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The Future of Workplace Technology: Designing for People & Place

January 13th, 2021 | 10 min. read

The Future of Workplace Technology: Designing for People & Place

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Have you ever scheduled a team meeting and walked into a conference room, only to realize it was already being used? Or perhaps you had a Zoom meeting but couldn't find a space that provided easy access to power and data?  

Whatever the problem was, the outcome was probably the same: you struggled to get your work done and meet the deadline, all because you didn't have technology that made it easy to book space in advance or collaborate with team members working remotely.  

The truth is, technology can help drive innovation, but it doesn't do any good if your workspace doesn't properly support it. Technology should be embedded in offices, so it actually helps people work better.  

Here at Egyptian Workspace Partners, we believe creativity at work is driven by people, place and technology, which is why we're here to help you overcome the challenges of integrating technology into your workspace.  

In this article, we'll show you how you can use technology to keep your business moving forward, adapt to ever-changing work needs and help your people work efficiently. 

6 ways to integrate technology into the workplace 

1. Design Spaces for Distributed Collaboration

Design spaces for distributed collaboration

Distributed teams are the new normal. In today's economic landscape and the post-COVID world, companies are adopting hybrid remote and in-person work strategies to keep employees safe, making collaboration a lot harder than it used to be. 

When people work remotely, collaboration can negatively impact their physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing. It can also become unpleasant, taxing and hurt their overall productivity.   

Now and in the future, companies will need to implement efficient collaboration technologies to foster seamless conversations both on-site and at home, so people can easily work together without batting an eye.  

Collaboration spaces will need to become inspiring, high-performing and safe. They should also provide easy access to power and support distributed workforces with large-scale collaboration devices and videoconferencing solutions.  

These spaces can range from private spaces and informal collaboration spaces to larger conference rooms or fluid workspaces with modular solutions, as long as they create a more inclusive experience for everyone. 

Design Considerations 

  • Choose a conferencing solution like CrestronFlex with touch-screen capabilities and the ability to collaborate on any platform for seamless collaboration 
  • Use similar tools and technology controls in all spaces, both on-site and at home, to help distributed teams collaborate and communicate effectively 
  • Install videoconferencing solutions and collaboration tools onto all employee desktops, laptops and mobile devices 
  • Consider camera and microphone placements carefully, so all users can be clearly audible and stay on-camera without disrupting the flow of information 

2. Make it Easy to Find and Reserve Space

Make it easy to find and reserve space

Finding or booking space to work can be time-consuming, especially if you need a quiet space to concentrate or a conference room for a team meeting. Plus, if all the rooms are in use, that means you've wasted time walking around the building and you still have work to do. 

People need a system that makes it easy to locate and book the space they need, whenever they need it, so they can spend more time connecting and collaborating with colleagues. 

A room scheduling system seamlessly connects to your email calendar so open spaces are always visible and available for booking. It has a touch screen panel that lives outside the meeting room and displays real-life information, including the day's full schedule and room availability.

In a post-COVID workplace, room scheduling offers a wide range of benefits, including contact tracing and cleaning reservations. Employees can use it to plan for in-person meetings and take full advantage of their time in the office without coming into close contact with others.  

Design Considerations

  • Install room scheduling systems so people can easily reserve meeting spaces from the device or popular calendar platforms like Microsoft and Google
  • Use an advanced scheduling system like Steelcase Room Wizard or Crestron Room Scheduling to gather occupancy data and make it easy to book space 
  • Customize your scheduling system with customization options, like logos and infinite color options, to reflect your brand and culture

3. Display Company News with Digital Media

Technology is everywhere. From retail stores to sports stadiums, businesses use digital signage and media like video walls and kiosks to project live news feeds, corporate messaging and other forms of digital content.  

Regardless of your industry, digital signage and media can be extremely valuable and has the potential to have a powerful impact on your business. You can use digital signage to engage and inform your visitors and even welcome them with a personalized message.  

Unlike traditional static signs, digital signage is highly customizable. You can quickly and easily update the content over the web and customize it to include your logo and branding to add visual appeal and reinforce your company culture and values.  

Design Considerations 

  • Choose a solution with a secure platform and a wide range of connectivity options like Crestron DigitalMedia to send content anywhere 
  • Install digital kiosks and displays at entrances and reception areas to welcome guests, provide interactive wayfinding and show visitor checkpoints
  • Incorporate customized video walls to engage your audience and draw attention to company news or upcoming events 

4. Prevent Annoying Distractions with Acoustic Privacy

Prevent annoying distractions with acoustic privacy

Noisy, unwanted interruptions can create a workplace full of disruption. Whether it's the hum of the air conditioner or a loud conversation between colleagues, these distractions can keep employees from getting their work done. 

According to recent studies, noise and lack of speech privacy are top complaints among American workers. These studies also indicate that people feel their productivity would improve if their offices were less noisy. 

Fortunately, there is a solution. Sound masking is a specifically tuned ambient background noise that targets the same frequency as human speech and reduces its clarity to provide speech privacy without installing physical barriers. 

The addition of sound masking can help improve speech privacy and keep conversations private. It can also help reduce distractions to increase overall office productivity and keep your people highly engaged. 

Design Considerations 

  • Opt for a direct-field sound masking system like Steelcase QtPro with the ability to adjust volume levels across multiple zones
  • Stream music legally with a sound masking solution like the Crestron Sonos Sound Machine that can be controlled from a web browser or mobile app
  • Limit noisy disruptions with modular walls that have PVC-free sound seals and double acoustic seals for improved speech privacy 

5. Use Big Data to Build a Better Workplace 

Use big data to build a better workplace

The workplace is constantly evolving, especially in the post-pandemic world. In fact, work is changing so quickly that you can't really understand how often a space is being used or approximately how many people are using it at any given time. 

To create human-centered workplaces, organizations should use real-life insights and technology to reveal what spaces are being used and what spaces aren't being used, so they can finetune those spaces to support their employees better. 

Sensor-based technology, for example, can clearly and accurately report real estate usage. Companies can use sensors to make impactful decisions that drive future real estate strategies and make a difference for their people. 

Design Considerations

6. Control Devices and Systems from a Single Central Point

The modern workplace isn't a single building or destination. It's an ecosystem of digital and physical spaces that let people choose where and how they want to work, based on what they need to get their work done.

Whether your employees work in the office, from home or a hybrid of both, the ability to control and deploy AV, voice and data, lighting, security and HVAC from one central location with a network connection can be beneficial. 

A centralized control system gives organizations the ability to efficiently configure, manage, monitor and deploy hundreds of devices and building systems from a single central point, even across multiple buildings or campuses. 

Centralized control systems offer a multitude of benefits. They can help you save time and money, prevent security breaches and make it easier for employees to work from anywhere.

Design Considerations

What is the Future of Technology in the Workplace?  

The way we work has changed and it will continue to do so. Tomorrow's workplace, whatever that looks like, will inevitably leverage technology, which is why technological solutions that work seamlessly with the office of the future are more important than ever.

Going forward, the workplace must integrate people, place and technology to deliver the best experience for both employees and the company as a whole. To put it simply, technology should be embedded in the space through effective workplace design and furniture planning. 

As a result, your workplace will be equipped to optimize technology and vice-versa. It will also help employees generate new ideas, solve difficult problems and explore new opportunities, now and for years to come.

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