November 19, 2014
The variety of ways in which technology can help us thrive at work was one of the key themes of the first day of Worktech 14, which also provided yet more evidence that the workplace is no longer based in any one place. There were some interesting ruminations on the changing values of the workplace, which included the challenges of managing mobile working and its wider effects on our wellbeing; a topic that merited a whole series of sessions, including, how office design can aide brain function; analysing the psychological effects of the ‘always on’ culture and the role of the employer in combating the rise in western obesity. Meeting room no-shows run at around 35% for most companies and in an illuminating co-presentation on estates utilisation with Condeco, Bruce Everest of Vodafone described how the mobile giant has transformed its offices into collaborative space. There were also some thought provoking sessions that peered into the future, including the statement by a speaker from none other than Intel that ‘technology alone is not our salvation’ and a fascinating glimpse into the workplace of 2040 provided by Marie Puybaraud of Johnson Controls.
She has been carrying out some in depth research into the future of work, building up a picture of a more asset light workplace where technology will enable us to collaborate better, and where wellbeing and wellness is ‘only going to increase in importance by 2040’.
What was clear from the sessions on people and wellbeing is that this area is only going to grow in prominence, fuelled by a growing body of research. For yesterday’s sessions, this included new research from the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies on whether workplace design help inhibit creativity, shared by Mark Catchlove of Herman Miller; data from the World Green Building Council on why health, wellbeing and productivity will become a risk management issue and Zurich Group’s research project with Unwork into the relationship between food and work.
The session on the dangers of sedentary working from the Get Britain Standing group included some frankly disturbing data on the dangers of sitting down all day, so much so that it’s not a shock to hear that sit/stand desking and what is now being tagged ‘active working’ is starting to gain momentum.
The conference continues today at Level39 Technology Accelerator, based on the thirty-ninth level of one of London’s most iconic Docklands buildings, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf. You can follow this afternoon’s sessions on twitter at #Worktech14.