Zip Water News and Views


Virtual desks, mindful dens, AI assistants: What does the future of the office look like?

Virtual desks, mindful dens, AI assistants: What does the future of the office look like?

It’s no secret office spaces have changed in recent years. The pandemic notably accelerated the move to hybrid and remote work, and while there's certainly a growing return to the office movement, it feels as if we're now in a transition toward workspaces of the future – rather than back to the past.

Gone are the pre-pandemic days of faceless cubicles and ringing desk phones. Indeed, the rise of hybrid and remote working has changed the way businesses operate, and with increasing emphasis placed on creating a better work-life balance for all, we're witnessing a shift in both work environments and workplace culture. One that begs the question:

Why are employees demanding a new working model?

Workplaces are used differently by employees and companies today than they were, say, five years ago. Increasingly, the office has become a space to connect and collaborate with colleagues, as opposed to somewhere that you sat while trundling through your to-do list.

Both employees and employers alike are already seeing the benefits of moving away from the traditional nine-to-five, and toward a more flexible work model.

For instance, A combination of remote and office working seems to be the key to employee satisfaction. According to CPID, 60% of employees now have flexible work arrangements, showing a notable surge in support for the hybrid working model.

If hybrid work unlocks greater satisfaction, then, why wouldn't employees want to shake old ideas up and onboard a new, potentially better, model?

The office of the future will be a flexible space

If allowing employees to choose their preferred working space through a hybrid work model is key to better staff satisfaction, then it follows that employers can also expect increases in productivity and a greater recruitment potential.

Indeed, CIPD's research also shows 71% of employees consider a flexible working pattern important when looking for a new role. To attract and retain top talent, employers will have to adapt not only their working arrangements, but also the way their offices are designed.

Hybrid workplaces, then, seem like they're here to stay. But what could office spaces of the future look like, and how could their design improve productivity and aid the wellbeing of workers?

A beautiful, brightly lit office space, with design elements such as green plants and hot desks.

Touch-free technology offers an easy upgrade for workplace accessibility

The pandemic certainly accelerated the uptake of contactless technology, but we're expecting to see even greater adoption of touch-free in the years to come.

From motion-controlled doors and lifts to mobile apps for printing, an increased focus on hygiene, ease of use, and user accessibility, as well as increased productivity, contactless technology's going to be an easy win for workplaces looking to improve and upgrade their office design.

At Zip, we offer a range of touch-free filtered drinking water taps featuring smart infrared-red sensors, enabling touch-free use and making them suitable for a variety of workspaces, particularly healthcare and public sector settings.

For workplaces with complex requirements, our accessible HydroTap range is specially designed for the visually impaired and wheelchair and limited dexterity users. As far as the future of the office goes, with our help, maybe it’s already here for the taking?

Smarter offices for smarter businesses... a no-brainer?

Away from contactless solutions, there are also a number of emerging technologies that offer greater control and precision for heating and lighting systems. Some even control air quality, reacting to real-time data, including the weather, time of day, number of people in the building, and learned trends.

Fewer teams in the office on a Friday? Most of the workforce take annual leave in August? Then your office may not need so many lights on. Improving energy efficiency, as well as streamlining costs – it’s a win-win for offices of the future.

Wellness in the workplace will be a key factor for business growth

We’ve always championed the importance of wellbeing in the workplace. Even with the rise of hybrid work, employees are still spending much of their working lives in an office, and employee expectations of those facilities – from quiet spaces to relax in to healthy snacks on offer – are growing year on year.

Is your business keeping up? As experts in all things hydration, we know staying hydrated is important for health, happiness, wellbeing, and productivity. 

We’re thrilled to see an ever-growing focus on wellbeing in the workplace – from access to better water solutions and standing desks to mindful areas for relaxation. And while table-football may be a great way for the team to switch off, it’s more about building a space that feels considered and cared for from the ground up.

More collaboration zones to bring teams together

In the office environment, a more considered space means prioritising collaborative spaces (breakout rooms or zones) over banks of desks and your typical meeting rooms. As mentioned, with increasing favour for hybrid work patterns, the office is becoming the ideal place to collaborate, brainstorm, and plan projects – no need to worry about awkward technical difficulties or audio delays.

