everyday uninterrupted operation of an agile-office intended for more than 11,000 employees. The project covered 17 floors and almost 200,000 square meters. An agile office is a smart space providing comfortable work conditions and effective communicative environment due to the diversity of areas for all types of activity. Office space of the new type becomes a prerogative of modern organisations oriented at innovations, flexibility and effectiveness. More than 400 meeting rooms have been created within the framework of the project, several areas for co-working for more than 200 persons, comfortable workplaces, areas for rest and informal communication, co-working, etc.
- Which other new, probably seeming fantastic, technologies may come to offices in the near future?
Probably, the most fantastic thing we may suppose is that offices in the classic sense will disappear. We will just put VR glasses on and immerse to the space where we need to be now: to a virtual meeting room, an executive office, a production site, etc.
Another idea seeming fantastic is a holographic reception desk where a virtual assistant will meet us instead of a human— a projected image which will process our request with artificial intellect and start a further business process.
But while offices exist in a form, which is habitual for us, it would be logic to suppose broad distribution of systems of biometric identification both for employees and for visitors. For example, to organise a business meeting, it is possible to send passport data through a chat bot of the company, and you will not need to show a pass at the reception desk, the system will identify you by face and will let you to the building. And in the entire process from ordering the pass to entering the building no employees will participate.