Technology in the workplace, like its counterparts in things like consumer electronics, mobile communications and eCommerce, continues to race ahead at a relentless pace. Workspaces have long been a proving ground for emerging technologies, going back to fax machines and even personal computers. Today, workspaces are on the cutting edge of a different kind of tech revolution, one that is focused on changing how we work and spend our time in the office.
Here are three specific ways that technological advances in the workplace are helping to redefine professional environments around the globe.
The pandemic of the last two years has had far-reaching effects on every aspect of our lives and that includes the way we use space. When millions of offices were suddenly deserted or nearly so, property managers and other stakeholders were confronted with the challenge of carefully examining how much space they really needed, especially given that it is the second highest cost for most businesses.
This different approach to more carefully aligning real estate commitments with actual needs has carried over into the post-pandemic, return-to-work movement and now stakeholders no longer have to rely on guesses and estimates about how much space they need.
Digital solutions can now supply highly accurate data about how a given space is actually used. Footfall traffic and occupancy rates — at floor, room and even seat level — provide real-time insights into how many people are in a space, where they are concentrated, how much they spend there and more.
Historical data can be combined and analyzed to present a picture of how space is used over time, identifying peak days and hours as well as quiet times and giving management an accurate view of how much variation there really is and how much flexibility has to accommodate it.
With these insights, it’s easier to optimize the use of space that’s already occupied, create a better idea of how much space is really needed for any potential expansions and generally align real estate needs and assets.
Technological changes in the workplace are also now being used to make time spent in workspaces more productive and pleasant, with a minimum of disruptions and wasted time.
Wayfinding is an increasingly standard feature in modern offices, particularly in large and complex spaces. This is always a useful tool for visitors, vendors and other temporary occupants unfamiliar with the layout of buildings but wayfinding has found another receptive audience in the post-pandemic environment.
There is a significant number of employees who started with a new company during the pandemic working remotely and who are just now being called to work in an office they’ve never seen. For especially large corporate complexes, wayfinding can be a must-have for anyone trying to navigate from one department to another or quickly learn where the relevant parts of the building are. No one is lost as long as wayfinding services are a few clicks away.
Occupant experience is also boosted through access to real-time occupancy levels as well. This differs in a slight but important way from the occupancy levels previously mentioned, which provide historical data that informs decisions about how much space is really needed for an office to function properly.
Real-time occupancy benefits employees in the here & now by making it possible to instantly check the availability of any space in the entire covered area of a workspace — any desk, any meeting room, regardless of size — without having to go there in person to verify if it’s available or not.
There’s no reason to waste time on looking for a place to sit down for a short-notice meeting when everything can be checked on a simple interface from anywhere in the workspace.
The benefits of technology in the workplace extend even further to a variety of applications that help to make time spent in buildings healthy, safe and comfortable.
Environmental monitoring tracks air quality, temperature and humidity to ensure that they all stay within preset parameters. When comfortable or safe limits are exceeded, alerts can be sent to notify building management.
The utility of environmental monitoring has been highlighted since the outbreak of the pandemic, since humidity levels can be a major contributing factor behind the creation of conditions that are virus-friendly. Tracking this often-overlooked environmental metric is now more important than ever.
Better physical safety of employees is another prime example of how technology has changed the workplace. Staff duress policies can now be greatly enhanced through the use of wearable badges connected digitally to a location-tracking network. When staff in, for example, a hospital or other healthcare facility has to deal with an aggressive or potentially threatening patient, they can now call for assistance with the touch of a button. Their exact location is immediately known to management and help can get there in time to avoid further escalation of the situation.
In cases of extreme emergencies, the importance of technology in the workplace becomes very clear in mustering capabilities. This refers to the ability to gather all occupants of a building in the event of evacuation due to fire or some other urgent matter. In large, complex spaces it can be a challenge to be sure that everyone has been safely removed from the building but, once again, location technology provides a solution.
With location-enabled wearable technology, it’s not only possible to quickly confirm that specific people are away from danger but also identify those who remain in the building along with their specific location. This is vital information to share with first responders and others arriving on the scene.
The smart use of ever-evolving technology is driving fundamental changes in workspaces and, by extension, the way we work. We continue to enjoy and expanding list of upgrades, improvements and comforts thanks to advanced yet simple and unobtrusive networks that give us live insights into how we use the space around us.
If you’re looking for ways to create a more occupant-friendly workplace through human-centric technologies, reach out to us here and let’s talk about how solutions from Kontakt.io can deliver all of the benefits mentioned above and more.
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