Technology is booming in all sectors, and as algorithms and automated systems become more and more commonplace the traditional office environment is adapting to keep up. Workplaces are incorporating these new technologies into their existing models, creating spaces that are as comfortable and profitable as possible while embracing the exciting changes technology can offer.

Connectivity

Wireless connectivity is the basic building block of office technology. A strong wifi signal does wonders for productivity by itself, and since all other automation systems will be running through your office’s local network it is essential to have a powerful, business-grade router coupled with an excellent connection from your Internet service provider.

A wireless network allows employees to transfer files and use the automation tools from anywhere in the office, providing the opportunity to move from place to place without interrupting workflow and concentration. This constant connectivity is invaluable in a modern work environment, and everything from simple tasks such as automated email forwarding to the cutting edge of machine learning will run from the wifi signal present in the space.

Automated Control Systems

Personalization is important in any space, at home or at work. Having precise control over your environment allows customization toward the most suitable environment for creativity and productivity. Everything from lighting to air conditioning can be automated and controlled from a single, office-wide controller such as a tablet, and each individual space can be synced up to an app for exacting control over personal spaces within the office.

Automated systems can detect the number of people in the space, adjusting the strength of climate control accordingly and creating a more comfortable environment while saving money on energy costs. More sophisticated systems can even adjust the climate control at individual desks and seats, directing fans toward and away from spaces to make each individual as comfortable as possible. Office-wide temperature can be adjusted through a wall-mounted control panel, or a tablet can be loaded with an app to perform the same task. Each employee can sync their personal devices to the system with an app and give themselves control over their space.

Just like temperature, everyone has a preference on how bright they want their space to be. Harsh lighting is detrimental to concentration and can even negatively impact sleep patterns, so warm and natural lighting are preferable. The same app to control temperature can be used to control the brightness of a space, adjusting by preference over each seat. Smart windows can be installed to automatically tint according to the amount of sunlight, so natural light can be ambient and not reflect and glare off of tables and computer screens.

Best of all, automated systems can locate personal settings in the database and apply it to anywhere the synced app travels, so when someone changes seats or moves to a new office the system takes their settings with them and automatically applies them to the new space. Light and air conditioning are applied exactly how they’re needed throughout the office, and when coupled with emerging green technologies such as LEDs and solar heating these advanced systems can significantly lower utility bills and provide excellent personalization for each individual.

Visitor Management

Technology in the workplace focuses on streamlining and prioritizing so everyone can spend more time doing what’s important. One of the most common complaints in a workplace has to do with the number of interruptions a person experiences every day. A study conducted at UC Irvine estimates that workers are interrupted once every 11 minutes, and when coupled with a second finding that it takes an average of 25 minutes to become refocused the complaints become very valid. Interruption minimization, then, should be one of the main priorities of workplace technology.

Even with a dedicated receptionist, visitors into an office environment can disrupt workflow and pull people away from tasks they had been immersed in. Simple visits such as deliveries can be enough to cause the 25-minute recalibration, and an automated check-in system simplifies the process for visitors and reduces the number of interruptions. Digital sign-in sheets and reception apps can accept packages, log any time someone enters or leaves the space, print visitor badges, and relay messages or notifications when a visitor arrives, simplifying the process for visitors and employees. Sign-ins and -outs are also stored in an accessible and secure database, making it easier to look back on records months or years into the future just by searching.

Machine Learning and the Future

Automation is already having a marked effect on the workplace, and as this trend keeps up businesses will trim down to focus on their core functions while leaving administrative and repetitive tasks to software systems. Human impact will likely shift to revolve around specialized, creative roles, and each worker will be able to perform to their fullest potential while doing a job tailored specially for them. As the change continues, offices with top-notch amenities will attract the best and businesses will be leaner, more specialized, and better able to adapt to an ever-changing landscape and workforce.

Tech integration streamlines work and allows people to focus on the tasks that are most relevant to them. Fewer distractions means a happier work environment, and advanced systems focused on environment control can make work feel more like home. Innovation and technology will continue to advance, and workspaces most willing to embrace the changes and adapt accordingly will continue to grow and prosper into the future.