Establish smart workplace and achieve digital maturity
In recent years, companies around the globe have lost no time to undergo digital transformation. They have revamped their IT infrastructure and adopted many cloud applications. Nonetheless, some businesses are not quite satisfied with the outcome. What went wrong? One possible reason is that the office design of these businesses has not been taken into account in the process of digital transformation. According to a research report, the efficiency level of digital transformation is related to a company’s digital maturity, which includes employees' familiarity with new technologies and how well a workplace can cope with the transformation process. Businesses that fail to transform an office with a traditional setting into a smart workspace can hardly expect to undergo digital transformation without a hitch.
- Close relationship between smart workplace and digital maturity
○ Characteristics of hybrid work
○ Demand for collaborative spaces
○ Software and hardware
- Re-configured workplace and unlocked creativity
○ Smart workplace design
○ Flexible office setting
○ Management of smart facilities
○ Smart visitor management system
○ Facilities for experiencing new technologies
Close relationship between smart workplace and digital maturity
According to a report published by Deloitte, one of the four biggest accounting firms in the world, the digital strategy, goal of digitalisation transformation and organisational flexibility of a company can serve as the metrics for assessing digital maturity. In terms of organisational flexibility, various factors are at play, such as employees’ familiarity with new technologies, and whether the company’s cloud services and workplace equipment can fulfil the needs associated with hybrid work and employees' needs for interaction and collaboration. Another research report pointed out that during the first six months after the Covid-19 pandemic erupted, the business operations of companies that had a high level of digital maturity was not affected, and such companies actually reported a 23% growth on average! Now let us delve into several factors that point to the close relationship between digital maturity and smart workplace design:
|Characteristics of hybrid work
|Under the hybrid work model, employees may be spread over different places. Yet they may have difficulty communicating with each other via a traditional office setting that has no video conferencing equipment and no collaborative tools. This inadequacy will eventually slow down work progress. And as employees do not go to the office often enough, the conventional one-person-one-desk office design becomes outmoded and amounts to a waste of the already limited space.
|Demand for collaborative spaces
|Cross-departmental cooperation is an important feature in the modern workplace. It is the key to bringing into play the potential and creativity of team members. In the traditional office setting, employees work in a fixed location, and there is little flexibility in the way of room functions. The office infrastructure may not be compatible with new technologies such as AI and big data analytics. Fixed seating and room function inflexibility amount to an obstacle to effective communication and collaboration between team members, while infrastructural incompatibility makes it difficult for company management to bring in advanced technologies, so that employees are unable to bring into full play their creativity.
|Software and hardware
|Digital transformation involves various new technologies and cloud services, such as cloud sharing and video conferencing. This means an office needs to be equipped with the right hardware, such as high-speed and stable internet connection and a high-quality video conferencing system.
Re-configured workplace and unlocked creativity
Since digital maturity is closely related to smart workplace, company owners should consider reconfiguring their office space and installing the appropriate hardware and software in their smart workplace, so that employees get to experience new technologies and different services at work and in their day-to-day life. The change will also unlock employees’ creativity. Earlier this year, Ricoh Hong Kong renovated its smart workplace to promote optimisation in different aspects.
|Smart workplace design
|A digitally mature smart workplace needs to be able to provide a variety of collaborative digital tools, such as video conferencing, instant messaging and shared document platforms, all of which serve to facilitate remote collaboration and communication among team members while boosting work efficiency. In the physical space, companies should enable employees to work in a flexible way. For instance, office space can be reorganised, employees can be allowed to bring their own computers (BYOD) to the office, and high-speed, stable and secure internet connection should be made available. Ricoh’s smart workplace has a comprehensive range of IT management tools and AI-powered network management solutions. Such a system continuously monitors the traffic and connection status of fixed networks and wireless servers, and automatically connects any digital device with the best connection hotspot within the smart workspace, ensuring users enjoy high-quality, seamless connection.
|Flexible office setting
|According to a survey, about 66% of employees preferred having the freedom to choose where to work in their office rather than being assigned a fixed seat or work in a conference room. Nevertheless, companies must take into account employees’ needs when designing a smart workplace. Planning in a vacuum will not work. It is advisable to ask professional consultants to conduct workplace analyses, collect data on day-to-day operations using the IoT sensors, workspace management platform and related tools in the office, and generate analyses through AI and big data. The results can serve as a reference for designing a smart workplace. This approach has the benefits of meeting employees’ needs, making good use of limited space and enabling employees to experience new technologies.
|Smart facilities management
|As a smart workplace has multi-functional areas and hot desks, business owners can consider establishing a smart facility management system, so that employees can use different devices to book via online channels office facilities such as workstations and collaborative spaces. This way, the facilities will not be left idle and employees will not waste time going to the office without access to the facilities they need. Such a system also enriches employees’ experience of using new technologies, thus enhancing the overall digital maturity of the company. Ricoh’s smart workplace solution, for example, enables company employees to reserve different smart workplace facilities anytime and anywhere through the Ricoh Space application. They can even control and adjust the lighting and audio-visual systems of the smart workplace and enjoy the convenience brought by new technologies.
|Hybrid work leads to more work meetings. With smartpod, companies can quickly set up numerous small conference rooms within a limited space and at a low cost. In addition, the exact location of the rooms is not fixed, allowing greater flexibility. Within a smartpod, online meeting tools can be added so that employees in different places can communicate with each other smoothly. Ricoh’s smart workplace is equipped with Microsoft Teams Rooms Solutions and interactive whiteboards, making it easier for employees to follow meetings, voice their views and be more engaged in meetings.
|Smart Visitor Management System
|This system allows company visitors to pre-register online before their visits. It will then automatically send to the visitors the arrival time and meeting locations, thus lightening employees’ workload. If integrated with the Access Control System and smart kiosk, the system can restrict visitors’ access to designated areas, and the visitors can store their belongings at the entrance. On the whole, it is a system that optimises visitors’ experience. As a matter of fact, digital maturity of a smart workplace makes a big difference to business partners’ overall impression of an company - a high level of digital maturity denotes innovative ability and efficiency, thus boosting business partners’ confidence in collaborating with the company. Ricoh’s Workplace Design Service is equipped not only with the Smart Visitor Management System but also smart receptionist and AI-powered robot, with the ability to automatically answer visitors' queries and show them the way if needed.
|Facilities for experiencing new technologies
|With rapid technological advancement, companies that deal with innovative technologies such as Web3, Metaverse, and blockchain may be in need of a physical space to present their research projects to other technology firms on a regular basis. Such a space can also help unlock the creativity of company employees by allowing them to experience first-hand new technologies. Ricoh’s Workplace Design Service has a Future Lab equipped with cutting-edge technologies such as VR and AI simulation. It keeps company employees abreast of the latest technological development while maintaining a sense of freshness of their workplace.
Shifting to a smart workplace is an important thing to do. Yet there is no one-size-fits-all approach, given that different industries have different operating models. It is advisable to use Workplace Design Services provided by professional consultants who will do all the analytical work and designing. Company owners can also take reference from successful cases and try out existing designs. This way, they will find it easier to set up a smart workplace that optimises employees’ efficiency. You are welcome to visit Ricoh’s smart workplace. Corporate customers can click on this link to make an appointment:
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