There are applications for everything these days, from communications and connectivity to health and wellbeing. When it comes to productivity, there are different smart applications and platforms that are readily available to make the workplace more effective and efficient.
Smart productivity apps have become increasingly popular not because they are trendy but because they make work simpler and tasks easier to manage. Using the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses can reduce costs and improve resiliency, which is increasingly critical during uncertain times. In a recent report by McKinsey, using today’s technology, 45 percent of current paid activities can be automated, which equates to roughly $2 trillion in total annual wages.
Let us begin with a fundamental question – what is the purpose of a workplace? As a space designated for work, its inherent function is to provide a comfortable and safe working environment that encourages collaboration and productivity. Given this context, workplaces would greatly benefit from smart application and platform strategies that can save workers time and manage operational efficiency and effectiveness.
What is smart working
Thanks to technology and the innovations it brings, we continue to experience disruptive technology solutions that change the way we live, work, and communicate. Smart working is essentially a model of work that uses new or development of existing technology to improve performance and satisfaction obtained from a particular job.
Smart technology is a broad spectrum that includes artificial intelligence, big data analysis, automation, and machine learning, to name a few. Some of these technologies include smart connected devices like Bluetooth technology, smart bulbs, smartphones, and much more. Essentially, it is also closely related to teleworking, which adds mobility and versatility to traditional work.
Below are some of the critical advantages leveraged by those who utilize the smart working model:
1. Allows for greater integration of people through mobility and flexibility;
2. Increased savings of time and logistical expenses such as transport, supplies, and utilities;
3. Enhances staff and employee freedom and autonomy leading to more work-life balance;
4. Positive environmental impact with fewer transfers, movement, person-to-person contact (prevention of spreading of illness);
5. Maximum convenience and efficiency;
6. Improved productivity because of structure and systematic processes and focus on results delivery; and
7. Better employee job satisfaction, engagement, and sense of well-being.
Three emerging smart application and platforms
Often when we hear the word “automation,” many instinctively gravitate towards visions of robotics, employee displacement, and massive capital investment in technology. Yet oftentimes, it can mean something as simple as utilizing common business software that makes communications and collaboration much easier.
Smart technology and digitization take a lot of forms which can vary based on priority and business size. The pandemic has elevated the need for more digital workplaces.
Below are three examples of smart technology trends that you need to know about:
This is an essential technology for the modern office. Minimize multiple session or days-long brown bag workshops where you need to rent facilitators and conference rooms with allotment on food, travel expenses, and space rentals. Technology through platforms like Microsoft Office 365 has allowed colleagues to go beyond documents and participate in content development.
With new-age conference tools that carry features such as screen sharing, whiteboard, and annotations, participants from various locations can come and collaborate with faster access to knowledge, experts, and feedback than ever before. More than that, web-enabled collaborative technology develops people’s interaction and problem-solving capacities.
By collectively looking at a shared document, discussions can be made in real-time with clearer lines of communication and less confusion. Firms can cut down on the length of meetings while increasing user adoption. Working remotely can bring about feelings of isolation and outdatedness, but with real-time collaborative solutions, workers can feel more connected with colleagues and easily communicate and share content. These solutions bridge remote workers from traditional office workers by bringing everyone to the same (virtual) room.
Virtual or Augmented Reality training
Online learning has its pros and cons; many attribute online learning as the great equalizer as it enables greater access to educational opportunities. With its milieu of benefits, however, there are also some reported drawbacks. For example, it can be pretty monotonous or not very engaging if you participate alone in your home or at your desk. Virtual (VR) training in the workplace is transforming learning. With immersive experiences, workers can be more engaged when learning in a simulated classroom.
Depending on the sector, 360-degree images, videos, and VR/AR (Augmented Reality) scenarios allow the practice of techniques in simulated environments without incurring remote destitution or site replication/ preparation expenses. With VR/AR, workers can learn in safe environments with new learning to deal with crises with minimal risk to themselves or their clients/ beneficiaries.
Moreover, VR software can collect big data at a granular level – in ways unimaginable, with the use of traditional learning technologies. Companies can record staff course completion, time performance, and other data points that will feed into greater insights on team dynamics, capacities, and the like.
Desk Scheduling Technology or hot desking apps
For companies that have adopted a flexible work arrangement, maintaining an office space that has designated desks and assigned workstations can have overhead implications that are just not practical. To optimize space utilization, smart workplaces can utilize desk-scheduling systems that can facilitate assigned reporting days that consider the total office space, scheduled meetings, and personal preferences of employees.
With an IoT ecosystem, offices can customize the individual desk profiles that can be adjusted or tapped when a specific employee is scheduled to appear at the office. Smart office scheduling also makes it easier to plan team meetings, identify optimal workspaces, and take on a co-working space set up useful for calendaring staff members, showing colleague availability, and scheduled date of reporting.
There has been a global shift in the workplaces, which have challenged the fundamental assumptions about the way we work. Maximizing smart applications and platforms provides businesses with the potential to catalyze new behaviors, cultivate a new and more efficient workplace culture, and develop better outcomes at work. Organizations are generally looking to manage space and workplaces more optimally, while investing in productivity solutions through infrastructure, training, and new technologies.
Responsiveness to the needs of your customers and employees and maximizing the intelligent infrastructure will bring about a competitive advantage through solutions that increase results and performance.