A Zip HydroTap in a stylish office kitchen with a flower feature wall.

To collaborate best, you need more than just a desk – you need a space to gather and share ideas, get creative… and stay hydrated.

Improve employee wellbeing with a dedicated smart hydration station

Old-school water-cooler conversations were a great example of how an informal space could foster a new way of collaborative working. But they're no longer fit for workplaces of the future.

A new HydroTap, however, makes it easy to keep ideas and drinks flowing, without taking up valuable space in a kitchen or breakout corner. In fact, most HydroTaps can be installed anywhere, without the need for a sink, making them the perfect way to offer pure-tasting filtered boiling, chilled, and sparkling water throughout the office.

A Zip HydroTap in a smart office space with green design elements in the background.

Hydration is fundamental for employee wellbeing and, in a modern workplace, it's important to go above and beyond the regulatory requirements for drinking water. For instance, in our recent ultimate guide to hydration, we shed light on how just a 1% drop in hydration can lead to a 12% loss in productivity.

If you want to learn more about what dehydration is or how good drinking water habits can boost office productivity, as well as our top 5 tips for keeping employees properly hydrated at work, then take a look!

With HydroTap for home, remote workers don't have to miss out

Beyond the office, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention HydroTap for home, our luxury curated selection of instant filtered boiling, chilled, and sparkling taps specially designed for the home.

A white, spacious kitchen with a gold all-in-one HydroTap.

A beautiful and stylish solution for drinking water, with all of the technology found in HydroTap for work, so if you prefer working remotely, then you don't have to miss out.

Coworking spaces are the perfect hub for businesses

Coworking spaces, or shared offices, have exploded in popularity due, in part, to many firms requiring fewer full-time desks as remote work becomes increasingly common.

There are many options for sharing a smaller space, from single hot desks to whole multi-team floors. For start-ups and SMEs, coworking spaces provide access to office space that would otherwise be too large and costly.

Connecting socially through an open office space

On the other hand, for larger companies, they provide greater flexibility, allowing for more regional hubs and hybrid teams, as opposed to one central office. Coworking arrangements also offer opportunities to network and interact with other professionals, giving valuable social value to hybrid or remote workers and improving the wider employee experience.

For both SMEs and larger teams, shared spaces provide access to open, well-equipped spaces such as kitchens and catering areas. Needless to say, here at Zip, we’re huge advocates of the office kitchen.... especially when it includes a great-tasting, time-saving HydroTap.

A black and green office kitchen with workers chatting over coffee.

In a managed coworking space, the responsibility for keeping things stocked up and left clean is taken out of your hands, so you can get on with the important work.

Our innovative new all-in-one drinking water system, HydroMe, will even keep track of product levels for you, automatically scheduling deliveries and refills when you need them. How futuristic is that?!

HydroMe also supports your environmental and corporate social responsibility goals by reducing single-use plastic bottles and encouraging a refill culture at the workplace.

The future of workplaces, today – we think it's possible

A futuristic office design that ticks boxes for sustainability and innovation – all while being delivered on time and within budget – is no easy feat. In fact, it's quite the juggling act. 

Though there’s no simple answer, we can help find you one. By condensing the number of suppliers you work with, we’ll save your business time, money, and hassle. That means fewer people to contact when you need deliveries, fewer phone calls when you need support, and far less paperwork.

As your complete water partner, we're here to help

From InLine, our hot water range, to HydroMe, we’re perfectly positioned to act as your complete water partner and look after all your water needs. 

What’s more, we provide servicing for all Zip products, as well as other brands, with our range of HydroCare packages. Designed to keep ongoing servicing simple, HydroCare is supported by over 100 fully-trained, directly employed service engineers. They'll be happy to help with flexible and pre-scheduled services, filter changes, and much more.

So, if you’re looking to build the work environment of the future, today, our advice is simple: keep your people at the forefront of your plans, and it will pay dividends.

Trends come and go, but one thing that’s here to stay is the higher value placed on wellness and mental health. Keep this in mind, and those futuristic offices will feel much closer than you think. 

For more information on HydroCare, HydroTap, or any of our smart and futuristic water solutions, get in touch today.

Robbie Ferguson, Head of Sales at Zip Water. 


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