It is becoming clear that traditional offices are slowly being replaced with smart offices. The growing popularity of Hybrid work models has created new challenges for Facility Managers worldwide, and office space today should be adapted to the employee's needs and the flexibility required.
Modern offices have been synonymous with open floorplans, activity-based work areas, and flexible working modes. But the technology behind a functioning hybrid office is often overlooked – the so-called smart office elements. In this blog post, we will go over 5 features of a smart office that will be crucial to enable flexible workplaces in 2022 and forward.
What are Smart Office Solutions?
In contrast to a traditional office, a smart office incorporates technology to improve facility management and employee productivity. We all want employees to produce better outcomes, and smart office solutions are today required to create functional workplaces. Many companies have already adopted some form of a technical solution, typically some form of access control, visitor management, or booking solution. Technical solutions for smart offices can also entail different types of climate control systems or automatic lighting. All of these different forms of smart office technology share one important goal – to make facility management easier, reduce costs and minimizecarbon footprints.
What is a smart office?
What are the benefits of Smart Offices?
Smart office technology has time and time again proved to be a powerful tool that can greatly improve the overall workflow and facility management of any office space. Here are some of the most important ones
Improved work scheduling and cooperation
Meeting room booking systemsor cloud solutions for sharing documents have been shown to greatly enhance both scheduling and cooperation between employees. Many businesses today can’t imagine conducting business without them
Having easy access to tools that help employees book the resources they need, when they need it is essential to make sure that everyone stays productive and efficient. On average, employees spend 15 minutes a day finding the right resources at the office, reducing that time will reduce stress and help your workforce focus on the important things.
It comes to no surprise that lack of connection results in poorer outcomes. Smart office solutions can help your business build relationships and connection between departments. Examples of this are effective attendance planning tools, chat software or colleague-finding solutions. Tools like these help employees establish connections and share ideas that shape new innovations.
Improved employee experience and retention
Using smart office solutions can reduce the stress of navigating the office space, and through that create a more positive work culture and reduce friction. Employees who are satisfied with their office space and company culture are more likely to stay and can reduce employee turn-over in the long haul.
The benefits of a smart office are many. Adapting solutions that enhance the overall workflow will in turn create more productive, satisfied, and engaged employees. But what smart office features are the most important ones to consider? Let’s go over 5 essential tools.
5 smart office features and smart office technology to consider in 2022
A smart office is built through an ecosystem of smart technologies, often referred to the internet of things (IoT). It’s connected through different devices and systems that together make smart technology and the workplace come together and work efficiently. Here are some of the main smart office technologies and technical features that will shape your office forever.
Meeting Room Booking Software
Meeting Room Booking systems are probably the first thing businesses think about implementing, and it’s a crucial part of a smart office set-up and probably the most important of all the different smart technologies needed in a smart office solution. Even though basic meeting room booking functions such as outlook plug-ins and Room Panels have been around for a long time, many are still resorting to managing conference rooms through excel spreadsheets or by just finding the closest available one. This is not sustainable.
A booking system for smart conference rooms that can be managed through an app allows employees to filter after the best suitable meeting room while simultaneously allowing them to book it on spot. The booking is visible for all employees and management, helping them search for other available rooms if a booking has been made. Smartphone apps and kiosk screens also allow for effective wayfinding, which can be crucial in large office environments.
When using a solid meeting room booking solution, data can be gathered about the usage of meeting rooms, allowing Facility Managers to evaluate if changes need to be made. Overall, a meeting room booking system is one of the most valuable resources for any office environment.
Read more about Meeting Room Booking Software here
Hot Desking Software
If you are currently looking into adapting to a flexible work model, hot desking might be necessary in order to keep your office space both space and cost-efficient. Hot desking software allows employees to book desks at the office, guaranteeing them a seat. Hot desking systems are usually flexible, allowing you to choose if some employees should have fixed seating, create department zones, allow for multiple-day booking, or only allow booking ad-hoc.
Hot desking software is an important step to enable an agile working environment while simultaneously increasing employee engagement and security. The most advanced hot desking software will also allow employees to filter on equipment, making sure that they can select the right desk after their needs, as well as colleague finding.
Read more about Hot Desking software here
Using Interactive floorplans is an excellent way to help employees navigate your office space effectively. Interactive floorplans do provide different functionality based on which system you choose, but the most important things to look for are wayfinding functionality, clear display of points of interest, search and filter functionality, and colleague finding. The best way to use an interactive floorplan is by using kiosk screens that can be placed at the office entrance or on each floor to help employees search for colleagues or find meeting rooms they have booked.
Flowscape offers an interactive floorplan that is an exact replica of your office space and that can be easily edited if office changes are made. Adapting an office map will greatly reduce the time needed to find resources and allows employees to get a clear overview of the availability status of both desks and rooms.
The ability to optimize space is greatly dependent on what type of data can be collected. Office optimization is about knowing the flows of movement, which section or floor is the most popular, and even which building in an organization estate is the most effective work area. It can also be about collecting office climate data such as temperature, ambient noise, humidity, CO2, and VOC. This can all be done via intelligent climate control systems.
In the smart office era, this type of data gathering is far from unusual, and often necessary. Any worries about sensors and counters in the workplace have been almost overcome, and they are viewed as a legitimate method of helping workplace users have a better experience.
But sensors do provide more benefits than just data collection, presence sensors can be used to indicate if a drop-in room or hot desk is available. When someone enters the room, the sensor will send that information to the interactive floorplan, showing the room as occupied.
With that said, the main reason why companies install smart sensors is because they collect accurate data about the precise utilization of every single resource throughout the day, all of which is invaluable for all back-office teams – FM, HR, and IT as well as the estate's teams. This will allow workplace managers and associated teams to make decisions that improve the end-user experience by creating spaces employees, visitors, and anyone else will enjoy using as well as enhancing indoor air quality throughout shared office spaces and conference rooms.
There are also other smart sensors for smart lighting control, enabling low light capabilities and making the workplace and office building more energy efficient. Sensors for smart lighting along with intelligent climate control can reduce the energy usage and carbon footprint of the office building quite a bit.
Read more about smart sensors
When more and more companies move towards agile working, it will be increasingly more difficult to know where your colleagues areand if they will be in the office at the same time as you. Attendance calendars are the latest addition to the smart office world and allow employees to register in advance for which days they will be in the office, allowing their teammates to better plan collaboration.
Attendance calendars can also be used to decrease the risk of overcrowding by setting maximum levels of attendance. This can help employees visit the office on calmer days which in turn increases productivity. The data collected from the attendance calendar can also give important insights on office attendance, which days are the most crowded, and give employees a chance to plan their week based on the forecasted attendance for certain days.
Read more about attendance calendars here.
Ready for the next step?
Feel free to contact us if you want more information about smart office solutionsand how they can be incorporated into your office space. You can find our contact information here.
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