Being in an office has been the last thing on the mind of many recently. Here in Toronto, John Tory recently announced that he had in fact worked with major downtown tenants to keep employees working from home until September, in an effort to reduce any potential second wave of the virus.
But the reality is that offices will open again and already have started reopening across the world. While that’s one reality, the other is that as we get back to the office, many of us will realize that they don’t look the same. It isn’t just COVID that is changing how offices look, many trends around workplace technology and design that facilitates interaction have steadily continued to gain traction.
While the open-office may face challenges in a return to work, a tech-enabled office is now a must more than ever. From proper video conference technology to touchless technology that ranges from access control to wireless charging, workplace innovation is being accelerated.
Below we explore some specifics around how one technology in particular, wireless charging, will increasingly be integrated into the workplace in 2020.
Minimalist and smooth surfaces not only look great from a design perspective, they are also easier to clean and provide less surface area for bacteria to grow. While smooth clean desk designs are now commonplace, desk and wire clutter are unfortunately just as common. As we return to work, employees will be increasingly called to keep clear desks to facilitate easier cleaning.
In an effort to declutter, it’s likely we’ll see wireless charging technology increase to remove high-touch-point chargers and cords from the desk.
In addition to cleanliness, the provision of wireless charging at a workstation is also a valuable amenity to employees. Being able to charge their phone, or AirPods wirelessly right at their desk, for example, is one less thing for them to worry about and enhances their experience. Employers will require some added amenities and safety features to make offices more inviting for workers that have become accustomed to work-from-home. Wireless charging is definitely one way to enhance the workplace experience.
Boardrooms have historically been the #1 use-case for wireless charging. Wireless charging decals provide a company branding opportunity, and meetings are a critical use case for wireless charging since there is often no other way to charge your phone otherwise. We all know some meetings can seem like an eternity and imagine that you are expecting an important client email and your phone’s at 1%.
Common area spaces are where we predict the largest use of wireless charging will occur. Social distancing means that employees won’t be able to work so closely together. This will mean less utilization of workstation areas, and limited use or denied access to common spaces to prevent the congregation of large groups. As a result, these common areas like lunchrooms can be converted into temporary workstations.
Since ChargeSpot is easy to install, it can be easily retrofitted into any of these areas to provide these workers with the same functionality as their counterparts working at an individual desk. In addition, once social distancing measures are lifted, these common areas will be outfitted with a new amenity that everyone can use.
We’ve seen a lot of changes so far this year and there are a lot more to come. Employers are going to need to get creative in bringing employees back to work and employees need to feel comfortable about returning to the office. There is going to be a lot of work involved in this that must balance function and safety with costs. Wireless charging is a small part of this but can assist the return to work, in a small, but surprisingly useful way.