Imagine arriving at the office, and the lighting and aircon are just perfect, there’s exactly the right ambient noise, the desk is set up perfectly, the food and drinks easily available are precisely what you need… everything is set up just right to ensure you can deliver your best work.
This is the workplace of the future that adjusts in real time based both on who you are and what you’re trying to achieve in the next few hours.
Elite sportspeople already use data analytics to craft the perfect work environment for themselves. We need to use the same approach in our workplaces – not to extract MORE from our people, but to help them give their BEST.
It’s the 1 February 2033 and the time has just gone 11:02, and it’s time for me to start work. I’m starting today with a nice flavoured water instead of my normal coffee because that’s what the hyper-personalised peak performance app has suggested for me today.
You see, in 2033, we are collecting and collating data taken from some of those devices that we wear, and we have a few of them implanted these days, collecting our health apps. It knows what I ate yesterday, and how well I slept last night. It also knows what’s on my plate for the day ahead, what work needs to be done, what meetings have I got, what deliverables are there, what are my stress levels, both professionally and personally.
And because of that, as I came into the office today, it had perfectly set the lighting, not just to capture my mood, but to help me engage with the correct mood to do what needs to be done. The ambient noise in the background is just perfect for the same purposes as well as the air conditioning, setting the temperature, and in fact, I see that the chair that they’ve given me today is not the normal chair that I sit in. I see I’m being asked to work at a standing desk today with around balancing ball as my chair.
I’m excited about what needs to be done today and I’m super excited about the environment, this hyper-personalised peak-performance environment that has been set up just for me today.
My name’s Graeme Codrington. This is ThrowForward Thursday, and that is a picture of what the office might look like in the future if the office was really responsive to what it is that I needed to achieve today. Physically responsive in setting up the office in slightly different ways each day, responsive in terms of calendar and schedule, moving things around to match my biorhythms and what I was doing yesterday and last night. And of course, contextually responsive to the work that needs to be done and the amount of stress that these peak performance systems understand I might be on in the next few hours.
This is already happening in the world in which we live today. It’s happening for professional athletes and elite sportspeople. They have very personalised training programmes and their coaches and managers understand precisely how to get the best out of them. Their training schedules adapt and adjust based on immediate feedback from the data gathering that happens. They even wear devices, often on their backs between their shoulder blades, that gathers this information in real-time, and in that way, coaches and managers are able to get the very best out of professional and elite sportspeople.
Why shouldn’t we take that same mindset and transfer it into other aspects of our lives, especially into our workplaces, where it’s not a dystopian vision of an organisation that now has found a way to completely manage you and squeeze the last ounce of productivity out of you, but rather a picture of what talented people will want to do in order to be able to give the best that they can give to their workplaces.
We can use this technology in different ways. We can use it for evil or for good, and I’m suggesting that we claim it for an environment in which people are desperate to give their best to their employers. And that means getting information, getting data, and getting feedback, that can then create a hyper-personalised and responsive environment that helps them to give their best at all times.
The hyper-personalised, peak-performance workplace of the future is an interesting picture of the workplace, however many years from now but we can already start to do some of these things today. Welcome to peak performance, an entirely different way of thinking about how we manage the people in our workplaces and how we get the best out of them, rather than just the most.
Thank you, as always, for joining me in the future, I hope that the scenarios that we paint for you, give you ideas for things you should actually start to do today. I’ll see you next week in the future.
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For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.