One effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the digital transformation businesses need to make in order to remain competitive.
Many industries are experiencing saturation — staying on top of and implementing the latest technology has always been a way for businesses to stand out from their competitors.
With more employees working from home due to COVID-19, it’s never been more important to use new technologies to improve their experiences and create an enjoyable work environment. Workplaces will likely continue to endure change as more businesses reopen their doors in 2021.
When combining technology and the workplace, it’s interesting to see the final result. Imagine a workplace filled with high-tech gadgets to make working just that much easier. This idea is not too far off in the future.
The smart workplace is an emerging trend worth noting, especially for businesses that want to grow and stay updated with their industry.
Let’s explore what a smart workplace is, how it works and what types of businesses would benefit from working out of an intelligent workplace.
An Overview of the Smart Workplace
In simple terms, a smart workplace is a space set up with networked platforms, Internet of Things (IoT) technology, software, sensors and anything that helps connect employees to their workspaces.
There’s plenty of new technology emerging that can lead to higher levels of productivity and engagement. It’s no wonder that leveraging technology to improve workplace functionality is a key to business success.
When employees spend less time fumbling around with a key card, looking for open parking spots or finding the right meeting room, they can spend more time focusing on the important things they need to get done every day.
It’s simple: more can be accomplished in a smart workplace compared to a traditional workplace that lacks innovative technologies.
Below, we’ll get into some of the key components needed to make the workplace smart.
Key Components of a Smart Workplace
Every workplace comes with pros and cons. However, the hope is that there are more pros to operating in a smart workplace in the future. Improving internal operations is something that every business can benefit from.
Here are some of the components that create the foundation for a smart workplace:
It’s challenging to maintain an open line of communication for all employees. Whether it’s using video conferencing, audio or instant messaging, every business has a preferred method of communication.
Using applications such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom and Google Meet are examples of team communication programs that can lead to more effective communication. There’s more room in the market to see new tech emerge — it’s exciting to think about what kind of communication tools will be used by businesses worldwide.
Managing workflows can easily become a tedious task, even for the strongest teams. Depending on the industry, task delegation and organizing workloads must be seamless for the business to function effectively.
More of the business world is becoming automated. AI tech can streamline processes and typically accomplish tasks faster than a human could. Using an AI-based platform for task management is one way a workplace can be made smarter.
There are plenty of productivity tools available to businesses, regardless of the industry they serve. Using a productivity management system can help keep track of remote employees as they’re working from home. This gives employees a certain level of accountability.
While employee tracking devices are somewhat controversial due to privacy and confidentiality concerns, they can be used to garner higher levels of productivity with the right intentions. That’s always a top priority for businesses.
Virtual Training and Development
As a result of the COVID-10 pandemic, some new employees were forced to adapt to virtual onboarding. The same goes for existing employees as well — business as usual has gone digital. Employees will need to be willing and able to adopt new tech to perform well in their roles.
Whether it’s an online training session or a virtual refresher on company policies, businesses can use virtual means to meet ever-changing employee expectations.
Because more people are making their homes smarter, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that workplace technology will need to meet new employee demands.
Securing a Smart Workplace
With more technology comes more data being transferred to and from these interconnected workplace devices. As a result, ensuring that employee, employer and company information is protected is vital.
Cybersecurity threats present serious challenges that many businesses face as they adopt new technologies like AI and machine learning (ML), a component of AI.
To have a smart workplace, a smart security system is essential. Monitoring what’s going on in the workplace is key, and an intelligent system can help businesses do just that. IoT sensors in the workplace can help enterprises to do multiple things, such as:
- Maintain a comfortable temperature with temperature sensors
- Occupancy sensors can sense which rooms are filled to occupancy
- Motion sensors can turn lights on and off when motion is detected
These sensors allow business leaders to make more informed decisions, even if it’s something as simple as raising the temperature to make it comfortable for employees. This example only scratches the surface of what IoT sensors are capable of.
The Workplace of Tomorrow
As more technologies emerge and become more advanced, incorporating them into the workplace will open up a world of possibilities for businesses of all types and sizes. Companies must leverage new tech to be competitive, meet employee expectations and deliver high-quality goods or services to their customers.