Now, I’m an iPad user myself and I know the benefits of these pieces of kit. In fact, I’m sitting on the train now typing this latest rant.

Chips, please

I have a concern about the growing dependence on mobile phones and the misconception that they significantly improve productivity. In my view, they have inadvertently made us more passive, reactive, and less effective in managing our time and workloads. The constant accessibility through mobile phones has created higher expectations and shorter response times, which can lead to errors. Listening to conversations around me, it becomes apparent that many phone interactions revolve around trivial matters. We have become overly reliant on these devices, sometimes interrupting conversations without necessity.

Going with the flow

This isn't to say that all the latest workplace technologies should be dismissed as gimmicks or distractions. Quite the opposite. There are many gadgets that genuinely make our work lives easier, healthier, and more productive. From the now ubiquitous handheld devices to the units that monitor water flow in taps, interior designers have embraced numerous technologies for the benefit of building occupants.

One particular device has been a major success in our own office: a small piece of equipment called a footprint tracker. This ingenious technology monitors power usage and can display the information in various forms, including a simple thumbs up or thumbs down icon.

In our case, it helped us identify a faulty timer on an air-conditioning unit that turned on on Saturdays and off on Sundays. Since the office is unoccupied over the weekend, we were unaware of this glitch, but the spike on the monitor clearly showed that we had a problem. It has now been fixed, saving the business thousands of pounds.

Saving energy

The most significant advancements have come in the realm of reducing energy consumption through technology. The rising costs associated with energy use have compelled users to consider the potential benefits of replacing outdated systems and exploring more efficient technologies with easy-to-reconfigure control systems.

People are now better informed about the costs of leaving computers running or lights unnecessarily on. However, when I gaze across the London skyline at night, I'm still amazed by the twinkling mass of fully illuminated offices and flashing screens.

Nevertheless, there is a nifty little box that can neatly sit under a workstation, linked to multiple computers and monitors, which can alleviate this problem. It enables a series of machines to be switched off simultaneously with the push of a single button.

The clever part is that all the information on the computers at the time is saved and reappears when the power button is pressed. This simple device, when used alongside an intelligent lighting system, could save a business a significant amount of money.

Even this technology, however, might soon become obsolete as the latest trend is to abandon desktop computers altogether. Technological advancements mean that desk-based workers no longer need to squeeze into the space between a pedestal and a bulky computer. The processing units can all be hosted remotely, freeing up valuable office space and allowing users to work in a more flexible manner.

Furthermore, shrinking computer hardware and the use of Wi-Fi have also liberated desk space and enhanced the workplace as a flexible and interactive environment for collaboration. All of these factors are prompting designers and employers to reconsider new ways of working and what constitutes best practice.

In the zone

The flexibility of zones within the workspace is increasingly crucial for employee productivity. The ability to access data, colleagues, and customers from anywhere within the office environment is key.

This can only happen if businesses embrace new technologies that do not confine individuals to assigned workstations and have confidence in the security and reliability of the solutions. Ultimately, this will result in more efficient work by staff. Of course, this policy's success relies on the mobile phone, and that should be encouraged.

But only if you enter your dinner preferences before placing the handset in its charging station and leaving it where it belongs: in the workplace.