Employees can be enthusiastic about their occupation but still wish to escape the monotony of their work. How can you increase their energy and proactivity? You need to find a way to make things smarter and assist employees in enjoying every single moment at work.
But that sounds like magic, doesn’t it? When an employee comes to work every day and encounters the same things, be sure that they’ll become bored. The same old cup of coffee, laptop, and cabinet crammed with more files than it can hold. The sight of these would give me a headache.
If you want to get the best out of your people, take your office to the next level. Build a smart environment and climate if you care about employee retention.
Let’s plunge into the smart office definition, find out how it works, and what smart office products exist.
What Is the Definition of a Smart Office?
A smart office is a workplace equipped with technology in physical objects. It connects employees to the building and provides them control over their work environment.
It ensures that networked teams can easily find each other, select the best offices, and spot a free meeting room. A smart office is at the heart of today’s most successful workplace tactics. And it doesn’t apply to Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Apple, or Tesla alone.
Uninteresting walls are now a thing of the past for many workspaces that have evolved into intelligent and energy-efficient structures.
Smart Office Principles
The basic idea behind smart offices is the remote control. A software platform or an app provides users with a real-time view of their workplace. How does this information get into their devices?
The occupancy data is acquired by intelligent sensors and Wi-Fi, illustrating:
- which offices are available (if there are several offices in the city, employees can choose where they can work in compliance with the COVID regulations and social distancing);
- where coworkers are;
- which conference rooms are vacant;
- among others.
You can link innovative office platforms to various systems, such as:
- reservation systems for rooms;
- apps for intelligent parking;
- building management system (BMS), monitoring mechanical and electrical equipment in the building.
What benefits does it provide to the business?
- First, increased employee productivity.
- Second, smart sensors give valuable information on how people use the office to make it even more efficient.
- Third, it improves employee well-being as they have more control over their work environment and choose where they want to work, be it from the office or home.
And higher employee satisfaction leads to:
- more engagement from subordinates;
- lower absenteeism;
- saving on healthcare;
- reduced employee turnover, which entails less spending on onboarding and recruiting.
Suppose your employees come back to the office after self-isolation. How can you ensure their safety when it comes to COVID-19? Even though some will continue their work-from-home lifestyle, ensuring the office’s 1.5-meter social distancing can be difficult.
These regulations can eat up almost half of your space if done wrong. A smart office can help you protect your employees’ health at work by:
- calculating the potential of a safe office;
- making a layout that complies with your policy;
- managing a safe capacity while booking shifts in the office;
- examining your office occupancy throughout the week.
Read on to discover the six products to upgrade your office from dull and inefficient to a smart one.
1. Nest Thermostat
The Nest thermostat is a temperature-controlling device with a connection to your smartphone. It has a mobile application interface to manage the temperature. As long as you have your phone with you, you can forget about cold mornings or boiling afternoons.
What makes the Nest thermostat different from standard air conditioners? The Nest thermostat is only accessible to a single person or a small number of people, making it more organized and proper.
You can also employ your mobile device to monitor how much energy the thermostat consumes. As a result, you’ll be able to manage your budget and control better how and when you utilize the thermostat.
2. Ring Video Doorbell
The Ring company sells ready-made kits designed to work with Android and iOS mobile devices. The bulk of its products are aimed at home users, but the Video Doorbell Pro will be ideal for many small businesses.
The system is notable for its 3-in-1 functionality:
- a telephone call;
- a doorbell;
- a motion-sensitive and internet-connected security video camera.
It is connected to your mobile device, just as the Nest thermostat, so you can receive notifications. An alert appears on your screen when someone rings the doorbell. It reminds a phone call, so you can respond to the person right from your device and talk.
The video camera can spot suspicious activities around your firm. It strengthens security and helps you notify the necessary authorities to deal with a strange scenario.
3. WetKeys & SaniType Washable Keyboard
In connection with the pandemic, the issue of cleaning surfaces has become even more acute. And here, you can’t do without a washable and spill-proof keyboard. In any case, don’t you come into contact with this surface 90% of your work time? Crumbs or spills are no longer a problem for a keyboard like this.
For example, WetKeys and SaniType offer 100% waterproof, washable keyboards.
First of all, such keyboards and mice are ideal for medical use, ensuring safety by sanitation. But they also prevent cross-contamination in healthcare facilities, industrial computing, offices, and at home. The company provides wireless keyboards and mice for severe environments, such as dishwashers or plunging them into sinks, so that you can clean them if necessary.
4. Philips Hue Lighting
Another fantastic smart office solution concerns lighting. You need to control it as it influences your and your colleagues’ vision. But what if the lighting is too intensive or vice versa? If the light is too bright, it impairs your ability to see your computer screen. If it’s too bleak, it will also have a negative impact on your vision.
Philips Hue lighting allows you to manage such cases remotely. You’ll need a smartphone to regulate the brightness of the bulbs. As a result, you’ll better control the quantity of energy you use.
Apart from more intelligent usage, you can save up to 80% on energy with the help of LED lighting. It imitates natural light, which creates a healthy and inspiring workspace. And the best part is that you can add the Bridge edition to transform your lighting into an intelligent ecosystem with automation, away-from-home/office control, and sync it with music.
5. Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo functions similarly to an office assistant. Just say a few keywords, and it launches. Again, you install it on your mobile device. The tasks it performs include:
- adding events to your calendar;
- following up on specific news updates, social media posts, and so on;
- recording meetings and transcribing the events (isn’t it a more effective method than taking notes?);
- notifying you of incoming emails.
You can link it to the other abovementioned devices, controlling them with your voice rather than through the app interface.
Another benefit of using voice assistants such as Alexa is the ability to reorder office supplies. You don’t need to open the store while working or add items to the cart. It’s enough to say, “Alexa, I need to order paper clips,” and they’ll be delivered to your door.
6. Autonomous Ergochair
Autonomous is a well-known corporation uniting artificial intelligence and robotics with everyday products. Let’s take a look at their office-chair technology. The main goal of such chairs is to increase workers’ efficiency and productivity and reduce the stress and discomfort of regular seats.
The company created the chair with the customers’ comfort in mind. It guarantees that everything is in place to improve your spine’s health and comfort. And if you’re stressed out, you can recline the back of the chair and sleep.
You can adjust the ergonomic chair to fit the body’s needs. For example, tilt technology makes the chair adaptable to any angle and direction. As a result, you can modify the seat to fit whichever posture you like.
The ErgoChair Pro+ features a cooling TPE (a mix of materials) or a breathable mesh option. How can it make your work comfortable? It keeps you cool even during the warmest times of the year.
Over to You
Technological advancements pave the way for intelligent offices. They are real. The recent technical breakthroughs in IoT (Internet of Things) have provided various devices to transform that old, boring office with creaky equipment into a more fun and appealing place. Just as they do it with manufacturing, healthcare, and retail with the help of headless eCommerce elements.
If you want to make your office smarter, try exploring some of these amazing ideas. Keep in mind the connection: the more satisfied your staff is, the more success it will bring to your company.
Upgrading your office will accelerate your company’s growth, cut down on costs, and improve the image. Provide flexibility and a tailored experience. As a result, your employees will become the best version of themselves, and you’ll require less space and facilities. So why not get more out of existing square meters?
About the Author
Alex Husar, chief technology officer at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in developing PWAs, Magento migration, and Salesforce development. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.