In the Summer 2019 issue of London Inc. Magazine, Tech Alliance asked Andrew Mullings, Account Executive at POI Business Interiors, for a quote on how tech is changing today’s working culture. What they came to understand was the clear demand for inventive office solutions rooted in technology, so they wanted to dive deeper into what these technologies look like as work continues to evolve.
Q: What are companies looking for when it comes to office design as the world becomes more tech-focused?
A: From a big-picture perspective and throughout industries in general, we’re seeing digital transformation manifest itself in the work environment. That’s where POI comes in. The way we work is evolving as a result of the inclusion of technology and the changing pace of the world around us. In order for companies to stay competitive, they have to ideate and innovate, therefore, it’s incumbent on us as workplace experts to drive collaboration and meet the varying needs and modes of work. We’ve been able to furnish some great tech offices in London, like Info-Tech, Mobials and CARFAX Canada, and our main focus is always to gain a thorough understanding of how these companies work in order to help their spaces evolve.
Q: How has the technology itself answered the call for better, smarter ways to work and collaborate?
A: When we look at workplace technology, Steelcase is really leading the way in terms of adaptability and reconfiguration on the fly. As the primary Steelcase partner and largest contract furniture provider in Canada, POI is able to consult on some truly innovative products with integrated technology. The new Steelcase Flex Collection, for instance, is changing the game because it’s meant for hyper-collaborative teams. We’ve found that it appeals to technology companies because it gives them the flexibility and control that they need to change their spaces. The integration between Steelcase’s Roam and the Microsoft Hub 2S allows teams to adapt the workspace so that work is continuous and not disrupted. Ensuring that we can provide research-led insights with products like this is our way of future-proofing working spaces.
Q: How can teams go about developing new design solutions customized to their specific needs?
A: A new emergence thanks to technology is the concept of the Measurable Workplace. The way that we as workplace consultants go about engaging our customers includes talking about the tools that they can utilize and how data can help them find new efficiencies. One example includes using a Workplace Advisor, which allows individuals to assess and gain insights into how the space and the rooms are being optimized, and whether they’re being used accurately and effectively. With this data, teams are able to shift and adapt their workplace in order to meet the flow of the business as opposed to just “winging it” and hoping that people use the spaces as intended. With tech like this, we as consultants are also able to make educated decisions about how to effectively plan our spaces for optimal productivity and team satisfaction.