Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

VIEWPOINT The future of work We are entering a new era of the office that is focused on scaling virtual environments, AI and the rise of the ‘office everywhere’ Hybrid working and dispersed teams means that the traditional use-case of the office is evolving. But what does the future look like and how can businesses be prepared? Evidently, organisations are still figuring out the best way to work. Inefficient meetings are one of the biggest productivity killers, according to the Microsoft Work Trend Index, yet the average Office 365 user spends a staggering 23 per cent of their time in Teams meetings. A study from Jabra on the future of work identifies the scaling of virtual environments as one of the key trends for 2024. Virtual environments will enable collaboration on a global scale, provide opportunities for immersive training and even replicate in-person casual social interactions. Businesses will look at how to create those ‘water cooler’ interactions and focus on ensuring the accessibility, affordability and efficiency of virtual worlds. There will also be demand for stimulating virtual environments that enable more natural collaboration between team members across multiple geographic locations. We are already seeing what is possible with intelligent video solutions. For example, Jabra’s PanaCast 50 video bar enhances the experience for remote participants and makes meetings more inclusive through artificial intelligencepowered features that automatically adapt to what is happening in the room by adjusting the picture to follow action and detecting who is speaking in a meeting. Jabra’s study also revealed the rise of the ‘office everywhere’, in which universal cloud technology and communications platforms are enabling employees to work from wherever suits them. These employees can be even more productive as new generations of hardware with adjustable noise cancellation, better microphone quality and other personalised adjustments will mean that background noise or distractions are a thing of the past. Furthermore, while hybrid working remains dominant, an influx of employees are returning to the office, which is driving the redesign of physical landscapes. Workspaces of the future will incorporate more open-plan design, with different working zones to encourage collaboration and more casual socialising when colleagues are together. By creating adaptable workspaces, adopting intelligent video conferencing solutions and technology that evolves to meet future needs, businesses can get ahead and build a happy and productive office everywhere. Nigel Dunn is vice president and managing director for EMEA North at Jabra NIGEL DUNN: JABRA The Jabra PanaCast 50 video bar enhances hybrid meetings Photo: Jabra 72