The shift towards a hybrid work model is not just a COVID-related trend but a gradual and fundamental change in how we conceive the workplace. Based on recent statistics, 74% of American companies have implemented a hybrid work model or plan to do so in the future.
At the same time, businesses are also converting their traditional workplaces into smart offices, the market for which is projected to reach $66.6 billion by 2027. With the rise of a hybrid workforce, incorporating technology into the office is crucial to keep employee productivity, communication, and collaboration at the highest levels.
This article will discuss 11 smart office technologies that can help organizations create a more efficient hybrid workplace.
#1 Office Capacity Management Tools
These tools are designed with the goal of maximizing space utilization and minimizing related costs. They provide a variety of features:
- Wayfinding helps employees quickly find their way around the office;
- Move management makes it easy to relocate furniture or equipment when needed
- Analytics provide insights into how the office is used so that businesses can make better decisions about their space utilization
- Space planning allows businesses to plan their office layout in advance and ensure that everything fits appropriately.
Some tools may be better suited for certain organizations than others. Therefore it's essential to do your research before selecting the right ones. Then, with the right solution in place, companies and other organizations can save time and money while ensuring that their office space is well-managed and efficient.
#2 Hoteling Software
This type of software provides a flexible, cost-effective, and secure way for employees to book and manage their workspace. In addition, it makes it easy to switch between remote and onsite work as needed, allowing businesses to make the most of their resources while providing employees with more flexibility.
Hoteling software offers a variety of features designed to meet the needs of today's hybrid workforce.
- Desk reservations ensure that employees can access the workspace they need when they arrive at the office.
- Mobile apps allow employees to check in remotely with ease.
- Integrated check-in systems enable quick and secure entry into the office.
The software also gives managers greater visibility into who is using which resources, enabling them to make informed decisions about their workplace strategy.
#3 Document Management Systems
Document management systems (DMS) are used to share, track, scan and manage documents and other files. They can be used in a hybrid workspace, allowing employees to work from home or onsite while still having access to important documents.
These systems also help organizations streamline document approval, version control, and archiving processes. This makes it easier for teams to collaborate on projects and ensure that every member of the workforce is working with the most up-to-date information. With the right choice of tools, businesses can improve efficiency and productivity while reducing costs associated with paper-based document storage.
#4 Workflow Management Software
Workflow management software solutions can help organizations automate processes and create a smoother work environment. By automating mundane tasks, such as sending reminders or scheduling meetings, employees can focus on more critical tasks, which results in a noticeable increase in their productivity.
These solutions also allow teams to collaborate in real-time and prioritize tasks accordingly. This lets managers easily identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies and make adjustments accordingly. Furthermore, workflow management software makes it easy to track project progress and ensures that nothing is forgotten or overlooked.
By using a workflow management system, businesses can reduce their workload and improve the overall efficiency of their operations. This helps create a more productive hybrid workplace in which employees can better get their work done in a timely fashion.
#5 Video Conferencing Software
Video conferencing software enables remote workers to collaborate with colleagues, attend meetings, and stay connected with their teams. It also allows businesses to host virtual events, such as seminars and webinars, without participants having to meet in person.
Video conferencing software platforms typically include features such as screen sharing, file sharing, and recording capabilities. Zoom is a popular choice due to its reliability and large video call capacity. Microsoft Teams is another excellent option that integrates with Office 365 applications. Finally, Google Meet is ideal for those who use Google Workspace products. Other top contenders include Webex by Cisco, Intermedia AnyMeeting, BlueJeans Virtual Meetings, RingCentral Video, StarLeaf, and FreeConferenceCall.com.
When choosing a video conferencing platform for your business needs, it's important to consider the features offered by each one and how they will benefit you in the long run. With the right video conferencing software in place, you can ensure that your remote employees have the tools to stay productive and connected while working from home or on the go.
#6 IP Cameras
Internet Protocol (IP) cameras are digital security cameras that use the internet to transmit video and audio signals, as opposed to analog security cameras, which rely on cables to send data. IP cameras offer a range of features, including high-resolution images, motion detection, night vision, and two-way audio. They can also be connected to a network video recorder (NVR) for recording and playback.
Organizations often choose this dilemma: analog vs IP security cameras. The former models offer superior image quality and resolution compared to analog ones and advanced features such as motion detection and two-way audio. Moreover, they are easier to install since they don't require any wiring or cabling. On the other hand, analog security cameras may be cheaper upfront but require more maintenance over time due to their reliance on cables for data transmission.
#7 Modern Access Control Systems
Access control systems allow businesses to grant people physical access to the office and other areas or resources based on identity credentials. Such systems range from solutions that require a key card or biometric reader to digital access control systems that use software-based authorization methods such as two-factor authentication or passwordless authentication.
Access control systems offer businesses a great way to grant remote workers access to physical areas or resources while ensuring unauthorized personnel cannot access the organization’s private areas. They also allow businesses to create multiple user profiles with different levels of authorization, which result in greater control over who has access to what. Additionally, many access control systems now feature remote management capabilities so businesses can manage their system from anywhere with an internet connection.
#8 Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistant technologies are becoming an invaluable part of hybrid workspaces due to their ability to automate mundane tasks quickly and accurately. They use semantic and deep learning to understand natural language voice commands and complete tasks requiring human participation. For example, chatbots can be used for customer service inquiries or even automated ordering systems. In contrast, intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) use computer vision (CV) and noise control to recognize user commands accurately.
#9 Task Management Apps
These apps help teams to collaborate, track tasks and projects, and manage deadlines more effectively. Features such as task delegation, reminders, real-time updates, and project tracking can help teams stay on top of their work even when they're not in the same room. Additionally, these apps can be used to set up virtual meetings or brainstorming sessions with team members from different locations. With the right app, businesses can ensure that their remote workers stay connected and on track with their tasks no matter where they are located. That's why every hybrid team can benefit from task management solutions.
#10 Wearable Technology
This type of technology allows users to access data and other information quickly and conveniently without having to take out their phone or laptop. Wearable tech can come from smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart jewelry, head-mounted displays, and more. It can monitor health and fitness levels, track productivity, receive notifications and alerts, and even make payments.
The use of wearable technology in hybrid workspaces has many advantages. For example, it eliminates the need for employees to carry around multiple devices, such as phones or laptops. Additionally, it can help employers keep track of employee performance by providing real-time data on their activities. Wearable tech also helps reduce distractions by allowing employees to stay focused on their tasks without being interrupted by notifications from their devices. Finally, by providing employees with easy access to data and other information on the go, employers can ensure that they are getting the most out of their workforce while also keeping them safe and productive.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
#11 Employee Engagement Platforms
These platforms help organizations better connect with their employees, solicit and track feedback, recognize achievements, and provide pulse surveys and team analytics. In addition, with the rise of remote work, employee engagement software has become a valuable tool for businesses to ensure their employees feel connected and motivated.
Employee engagement platforms can be used to create a culture of recognition and appreciation. Companies can use these tools to reward employees for their hard work, send out messages of gratitude, and celebrate successes. They also allow employers to measure employee satisfaction over time by collecting survey feedback. This helps employers identify areas where they can improve the workplace environment and ensure that employees feel valued.
These platforms also provide insights into how teams perform so that managers can identify areas of improvement or potential issues before they become serious problems. By using employee engagement software, companies can ensure that their remote workers remain engaged with the organization even when they are not physically present.