Contact Us

Workers Are Already Pushing Back Against The Office Of The Future


We are constantly told that real estate and technology will interact and fundamentally change the way people work.

Big data, smart technology and artificial intelligence are all regularly predicted to have a huge impact on the way offices operate. Co-working and shared workspace are increasingly being touted as the next evolution in the way companies take space.

But the path to the office of the future will not run smoothly, as companies are starting to find out. People are pushing back against innovation as quickly as they are embracing it.

Last week Bloomberg reported that management at U.K. banking giant Barclays had faced a flurry of questions when staff discovered tracking devices had been put on their desks to measure occupancy levels.

Barclays said it has received no official complaints about the sensors — called OccupEye and made by U.K. firm Cad-Capture — and said staff were told about them in advance and they do not monitor individual performance.

“The sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity; they are assessing office space usage,” the bank said. “This sort of analysis helps us to reduce costs, for example, managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to further adopt flexible work environments.”

When such sensors were installed at U.K. newspaper the Daily Telegraph there was such outrage among the staff that they were removed on the first day.

Rendering of Apple HQ

Open office is not always being welcomed with open arms, either.

Last week it was reported that Apple employees were trying their best to avoid being moved to its new $5B headquarters in California. Employees were pushing back against being made to work in open-plan offices.

The technology firms, co-working companies and developers pushing the agenda on changes in the way people work often have the loudest voice, and a vested interest in presenting change as a fait accompli. But change in such a fundamental area as how people spend the majority of their waking hours will not come all at once, or may not shift entirely the way companies are banking on.

Related Topics: Barclays, Apple HQ, Daily Telegraph