The idea of a smart workplace was once considered a futuristic concept where motion sensors and voice commands-controlled lights, temperature, and doors while desks and rooms were reserved with ease. With the advancement of technology, this vision is now a reality in today’s working world. Not only does it impress, but a smart workplace also increases employee efficiency and productivity.
To maintain a cutting-edge workplace, one must continuously evolve with changing technology and work styles. By establishing a strong foundation of smart workplace basics, a thriving culture and productive company can be achieved. Let’s explore these basics and how to implement them.
What is a smart workplace?
By automating mundane tasks, managing workflows, and integrating various systems and software, a smart workplace employs technology to enhance employee productivity. The ultimate goal is to create a seamless workplace experience. The most intelligent workplaces are those where technology runs smoothly in the background. Employees can reserve desks, book meeting rooms, access facilities, sign in at the front desk, track visitors, and perform other tasks without even noticing the integrated technology.
How can a smart workplace benefit your organisation?
Utilising technology to automate forgettable tasks is a hallmark of a smart workplace. A common frustration is forgetting to book a meeting room until the last minute, resulting in limited options like sitting in a kitchen area. In a smart workplace, technology takes care of this by automatically assigning a meeting room when it’s booked in your calendar. Additionally, color-coded displays show which rooms are available at any given time.
The following are some ways in which smart workplace solutions can benefit your organisation and revolutionise your office:
- One of the advantages of a smart workplace is its ability to optimise your physical space. Space management software, such as hot desking, is a prime example of this. It allows employees to reserve a desk in advance or on the day, anywhere in the office. This flexible seating arrangement provides insight into how your employees utilise the office space, enabling you to visualise the best way to improve it. By analysing this data, you can adjust your space and make improvements when necessary.
- Providing a seamless visitor experience is a hallmark of a smart workplace. The first interaction visitors have with your office is often through technology, and a visitor management system can greatly enhance this experience. By replacing the traditional pen and paper sign-in process with a sleek digital alternative, it can automate various tasks, such as obtaining signed NDAs, sharing safety videos, or providing documents. This not only saves time for staff but also ensures quality and makes a positive impression on visitors right from the start.
- Enhancing building security is another benefit of a smart workplace. By leveraging technology, a smart workplace can significantly improve the security of each building or location. For instance, it can control who has access to the building and what areas within the building they are permitted to access.
- Boosting productivity is a crucial advantage of a smart workplace. Our At Work report indicates that more than half of executives (54%) believe that productivity is the primary reason why employees should return to the office. By implementing a smart workplace, you can enhance productivity by enabling better time management and freeing up space for creativity and innovation.
- Promoting employee happiness is another crucial advantage of a smart workplace. When employees can focus on the work they love, rather than tedious manual tasks, it leads to greater job satisfaction. A smart workplace can contribute to this by providing a peaceful and efficient environment for employees to work in. By reducing stress levels, a smart workplace can foster a happier and more contented workforce.
4 staple solutions for your smart workplace
Smart workplace solution #1: Workspace booking solutions
The rise of hybrid workplaces, where employees split their time between remote and onsite work, has shifted the focus away from permanent desks and rigid rules, and towards flexibility and autonomy. Today, employees desire the freedom to choose where and how they work, in order to promote effective collaboration and productivity.
To manage this expectation, workplace booking solutions have become increasingly popular. These solutions offer a smart way to accommodate the needs of a flexible workforce, and include:
- One of the most popular workplace booking solutions is meeting room booking. By using room scheduling software, employees can easily sync their schedules with available meeting rooms. The most effective meeting room booking apps also communicate with display screens located outside of the room, which show when the room is in use and when it’s available for booking.
These apps allow employees to reserve a room in advance or on-the-go, and should also detect if a room isn’t being used during a reserved time, freeing up space for impromptu meetings. This synchronised technology helps employees plan more efficiently, while also ensuring that spaces are being used to their fullest potential.
- Desk booking solutions enable employees to access hot desking, office hoteling, and flexible working options. Employees can reserve their preferred desk in advance using this feature, and they can even reserve it for specific hours, freeing it up for others to book while they are in meetings or out for lunch. Desk booking helps to maximise office space and empowers employees to take control of their onsite experience.
Smart workplace solution #2: Security solutions
The significance of securing your physical workplace has been amplified in a flexible workplace where employees come and go at any given time. Smart workplace technology can help enhance the security of your workplace. It can assist your security team in preventing safety breaches and alleviate the burden on your front desk staff. Some security solutions provided by smart workplace technology include:
- Smart workplace technology can enhance your workplace security, particularly in a flexible workplace where people come and go at different times. By integrating visitor screening systems and visitor sign-in with smart workplace technology, you can streamline the process and take the burden off of your front desk staff. A touchless visitor management system enables visitors to complete a questionnaire ahead of time, including a health screening, reason for their visit, and expected time window. Upon arrival, visitors can check in and notify their host without having to wait in the lobby, ensuring a seamless and secure visitor experience.
- Access control technology is a physical security solution that restricts access to specific areas. By integrating employee ID badges and rooms with access control technology, you can synchronise systems to grant different access levels to different employees based on their role. This approach ensures that only authorised personnel can access sensitive areas, such as the server room, while other areas are freely accessible to all. In this way, access control technology helps maintain the security of your office while optimising the flow of personnel.
- With workplace threats on the rise, protecting your IT infrastructure from cyber attacks and ransomware has become crucial. Hackers have multiple entry points into your company’s WiFi, which can lead to the theft of sensitive information. To prevent such attacks, it is essential to have a robust WiFi provisioning system in place. Smart security solutions can integrate your visitor management and employee ID systems, allowing authorised individuals to access your network while keeping unauthorised visitors at bay.
Smart workplace solution #3: Occupancy sensors
Occupancy sensors can be integrated into various smart workplace technology solutions such as workspace booking, security, and building maintenance software. By tracking who is using the workspace and how often, occupancy sensors provide valuable data that can be used by workplace managers to make informed decisions about space usage, such as whether to remodel or right-size certain areas. Additionally, the data can help security and front desk staff manage guests and visitors by monitoring traffic flow and capacity. Moreover, it can help cafeteria managers predict food demand based on attendance trends. Having accurate data about occupancy helps workplaces become more proactive and efficient.
Smart workplace solution #4: Health and safety solutions
Maintain a healthy and safe workplace with a proactive monitoring approach by integrating health and safety solutions with your employee and visitor management systems. This technology provides your front desk employees, security staff, and workplace managers with the necessary information to keep your office healthy and safe. Here are some ways to integrate your health and safety solutions with your workplace management systems:
- Upgrade your visitor sign-in process with touchless sign-in. This feature enables visitors to check-in before arriving onsite, saving time for your front desk staff, reducing inconvenience, and ensuring that everyone has accurate information. With touchless sign-in, visitors receive the appropriate type of ID badge and access levels automatically. It also notifies the host of their arrival, ensuring that no one slips through the cracks
- Capacity visibility is a key aspect of health and safety solutions, and occupancy sensors play a central role in achieving it. With occupancy sensors, you can easily track the number of people present in your workspace in real-time, allowing you to make informed decisions about managing your space when it reaches full capacity or operates with reduced occupancy.
The introduction of smart workplace technologies can revolutionise your organisation and enhance the way you work. Technologies such as Siri and Alexa have already become ubiquitous in our homes, providing automation and convenience. Now, these same technologies are making their way into the workplace, creating a streamlined employee experience and a productive, efficient environment.