The ultimate guide to smart office success

Everything you need to know about smart office technology

In recent years, the office and the way we work has undergone a massive transformation. In today’s global economy -where employees are every organization’s most valuable asset- it is no longer enough to simply provide your employees with a desk, coffee and internet connection.

Your business success depends on how well you support your people. How do you make sure your office ticks all the boxes to accomplish your business goals? Whether you’re new to the concept of smart office technology or looking to maximize your returns, this guide provides you with everything you need to know to start transforming your office into one of your biggest drivers for your business’s growth.

Section 1

A quick smart office refresher

What is a smart office?

A smart office is a tech-enabled workplace that gives people control over their work environment by connecting them to the building. An ecosystem of platforms, IoT and hardware and software, bring the digital workplace alive: connected teams can easily find each other, locate the best workplaces and spontaneously jump into a free meeting room. In today's most successful workplace strategies, a smart office takes the central stage.

Through smart office technology, many workspaces have progressed beyond the uninspiring walls they once were. They've evolved into unique and intelligent buildings that are efficient, boost well-being, and significantly improve business performances.

Why are smart offices on the rise?

In today's sharing economy, people need flexibility. The digital revolution enabled us to work from wherever we want, whenever we want. Businesses noticed empty desks and unused spaces. They started to realize that through sharing facilities, buildings could be used more effectively. And therefore, technology was indispensable.

Besides efficiency, the importance of well-being arose. To get the best out of people, employers realized they had to make them feel great at work. Technological innovations began to turn offices into pleasant spaces people wanted to spend time in. They became more flexible and gave employees the autonomy they need to be at their best. Smart office solutions arose and became the key enabler in a future-proof workplace. Smart offices were officially born.

How do smart offices work?

Smart offices have a software platform that functions as the remote control of an office. In an application, users have a live overview on the workplace. This overview is fed with occupancy data, collected by smart sensors and Wi-Fi. This way, people can see which workplaces are available, where their colleagues are or which meeting rooms appear to be empty.

Smart Office Platforms can be integrated with several systems, for example:

  • Room booking systems
  • Smart lockers
  • Smart parking apps
  • Building management systems (BMS)

Besides the fact that employees are a lot more productive using a smart office app, another great benefit is the analytics portal for management. Having data insights on how people use the office, enables them spot interesting opportunities.

"It's not an accident that the best places to work are also the places that make the most money."

-Gordon Bethune, former CEO and chairman of Continental Airlines

Section 2

The benefits of a smart office

Employee benefits

On a practical as well as an operational level, smart offices are highly beneficial for employees. The latest smart office solutions truly boost the employee experience. They bring out the best in people at work by simplifying their day-to-day activities:

  • Booking days at the office and aligning these with their team
  • Booking the best room for a planned meeting
  • Quickly jumping into a free meeting room
  • Finding workspaces that match certain goals (activity-based working)
  • Finding facilities (parking/coffee/lockers)
  • Locate teams or individual colleagues
  • Finding directions when visiting another location

Management benefits

Smart offices result in a great ROI of your organization in multiple ways. Smart office solutions allow company leaders to gain insights into how people use the office and what they need to have a great day at work. As a result, smart office solutions let managers make data-driven decisions to build a workplace that enables growth and take their business to the next level. On a strategic and tactical level, these insights are especially beneficial for the following job titles:

Tip: Click on any management role to learn more about how smart offices help leaders in specific functions.

Employee well-being

Since the pandemic, we've realized the impact of not having an office on our well-being. But that's not the only reason why employee well-being has caught our attention. Burnouts and losing talent were one of the main drivers for business leaders to invest in the well-being of their people. Using smart office technology gives employees more control over their work environment and enables them to choose where they want to work. This freedom of choice improves the overall employee well-being.

As a leader in your business, you know that employees who feel great, perform even better. The American Psychological Association backs your personal experience. Their study (2016) shows that 91% of workers feel motivated to do their best if their company is led by leaders who support well-being.

Another study (The Henry Miller Group, 2014) reveals multiple other benefits of employee well-being that might surprise you:


ROI of employee well-being

It’s becoming evident that incorporating employee well-being as a core value can give your company a serious boost. A study by the American Psychological Association (2016) reveals that the ROI of wellness initiatives is about $30 per month per employee. For every $1.00 spent on the well-being of their people, employers got  roughly $3.80 in return.

Employees who feel great take your business to the next level:

  • Triggered intrinsic motivation boosts individual performances
  • Stimulated sense of belonging results in better teamwork and innovation
  • Improved efficiency at work, shows high quality output in less time
  • Increased employee satisfaction leads to longer talent retention

Operation cost reduction

Unnecessary costs related to low occupancy rates and office ‘no shows’ might surprise you. Did you know the average cost of a desk (office space) is €15.000 a year? The reason why smart offices are known for their positive impact on business results is two-fold. On the one hand, smart offices lead to significant cost reductions in multiple areas, and on the other hand, they help your employees create more value for your business. Smart office solutions give businesses the insights they need to optimize their buildings.

