Jobs have evolved. Work is no longer simply a designated place you go to each day. Attitudes are changing, flexibility is being adopted, and cultural shifts, combined with technological innovations, are ushering in a new world of work.
Today, employees would rather they were held accountable to the results that they produce, than be forced into an arbitrary routine. Many companies, including Microsoft, have embraced flexible work structures to ensure that every employee is able to work in a way that allows them to perform at their best.
The journey to this new world of work has three phases – technology, people and place – all of which impact one another. When combined in the right way, employee satisfaction, performance, efficiency and happiness can increase, creating benefits for everyone.
We have already seen the positive impact that digital culture can provide for all businesses, and have showcased two Microsoft offices – one in Milan, and the other in Munich – as examples of work environments which are harmonious in fostering a strong digital culture – and Microsoft’s stunning office in Prague, is another fitting ambassador.
Workplace of the future
Microsoft’s Prague office, which opened its doors in 2015, has an ecosystem of various spaces meant for different types of work. Rather than having a designated desk, each employee can choose a spot that best suits the task they are currently working on.
Spread across five work levels, around 800 people in total are based in the Prague office, and they all have beautifully varied areas at their disposal, ranging from more traditional desk areas for focused work, to colourful, open spaces which encourage discussion, collaboration, and brainstorming – from small teams, to large groups.
Linked with open stairways to make interactions between teams easier, these open spaces provide a modern, relaxed environment which encourages innovation, while a rooftop terrace helps people unwind.
More focused workspaces are also available, ranging from a meeting room modelled in the style of a mountain lodge, to plush alcoves for more informal meetings. A dedicated section for parents who occasionally bring their children to work is also available, further encouraging flexibility.
The Prague office also has areas dedicated to external visitors and customers, including an Executive Business Centre and a conference room/auditorium which can seat more than 150 people – and technology is present throughout all areas as a critical foundation for collaboration.
Meeting rooms equipped with large Surface Hubs allow high quality interactions with remote teams, in addition to supporting simultaneous editing and content sharing. The customer zone’s Kinect sensors also collect information such as how busy the space is, and the noise levels, before displaying this information on the interactive Azure Wall.
The wall is used to demonstrate the power of IoT via PowerBI visuals, inspiring customers and demonstrating the opportunities that technology can bring to businesses of all sizes.
This IoT approach allows the optimisation of everything from meeting room use to parking spaces, repairs and maintenance, and more.
The engagement and input of employees throughout the planning process for the new office was a vital part of Microsoft’s plan. From input on the office appearance, to submitting ideas, raising questions and discussing their concerns, employees played an important role in ensuring that the environment they would be working in would best fit their needs.
The discussion on workplace culture and the correct implementation of technology was one of the most crucial factors when it came to designing the new office, and the benefits of this collaborative approach can be seen below.