What do your users really want from a Smart Office?

Roger Laing

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Today’s workforce is attracted by companies where the Smart Office rules and technologies make their working life easier. But how do you make sure the technology meets expectations?

The perks that once marked a progressive company – from free fruit to end of month pizzas or dress-down Fridays – now seem very dated. The comfortable, informal, office atmosphere that was designed to foster creativity and greater productivity no longer plays any part in attracting top talent.

What does? Smart tech. 87% of decision-makers said they would require smart office technology in their next relocation1. It has a particularly strong pull for Millennials. Some 60% of them would put smart tech perks ahead of low-tech benefits, like table football and free food, while 80% would decide whether to take a job based on the workplace technology employed2.

 

Smart tech, smart living

They love the smart tech they have in their personal life because it makes their life simpler. They want the same in the workplace with technology that makes it easier for things to happen and people to collaborate. Yet smart technology in the office is falling short of expectations, according to a Tech Republic survey3.

Some 35% said they had tried one or more smart office products that didn’t live up to their billing. The majority gave up as the products were too difficult to use and not fully supported by IT. The main difficulty was around videoconferencing.

 

Instant conferencing is possible

It’s a problem you are likely to know only too well. How often have you had to wait for the start of a conference call while there’s a hunt for the right connectors, or people inside and outside the meeting room try to connect?

The next-generation of smart office technology is set to change that. At last, it’s simple and instant to set up meetings without any of the usual connection and content-sharing issues, through smart tech like the Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub 500 It is the first purpose-built Skye-for-Business meeting maker that puts compute, screen and audio in one standalone device.

It’s just one of the pioneering technologies designed to ramp up employee efficiency and enable better performance by creating a smarter working environment.

 

Controlling your working environment

Voice control, for instance, is set to make everything from the meeting room to the desktop easier to manage. Voice-based assistants, working across everything from smartphones to conference systems, can help raise productivity by taking over repetitive tasks – from organising calendars to arranging meetings. Through Natural Language Processing (NLP) virtual assistants can even take notes in the meeting and search through masses of data quickly to find information relevant to the conversation.

The challenge in an increasingly open office environment, is how to make sure that voice-controlled devices aren’t confused by cross-talk and that talking to the machine doesn’t disturb those around you.

For employees, the smart office is also seen as one where you can control the comfort of your individual workspace. Among the most popular features they want are self-adjusting lighting and window shades along with personalised heat and light settings that follow you around the building.1

For decision-makers, the preferred smart features are more aligned to efficiency – such as an app for booking desks and rooms, meeting rooms where screens work seamlessly with personal devices and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that track usage1.

One thing is certain. It’s time to invest in upgrading to smart office technologies, not matching bean bags, to raise productivity and attract the top talent.

 

 

1 Smart Offices: A 2017 Vision for the Future, British Land and Worktech Academy

http://www.worktechacademy.com/smart-office-buildings-features-people-really-want/

2 Intel Office of the Future Study

3 Smart Office Tech Trends 2018, Tech Pro Research

 

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