An efficient workplace impacts your operating cost:

  • Building cost
    Accomplish more with less square meters
  • Facilities cost
    Reduce cost on facilities by sharing them
  • Time wasted
    Decrease time people spend wandering around looking for facilities

"It’s time to rethink work. Don’t build bigger. Build smarter."

- Sander Schutte, CEO Mapiq

Flexibility

In today's workplace, flexibility and efficiency go in one hand. To achieve the sweet spot between those two, you need to start sharing facilities. By showing which facilities are available when and where, smart office solutions enable true flexibility in the workplace.

Workplace safety

Once you can welcome back your people in the office again, ensuring their safety regarding COVID-19 is of utmost importance. Even though not all everyone may return fulltime, it can still be challenging to comply with the 1.5-meter social distancing rule. Our data shows that by implementing social distance regulations, the availability of desks will decrease by an average of 43%.

A smart office can help you protect health in the office by:

  1. Calculating a safe office capacity
  2. Creating a floor plan based on your policy
  3. Booking shifts in the office while managing a safe capacity
  4. Analyze the occupancy in your office throughout the week

Sustainability

Companies that utilize smart offices instead of regular offices allow the regulation of optimal employee capacity and hence require fewer buildings. Moreover, smart office technology significantly decreases the energy needed to operate effectively in your remaining offices. This has a direct effect on your companies’ ecological footprint.

Companies that embrace smart office solutions can significantly improve their sustainability score. For instance, the highest sustainability score ever was rewarded to smart office The Edge.

Watch The Edge, a smart, green building in Amsterdam, the European capital of innovation for 2016.

Future-proof strategy

Having a future-proof workplace strategy means being prepared for change. Your organization changes, jobs change and so do the needs of your employees. Smart offices enable you to anticipate those changing needs by giving you insights in how people use their office. You can see which facilities are the most popular, analyze peak-hours and dead zones. These data insights, generated by smart office technology, help you successfully tweak your workplace to the changing needs of your people. So smart office solutions are definitely crucial to future-proof your workplace.

Section 3

Smart office solutions for the most common workplace problems

Smart offices make office life more efficient, easier and empower employees to get the most out of their day. What tools and solutions does Mapiq offer to eliminate traditional office problems and transform them into a competitive advantage for your business?

Calculate a safe office capacity

the smallest ambiguities can quickly turn into frustration that negatively influence your employees’ mindset.

One of the most common frustrations in offices that transition from assigned desks into flexible seating, is ambiguity around available workplaces. Too many businesses let their employees do the hard work of identifying which workspaces are available for that particular day. The same also applies to finding colleagues - no tools are provided to help employees find that colleague to quickly align with or to get an approval from.

Book and reserve desks

Offices with assigned desks may damage productivity. Why? Independence in our work is one of the essential psychological human needs to enjoy our job.

Studies demonstrate that, on average, about half of the workforce in a company is unhappy. The Conference Board shows that in 2019 only 56.3% of Americans were satisfied with their job. The lack of autonomy and belonging are amongst the main drivers of job dissatisfaction.

The Mapiq solution

The Mapiq Desk Booking App allows your employees to easily book a workplace that matches their goals for that part of the day. When employees feel the freedom to work flexibly and autonomously, workplace satisfaction increases and employees feel more autonomous. Research (Effectory) shows that 79% of autonomous employees are engaged at their work.

Read more about the benefits of Desk booking

Share workplace facilities

Successful businesses know that there is no such thing as communicating too clearly. Even the smallest ambiguities can quickly turn into frustration that negatively influence your employees’ mindset.

One of the most common frustrations in offices that transition from assigned desks into flexible seating, is ambiguity around available workplaces. Too many businesses let their employees do the hard work of identifying which workspaces are available for that particular day. The same also applies to finding colleagues - no tools are provided to help employees find that colleague to quickly align with or to get an approval from.

The Mapiq solution

Mapiq’s workplace sensors are located underneath your desks and quickly show employees which workplaces are available. Additionally, the onboard iBeacon transmitter helps your employees locate each other quickly and easily.

By implementing the workplace sensors in your offices, employees waste less time wandering through the office to find a suitable workspace, and demonstrate to them that their time matters.

Analyze your workplace performance

For managers, it can be difficult to know who is in the office and at what time. Many businesses lack insight into which buildings, floors and sections are utilized to their best potential. Consequently, it is difficult to have oversight of which buildings or floors can be downsized, leaving the company with unnecessary high operating costs.  

