man having a virtual meeting with team

Ever wonder what future tech-enabled workplaces might look like? When people try to predict the future, they tend to think in leaps in bounds. In truth, the present turns into the future one second at a time. New technologies arrive incrementally, starting with the early adopters.

The best way to catch a glimpse of the future of work is to look at the companies and institutions that are already operating at the cutting edge. Open-plan layouts, walk-in video conferencing rooms, and modern collaboration tools are only scratching the surface. What follows are some examples of how technology is reshaping the workplace.

Office buildings are becoming more sustainable

If you want to know what the future of sustainable office buildings could look like, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings are a good place to start. LEED certification requires a building to take a holistic approach to sustainability, covering everything from solar panels to water consumption reductions to efficient HVAC systems. Just take a look at what it took for the Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Workplaces of the future balance collaboration, privacy, and creativity

Photo courtesy of Stephen Brashear/Getty via Business Insider

What’s the first thing you think of when you imagine what it’s like to work at a tech startup? Chances are good that Google’s iconic open offices with their playful aesthetic, walk-in video conferencing rooms and bean bag chairs come to mind. Leading the pack in workplace trends, Google’s modern office layout sports a mix of collaborative spaces, recreational areas, and privacy pods. Best of all, they do it with plenty of style. Check out these photos of Google office spaces around the globe from Business Insider.

AR and VR help reimagine traditional workflows

Augmented reality (AR)—displaying virtual objects over a physical environment—and virtual reality (VR)—immersing oneself in a fully virtual environment—can already be found in the modern tech-enabled workplace. The video above shows how Microsoft partnered with Trimble to create a mixed-reality hard hat that helps construction workers in the field. Volkswagen uses AR navigation to guide its workers across 370 acres of its plant in Zwickau, Germany. There’s even HumanSim, which uses VR to provide advanced healthcare training.

Holographic teleconferencing is right around the corner

Imagine swapping the walk-in video conferencing room with Star Trek’s Holodeck. That’s what one lucky young soccer fan got to experience when she met a hologram of Steph Houghton, captain of both the England national and Manchester City football teams. The Vodafone demo made headlines as the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G technology.

Delivering this experience on a stage is one thing, but what might this technology look like scaled to an everyday experience? Meet the Human Media Lab’s TeleHuman 2: an office-ready holographic video conferencing system that can project a hologram within a human-sized cylindrical pod. The future of holographic teleconferencing is right around the corner.

The most tech-enabled workplaces of the future are location independent

In this article, we covered everything from sustainable architecture to holographic teleconferencing. But the most tech-enabled workplaces leverage a variety of modern digital collaboration tools that allow people to work from anywhere.

From project management tools such as Trello to chat rooms such as Slack, there’s no shortage of tools businesses can use to collaborate regardless of distance.

Check out our annual Future Workforce Report to learn more about how businesses are embracing remote work.

The post Meet the Tech-enabled Workplaces of the Future appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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