In what may have been the shortest time on record, organizations around the world pivoted their workplace experience and sent their employees home in early 2020. At least 75% of employees worldwide began working remotely and organizations were quickly forced to invest in security, collaboration and other remote-working technologies.
Flash forward to almost two years later and companies around the world are asking themselves – is it time to go back to the office and exactly how would we do that? Leaders across human resources, IT, communications, operations and more are determining how to move forward with their workplace experience. Today, there are four common hybrid business models: two that are more office-based and two that are more digital-based. There are many considerations and investments that need to be made to succeed in any hybrid business model, including smart workspace technology.
What is a Smart Workspace?
A smart workspace is defined by Gartner as one that “leverages the growing digitalization of physical objects to deliver new ways of working and improve workforce efficiency.” Smart workspaces are designed to support work from anywhere – home spaces, office buildings, other facilities, conference rooms, and even down to the individual desk space.
For companies looking to engage in three of the four stated models, now is the time to invest in workplace technology and build a smart workspace for employees.
How does Smart Workspace Technology Support a Hybrid Model?
A hybrid work model and smart workspaces do not happen overnight. They take strategy, intent, and focused investment in order to truly build a company culture that not only supports but also engages employees. But, how should a company focus their efforts? A recent article I read explained the four building blocks to a hybrid work model: leadership, purpose, and culture; embracing new ways of working; adapting roles and structure; and workplaces and systems. Applying smart workspace technologies to each of these building blocks can ensure the organization is building a hybrid work environment that enables employees to do their best work.
Leadership, purpose & culture
As organizations define or refine their leadership and purpose in the new normal, they must communicate broadly and transparently in order to drive a great culture that engages employees. Smart workspace technology can support and promote those messages. From intranets, messaging platforms, video conferencing, collaboration tools, and digital signage – these technologies have the ability to communicate through the channels employees use and see every day – regardless of where they are working.
Embracing new ways of working
When an organization understands how work gets done, its leaders can ensure employees have the right tools and technology to be successful. This can include collaboration technologies to enable teams to work closely while not physically in the same location. Or, it can include office technologies that allow employees to book resources (like collaboration or conference rooms) instantly. Some companies are investing heavily in data visualization tools that not only enable work but track results and allow for real-time decision making. When those tools are displayed broadly through a team or organization – through a variety of smart workspace technology – real impact can be seen.
Adapting roles and structures
Organizations embracing a hybrid workplace must also review the roles and structures. Employees who move in and around office spaces may need more autonomy to make decisions for the customer or for their team. By providing employees with the right platforms, technology, and data, they can act quickly and easily regardless of where their desk is located that day.
Workplaces and systems
As IT departments continue investing in smart workspace technology that supports hybrid work models, they must consider the needs and activities of employees in each type of location. If an employee is working from home, they need an easy way to connect to messaging, collaboration, conferencing, and workplace tools. But, when they are in the office, their technology needs may shift. They may need an easy way to book a space. Or a communication tool – like digital signage – to share the latest company news or information. Either way, the IT team has a big job ahead of them as they flex and adapt smart workspace tools to fit employees in the office and away from the office.
Why is Digital Signage Important to Smart Workspaces?
Digital signage is just one of the key components of a smart workspace. With the right solution, digital signage can take a smart workspace to the next level for employee engagement. Companies can easily turn screens into a platform to share key data, business results, brand and customer stories, and more. What’s more – digital signage can enable localized and personalized messages, which is imperative as organizations look to engage hybrid employees who may or may not be in a centralized physical office on a regular basis.
With 68% of the American workforce wanting to have the flexibility to work both remotely and from an office, smart workspace technology is now a critical investment for organizations. And, digital signage is a must-have for offices as companies look to drive transparency, growth, and engagement among employees. When combined with other smart workspace technologies, digital signage has the opportunity to truly engage in-office employees and help companies share key messages and key results.