Workplaces around the world are being subjected to massive change in the area of IT & Technology. This is allowing employees to change the way they work and where they work. Agile working is here!
The old way of working which was measured by time and task completion is giving way to a new outcome focused approach.
Agile Working, what are users preferences?
Different tasks have different environment requirements and if you give staff the opportunity to make their own choices in regard of this, the whole dynamic of the office changes too.
There is a catch to all this and that is; how do we find out what the preferences are and how can we shape the environments in a way that reflects the fact what is right today might not be right for next month.
Again, looking at the traditional way of collecting the data required to inform these decisions, we have floorwalking and clipboards, a highly labour and time intensive operation that provides an inaccurate and often challenged data set.
Then there are the data collection systems that work in conjunction with building access swipe cards and computer login systems. These are highly intrusive to individual privacy and understandably, this can create tension between staff and management.
There are other concerns too, usually from the IT department as they have the ever important issue of internet security. Implementing these types of systems relies on different departments with diverse goals to arrive at compromise solutions and outcomes are affected.
And this is the jumping off point for iOtSpot.
Using the power of the internet of things (iOt), many change leaders are seeing an interconnected future where machines use artificial intelligence to provide humans with a seamless interaction with everyday devices from coffee machines to cars and the buildings they live and work in.
The humble phone attached to the wall by a wire has become an all-powerful device that we use anytime and any-where and we call it the smartphone.
Choosing your desk when agile working
Using the iOt along with the smartphone we can bring the future forward in the office.
Combining an App with a status on-desk device and the iOt we can give full visibility in real time to co-workers. We can show them where a free desk is and guide them to it, we can search for colleagues, we can search for 4 free desks together so that a work group can be set up, we can share our location with colleagues and if we want a shake up on a Friday, let the App choose a random desk for you to allow you to network with colleagues you don’t yet know.
These scenarios are all achievable today and we see a future where we can integrate LinkedIn profiles to make in-App suggestions for people who are in the same building and share similar business interests. The opportunities for agile working to increase collaboration and add value to an organisation become endless.
All of this meanwhile is creating a wealth of valuable data which gives massive insight into how the workspace is being used.
Simple things like what desks appear to be the most popular can be identified and by identifying different areas for different working styles we can see what proves to be the most heavily used. From this we may find that workers are not grasping what activity based working is yet or it could be that there is a huge preference for sit/stand desks over against a silence working area.
Any number of outcomes can be identified based on a few months data which is collected every 10 minutes for every workstation and meeting space. All of this collected anonymously and without the need for staff to be walking the floor with clipboards.
Working with Workplace Strategy Consultants such as Amos Beech, the data can be analysed and used to drive future space and environment decisions.
It is generally accepted that by moving to activity based working environments, the ratio of desks to Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees is 0.8 : 1 or less. With iOtSpot we can achieve 0.7 : 1 whilst retaining a happy and productive workforce and in some cases we are achieving 0.5 : 1 which represents a 50% space saving on Corporate and Real Estate.
The way this works is back to allowing staff to work when and where they want and before they even leave for the office from home, they can check in and see what desk availability there is and choose and book in advance a desk for themselves. This booking will be held for them for 1 hour past when the said they would arrive (traffic & trains don’t always run as we’d like) and if they don’t arrive the status for the workspace reverts to available for anyone else to book.
Not all users want to pre-book and the system allows for this too. On arrival, you can search for space on your phone and Google Maps Inside will guide you to the desk and all you have to do is swipe your phone over the on-desk device to check in. The status colour will change from green to red and you are checked in.
All of this is achieved through the simple and functional app. With the on desk device making it obvious to all what the status is, there is no confusion and if you are sitting at a desk without signing in, someone may well come along and influence your behaviour because they were expecting to find the desk empty!
Likewise, when you leave the desk and don’t return for what can be a pre-set stipulated time, the app sends you a message asking if you still need the desk and if you don’t confirm by swiping in again, the desk automatically becomes free again.
The advantage of this function is that desks are not blocked by people who are not actually using them. This frees up space for other users and ultimately can reduce the amount of floor space you need to accommodate staff.
Depending on the granularity of the data required we can upscale the collection and include movement sensors on the underside of desks and meeting tables. This silently collects actual usage data over against bookings. Along with this, we can use the iotspot in conjunction with CO2 and counter sensors in meeting rooms. From this we can identify what balance of meeting room sizes are needed by an organisation based on live data and not from outlook calendar or meeting booking systems.
Interestingly, for meeting bookings, these can be done in advance either by the in-App calendar or MS Outlook or Google Calendar can be integrated to provide a seamless booking system for meeting room visible to all users.
As with workstations, if a room is booked and no-one shows up, the App will automatically free up the space and in real time, everyone else in the office can see that the meeting room is available again.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about our agile working app is we don’t know what else we might get asked for and how we may be able to integrate. Ideas coming through include car park iotspots which will revolutionise the way spaces are used – all those reserved space for people who are not in the office. And if someone has parked in a bay, you know who it is because the App will tell you.
Another development is the payment function so for anyone running a co-working space, rather than charge users a monthly fee, you can literally do a pay per use function based on the number of hours you were there. By uploading credit card details and back office billing address, you can easily access these types of spaces with very little admin workload.
As each iotspot is physically placed on a workstation, we could develop a FM messaging option, informing the FM team that a light isn’t working, desk top power is down or maybe the extra screen is inoperative – and all of this can be fixed by FM with precise accuracy because they know exactly which iotspot reported the defect.
The future of managing your office space is here!
So work has changed, buildings are going to get much smarter but with our App, we can supercharge this process and significantly improve the end user experience to make the office space much more accessible. All free space becomes visible and for the day you are in the office, you are visible to your colleagues to.
Time to start collaborating and changing the future now.