‘Smart’ Offices: 4 Benefits of Modernizing Your Workplace
Modernizing your workplace impacts more than aesthetics; smart offices are an opportunity to improve production, employee morale as well as providing a competitive edge for your business, keep reading.
By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide
Over the decades, design trends have come and gone, and the office environment is no exception. If you want your company to remain relevant in its industry and grow a reputation as an attractive employer, you’ll want to invest in some updates to help you achieve these goals.
Businesses that don’t undertake upgrades are likely to find themselves lagging behind the competition, on both the customer and workforce fronts. While it’s true that putting in workplace upgrades will entail upfront costs, the long-term payoffs can be well worth the effort and, in the end, show a great ROI. Here are four benefits your company can enjoy by modernizing the workplace.
1. Keep Up With the Competition
Businesses that didn’t grasp the longevity and eventual primacy of the internet back in the late 1990s spent the first decade of the new millennium scrambling to catch up. With innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things already beginning to play significant roles in today’s work environments, it won’t be long before this new technology is the norm in the office. Businesses today not seeking to modernize their offices are likely to be left behind, much like their turn-of-the-century predecessors were. It can be an expensive mistake to dismiss change without performing due diligence on its costs and benefits.
If you want to offer a smarter workplace to keep clients and customers happy, first you’ll want to consider basic updates such as integrating your customer service journey with automated services, chatbots, AI customer learning, personalized recommendations, and text updates for package delivery. These are rapidly becoming the norm in terms of customer expectations, so now is not the time to dismiss these mainstreamed tech opportunities.
Tip: Voice-activated technologies are shaping up to be huge and might be one modernized option to look at in terms of possibilities.
2. Attract Top Talent
Years ago, people went to work with the intention of staying at one company until retirement. Today’s proverbial “corporate ladder” isn’t exactly a straight climb anymore; it’s more like a rope — workers tend to sway to different places of employment before they find where they want to hang on.
Millennials and members of Gen Z (and even Gen X, to a point) aren’t afraid to job-hop to find what they want in a workplace. It’s important to understand the mindsets of these new workers and offer amenities in the office that correspond with their values. Some upgrades you can consider that employees will find attractive:
- Digital assistants like Siri, Echo, or Alexa to assist in daily tasks
- Nest or other personal climate controls (Put a stop to the thermostat battle once and for all!)
- Slack, Skype, and similar communication applications
- VR meeting rooms that make conferencing and collaboration easier
- Office environment technologies such as keyless entry and responsive lighting
- Cloud-based applications to encourage flexibility in storage, travel, and remote work options
Salary is still important to many workers, but perhaps equally important are perks and comfort levels — elements of work-life balance. Among these, the possibility of working remotely is increasingly becoming a persuasive element, especially as rents increase in many cities. Employees who work remotely can relocate to cheaper areas and give the same strong performance while renting in Omaha, for example, as they did at HQ in New York. To attract and retain top talent, you’ll want to remain an attractive place to work. Add some of these measures and watch your productivity levels soar.
3. Happy Work-Life Balance for Employees
Finding ways to naturally incorporate new technology into employees’ workspaces is another auspicious move. Look at it this way: If you want to retain solid, productive, healthy employees, keep in mind just how much today’s younger generations want their home and work lives to coexist in harmony. Achieving that work-life balance these days typically involves tech.
For instance, Millennial and Gen Z workers are firmly tied to the idea that there are technological solutions to every problem. They are never far from their tech and do almost everything from their smartphones, from calculating taxes to ordering takeout and turning the lights off at home. Employing modern tech in the workplace not only pulls you ahead competitively but also keeps workers happy and comfortable with access to the devices and connectivity they’re accustomed to relying upon.
4. Gain a Competitive Advantage
Deploying tech keeps businesses on a competitive level, but consider how it can be leveraged to help your company lead the charge in your respective industry. Modernizing services, offerings, and customer service methods can go a long way for your company. By initiating innovative solutions, services, and products, you can be the trendsetter yourself.
Smart technology affords many opportunities, largely thanks to the remarkable amount of data that can now be not just aggregated but actually integrated, thanks to machine learning’s ability to pinpoint hidden patterns and other useful forms of information.
Just be sure you don’t take on anything that is too risky, untested, or unfeasible. To avoid risks and common mistakes, look to tech that has proven benefits but maybe isn’t yet standardized in your industry and see if there isn’t a way you can integrate it for new and exciting advantages.
Currently, only the most innovative offices have embraced “smart” technology — yet most businesses, more than 85 percent, understand we’re coming to the time when these modern upgrades will be standardized. The smart office, also referred to as the responsive or digital workplace, is definitely the next big workplace wave.
Keep in mind, it’s important to not upgrade simply for the sake of making upgrades. Do your homework and see which upgrades actually make sense for your workplace and culture. You can renovate your office space in ways that will increase productivity. And you can introduce many devices and AI-driven tools to help boost your company’s competitive edge, attract top talent, and provide a terrific return for your sales and marketing efforts.
Bottom line: The key to a successful office update is to do your research and examine your options, then roll them into your overall strategic plan. As a bonus, you may discover competitive advantages you hadn’t thought of before.