Move Over Digital Workplace. The Connected Workplace is Here.
It's 2019, and virtually every enterprise and mid-sized company have at least heard about the Digital Workplace. Gartner says the Digital Workplace enables new, more effective ways of working, raises employee engagement and agility, and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies.
But a shift is on the horizon, and it includes the evolution beyond digitizing workplace tools or making technology more accessible to employees. It's called the Connected Workplace. It starts by honoring the employee experience, leveraging technologies like AI and IoT, and removing obstacles between HR, IT, and Facilities departments that hold employees back.
The Connected Workplace responds to employee needs, almost intuitively. Why? When systems, processes, tools, and tech rise up to meet you, the result creates exponentially more productive and happier employees. What HR, IT, or FM leader doesn't want that?
Disengaged: The Worker or the Workplace?
Gallup polls have shown that 66% of the American workforce is disengaged at work and roughly half of that population is actively looking for a job, while on the job. Few workplace leaders have asked the question: is the worker disengaged, or did the workplace never engage her from the first day? Is it difficult to find and book a conference room? Can a visitor easily find the correct parking facility? Is the right space allocated for growing or shrinking teams? Is there flexibility to move workers and work environments as needed? The Connected Workplace seeks to create a seamless environment that supports the worker and the visitor to make the work experience more productive and less painful. A connected space engages the worker by suggesting open, quiet areas for contemplative work, guiding a visitor to the auditorium via an app, and posting specials in the cafeteria for lunch.
When the worker spends hours each week doing these things manually, frustration skyrockets, productivity plummets, and everyone gets the sense that this place isn't as modern as they'd hoped. Then, the disengagement levels rise.
Engagement Begins with a Question
How do you engage employees in the Connected Workplace? Ask them. Start with a survey to narrow down what employees want, what would make their lives better, and what they need to succeed, not just today, but in the next 3-5 years. Next, put together an interdisciplinary employee task force to set priorities that dovetail with management's growth and the company’s financial goals. A Connected Workplace is just as connected to the employee experience and cutting-edge technologies as it is grounded in business realities.
The Connected Workplace creates an opportunity to build incredible bridges with IT, as neither the Digital nor the Connected Workplace can happen without them. Take advantage of their expertise to share ideas around the new, Connected Workplace "tech stack" you can build together to support the employee experience. IT is your ally and you’ll need to be in lockstep when connecting AI, IoT, sensors, beacons, and facility management systems that will become the backbone of your workplace.
Let's take a look at four "must-have" components underpinning your Connected Workplace and enhanced employee experience:
Understand how your employees are using your space: You can't create a Connected Workplace until you know what you're working with. Your survey, task force, as well as AutoCAD drawings, should give you the initial insights you need to get started. Select a platform that allows you to visualize your entire real estate portfolio, Google Maps style, down to floor plans and seating charts in real-time. That clarity is essential to create optimal efficiency and become even more innovative with the space you already have (or may not even need).
Plan seamless workplace and workforce moves: One thing you can rely on in this new era is change. And disruptive change is happening more frequently than ever, with enterprises mimicking accordions in their expansion and contractions across departments and geographies. Planning and executing a move is hard. Moving is listed as one of the top stressors that a person can experience in a lifetime—right along with divorce, job loss, or the loss of a loved one. Employees must be assured that their systems – IT, HR, and FM will function on day one. A SaaS platform that easily integrates with other workplace apps and systems can make this effortless. So, if you haven't already, it's time to drop the outdated paper logs and start tracking costs, employee requests, schedule vendors and create move scenarios to test staffing and seating plans for your workplace and workforce moves.
Empower your employees to reserve the rooms they need: You may not know it, but right now, there's a battle going on in your office for the conference room. Or maybe it's the quiet space for writing, or perhaps the best desk with great natural lighting. You may even have departments duking it out to maintain control over the largest conference room on the 4th floor. Today, IoT sensors and reservation software integrate with calendars to indicate which rooms are free, booked or "ghosted" so they can automatically be rescheduled again if no one arrives. Employees can book spaces from a kiosk, desktop, or mobile device so that scheduling becomes a pain-free process. Imagine the time saved in finding the right space when you need it. For workplace leaders, getting real-time data on which rooms are being reserved when and by whom, gives you the tools to plan how spaces should be used based upon how employees naturally use them.
Make a good first impression for visitors: When a visitor arrives, you want them to experience the best your brand, and your people, have to offer. As a recruiting tool, the parking, lobby, and journey to HR are crucial to letting others know what it will feel like to work at your office. For employees, this means pre-registering guests for easy check-in, knowing when their guests arrive, where to greet them, and how to reach them, which is pivotal to creating successful business relationships. Great employee experience tools allow employees access to this information on their cell phone, tablet, desktop via Slack, email, and text. The Connected Workplace responds to the way people naturally work across tech environments, the physical space, and the colleagues they collaborate with, internally and externally.
