ling,New Office Technologies That Will Redefine the “Back to the Office” Transition

In 2020, the way people lived and worked significantly changed, with millions of workers switching to a work-from-home arrangement. This migration put corporate technologies in the limelight and made people wonder whether companies could continue operating efficiently and productively with most staff at home.

Businesses soon answered this doubt as they started to adopt work-from-home technologies such as Zoom, a video conferencing platform, Microsoft Teams, a business communication platform, and Asana, a project and task management tool.

Some of these already existed, but the situation made their popularity sky-rocket in just a few months. For example, Microsoft Teams almost quintupled its active users since late 2019, with 140 million people using it. Zoom currently has over 300 million meeting participants compared to 10 million back in December 2019.

These collaboration tools might likely remain in use in the future as people transition back to work. Alongside them, there’s another new office technology in 2021 quickly gathering attention: touch-free technology.

These technologies redefine the new normal and play a vital role in the “back-to-office” transition process. Here is a summary of them and some other office technology trend solutions that companies are offering:

Touch-free Technology

The touch-free office technology trend only extended to automatic soap dispensers and sensor-operated doors before 2020. Now, there’s more attention on the workers’ health and hygiene measures as employees return to the workplace

As part of the transition, technologies that allow workers to avoid touching frequently used surfaces such as light switches, taps, lift buttons, and booking screens are of interest to managers and employers.

Implementing contact-less technology as a new office technology in these germ-concentrated points reduces the surfaces on which the bacteria and viruses linger. It mitigates the risk of spreading, safeguarding the staff. This modern office technology also reduces the locations that need frequent cleaning as a consequence.

While security cards for office workers were standard, they had significant unexplored potential in the form of additional functions. Now, there are smart cards that enable employees to call and ride elevators to a particular floor. In the future, this integration might become common.

Besides swipe cards, mobile applications now double as a remote control in the work environment, helping employees navigate the office. These apps allow workers to book meeting rooms or order and pay for their lunch.

Mobile software is essential for some flexible work arrangements, such as desk booking and office hoteling. The latter significantly benefits from this new office technology. Office hoteling software streamlines the process, allowing employees to check in remotely, communicate with each other, and automate specific processes.

Other existing technologies aren’t as flexible or present unsolvable problems. For example, while fingerprint scans are now typical in smartphones, they present hygienic issues when companies implement them at office entrances or on devices that multiple people use.

Facial recognition is another modern office technology, although a controversial one. It sees plenty of use in residential and commercial properties worldwide. This technology raises concerns for data privacy, but the safety of workers is currently the main priority for most.

Companies may continue adapting this technology should it become more accepted. Regardless, there are better touch-free technologies on the rise, such as a palm vein scan.

Overall, contactless tech is one of the top new technologies in 2021. The cost of these solutions and how well employees respond to them might determine whether they catch on.

Smart Buildings

Smart buildings can ensure that the workplace environment’s focus on health and safety is more than adequate. These offices with a new office technology use automatic processes that significantly enhance the building’s operations. It ranges from efficient HVAC systems to lighting and security.

The change toward this integrated, connected, and tech-enabled network allows plenty of data gathering and analysis. For instance, using modern office technology and sensors may let workers know where the office’s best place for quiet work is.

It can also allow them to locate their colleagues, workspaces, and parking spaces based on the employee’s itinerary and preferences. Software already exists featuring some of these mentioned characteristics, if not most of them.

Implementing hardware-based sensors as a new office technology coupled with analytics allows managers to create a seating arrangement that complies with physical distancing guidelines. Some analytic tools are already implementing that feature, highlighting how practical this office technology trend can be.

Demand for smart workplace buildings and spaces can only grow over time. Having advanced tech can help a company improve the environment, health, and wellness of its employees. Overall, it enhances the work experience for the staff.

Workplace Apps and Management Tools

The work-from-home transition accelerated the creation of digital solutions. These allow companies to provide a safe and effective working environment for employees working remotely and for those coming back as well. As people continue returning, developers continue enhancing this modern office technology with features that focus on safety and health.

Many workplace apps, new office technology and management tools support fundamental administrative tasks such as booking rooms and finding available hot desks. However, some apps are improving these functions further.

For example, the Autonomous hybrid workspace solution allows the manager to map out the office quickly and reduce downtime. It has every important office hotel feature, such as a check-in system, workspace information, and way-finding.

Apps like this work better when the company has a flexible workspace. Managers can take advantage of the mapping feature and implement movable furniture, such as portable whiteboards, ergonomic chairs, and standing desks. Placing office furniture bulk orders for essential equipment and other tools that improve collaboration is vital during this transition period.

Companies were already adopting apps that could support the employees’ office operations

during the last few years. However, these play a critical role in every company nowadays, especially video conferencing apps.

Workplace software helps companies create a contactless environment. These allow businesses to improve productivity and encourage engagement. In the future, these apps might likely be entirely integrated with the office space, allowing employees to perform most tasks with it.

The Bottom Line

Workers at home embraced new technologies quickly, and so do companies now that they are catching up to make the “back-to-office” transition smoother. People might not see changes overnight, but a new office technology can bring features that make the workplace healthier and more productive.

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