A smart office uses data and machine learning to help the workplace run more smoothly. By analyzing everything, manual tasks can be identified and their impact on the business quantified. Then, office automation and Internet of Things technologies are implemented to reduce the administrative burden that reduces productivity. In this post, we'll look at the benefits of the ongoing and iterative process of becoming a smart office. Then we'll provide some tools you should implement today to digitize your office.
Benefits of Becoming a Smart Office
Your ultimate goal is to increase productivity - getting more done with the same resources - and increasing your profits. Here is how digitization will help you achieve those objectives.
- Time savings: Help your employees use their time more effectively. For example, an employee can easily switch between a conference call and a project on their computer without having to dig up the number for the call or waste time figuring out how to dial in - from anywhere in the building. This in turn leads to cost savings, as well as increased efficiency across the board.
- Improved analytics: Smart technologies log much more activity from your business than ever before. You will gain insight into where your employees are spending most of their time, and you can use this data to come up with ways to make them more efficient. Similarly, you can understand which investments of time and assets yield the greatest returns for your business.
- Employee satisfaction: Many office automation tools make employees' lives easier. For example, the more work that's done online, the easier it is for your employees to have information at their fingertips. Not only do most employees, especially millennials, prefer to do it themselves, but digital tools also allow teams to be productive while moving around the workspace or while out of the office. This creates flexibility that can be key to your team, particularly for parents. Furthermore, many employees describe the headache of having to integrate multiple systems together, such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Automation takes care of all of this for them, which improves their job satisfaction in the long term.
- Customer satisfaction: Give your customers one point of contact for all of their needs, whether a new prospect with technical questions or an experienced user asking about their statement. Moreover, give your teams instant information about who they are communicating with. That should include their state, products used and prior support history. The internal tools will also be connected decreasing the speed of finding information and resolving issues. Harvard research makes it clear investment in customer service will have a positive ROI.
- Security: Regardless of the tools used, employees will access them all from one central digital portal. You will be able to keep that information secure without having to worry about securing a number of decentralized tools and bring your own device (BYOD) scenarios.
- Direct cost savings: In the old days, a fleet of administrative staff would communicate back and forth just to set a meeting. Today, technologies like room scheduling software and an iPad receptionist allow employees to handle such tasks themselves in seconds.
Get Started Today
"The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks." - Mark Twain
Becoming a smart office takes time and learning. The first step is to digitize your processes so you can eliminate manual labor and start collecting data. Here are the tools we recommend:
- Visitor management system: An Android or iPad receptionist is a self-help check in-app. They can be used to efficiently sign in guests, deliveries, and more without causing time-sucking distractions for your staff. These self-help systems send employees notifications via email, text message, voice call, and Slack. They will also capture visitor eSig and visitor photos. All of the information is stored in a visitor log so you can analyze how your office is used and enhance your CRM database.
- Asset and room scheduling software: Forget the back-and-forth and haggling over conference rooms. These tools allow employees to instantly view people and asset availability and make a reservation. More advanced tools use artificial intelligence to remove even those steps. Just list your attendees and the technology will determine the ideal time and most convenient location for all parties.
- Expense reports: How much does your office spend on paper clips? What about client meals and entertainment? And why should people spend their first hours back from a trip going through an envelope of receipts? Expense management tools can capture and instantly categorize every expense for real-time reporting and analysis.
- Timesheets: It's likely your employees hate filling out timesheets. To automate them for better compliance and more accurate - and actionable - information.
- Digital signatures: In the old days, it was a magical feeling pulling out the special pen to consummate a deal with an analog signature. However, eSignatures offer so many advantages. Documents can be signed from anywhere. They are also instantly stored so they can be retrieved - without a bank of filing cabinets. If set up correctly, once a document is signed it can instantly trigger commercial activities like sending confidential documents, emailing receipts, or launching a product.
Technological advances have made it easy to launch a smart office. A digital workplace will make your team more effective and provide the information on which activities and assets provide the greatest return on investment. The bottom line is a more productive workforce and a bigger bottom line.