Technology: love it or hate it, we'd be lost without it. Today's employees are tech-savvy and often have better gadgets at home than what what's provided in the office. If you want to get ahead and keep your competitive edge, read on for the latest and greatest advanced tech for your workplace...

Smart offices are so much more than just good Wi-Fi connectivity. Technology enables productivity, collaboration and even boosts employee wellbeing. When we talk about advanced technology, we’re talking about people-focused solutions that improve the human experience in the workplace.

Biometrics

You’ve arrived at work early to get a head start on your busy day and you’ve forgotten your access card. Now what? What if you were the key? Most smartphones have facial or thumbprint recognition; now, imagine these biometric systems were implemented in your workplace. Corporate solutions like those on offer from MEXIA One and FaceFirst help improve building access by replacing entry passes with your face's unique details - in just the same way you unlock your smartphone. This not only boosts security, as someone can't easily clone your face or fingerprint, but also eliminates the need for pesky and easily-forgotten access cards.

Digital sign-in

Give your guests a great first impression with a digital sign-in system. Visitors can check-in on a tablet, have their name badge printed and then their host is automatically messaged to announce their arrival. This can de-clutter your reception space, allowing for a more open, welcoming and concierge-style reception experience.

Voice-activation

Research from Savills’ flexible office platform, Workthere found that more than 20% of UK office workers believe access to voice-activated technology would vastly improve their work. Voice-activated office technology can simplify mundane tasks and cut down time spent doing unproductive work.

From booking a meeting room, to turning up the AC and even ordering a cup of coffee; devices that respond to voice commands are gaining traction. Just like we rely on Alexa at home to play the next song or start a timer, you can now ask your Altalink printer to copy, scan, or email your documents - all without touching a keypad.

Adjustable privacy glass

No two meetings are the same, so why should the room stay the same? You can use technology to instantly transform rooms from open areas to private quarters, just like we did for Symantec. Client confidentiality or a sensitive video call may require a private room without prying eyes from the corridor, so with the click of a button (or at your voice's command) electromagnetic privacy glass can turn opaque in seconds. This digital frosting is discrete, simple to use, and importantly - looks great too!

Motion sensors

Room sensors from UbiqiSense are another great hack turning your office into a space that’s responsive to its occupants. Sensors integrate with your building management system to communicate with your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, helping to maintain an optimal working environment throughout the day.

AC and ventilation systems can also automatically adjust for the number of occupants in the room, which will help increase focus and eliminate distraction throughout a meeting. A study by Harvard University found that people who work in well-ventilated offices with below-average levels of indoor pollutants and CO2 have significantly higher cognitive function.

Adaptive lighting

A whole industry has sprung up around lighting science and technology. One advocate, Lighting Science, considers how solutions can support the health, wellbeing and performance of people within the built environment. It believes incorporating human-centric lighting with lux properties that encourage the production of more balanced hormones is one way to mimic the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Light dictates our resting and active hours, impacts mood and regulates energy levels. When we don’t get enough, it’s a signal to our bodies to produce more melatonin and less serotonin. This is why you may feel tired, unmotivated and less alert when your circadian rhythm is out of sync. Along with light intensity, energy levels can also be affected by the colour temperature. Using a lighting system programmed to change brightness and colour warmth levels throughout the day can even help seasonal affective disorder, much like domestic therapy lights. This will keep your staff more energised throughout the day.