The 7 most
important tech

considerations in
the hybrid workplace

Understand the tools needed to support a flexible work strategy

There’s never been a more exciting time to shape the workplace environment. C-suite leaders increasingly recognize the importance of the workplace as a strategic tool for talent recruitment and retention. As offices reopen, many companies are exploring flexible, hybrid workplace approaches, combining in-office and remote working. Whatever your strategy, technology is critical for creating a compelling, productive, hybrid workplace experience.

Employees around the world increasingly expect a high-tech, high-touch environment that provides a meaningful human experience and sense of purpose. Forward-looking companies are using artificial intelligence (AI), smart building and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to provide a seamless workplace experience from the moment an employee or visitor arrives at the office to the moment they leave for the day and even beyond.

But with the property technology (proptech) marketplace exploding, it can be challenging to separate the “cool” innovations from those that are truly useful in creating a high-quality hybrid workplace experience. The following are seven technologies that we believe will have a meaningful impact on the workplace.

1. Smart, connected building systems

A connected workplace starts with modern building systems. Smart, connected building technologies support other tools like room reservation systems, intelligent lighting, interactive collaboration tools and personalized temperature controls that contribute to a more enjoyable employee experience.

The large volumes of rich data generated by IoT devices allow buildings to become more responsive to their occupants. For example, sensors and smart badges provide valuable data about space usage that can be used to optimize the workplace with the right spaces for different kinds of work. Space planners may see trends around which workspaces get the most use and which often sit empty, allowing them to reconfigure the space to provide a more streamlined, productive work experience.

2. Workplace mobile apps

Workplace mobile apps provide an experiential advantage, helping employees access amenities and services, navigate a complex building or campus, locate colleagues in the office, and more.

For example, a global fast food giant created a Smart Workplace mobile app for its headquarters. It provides a single user interface for accessing company news, room booking, check in, navigation and wayfinding, work order requests, employee feedback, temperature adjustment, transportation schedules and other building services.

3. Smart booking app

Most workplace mobile apps feature an integrated smart booking app enabled by smart building systems and IoT connections—a critical capability for supporting a hybrid workforce where not every employee has an assigned desk. At McDonald’s Chicago headquarters building, for example, the mobile app responds to voice commands like “find a meeting space near me,” just as Alexa and Siri do, to streamline workday activities even further. It’s integrated with the building’s indoor positioning system (IPS), which locates the nearest available meeting room that an employee can reserve simply by walking into it.

4. Collaboration tools

When in-office employees need to connect with team members thousands of miles away, new meeting and collaboration technologies can cross the distance with seamless connectivity. During the pandemic, many companies adopted platforms like Slack, Zoom and others for planned and spontaneous interactions. Beyond high-quality video and sound, the next generation of meeting and collaboration platforms will encompass holograms, avatars, virtual/augmented/extended reality and even telepresence robots to create immersive “phygital” experiences that bridge the gap between the physical and the digital. These new platforms will enable virtual reality meetings that re-create the in-person experience, complete with opportunities for side conversations.

5. Personalized workspace environmental controls

Smart building systems have evolved in recent decades to power an expanding range of functionality. Facilities teams can configure today’s smart HVACs to provide controls for individual floors or workspaces, enabling employees to control the temperature, lighting or even the background sound in their workspaces. Intelligent lighting systems respond to the presence of occupants and can self-adjust in response to the availability of natural light. Eventually, an employee may be able to arrive at their reserved workspace to find that the lighting and temperature levels are automatically adjusted to their unique preferences through a smart reservation system and IoT connections. And the data provided by workplace sensors and automated building systems can inform occupancy management systems.

6. Dynamic occupancy planning tools

Deploying wireless sensors and IoT devices in the workplace allows companies to generate real-time data to inform daily decisions about everything from office layouts and workspace assignments to cleaning frequency. An AI-powered automated system can predict how many workers will need what type of space and assign workspaces through software algorithms that account for volume, space preferences and tools required to improve productivity. 

Companies like GoSpace AI and VergeSense are expanding the possibilities for monitoring and mapping office occupancy with tools and data to balance supply of workspaces with fluctuating demand to accurately predict how much space is needed, reducing real estate costs. Tools like Saltmine allow users to drag and drop new office designs to quickly create test-fit mockups.

7. Mobile apps for facility management

Facility managers can use a mobile app to manage work orders, vendors, budgets and more. With a facility mobile app, technicians can access work orders while on site or working remotely. A cloud-based app will allow you to benchmark asset performance and use business intelligence tools to uncover insights about capital expenses for different assets and properties. Digital facilities management also allows for easy tracking of budgets against real-time expenses and creating audit trails for compliance purposes.

Automation and digital tools can help you enhance productivity and nurture innovation, and also shape positive experiences for your organization’s most important asset: talent. Throughout the digital transformation of your workplace, putting people at the center will lead to happier, more empowered and more engaged employees who ultimately drive your business performance.

Want to learn more? Download our first-ever global proptech report to read more about the technologies transforming buildings and spaces. Or visit our website to find out how technology can help you improve the health and wellness of your employees, maximize the value of your property and propel your business forward.