The Mapiq solution

With Mapiq’s Building Analytics, management can manage occupancy by optimizing the space and ensuring effective usage and sharing of facilities. With personalized dashboards, they have real-time insight into occupancy numbers to drive the decisions to reduce the operating costs while maintainging employee well-being

Read more about the benefits of Building Analytics

Find your colleagues

Meetings help your employees collaborate, strengthen the team, and resolve issues. However, finding a suitable meeting room is a continuing challenge in many businesses. Available meeting rooms may be incorrect in size, lack the necessary equipment, or there simply isn’t a room available when needed

Especially when creativity strikes and people want to organize an ad-hoc meeting, the lack of proper meeting rooms often results in frustration and decreased morale.

The Mapiq solution

Mapiq’s Room Booking encourages employee collaboration. This intuitive application helps employees connect at work, decrease the risk of meeting room ‘no-shows’ and saves time. With this solution, employees can reserve an available meeting room quickly and easily.

Control light & temperature

Meetings help your employees collaborate, strengthen the team, and resolve issues. However, finding a suitable meeting room is a continuing challenge in many businesses. Available meeting rooms may be incorrect in size, lack the necessary equipment, or there simply isn’t a room available when needed.

Especially when creativity strikes and people want to organize an ad-hoc meeting, the lack of proper meeting rooms often results in frustration and decreased morale.

The Mapiq solution

Mapiq’s Room Booking encourages employee collaboration. This intuitive application helps employees connect at work, decrease the risk of meeting room ‘no-shows’ and saves time. With this solution, employees can reserve an available meeting room quickly and easily.

Find available meeting rooms

Meetings help your employees collaborate, strengthen the team, and resolve issues. However, finding a suitable meeting room is a continuing challenge in many businesses. Available meeting rooms may be incorrect in size, lack the necessary equipment, or there simply isn’t a room available when needed.

Especially when creativity strikes and people want to organize an ad-hoc meeting, the lack of proper meeting rooms often results in frustration and decreased morale.

"It’s super important for us that everybody in our organization has a sense of belonging."

- Fran Katsoudas, Cisco

Section 4

How to start your smart office journey

Once you are convinced of the benefits of smart office solutions, you’re probably wondering how to best get started. When having the right solutions, transforming your workplace into a smart office is easier than you think.

Follow these steps to start creating your smart office:

1. Give people freedom of choice

Start by giving people the tools they need to do their best work. Mapiq's smart office app functions as the remote control of your office for employees. Having a live overview of what's happening in the office will let them book days in the office, choose the right workspace and see who's in today. Giving them freedom of choice doesn't only boost their well-being, it also keeps your office efficient.

2. Analyze how they use your office

Now that employees have the freedom and flexibility to decide how the job should be done, it's time for you to get smart. Through your admin dashboard in Mapiq's Smart Office Platform, you can analyze how people use your office. You can discover the most popular facilities, analyze peak-hours and identify dead zones.

3. Optimize your workplace

Workplace analytics are a great solution to efficiently manage your office. Because now that you know how people use your office, you can easily optimize your workspace. Your analytics have shown peak-hours and occupancy rates. Now it's up to you to make smart decisions on where to scale up- or down. You can now reduce operation cost and efficiently manage your real estate portfolio.

Ready to create a great place to work where your employees feel autonomous, aligned and productive?

Our smart office experts are ready to help you establish a personalized action plan! Contact us today!

Section 5

What to expect from a smart office?

Companies who embrace smart office solutions can expect big returns on their investment. What do those returns look like? Let’s explore some real-world examples.

Real-world business results

The results you gain from your smart office transition depend on your starting point and your strategy. The results of our clients include the following:

Inspirational quotes

Smart offices are a hot topic among many business leaders. Here’s what they have to say.

"One of the best ways we can compete for talent is to offer the most creative, collaborative, and innovative workspace."

- R/GA’s Founder, CEO, and Chairman Bob Greenbergin an interview with Forbes

"Thanks to Mapiq, the building is a technologically advanced workspace that enhances cooperation between people."

- Peter de Haan, Site Director AkzoNobel

"Mapiq enables our employees to work smarter by helping them easily find free meeting rooms ad-hoc, without the need to make reservations upfront."

- Jan Dhaenens, Change Management Lead Collaborative Workplace at Proximus

"Mapiq makes it possible to find available workplaces quickly and adjust these to my personal preferences. As a result, my workdays become much more productive."

- Mick Jones, a daily Mapiq user at the Unilever headquarters in New Jersey

"The Mapiq app helps our employees have the workspace that they need at the moment that they need it."

- Coen van Oostrom, Founder & CEO OVG Real estate

Inspiring smart office examples

Be inspired by companies around the globe that benefit from their smart buildings:

Section 6

Conclusions and next steps

Making your office smart is an easy way to realize business growth. By offering flexibility and a personalized experience, your employees will become the best version of themselves. On the other hand, you'll need less space and facilities which means your operation costs will decrease. Or well said, you'll get more out of less square meters.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how your organization can benefit from our smart office solutions. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest trends in the future of work right in your inbox.

Learn how your organization can benefit from our smart office solutions.

Wieke Jong, team member
Wieke Jong
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