Well, it’s December, which means the new year is right around the corner, and it’s time for us to take a look back at 2017 and all the things that have changed. Walking through some offices this year, you might be forgiven for not recognising it. The office environment has gone through a transformation, form the introduction of new technologies to changing attitudes towards flexible working. So at this time of reflection, we’re asking ourselves, what will the office of 2018 look like? And because it’s our blog, here’s our thoughts.
If the Chinese calendar applied to the world of business, then 2018 is the year of the security monkey. As we move into the 5-month countdown to GDPR, data security is at the forefront of every business owners mind. But what many people don’t realise is that the regulation is already in place – it’s just not being enforced yet. The date in May is simply when the EU will start to implement penalties for those who don’t meet the requirements. The whole regulation is all about data protection, which of course means documentation and procedures for handling it will be under close scrutiny. In general, data security should be a hot bottom topic in offices anyway, but in 2018 we predict it will be all many people can talk about.
One of the bigger trends we’ve seen growing throughout 2017 is remote or flexible working patterns. More and more businesses are realising that the hectic schedule of modern life means that the standard 9-5 in an office they commuted over an hour to get to just isn’t doable. So instead, they opt to implement policies and technologies that make it possible for people to work from home, or other remote locations. Couple that with more flexible working hours to suit busy and sometimes child-focussed lifestyles, and you end up with office spaces that look empty. For some, this might mean smaller offices equipped with hot desks, helping reduce overheads and improve productivity for everyone. For others, it might simply mean a slightly quitter working environment.
One of the things we’re very sure about is that digital tools and automation will play a big part in the modern office environment of 2018. Whether the driver is environmental, security or efficiency, we predict that more and more offices will be adopting automated technologies to handle their documentation. Of course, the truly paperless office is a myth, but a hybrid is really not that far away. Soon we will see many businesses avoiding the creation and use of paper wherever possible, instead favouring digital solutions. Of course, paper will still be floating about, which means businesses will still need a secure way of disposing of it when it starts piling up.
At Greenaway, we always have one eye on the future, so that we can ensure we’re offering the best and most relevant service possible to our customers. For 2017, that meant helping businesses sort and destroy backlogs of paperwork to make way to paperless alternatives. For 2018, we predict a lot more of the consultancy side, helping businesses understand their paperwork and data obligations ready for GDPR. To find out more about what 2018 might hold for the humble office, or just to pick our brain about data security and paperwork, get in touch with our team today.