What do you think the office of the future will look like?

Editor’s Note: Smart Business explores the ways companies are thinking smart to thrive in our digitized world.

Story highlights

Take our quiz to find out how prepared you are to work in the office of the future

Facial recognition is cited as one of the ways multi-factor authentication will develop

Big data and predictive analytics will be used to hire new employees

CNN  — 

Does your office consist of identikit cubicles, gray walls and strip lighting? Do you ‘hot desk’ in sterile bland spaces? Do you feel like you are living in Office Space? Take heart, because the office of the future may look and be very different.

Scroll down for the answers:

1. It’s 6.30 am when your alarm goes off and you need to get ready for work. Do you:

a) You have a shower, eat breakfast and get ready for the daily commute

b) You Roll out of bed and switch on the screen next to you

c) You Go back to sleep because you’ve been replaced by a robot

2. So what will your ‘office attire’ comprise of?

a) Grey Suit

b) Gadgets

c) Spacesuit

3. What will your office look like?

a) David Brent’s office

b) A space pod

c) What office?

4. Your experience in dealing with Human Resources will be different. Scenario: you need to recruit some more people for your team. Do you:

a) Speak to Pete in HR

b) Ask a robot

c) Outsource your work to a team of global freelancers

5. Passwords. A modern malaise. But what will we have in the office of 2020?

a) Passwords – you know your child’s date of birth and the school you went to

b) Fingerprints

c) Facial recognition.

6. You need to refresh yourself on a topic you have not had time to get to grips with before a meeting with your boss. Do you:

a) Search out a colleague more involved in that side of things and pump them for information in hushed tones by the water cooler

b) Find the PDF attachments you didn’t manage to read, hit print and join the queue by the printer

c) Send in your avatar

ANSWERS

If you answered…

Mostly a): You’re living in the past, dude. You’ll be replaced by a robot if you don’t get with the times.

Mostly b): You’re getting there

Mostly c): Far out, space cadet

The office you go to every morning is due an upgrade. CNN’s Smart Business spoke to the experts about what we can expect from the Office of the future:

Bespoke offices with Smart furniture

“At the moment offices all look very similar. In the future they will all have greater atmosphere and be more homelike – different from today’s cubicles, private offices and conference rooms,” according to Greg Parsons, Vice President of Landscape Environments at Herman Miller, the office furniture manufacturer.

“There will be very different settings for different individuals. It will be about the individual not the brand. Some will prefer minimalist and others will prefer rooms like their grandfather’s study. The office of the future will be more sensory. We will be able to ‘talk’ to every piece of furniture and they will be able to talk to each other to ensure temperature within the room is regulated for you.”

There will be an increase in communal work areas and that is more than your local Starbucks. Tom Cheesewright, Applied Futurist, explains: “In the office of the future, workers will be flexible, especially with knowledge workers. However we will still need face-to-face connection. So I imagine an increase in communal work spaces that workers can get to which have all the efficiencies of office, but closer to home and without your colleagues sat next to you.”

Video conferencing will be steeped in VR

Furthermore, video conferencing will be much better and according to Tom Cheesewright: “it will be very lifelike and steeped in VR”.

Your suit and tie will be replaced with wearable tech

The days of trudging in the same grey suit and tie combo will be replaced with altogether more technologically fashionable wardrobe, consisting of wearable tech.

Matthew Drinkwater, head of Fashion Innovation at the London College of Fashion predicts greater collaboration with the fashion and technology: “The technology industry recognises that it needs to engage with the fashion industry to appeal to consumers. We’ve been working with Nokia to create the 1st digital skirt and we created the first wireless charging trousers which were sold on the Amazon wearable technology website. Such collaborations between tech and fashion will become commonplace”

Goodbye to the humble mouse. You’ll be using your eyes

Tom Cheesewright, Applied Futurist, said: “My eyes will be able to open cursors, we’re already beginning to see some of this tech coming through but improved sensors will change how you operate your computer. We’ll have smarter furniture, mood control chairs, better smart glasses etc. but I’m not entirely convinced we’ll all have computer chips implanted in our arms. Well not by 2020 anyway.”

End of the password

Another innovation Intel is looking into include is multi-factor authentication to do away with passwords. This might use combinations such as facial recognition and the user’s phone, according Intel VP of the PC Client Group, Tom Garrison. “Intel Identity Protection Technology with Multi-Factor Authentication allows the IT admin to choose a set of several factors that can be combined for authentication: biometrics like your fingerprint, the Bluetooth signal of your cell phone, plus accurate facial recognition enabled by the compute power of Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. These can be layered together to greatly improve security, and are simpler than typing in and remembering to constantly change passwords.”

But the elimination of passwords is only one step, Garrison intends to eliminate wires and cables with wireless docking: “The office of the future will look a lot less cluttered.”

Robots will replace the HR department

Big data and algorithms are the future of hiring, according to Max Simkoff, CEO of Evolv, a company that mine data and use predictive analytics to improve the workforce of clients like Xerox and AT&T.

“Recruiters look at a CV for an average of 7-10 seconds. A robot processing thousands of CVs can predict which employees are likely to stay and who is a good fit for the company based on the data we have.” Not only will we know the right person for the job but also when they might want to leave, so the company can act. Simkoff adds: “The HR office of the future will benefit employers and employees as it will offer data driven solutions to increase employee satisfaction and retention.”

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