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Smart Office Tech Redefines Connected Workplace Dynamics

Gone are the days of static office cubicles and inflexible organizational structures.

Today, traditional notions of space and operations are giving way to dynamic, interconnected hubs promising enhanced communication and seamless interactions for remote and hybrid workers.

This transformation, powered by the integration of technology and connected devices, is enabling employees to communicate and collaborate seamlessly, while streamlining workflows and improving operational performance. Furthermore, sophisticated data analytics provide insights into workspace use, guiding informed decision-making for resource allocation.

Among the startups driving innovation in the space are Oakland-based startup Comfy, which gives clients like Salesforce, Morgan Stanley and McDonald’s, access to data insights to inform smarter workplace strategies. 

Acquired by Siemens in 2018, the startup has also introduced features like “Flexible Spaces” to address employee concerns in the transition to hybrid work. 

These additions include the option to designate workspace locations to easily identify colleagues and an in-app filter enabling employees to determine when particular co-workers will be present in the office so they can plan their hybrid work schedules ahead of time. Employees can also customize their office environment via a mobile app, including temperature and lighting, to their preferred settings.

Entrepreneurs who crave office camaraderie can turn to apps like Groove for group work sessions and networking opportunities. 

Launched last month, the digital coworking app gives users access to one-hour coworking sessions with a group of up to four business owners. Each session includes a five-minute introductory video chat, followed by 50 minutes of independent work off camera, and concludes with another five minutes to wrap up over video.

“It becomes the backbone of how they will get their work done in a day, especially their deep work,” Groove CEO Josh Greene said in a Feb. 23 Fast Company report. “They ride the sessions — there’s a positive wave that comes out of the hour.” 

Tackling Connected Workplace Challenges

While the workplace of the future promises enhanced interaction and productivity, the path to achieving a fully connected workplace is not without its challenges.

Data security is a primary challenge as organizations amass vast amounts of sensitive information through interconnected devices, making them increasingly vulnerable to cyberthreats and breaches. Additionally, privacy concerns loom large, emphasizing the need to safeguard personal information.

Another significant challenge lies in the potential for digital overload as the constant influx of notifications, alerts and updates can lead to cognitive overload, diminishing productivity and contributing to burnout. 

Based on findings from the Information Overload Research Group, a nonprofit consortium comprising business professionals, researchers, and consultants, workers in the United States waste 25% of their time managing their huge and expanding data streams, which costs the economy a staggering $997 billion each year.

Organizations must further address psychological barriers to adoption, including resistance to change and fear of job displacement.

For instance, consumers remain hesitant about artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, exhibiting the least enthusiasm for AI involvement in the workplace among the sectors studied — entertainment, healthcare and banking — with less than 40% displaying interest, PYMNTS Intelligence data has revealed.

Moreover, concerns about job automation persist, with 7 out of 10 consumers expressing the belief that AI is already capable of substituting certain elements of their professional skills.

Despite these hurdles, connected workplaces and smart offices offer immense potential for innovation and growth, offering opportunities for businesses to leverage technology to not only improve productivity but also foster a culture of seamless collaboration in today’s ever-evolving work environment.