Putting people first: the case for redesigning workplace technology | Everything Property

Putting people first: the case for redesigning workplace technology

Workplace wellness


One of the global wellness trends for 2023 is wellness at work. Reimagining workplace tech is an excellent way to start improving employee wellbeing.

Workplace wellness reform is well under way with previously ineffective schemes replaced by more meaningful solutions. “Worldwide, 70% of knowledge workers have experienced burnout in the past year, and a recent global study found that 38% of workers hate their jobs so much that they wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy. But with the pandemic dramatically accelerating shifts in work models and the mental health crisis – and employees newly empowered – things are changing for the better,” according to a Global Wellness Summit 2023 trend report.

Work-life balance is improving as employers implement extended, company-wide holidays, the right to time offline after hours, make in-person time count with meaningful offsite events and gatherings at wellness resorts and social wellness clubs. The report authors note that meetings held in ice baths are officially a thing!

Working spaces are also getting an overhaul as employers look at improving the working environment and the tech their staff relies on to do their jobs and help the company maintain a competitive advantage.

The challenge is identifying the right technologies for your organisational structure and workplace strategy, notes Tango Matoti, head of Tétris Workplace Optimisation at Tétris Design and Build.

Tango Matoti, head of Tétris Workplace Optimisation


Recent research by JLL on Technology and Innovation in the Hybrid Age shows that successfully navigating, implementing and managing this new world will require the use of intelligent and enabling technology, as well as a rethinking of the human experience of design. As hybrid work becomes a permanent fixture, companies are exploring ways to customise it to their employees’ needs and preferences. Design is now being used to reconsider aspects such as spaces, technologies, support services, acoustics, and working patterns to create the ideal working environment.


In South Africa, the office environment has won back some of its appeal with load-shedding reaching unprecedented levels. Business owners have had to ensure uninterrupted power, connectivity, and access to the correct set of technologies for employees to do their jobs and keep companies afloat in times of economic crisis. Many employees (56%) find the technology available at their office superior to other locations. However, virtual collaboration also takes place from remote locations such as homes or coffee shops in similar proportions, all requiring support. This creates a need to facilitate productive meetings that include both in-person and virtual participants. With the workforce spread across various locations daily, the importance of smaller rooms with appropriate equipment to facilitate such meetings has become paramount. Efficient and user-friendly space-booking systems are also critical considerations in this regard.

Tétris Omega digital technologies reception


Today, improving workplace wellness is crucial to attracting and retaining top talent. In addition to technological enhancements, things like selecting the right furniture, maximising natural light, assessing quality of acoustics and artificial lighting, soundproofing and wireless charging are essential to designing work environments that empower people to perform.

Perform: Tétris Design & Build, a leading design and build company with global reach, creates environments that are beautiful, functional, inspirational and sustainable for the office, retail and hospitality sectors, among others, to help drive diversity and inclusion for many. “Better technology used in tandem with today’s design principles can… ensure that staff with disabilities are included too.”


Finding ways to repurpose pre-existing technology and decide where to invest in higher-spec technology will be crucial in enhancing physical workspaces and making meetings more productive. At an infrastructure level monitoring and controlling air quality makes people feel comfortable collaborating in a physical space. Effective booking systems enable people to book meeting spaces confidently. Linking them to local transport and traffic reports empowers them to reschedule or change meeting spaces to make the best use of their time.


When it comes to enhancing productivity in the office and at home, people often first consider screen-based collaboration tools. However, the new work landscape provides an opportunity to think beyond this narrow scope. With the challenges posed by hybrid work, outdoor spaces, creative spaces, co-working spaces, and learning spaces can be reimagined to promote focus and creativity. Incorporating effective brainstorming and project management tools into the fabric of collaboration can also have a significant impact on fostering a dynamic company culture.

In addition to workstations, concentrated individual work can be accommodated in informal open-work points or dedicated focus rooms. While many hybrid offices prioritize collaboration, facilitating focused and private work is equally critical to enhancing performance in the workplace.

The starting point is taking time to survey and understand employees’ needs and expectations. Workspaces can be finetuned to ensure employees have access to the technological tools they need while enhancing our very human needs for comfort, concentration, safety, and wellbeing through design you can feel.

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