Workplace leaders also want their employees to feel safe at work. Smart lobby systems allow you to take a visitor's picture and automate badge printing. You can receive alerts for unwanted guests, manage visitors’ NDA documents, and monitor their movements. Connected systems mean you can track and plan for peaks in visitor traffic so that they have the best experience at your office.
Test. Analyze. Connect.
Now it's time to determine whether these employee experience methods have made a difference. You’ll want to work closely with IT to analyze how employees are responding to reservation and visitor systems. Are they having an impact? What still needs to be improved? After a dedicated observation phase, you might also check with HR on employee satisfaction rates. Once you develop and link the people, tools, and workflows that can quickly adapt to the needs of the employees and the business, you create the foundation for something beyond the digital workplace—the Connected Workplace.
This Week’s Sponsor
iOFFICE provides today’s real estate and facilities leaders with modern workplace solutions, based on the industry’s first native SaaS platform, enabling the creation of connected experiences that drive enhanced business outcomes. Through a suite of employee-centric mobile apps and digital workplace solutions, employees are connected to one another and to internal workplace services. iOFFICE customers include global enterprises in every industry including a large percentage of Fortune 500 organizations.
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
CORPORATE REAL ESTATE & Technology – The Importance of Developing a STRATEGY - 10/24/2019
The Corporate Real Estate industry has quickly gone from constantly resizing the corporate real estate portfolio based on the everchanging business needs of the corporation, to having to understand and deal with a myriad of issues relating to technology, automation and innovation. Not only do CRE professionals need to understand things such as IWMS, intelligent buildings, the smart workplace, AI, VR/AR and other emerging technologies, they also need to understand the fundamental shift on how we use space. Technology which is enabling mobility has shifted the landscape. This webinar will feature some of the most innovative professionals discussing the importance of developing a comprehensive Corporate Real Estate portfolio strategy around the concept of Digital Transformation.
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with some of the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.
Chuck Niswonger has over 30 years of successful leadership experience in technology-related roles that range from operating his own consulting company (www.nicenets.com) to directing the IT strategy of a real estate investment management firm to manufacturing and technology-enabled education. Chuck has also been the chair of the Realcomm Investment Management (IM) Advisory Council for the last ten years, managing content selection for the conference educational sessions, IM forums, workshops and webinars.
Emmanuel Daniel is responsible for building and delivering the Digital Transformation strategy for campuses across Microsoft and leads a global multidisciplinary team of architects and experience designers. He builds experiences that merge technology with the built environment, leading to the formation of spaces that respond to the needs of its users. He is also accountable for identifying, building and implementing the next generation of products that will make smarter and sustainable buildings.
Paul Maximuk is the Product Owner as well as a technical SME at Ford Land, leading all BMS and controls integrations globally. He has over 30 years of experience in the industry managing multiple types of energy systems and specializing in strategic smart building implementation and management. Paul’s expertise in the built environment spans real estate assets from large industrial facilities to Class A office buildings.
Ronna Davis has been in the networking and telecommunication industry for 23 years. She has been with CommScope for over 13 years and has held positions in sales, channel and product line management. She is currently on CommScope’s Strategy and Technology Team for Buildings and Campuses. Previous to CommScope she worked in the design and construction of telecommunications networks for eight years and in wholesale distribution for two years. She studied marketing and is a LEED Green Associate.
Ron Victor is a Silicon Valley based technology entrepreneur with 20 years of experience and expertise launching new ventures at start-ups and fortune 1000 technology companies. To-date he has enabled raising more than $30Million in start-up capital for multiple start-ups in silicon-valley. Ron has founded and led three companies to-date with successful exits. His latest venture is IoTium Inc. – a Silicon Valley start-up that provides a secure, cloud-managed, easy-to-deploy software defined network infrastructure for all IoT verticals.
Marc is a pioneer in leading the Intelligent/Smart Buildings and M2M movements pushing the industry forward and has contributed to transforming and changing the Intelligent Buildings and M2M (now IoT) industries. As Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Lynxspring Marc leads corporate and product marketing, strategy, brand management, public relations and communications that support the company’s strategic and growth initiatives.
Brent Boekestein is the CEO of Vintra, Inc., a leading video analytics company from Silicon Valley that uses artificial intelligence to transform any video surveillance into actionable and tailored intelligence. Forward-thinking enterprises and public safety organizations like Sacramento City, NYC DOI, Sacramento County, and more use Vintra’s solutions to organize, analyze, and derive critical insights from overwhelming amounts of stored and live video.