Productivity, the by-product of user experience
As flexible working becomes more prevalent, it’s vital our buildings self-learn and adapt. Occupants need to easily access resources to be as productive as possible, while management teams require the data, or more importantly data-driven insights, to understand and manage the work space proactively.
Are our spaces delivering productive experiences?
Office workers are surrounded in their personal lives in a landscape of digital transformation and IoT-enabled technologies, just think about this in the realm of home automation: voice-controlled smart lighting and heating smart doorbell cameras, wearable devices and even self-learning and operating vacuum cleaners! Likewise, a modern commuter's journey is now prevalent with an array of real-time mobile apps supporting public transport information and route planning, or blue dot way-finding on street maps.
Our personal lives are progressively digitised, and so we expect easy-to-use digital experiences. However, once in the office, despite eventually arriving at a desk and submersing into laptops providing enterprise software tools as needed to undertake their tasks, and unified digital communication methods such as email, instant messaging, Skype and voice communications facilitating colleague interactions, the buildings they work in remain relatively in the digital dark ages. Ironically, it is often simpler to arrange a global Skype meeting, than find the right space needed for a face‑to‑face meeting in the office.
Touch-points between the office workers, managers and the building itself, including access, work space availability, space booking, way-finding, environmental control, fault reporting, and feedback are often manual, analogue or digitally clunky.
The impact Digital UX can have on productivity
Providing workers simple in-building digital interactions between colleagues, systems, services, processes, amenities and spaces, enhances the user experience, improving employee motivation, minimising disruption, encouraging cross-departmental communication, and as a by-product, revolutionising productivity and efficiency.
Frictionless Collaboration & Productivity
According to a recent Stanford study, even the mere perception of working collectively on a task can revolutionise performance; in that particular report, participants placed in teams stuck at their task 64% longer than their solitary co-workers. More recent studies have shown that the physical design and flow of a workplace is second to only information-flow and leadership styles in determining how we behave at work.
Carr & Walton (2014)
Do our buildings encourage new, spontaneous, ways of meeting?
Contemporary research on work space productivity unanimously suggests that spaces that create “collisions”, that is unplanned encounters, whilst providing co-workers with the right ‘traditional’ collaboration areas, improves performance, productivity, communication and employee engagement levels across the board. Yes, there is always going to be a need for closed spaces (the zones in our buildings where we can close a door and collaborate proficiently and in private), but many businesses are re-configuring office layouts with the view of sparking spur-of-the-moment collaborations and impromptu meeting because of the positive impact it has on productivity.
How software & IoT can help
Productivity-based Space Planning:
What if buildings could inform us of all the interactions and collaboration in a space, recommending certain teams sit adjacently to foster optimal teamwork and collaboration
Finding the right Space & People
“ I want somewhere quiet to work”, or “it’s a quick informal meeting for 3, what is available in one hour?”
Whether it’s ensuring that smart conference rooms are performing as they should from an AV perspective, or informing occupants of what spaces are available and the quickest way to get to their meeting, technology can take collaboration productivity to new levels
Comfort, Health & Wellness; underpinning Productivity
Air quality, health and general well being, all influence an occupants user experience (UX), but these same factors can have an even greater impact on organisational productivity. Corporate entities increasingly want to attract people to their offices, not only as an attractor for recruitment and retention but also to allow the organisation to optimise the workplace as a means of ensuring that employees are at their most productive.
Though increased environmental and air quality monitoring at desk granularity, intelligent buildings can utilise heat maps and Machine Learning/AI to understand thermal patterns and human reaction, feeding recommendations not only to users for advisory work locations aligned to personal preferences but also data to drive automated fault diagnosis and triggering automated workflows to operational teams so to optimally address probability for first fix rectification with minimised disruption.
Retention & Talent Attraction
Finding and hiring the right people is hard enough, but keeping or ‘retaining’ them is often even harder. Creating commercial buildings where people are inspired to come to work can result in reduced staff turnover and absenteeism. Almost three quarters (74%) of employees that work in fully-enabled digital workplaces said their job satisfaction is good or very good.
A contemporary study of owner-occupiers found that 57% of corporate real estate executives identify talent attraction and retention as a key business driver for this very reason.
The cost of losing people
The cost of losing people is high; yes businesses lose domain experts and gain an empty desk, but the big costs are often the hidden ones, think: HR costs, the managers time, temporary coverage, new hires, the hiring managers time, induction, training & orientation costs, productivity loss until fully trained.
The attraction of a smart facility
Intelligent Buildings and digital spaces serve as very influential talent attraction and retainment tool if deployed correctly. Digital transformation is not simply a matter of adopting as many technologies as possible irrespective of outcomes or use-cases; in some cases, multiple apps, irrelevant technologies and complex user interfaces (UI’s) hinder productivity and collaboration.
No downtime, No Productivity Loss
Ultimately spaces that ‘just work’ free people up to concentrate on the import things in life. Intelligent, high-performing, spaces will predict and prevent ‘fault’, mechanical or otherwise, occurring through Artificial Intelligence (Ai). When spaces do need maintaining or fixing, the building will optimise fix time to restore operational spaces as quickly as possible, ensuring minimal downtime and maximum productivity.