by Sydney Stone
The modern-day office looks a lot different now than it did just a few years ago. With the rise in popularity of co-working spaces and shared office facilities, technology is playing a larger role in both how and where we work.
The overall design of an office space greatly influences the level of job satisfaction and productivity that workers experience. And it’s not just about the perks. It’s about having built-in conveniences and tools that help workers do their jobs better and more efficiently.
Thanks to all the connected devices and technologies that make up the Internet of Things, our homes, our cars, and yes – even our offices – are getting smarter.
Here’s how smart tech is affecting and enhancing our work day, and forcing us to be “smarter.”
Ever since 9/11, security in office buildings has increased to higher and higher levels, especially in large cities like New York and San Francisco. Knowing exactly who’s entering the building and where they’re going is extremely important.
While electronic key cards have been the standard for quite some time, there is still the possibility that these types of entry mechanisms can be stolen, copied or borrowed by potential bad actors. Many companies now allow access into their buildings via an employee app, which offers a higher level of security.
The next wave of smart security when it comes to building access is all about biometrics. Facial, thumbprint, palm, and even retina scanning is already being implemented in high-security buildings, such as government and those buildings located in the financial districts.
The rise of shared and co-working spaces such as WeWork and The Yard has made office real estate more affordable and efficient for startups and small businesses.
Co-working spaces allow you to scale your office space as you scale your business. Depending on the number of employees you have, you can configure your office space accordingly. Internet, phones, printing, and administrative help are available and all costs are shared by participating tenants.
Shared common spaces allow you and your team to network with other creative companies and people. Most co-working spaces feature weekly meetups featuring industry speakers and relevant content.
Even the break rooms and cafes are smart in these types of buildings. You can help yourself to free coffee, water, and beer-on-tap and purchase snacks from the fully stocked kitchens via a cashless mobile app (the same app that gets you access to the building.)
We all know that sitting at a desk all day is not good for us. We even have smart watches and Fitbits that remind us to get moving. Thanks to new adjustable standing desks, we can now work smarter and healthier.
Humanscale recently introduced “OfficeIQ” – a smart sensor that works with the company’s adjustable desks. The sensor reminds you throughout the work day to alternate between sitting and standing. There is even a built-in gamification tool that allows different departments to compete with each other to see who meets their sit/stand goals.
Office buildings and co-working spaces are becoming more energy efficient thanks to smart lighting and smart thermostats.
Projection screens and projectors are being replaced by smart TVs and the ability to share your laptop screen via Apple TV or other wireless screen-sharing applications. iPads and mobile devices at each workstation allow you to FaceTime with teleworking coworkers while ordering lunch from GrubHub.
Although it’s rare (and generally frowned upon) to actually have to print out documents nowadays, wireless printers located throughout the office give users the ability to print from their laptops, computers or mobile devices. Sensor technology can even monitor and schedule conference rooms and meeting spaces.
Not only are our offices becoming smarter and more efficient with all of these new technologies, they’re also making work a lot more fun. That can be a huge draw for companies looking to hire millennials, as working in a smart office with state-of-the-art technologies is one of the benefits that rate highest when it comes to what the younger generation of employees is looking for.
Given the amount of time people spend at their jobs, the more conducive the environment for productivity and efficiency, the happier they’re going to be. This is a win-win for the employer and the employees. And that’s just smart.