The future is here, and it’s quietly revolutionising offices around the world. Thanks to the rise of smart technology, offices are becoming more efficient and more productive, while also freeing employees from the burden of power points, desks and the nine-to-five grind.
Smart products aren’t a new concept. A networked office, powered by equipment working in tandem, has been imagined since at least the 1950s. But it’s only in the past five years or so that the reality has started to match up with the expectations.
As the technology has become more reliable and affordable, smart products have started to find their way into our homes and offices, often without us even realising. It could be as simple as a TV connected to the internet, or an air conditioning system that links to a phone app.
These innovations may not seem like a huge leap forward on their own, but when viewed as part of a broader movement, they have the potential to quietly revolutionise our lives. A connected office means a healthier, more efficient and more productive workplace, and that benefits everyone.
A connected office is an efficient office
‘Smart’ switches allow you to monitor energy usage throughout the office, see exactly where it is being used and make any alterations to improve efficiency. By linking individual pieces of equipment to a smartphone or tablet, it’s possible to pinpoint waste, remotely switch off equipment and program schedules that turn the power off in certain areas.
Give that the bulk of your time is spent outside the office (though it sometimes may not seem it) it makes sense not to have office equipment buzzing away when no-one is around.
Retire the cubicles and work from anywhere
Cloud printing means employees are no longer reliant on that one printer that always seems to have a paper jam. The technology allows users to connect to the closest and most convenient equipment, enabling far greater mobility throughout an office or building.
This sort of cloud-based technology is becoming more and more common in the office, and means traditional floor plans and allocated desk spaces can be abandoned in favour of more organic solutions. Whether that’s employees working remotely, or hot-desking around the office to encourage better communication, it’s definitely making the cubicle layout increasingly obsolete.
Smarter temperature means better productivity
If you’ve ever worked in an office where one half of the room is freezing cold and the other is uncomfortably warm, you’ll appreciate how frustrating the constant battle over the air conditioner can be. Smart thermostats help alleviate this problem, allowing you to monitor and adjust temperature throughout the building from the palm of your hand.
Maintaining proper ventilation and airflow in an office has both energy-saving benefits and broader health benefits. Sick leave costs businesses millions every year; some of these illnesses could likely be avoided through the slight reduction or increase of temperature.
A little music
Music can have a huge impact on workplace mood and productivity – just ask any retail professional. The office is no different, and streaming different music or soundtracks to different areas – for example the foyer, the bathroom or reception – is a subtle but effective way of altering the area’s dynamic. Modern music technology can often be handled from the comfort of your phone or tablet.
Greener offices are happier offices
A greener office doesn’t just look nice, it provides all sort of health benefits. There are now technologies that ensure planets stay alive and healthy thanks to sensors that monitor moisture levels in the soil and send watering reminders to nominated phones.
While there’s a huge variety of smart office technology on the market, the common theme is shared, mutual benefits. These products create healthier, happier and more user-friendly work environments. At the same time, they provide real cost savings for organisations.
If you’re concerned about spiking office power bills, it might be time for a new energy plan.