For modern businesses, maximising efficiency and productivity is an evergreen goal. This isn’t just about boosting the bottom line but is also essential to meaningfully improve workplace happiness, the alleviation of stress and the development and retainment of talent.
Nonetheless, with industry 4.0 taking shape and bringing with it a new level of competitiveness around how businesses augment their workforce with powerful new automated and smart technologies, the c-suite must understand which tools are right for them, how they can reshape workplaces and ultimately unlock productivity.
It’s a complex and often daunting landscape for both newcomers and business veterans, but looking holistically, today’s organisations should consider three key areas of innovation in order to optimise workplace efficiency:
Automation is here to stay
Productivity levels still remain a cause for concern for many companies across the UK. A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research recently disclosed that 86 per cent of Britain’s largest businesses are worried about raising their productivity. A staggering 39 per cent went as far as to label their level of productivity ‘very concerning’. This highlights a clear role new technologies within the working environment should have; innovative tech that serves to save both time and money. Yet while the productivity issue is widely recognised, and many too see technology as a potential way to tackle it, fewer are clear on just how.
Almost every company, department and employee will have unique work processes. Therefore it is impossible to supply one-size-fits-all solutions that will maximise individual levels of productivity. However, what automated and innovative technologies can do, is offer companies and their workers more freedom to perform their daily tasks in ways that are best suited to their methods of working. This then provides more room to expand employee potential, thereby expanding business productivity and efficiency, as a result.
An example can be located in workplace management solutions, allowing for full control of company devices and providing simple solutions to counteract general company inefficiency. In automating the updates to standard office devices such as displays and projectors, the time spent trying to control and coordinate tech can be entirely reduced, leaving workers with much more energy to focus on the actual job in hand.
As such, technology has the ability to create a more efficient working environment while simultaneously keeping an office more up to date than ever before. Time spent on low-skill but high-time consuming tasks, like downloading an update, can be reduced. This then creates room for more pressing work. IT teams, for example, can focus on rolling out new digital transformation tools rather than having their time sucked up by updating legacy systems.
Optimal office space and control
Offices both big and small are often maze-like, particularly for newcomers. And even for long-timers it can often be troublesome to locate the perfect space for a meeting or 1:1 conversation. In fact, earlier this year, a study found that the average employee spends a total of 27 hours per-annum looking for available office space to meet.
Often, this isn’t due to lack of office space or any specific design flaw, but because of poor communication, room booking systems that simply don’t work, and unutilised signage. As a collective issue, this adds up to a big reduction in productivity. However, new complete workspace solutions can allow room bookings straight from an employees mobile or enable an AV manager to remotely update all digital signage to help visitors find a specific room at the touch of a button.
This technology means visitors can navigate the workspace with ease, both on a physical and on a digital level. These systematic yet simple solutions can ensure there is guaranteed space for key meetings and that no important visitors will ever feel lost and in need of directions.
Increased agility and collaboration
Giving team members the freedom to collaborate through the utilisation of innovative and intuitive technologies allows for alignment between teams and helps an organisation maintain a cohesive business vision. Technology has a central role in promoting collaboration in the modern workplace. For example, in meetings, the ability to seamlessly share content from a laptop, tablet or phone to a professional display allows teams to work together at the touch of a button, without the need to huddle around one smaller device. This straightforward ability to share skills, work together in real-time and truly collaborate isn’t just good for the business. Each member of the team is empowered to get involved and share their knowledge which is vitally important to maintain satisfaction in the workplace.
Ultimately, new technologies, whether they are designed to make meeting room management more straightforward or to eliminate the time required for manual updates to IT systems, should have a single aim: making the user’s work more straightforward, in order to give them time back to focus on other challenges. All of this boils down to a key truth that organisations looking to ride the innovation wave must understand: whether it’s AI, automation, or any other new tool that’s being rolled out, it’s not the technology itself that will transform the business, it’s the newly empowered people using it.
Carl Standertskjold, European Corporate Segment Marketing Manager, Sony Professional