New and changing technology is redefining how we work. With easy access to personal apps, and the proliferation of smartphones and other devices, technology has become so normalized and convenient that employees now expect workstyles that allow for increased mobility, more flexibility and instant collaboration. As a result, businesses need to adapt to support this change and enable workers to be as productive as possible in a more mobile environment.
When it comes to technological conveniences, employee expectations and customer demands will only increase as collaborative technologies continue to saturate the marketplace. According to Frost & Sullivan, “by 2025, the world will have at least 3.7 billion smartphones, 700 million tablets, and 60 million UCC platforms deployed.“1 This will lead to more digital disruption — forcing companies to change their business models in order to keep up with marketplace changes through digital transformation. Taking a proactive approach to this type of transformation now is critical for businesses that want to stay ahead of the digital curve.
Armed with this knowledge, what steps should you take as a business leader to support the changing workforce and evolving customer demands?
You can start in the office. The ability to track office space utilization metrics is an important piece of the puzzle — allowing you to understand how your office is being used. Perhaps you find that your meeting rooms remain largely unused throughout the day. Or maybe certain desk spaces are no longer being used as your employees travel and work remotely. It’s estimated that by 2020, 50 percent of the workforce will be working from non-traditional locations.2 Check out how this Canadian company increased employee engagement by transforming one of their most painful processes – you can do the same for your office.
Also keep in mind that it’s important for employees and visitors who use the office to feel valued and have a space of their own. There are many solutions available today that can help you significantly improve your office spaces by enabling you to:
- Optimize workplaces with facilities and workplace management services and solutions.
- Create a more collaborative work environment.
- Help protect employee mail and personal items.
- Plan and execute improved customer experience strategies.
Let’s take a quick look at how these solutions can help you along your digital transformation journey.
Optimize workspaces with facilities and workplace management solutions and technologies
As technology changes the way people work, departmental silos — both physically and psychologically — break down. Workers become more collaborative, often working in teams to get things done even when they’re separated by distance. Many companies have adopted an agile methodology, allowing for increased collaboration and the ability to innovate faster. To stay competitive, businesses need to adapt their workplaces to foster creativity and allow teams to share ideas more easily and efficiently.
A facilities assessment can help you to understand how your meeting rooms are being used each day — enabling you to make more informed decisions about how to better utilize these spaces. Then you can apply the appropriate workplace technologies to streamline the way you schedule rooms, send invitations and order collaboration solutions — eliminating meeting room chaos and double bookings.
Create a more collaborative work environment
Today, a number of companies are moving away from personal desks and closed-off offices in favour of large, open areas with unassigned seating where people can more easily collaborate. These types of changes also help to save costs by converting assigned workspaces into shared desks and storage. They can also reduce your environmental footprint by reducing the overall size of your office space.
To further enhance these types of workplaces, there are a number of solutions and technologies available that allow you to connect employees in these types of offices with remote workers and customers, including:
- Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) — also known as interactive flat panel displays (IFPD) — that can connect with both onsite and offsite employee smart devices
- Unified communication systems (UCS) that let you enhance remote collaboration with video
There are many more collaborative technologies you can consider to optimize the way employees and customers share information and ideas, and they’re always evolving.
Help protect employee mail and personal items
Non-traditional collaborative workspaces can make it difficult for employees to receive their mail and store their belongings. Fortunately, there are available solutions and technologies that can provide a scalable and more secured solution to this problem. With intelligent lockers, once mail or packages arrive, they are registered in a cloud management system and then scanned and assigned to a specific locker with a specific release code to help keep these items safe. Intelligent lockers take up a minimal amount of office space, and employees can also use them to store personal effects. Plus, these systems automatically track delivery and notify employees when packages arrive.
Learn four more steps to drive your digital transformation journey
Now that you have some initial ideas to get you on the road to a successful digital transformation, you’re ready to dive in and find more ways to transform your business into a high-performance workplace.
Plan and execute improved customer experience strategies
In addition to the physical changes required to transform modern workplaces, today’s customer experience is also changing. New solutions and technologies — from inbound and outbound mail services to marketing solutions — offer more opportunities to create better customer experience strategies.
There are also some exciting technologies now available that offer alternative options for greeting and engaging customers. Staffing reception areas isn’t always cost-effective, and receptionists have to leave their desks a number of times each day — making it difficult to have an employee available at all times to greet customers. Today, however, virtual receptionists with artificial intelligence and photo-realistic, computer-generated images are affordable and can always be there to welcome guests. These virtual receptionists can also respond to simple commands, play demonstration videos and send employees text messages to alert them when guests arrive. Virtual receptionists’ cloud analytics portals provide detailed analytics reports on metrics, such as visitor engagements, duration, content selections and conversion rates — giving you insights that can help you to improve the customer experience even more.
Improving your workplace with technologies like these is a great place to start digitally transforming your business. Companies that embrace digital transformation in all areas of business can increase their agility — making it easier to meet new customer demands and adjust to changes in the marketplace quickly.
What will the workplace of the future look like? Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2025, the world will have at least 3.7 billion smartphones, 700 million tablets, and 60 million unified communication platforms deployed.
This Ricoh white paper focuses on how the future of office communication is set to become a gateway to digitally empowering smart societies as seen through the lens of technological and socio-demographic megatrends in the years ahead.
1 “Redefining Office Communication: Technology and Socio-Demographic Convergence Trends Driving Workplace Evolution.” Frost & Sullivan. 2018.
2 Deloitte; University of Carolina; fastcompany.com