[Blog] Smart Offices: Enabling the Connected Workplace

Oct 13th, 2021
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The traditional workplace is undergoing a transformation, redefined by smart office functionalities and hybrid work schedules. Companies are quickly realizing that implementing the latest in office technologies and adopting a hybrid workforce model are both key to staying competitive but also offer a wealth of benefits for employers, employees, and visitors alike.

But that won’t happen naturally. Without careful planning, the benefits of this sea change in business will be lost. The good news is that your company isn’t alone. Every business is grappling with this change as they transition to a new type of work environment. Businesses that can elevate the employee and visitor experience through smart office features are poised for both immediate and long-term success.

What Is a Smart Office?

The primary function of a Smart Office is to bring people together who have flexible schedules in the office to maximize collaboration and create and sustain company culture. A smart office leverages advanced digital tools to render smarter workspaces that connect people. A smart office prioritizes employee health via touchless access control, visitor management, and health status tracking. A smart office monitors office occupancy and traffic with automated social distancing measures and flexible desks and spaces. A smart office provides better indoor air quality, utilizing IoT sensors to monitor equipment and environmental conditions. A smart office can reduce energy costs via HVAC optimization, heating or cooling a space based on reservations, and shutting down the temperature control when not in use. A smart office facilitates a more efficient workflow, connecting employees via way and people finding—allowing them to work smarter, better, and faster. The smart office creates dynamic workspaces that empower people, energize workflows and enhance processes. And it’s a fastgrowing market too: While the worldwide “smart office” market was worth about $27 billion in 2019, it’s forecasted to increase by 70% to $46 billion by 2023.

The Smart Office combines cloud technology and digital collaboration tools with automated platforms designed to elevate employee and visitor experiences. Integrating these powerful tools not only helps companies save money on operating costs but also supports employees who are more likely to thrive in environments where technology inspires rather than limits.

Scheduling issues are simplified too. Automated processes allow for automatic desk allocation once a schedule has been created, free up desks when employees are not scheduled to come into the workplace, and book desks according to attendance schedules. Finally, smart offices can often reduce the amount of physical space your company requires, and with at least some of your work staff conducting business from home, the reduction in monthly operating expenses can be considerable.

Smart Office Features

For employees, the features of a Smart Office can dramatically improve their work environment, reducing or even eliminating many frustrations as well as facilitating effective, timesaving work habits necessary for worklife balance. The Smarten Spaces smart office technology suite includes:

  • Hybrid Workforce Scheduler: Compare schedules with colleagues and improve collaboration. Synchronize schedules to cultivate a collaborative hybrid environment that brings teams together who work from home and from the office at the same time.
  • Building Access: Access control with your phone (a virtual card) in addition to your existing access card. Better yet, completely eliminate access cards altogether!
  • Employee Engagement: Satisfaction surveys can gauge employee sentiment in real-time, letting management respond swiftly to concerns. Community feeds keep employees up to date on in-person events, special offers, and the latest news.
  • Workplace Social Distancing: Automate seat planning for social distancing and easily implement changes in social distancing norms while ensuring error-free and scalable seat planning.
  • Employee Screening with Health Checks: Track the health and vaccination status of those in the office. Quickly configure health declaration forms to find out the travel status of visitors. Conduct daily temperature checks.
  • Occupancy Control: Monitor the occupancy rate in meeting rooms or on floors, with an array of IoT sensor integrations. Automate occupancy management to adhere to capacity guidelines and easily set parameters such as distancing requirements.
  • Flexible Space and Desk Booking: Employees book their desired seats. Realtime occupancy and utilization reflection for safe and convenient bookings.
  • Colleague/People Finder: Find colleagues and book desks next to them. Easily see and reserve available socially distanced desks on the days workers plan to go to the office, using a digital map to find colleagues and key destinations.
  • Smart Lockers: Employees part of hybrid working arrangements can temporarily store items in a secure locker, eliminating the need to continually lug personal items back and forth between different locations.
  • Smart Cafeteria: Skip the queues and physical touchpoints and experience contactless payment methods. Allow employees and visitors to preorder meals to reduce crowding, from menus to payment.

Smart Office Enhanced Access Control Features

Visitors can benefit from a smart office environment just as much as day-to-day employees and for many of the same reasons. The Smarten Spaces Visitor Management system ensures that any visitors to the office can conduct their business quickly and easily while still adhering to the company’s standing health and safety standards.

Legacy systems require physically signing in at the reception desk or kiosk and manual screening. Smarten Spaces’ automated visitor management system allows clients and guests to check-in online, guide them to the appropriate location, and even checks for health declarations such as vaccine cards at entry. There’s more... It can be integrated into building access control systems and geofenced for specific floors or wings. Smarten Spaces’ configurable features enable smart visitor management including:

  • Contactless Access via QR Code: Implement a touch-free and secure process to verify and record visitor entries with detailed logs of all visits and entries.
  • Smart Parking: Guide visitors to designated spots that adhere to standing health and safety protocols.
  • Smart Elevators: Designed to minimize surface contact and take visitors swiftly where they need to go.
  • Way Finder: Similar to desk finding for regular employees, this feature guides visitors to where they need to be so they don’t get lost in an unfamiliar environment.

Shift to a Smart Office and Connected Workplace

In a tech-driven era, employers need to make sure that work environments are designed to offer experiences that empower people by enhancing collaboration and engagement while keeping them safe.

If you’re looking for a way to elevate your company and team members with smart office solutions, we can help. Smarten Spaces is a comprehensive digital workplace solution on a single innovative technology platform, featuring health tracing capabilities, space management tools, hybrid workforce scheduling, desk, and collaborative space booking functionality, as well as for analytics reporting—all designed to save time, increase productivity, and enhance employee (and visitor!) wellbeing. Smarten Spaces is a workplace experience breakthrough leveraging AI technology to bring the modern workplace and workforce together in an environment that fosters collaboration, creativity, and productivity. And the benefits are ongoing, enabling you to adjust the specifics to fit your evolving office needs.

If you’re searching for a seamless transition to a smart office, then Smarten Spaces is exactly what you need. Schedule a demo today to learn how we can smarten your spaces without sacrificing productivity, costs, or employee wellbeing.