The impact of AI in the workplace

The impact of AI on workplace design and architecture

The evolution of AI (Artificial Intelligence) has entered the mainstream in the last few years, changing the way businesses make efficiencies, and how consumers interact with their homes and devices in their day-to-day life. AI specifically relates to machine or software intelligence, rather than the intelligence of humans.

Anyone with access to the internet can now use AI content and creative tools to access information, create content and use voice recognition technology to request information or transcribe text. It is clear that although AI will continue to evolve and parameters will be created by governments and tech companies, it is a significant technology development that will likely increase productivity in our personal lives and for companies across the world.

The usage of AI in the workplace will depend on a number of factors. Government regulation, organisational culture, and the willingness of employees and management teams to introduce AI tools that change the way an organisation works.

It is clear that some technology advancements will be more palatable to certain organisations than others, even if efficiencies and productivity gains can be proved.

How will AI change workplace design and architecture?

Of interest to our team, and many of our clients, is how we can harness the power of AI, for our mutual benefit. Perhaps that’s to improve workplace efficiencies, get more powerful data to make better decisions or better serve the needs of employees in the workplace. Let’s take a look at some of the ways AI can enhance our current workplace design thinking and breakthroughs in the field of architecture.

Smart and adaptive spaces

Designing flexible office layouts is something Europlan has successfully done for a long time. AI provides the opportunity to build on clever furniture layouts and seek qualitative input directly from a team, by adding a layer of data to a workspace design.

Consider how dynamic lighting and temperature control could improve the working conditions of your team. Or how a flexible office layout might change depending on usage of some areas, or how many people you expect in the physical office that day.

Using sensors to feed information to an AI programme for instant analysis, or creating algorithms to better understand employee movements, interaction and workplace preferences can have obvious benefits on optimising office layouts, prioritisation of meeting rooms, and desk arrangements for more or less collaboration.

Simple changes to workspace layout and environment could bring significant benefits to employees and increase collaboration, wellbeing and productivity. A better understanding of operational costs such as energy usage can have useful cost saving benefits too.

Enhanced employee experience

Creating a more pleasant work environment is complex. The right furniture, creating a certain ambience or energy, and lighting and temperature control all contribute to the holistic workplace experience. AI can contribute in other ways too.

Think about which AI tools might make work life easier for your team. Technology including virtual assistants, chat bots and tools to help find resources or book meeting rooms more easily. If you have secure office areas or need to monitor meeting room access or printer usage, then facial recognition technology may be appropriate for your office space. No more losing or misplacing swipe access cards.

Does your workplace foster a sense of belonging and live and breathe your company culture and values? If not, rethinking your workplace design can ensure you create a space that your team wants to come to: to connect and perform their best work.

Data-driven decision making

A huge benefit of AI is its ability to process large amounts of data quickly or track previously unavailable data points. For architects, getting early information on workspace office flow, high usage areas or collaboration points can be useful in the early design phase to clarify design thinking. Sometimes what people tell you about their usage (qualitative data) can be quite different from how they actually use a space (quantitative data).

This information can help architects and workplace designers to plan layouts, furniture placement and purchasing and any specific design considerations.

AI can also be helpful to ensure that different data sources can talk to one another. Imagine air conditioning, lighting and security systems, all working together based on real-time office usage and traffic flow.

Predictive analytics is a type of AI that can be used for future proofing a design or build. Using predictive analytics to anticipate future space requirements of an organisation, or making allowances for expected future growth can be a smart way to plan now and make cost savings in the future.

Clearly, there are some aspects of AI in the workplace that are cheaper to implement and will be more fitting in your workplace than others. Other aspects of AI may need more buy in for your management team and employees. The privacy and data security of your employees is also an important component to work through.

It is important to remember that technology is changing quickly. What was disregarded this year, may be embraced next year by a new team or new challenges in your industry. Be open to change, mindful of your team’s ability to adapt, and support them with the best workplace design you can for their overall health and wellbeing.

Create a workplace that meets the needs and preferences of your employees – contact one of our workplace design experts today.

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