Technology has changed the way we work. More informal, flexible ways of working are now widely accepted in the business world due to enhanced communications. Businesses are able to work ‘smartly’ company-wide, no matter where they are.
Connectivity can really bring a company together. By turning your office into a ‘smart office’, companies can tap into new methods of communications such as conference calling from devices, presenting from flat screens, designing from tablets, sending real-time videos as you work and many more.
What is a smart office?
A smart office is a place of work that uses technology to connect people. It allows people to communicate faster, be more productive and work in a smarter way. With the use of mobiles, laptops, VoIP, tablets and applications, a business can communicate better.
Not only that, but AI and machine learning can do some cool things for business such as identifying who’s on a call, who’s booked in a conference room, redirect calls to someone who’s available, and enable video conferencing worldwide. Smart offices are offices of the now and the future.
So how can you do it?
How you turn your office into a smart office will depend on the type of business you are. Any sized business, from a lone-home worker to a large multi-national can make use of smarter ways of working.
The smarter desk
Research has shown that some workers feel more productive when standing up at their desk. A smarter solution for your employee could be introducing standing desks within the office. Whilst it may not be everyone’s preference (or within budget!), adapting to your employees can help to encourage more productivity.
IoT and data can allow sensors and smart watches or devices to alert employees when they’ve been sitting or standing too long. Encouraging moving around within the office can increase motivation. Technology allows employees to be available from anywhere with a mobile or tablet device. Conferences can take place outside, in the office, at home or anywhere you choose.
What’s more IoT and sit/stand options can help companies to better understand desk utilisation. Particularly where shared desks or hotdesking is employed by the business.
The smarter meeting
Conference calling is not new. However, new technologies have made meetings possible from anywhere around the world. Big screen TVs have replaced projects and SIP technology (voice calls over the internet) has improved drastically to make it much easier and quicker to connect.
Devices enabled with virtual private network (VPN) access as well as applications such as Skype for Business or Gamma’s ‘Collaborate’ enables video conferences at a much wider scale. Screen sharing is easily made, and calls are digital, so everyone can join a meeting from anywhere.
Technology can also help to book meeting rooms automatically via apps or cloud systems to make it easier for people to schedule their time correctly.
The smarter voice
Technologies such as smart speakers and sensors can now voice activate an office. Employees can easily search with voice on their phone to quickly access docs and presentations in sales meetings. Multi-tasking is now more possible than ever to help manage calendars, tasks and data.
Voice activation isn’t always appropriate (for example in an open plan office) but can be perfect for someone with their own office or a home worker.
Voice recognition can also be used to help secure devices, communicate on the road and even help to take notes in a meeting.
The smarter environment
Leveraging IoT and smarter technology can help to create a better work environment. It can help to create a stronger office culture by bringing more people together. The work-life balance can be easily obtained, and it can help to encourage innovation and creativity. In addition to saving time and increasing productivity, the smarter environment can also help to save costs.
A smart environment can automatically adjust lighting and heating to use power resources more efficiently. Controlling temperatures can also help create a comfortable working environment. Furthermore, security cameras, access control systems and sensors can help make the environment safer for your employees.
Why do I need a smart office?
A smart office can offer multiple benefits for any company.
Employees feel that they have more control over their experience and are able to enjoy a better work-life balance. This will lead to better employee engagement positively correlates with workplace satisfaction.
In addition to this, improved communications can reduce cultural differences, aid decision making and create faster processes. Productivity can increase through employee tracking, improved working environments, increased motivation and reduced absenteeism.
Smart offices can be time-saving, boost productivity, encourage innovation and change the way a company operates. Data can be collected and analysed for further improvements.
Whether you’re working from home or in a large conglomerate, you can’t deny that smart offices are becoming a trend. Businesses now have more understanding of the technologies available that can allow for automated systems, increase efficiency and bring down costs.
Being ‘smarter’ can create well-connected offices and be a perfect environment for employees.