Well, hello Technology
Until 2020, technology seeped into our work and personal lives progressively over the years. We embraced it at varying levels depending upon our career choices and time of life. As the pandemic took hold, we really said hello to technology, using it like we never had before. In the slightly calmer waters of today, workplace design company Evoke Projects examines the technology focal points for 2021 and beyond.
Occupancy management systems
Occupancy management systems are not a new thing of course. Mostly, they were used to manage flexible working arrangements such as hot desking and hoteling. What’s new is the focus on social distancing, managing reduced capacity and sanitisation.
Capacity can be controlled by booking software systems such as Condeco Software, which includes Workspace Management, Desk Booking and Meeting Room Booking modules. The system shows the office interior design, which can be set up with fewer desks or ‘closed’ desks. Employees pre-book their workstations and everybody can see who is in the office or working remotely. The system also triggers and records cleaning schedules between desk bookings and keeps detailed data for contact tracing. Private office interior spaces and meeting rooms are managed in the same way.
Sensor systems such as Measuremen’s Sensor Connected Workplace can also track workplace utilisation in real-time so that you can collect data and answer workplace design questions such as:
- Is your person-to-desk ratio off?
- Which teams need more space?
- Are your meeting rooms too big, or too small?
Data about employee movement around the workplace can also help with better space management of under occupied and over occupied areas within the office fit-out. Modern occupancy management systems help to make the office fit-out safer and give employees the confidence to return to the office.
Digitisation of physical records will continue to improve productivity and reduce storage needs within the office fit-out, while also promoting paperless / more sustainable workplace practices.
Bricks and mortar businesses have had to evaluate their delivery to customers and whether the current commercial fit-outs suit their needs. This does not just apply to products, but also services. Banking and government services that traditionally relied on face to face transactions are investing in smart technology because the community now expects it.
Businesses are constantly looking at online innovations to streamline processes, reduce costs and improve the customer experience. For example, clothes retailers are investing in virtual fitting rooms for people to input their measurements and see how a garment will fit. Some restaurants have moved to table online ordering whereby the server delivers the food but does not take the order. This helps not only with social distancing but efficient kitchen management.
The sky’s the limit for the Cloud
Most businesses have embraced the Cloud for employee collaboration and remote access. The Cloud can also be incorporated into the overall workplace design to play a valuable role in building management. Security and access can be managed through the Cloud from anywhere in the world. Building visitor management systems are starting to include health screening for Covid-19 prior to entry.
Thanks to the Internet of Things, smart building software can provide real time information on mechanical and electrical systems. Malfunctions can even be fixed while off site. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make great advances in these areas.
Remote working has provided many challenges for cybersecurity, such as malware, viruses, phishing attacks and vast numbers of non-tech-savvy employees suddenly forced to use home networks for company work. The weapons of choice in this space are employee training and awareness, Virtual Private Networks and encryption. It is important to install high quality occupancy management systems to prevent data leaks of confidential workplace designs or employee movements.
Making technology really work for the business
UnifiedCommunications.com helps organisations thrive by bringing people, knowledge, and ideas together through technology. The company offers interesting insights into four technology trends and themes for business owners:
- Any new technology implementation requires change management – businesses need an understanding of the role certain technology/devices have in the workflow to craft a strategy to ensure mass adoption of that technology. Evoke Projects completely supports this thought leadership. Buying a subscription to Microsoft Teams or upgrading the servers is not making technology really work for the business. It needs to improve workflows and reduce costs and wastage to be effective.
- Give senior managers access to technology at both the home office and in the office that can provide a meeting experience equivalent to an in-person office meeting.
- Adapt continuous collaboration solutions so that everyone feels included regardless of whether they are in the room or remote. Evoke Projects recommends configuring meeting rooms in the office fit-out with multiple screens at strategic positions for off-site participants so that it feels like a ‘proper’ meeting. UnifiedCommunications.com states that meeting rooms in 2021 are also beginning to leverage cloud-based AI to count people, enforce social distancing, automatically transcribe meetings, and remove unwanted background noise.
- Have a means of measuring work productivity to optimise performance and effectiveness in remote or hybrid settings.1.
Technology will continue to revolutionise the way we live and work. For more information on including innovative technology in your workplace design, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.