We look at how to turn your workplace into a smart office by embracing these technology essentials in your new office design or fit out.
Communication barriers are more open than ever before, thanks to the advent of Facebook, FaceTime and WhatsApp. Can you still remember the days when an international call would cost a small fortune and you couldn’t share your holiday pictures until you’d had them developed? Well, it wasn’t actually too long ago! With our personal technology expectations and connectivity advancing so rapidly, make sure your office isn’t left behind by integrating these smart tech solutions into your new office fit out.
We know that a good cup of coffee is the cornerstone morning ritual for millions of Britons, which is why a clean and simple tea point with a versatile coffee ‘machine’ is worth investing in. For example, Top Brewer coffee machines take up the same footprint as a conventional ZIP tap, yet provide more than just boiling or chilled water. Controlled from a nearby iPad, the system allows staff to choose from a range of Americano, Latte, or even the newly fashionable antipodean Flat White. It also allows users to choose from chilled still or sparkling water, and of course good old fashioned boiling water for the tea drinkers amongst us.
This is usually the first thing that you hunt down in a hotel or foreign country, so we were surprised to see that so many offices lacked this near basic need. Half of office workers recently surveyed feel that their office IT is outdated, and 1 in 5 feel that their office WiFi is either poor or non-existent. One of the important factors in any Cat A or Cat B fit out is to ensure that your IT requirements are supported in any new design or fit out.
WiFi is integral to implementing hot desks or activity-based working in your new office design. This allows staff to work from different areas in the office, depending on their current task. While you might be ‘docked’ at a desk for the majority of the day, if you’re having a quick catch-up in the office kitchen, or if you want some peace and quiet to work in an unoccupied breakout area; a fast WiFi network allows staff to stay connected.
If your new office design is focused on activity-based working, with breakout areas or standing desks, it’s essential to have fast and easily configurable WiFi as part of your IT setup.
An integrated digital booking and facilities management system, like Evoko can increase your space utilisation and decrease staff confusion at the same time. We recently installed this in AMC Network’s office fit out, and they’ve been able to reduce the amount of meeting rooms required through smart management. Via a tablet mounted next to the meeting room door, staff can see if the meeting room has been booked and how long for; allowing them to use the room if it’s not booked, or if the meeting has been cancelled at the last minute. This allows staff to quickly discern if they can have a quick and uninterrupted catch-up in what would otherwise be a ‘booked’ vacant room.
Home automation has been the latest focus for consumer technology in recent years; Google Home, Hue lighting and the recent Hive thermostat, which allow you to control your heating from your mobile phone. While this technology is only just starting to emerge in the mainstream consumer markets, it’s been a mainstay of office fit out for some time .
Sensor based lighting and climate control have been widespread in the corporate world since the millennium, with most new office fit outs using both energy efficient LED lighting and sensors to trigger the lights when you walk into the room. Although simple, this form of smart technology saves companies tens of thousands on energy bills every year.