Our world is becoming more connected to the internet and technology with every passing year. We look at smartphones, virtual reality and smartwatches as cool gadgets that people use to communicate, consume media and have fun. But new technologies play an even more important role in the business world. Companies are becoming more connected, and new tech only speeds up that process. The future of the connected office is almost here. But what would it look like? And what does it mean to have a connected office?
Offices are already becoming “smarter” and more connected. Employees can use smart devices to crowdsource information in real time, get directions to a meeting, or get a notification when certain items are nearing the end of their inventory. Employees can work remotely, having access to the entire company network and communications systems on their laptops and tablets. There are four key elements to a connected office:
One of the biggest advantages of improved software to businesses is the boost in communication. In the past, employees had to settle for asking the people nearby when they had a question. Maybe they should shoot an email to someone in a different department, only to hear back hours later. Now people can ask questions of the entire company in seconds. Communications software ensures people can send out questions to the whole workforce, chat with specific employees, share files and update tasks within a single interface.
In the past, we had to rely on something breaking down before we knew there was an issue. Now there are programs and smart devices we can use to monitor the health and status of different products. Whether we are talking about massive machines at a factory, or office workstations, we do not have to rely on something shutting down to resolve its issues.
The second a machine is behaving differently or inefficiently, an alert goes out to the relevant workers. They can schedule maintenance the next time the machine is not in use, and ensure it remains functional and efficient for years. Not only does it extend the life of machines and workstations, but this added connectivity greatly improves productivity and output.
Companies always had ways of collecting mass amounts of data. The problem was sorting through and analyzing that data. And having it present at a moment’s notice. All of that is now possible. Through programs, such as customer relationship management software, your employees have access to all the analysis from every bit of data your company is collecting.
Say a customer calls in with an issue. Instead of wondering who is calling, the person on the other end of the phone knows who called, and what interactions they had with the company in the past. A list of previously purchased products, dates of website visits, and even the items they have stored in their online shopping cart right now. Having all this information means the customer is helped efficiently and in a personalized way. And it is all possible because the business is better connected.
Everything from the HVAC system to the lights at the office can be connected. Everything has a “smart” version, and office managers can use these devices to ensure the environment is optimally set up for productivity. With better tech, sales reps and technicians in the field have instant access to the company’s network through their laptop or tablet. They are no longer working with just a handful of information they saved or printed out – they can access everything instantly. It gives them all the tools they need to do a stellar job for the company.