The smart office explosion is well under way, with companies of all sizes investing money and time into making sure they have the tools and technology to stay on top of this incredible period of growth in the working world. If you’re starting a business, or possibly just considering some upgrades, you need to know the basics to building a smart office. More importantly, you should know what makes a smart office the bare minimum, and what makes it state of the art. The difference isn’t always in cost or money spent, sometimes, it’s just knowing the tips and tricks to designing and creatively organizing an office for the modern working world.
How the Office is Changing
It goes without saying that your needs are going to vary depending on what sort of business needs you are faced with from day to day. For a long time, managers and business owners approached work spaces in a very unoriginal, bland way. The office environment was never thought of as a dynamic space, but rather one that was void of anything distracting, very much in thinking with the Theory X organizational theorists. Theory X was a premise that workers are cogs in a machine; one stops functioning, you remove and replace.
Other than the drones, you had a computer, a desk, a break room, and the promise that from 9-5 you could come in, work, and then go home. For those 8 hours, expectations were clear. Now, the work day varies from day to day, with expectations being a sense of flexibility from workers. Not only is it expected that employees should be flexible in their work hours, but also in their duties, leading to an increase in multi-faced workers. That means the technology that they are working with is also being forced to transition into a faster, more dynamic tool for day to day task completion.
The Basics of a Smart Office
A smart office transition isn’t as hard as it might sound. In fact, it might be less about buying brand new hardware and more about knowing how to best optimize your current situation. As it stands now, there are two easy ways to get a basic smart office going. The first being a solid, reliable WiFi connection, and the second being Cloud-based operations.
WiFi is likely something you already have in your office, but it might not be the best option you have at your disposal. For example, a basic router and internet plan is fine for a home, but things like the Comcast Xfinity business plan allow you high speeds that can handle multiple devices. If you are internet is slow in your office, it’s likely not your computer, but rather your internet itself. That’s not always the case, but testing your internet speed on any number of online tests can tell you if your internet is lacking or not. An upgrade is much cheaper than new computers for the whole office.
Cloud-based services are the other major way to mix up your office and send it soaring into the modern, smart office landscape. Cloud-based services are like saving things to a space in the sky, rather than taking up space on your computer. This is good for a few reasons. Slow computers are likely slow because they have far too much on their hard drive, which can be alleviated with cloud saving. This also allows you to access your files from anywhere with an internet connection. Nowadays, that means your phone, tablet, computer, e-reader, and anything else that connects to the web.
Above and Beyond
If those two aspects of a modern smart office are already something you’re enjoying the benefits of, consider taking things to the next level. Back in the days of early studies on work and office spaces, researchers found that things like lighting and temperature are huge influences on productivity. Two popular pieces of tech that are quite affordable can be implemented easily in any sized office, whether in a big space or a room of your house.
Setting up a Nest Thermostat for your office couldn’t be easier – it asks you from the start of setting it up whether you’re using it for business or not. With features like thermostat lock, auto away, and remote controls, Nest makes it easy to find the perfect temperature to keep your employees happy. Best of all, they’re meant to save energy, and although environmental consciousness might not be a cornerstone of every business, it’s a way to save money and utilize technology in the most responsible way possible.
Phillips Hue Lighting
Another feature of the office that you can control remotely, even from your phone, is a Phillips Hue Lighting layout. Hue lights allow you to save up to 80% on lighting costs by switching to its controlled LED lighting system. Each individual lightbulb can be changed and adapted, meaning that employees, if you choose, can have control over the lights they use at their desk. That sort of power is great for allowing them to be as comfortable for work as possible, but also a cool feature to use while recruiting new employees. Speaking of recruiting, both the Hue lighting and Nest thermostat can help draw in new clients as well. Many think that companies that use environmentally conscious products are more trustworthy, so consider that when you’re wondering if it’s more frill than business necessity.
What About Other Tech?
Of course, these aren’t the only ways to build a basic smart office. That being said, these are a few things you should consider before moving into more costly, intricate forms of implementing tech into your office. These basics get you on solid ground with modern technology, and allow you to be ready for new changes to things like computing and office solutions. With these basics, your office will get modernized in less than a month, and easily skyrocket your appearance to clients and happiness of employees. Smart offices are here to stay, so make sure to keep up.
Taylor is a freelance SEO copywriter and blogger. His areas of expertise include technology, pop culture, and marketing.