FM Update

How Can Facilities and Premises Managers

Future-Proof the Workplace?

Dan Bladen, CEO of Wireless Charging Company Chargifi discusses the need for premises and facilities managers to ‘future-proof’ their work spaces.

Some might remember the workplace of twenty years ago: fax machines whirring, franking machines clinking and motorbike couriers talking on intercoms and sprinting away with parcels from reception desks. Things have changed just a little, all of that

technology now fits into the palm of your hand and the generation that has grown up in the midst of this revolution are now very clear on what they like the places they work, meet and play to look like. I’m not talking about playgrounds with

slides and table tennis tables, sterile offices or eco-havens, just a space where creative ideas flow, serendipity takes place and stuff gets done. Whether I’ve commuted into town and need to jump straight onto a call or am meeting a colleague for a coffee and a chat to agree some slides for a presentation – I need my devices to perform when it matters. You don’t need a low battery warning. It doesn’t matter how powerful your device is, if it doesn’t have power it doesn’t matter Today, Ofcom figures show 93% of people

who own a mobile phone in Q1 2016 with 71% of us owning a smartphone. As a nation, we are obsessed by our (often multiple) devices. Indeed, there has been explosive growth in

the market for wireless power, estimated to be worth $25.6bn by 2023 (Global Market Insights 2016). With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that

56% of the 2,000 adults recently surveyed by One Poll said that wireless charging should be made a free amenity in public areas. Indeed 19% said the worst time to run out of

battery was when travelling abroad, to work or to a meeting. The research highlighted the prevalence of ‘Battery Anxiety’-which, according to One Poll, is reaching epidemic levels, with over (52%) of people suffering from at least one attack in a typical week and almost a quarter (22%) admitting they have between three and ten episodes a week. So how are facilities and premises managers rising to the challenge of future- proofing the spaces which they manage? How can they keep ahead of the curve when it comes to engaging younger employees or customers who rely on their devices for everything? On top of the stress caused when devices

running out of ‘juice’ when writing a critical email or making a call, low power can actually cause a plethora of health and safety issues. When employees hook their phones, laptops and tablets into random plugs they create a host of trip hazards in the process. With more office environments

embracing hot-desks, wireless power truly enables employees to work in the most agile way possible. Unsurprisingly, it is facilities managers

who work with future leaders such as the Imperial College, London or who are creating futuristic and aspirational office spaces like the Clubhouse, who’ve been early adopters of wireless charging. ‘Universities are at the forefront of

technological advancement, and greater access to technology can result in a more valuable college experience. Whether a university is creating the next wave of technology in its laboratories and

research centres, or using it every day in its classrooms, university campuses are proving themselves to be some of the most technologically advanced places in the world’. With competition for students intensified by Brexit, higher education institutions will need to make their environments as attractive as possible to the brightest brains. When it comes to starting work, design

gurus such as Hilary R Birkbeck from 61-54 Design also see the need to think ahead and power up their employees. She said: ‘Wireless charging is the new cornerstone in the developing office-scape. This is the final umbilical of current technology to be set free allowing the flexible work space practices to take place. The office or workspace can now move and reconfigure itself to suit individual and group work needs leading to a collective wellbeing’. But as we will know, once new facilities

have been introduced, return on investment must to be measured. Once installed, it is critical to review usage of wireless charging stations and see whether installation spots are being used. Employers can utilise weekly reports from wireless charging providers on how their staff are using the service, so they can see how ‘hot desks’ for freelancers or breakout areas are being used, gaining critical insight on how a space is being managed. When travelling abroad, many of us will

make choices about the places we visit according to the location’s ability to facilitate easy and convenient charging. In today’s work and leisure spaces – others will be doing the same. After all, today’s office is wherever you and your phone are.

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