The journey to building a smart office
Office technology and design are constantly evolving, and this year’s hot new thing could be next year’s fax machine. With that in mind, Robin brings you The State of the Office 2018—a series of in-depth articles detailing how innovations in technology and design are changing various aspects of the workplace, and what everyone from CIOs to office managers needs to know to stay current. Each week, we’ll issue a new report focusing on a different section of the office. Bonus round: the digital workspace.So far, we’ve covered the tech and design of every physical corner of the office from lobbies to conference rooms to desks. But there’s one critical piece of the workplace puzzle that we believe deserves it’s very own blog post. And that’s the digital workspace.
- What pieces of technology and software live in the computers and laptops around the office?
- What makes it possible for your IT team to manage onboarding and password security for hundreds of employees at once?
- What tech makes having a meeting with Jim in California while you’re in the office in Boston a seamless interaction?
- And what software are employees using to book and manage their own personal workspace for the day?
The digital workspace of the future is one where employees have access to information and content from anywhere at anytime. It’s made up of simple automated processes which prioritize employee and company productivity. It’s designed with an emphasis on collaboration and analytics. The tech that exists solely in digital format is one of the most important aspects of the office because, well, without it, the office wouldn’t be able to run. That’s why we put together this list of 8 powerful and well-designed digital products highly regarded by IT pros on IT Kit.
1. Fleetsmith: seamless Mac management
[caption id="attachment_5653" align="alignleft" width="770"]
Photo via Fleetsmith.[/caption]Say goodbye to complicated feature sets and weak security, and hello to Fleetsmith. The cloud-based Apple management tool integrates with G Suite and Office 365 to make managing Macs simple and secure. The product identifies which employees haven’t been onboarded and gets the process started for you with a ready-to-send email. Security for employees and company data wasn’t left out of Fleetsmith’s design either. Remote lock and wipe covers any stolen or lost devices so that important company info is always protected.The company covers lots of ground including DevOps, end-user usability, security, management, and product deployment so that your IT team can streamline onboarding and focus their time on other projects.
2. DropBox: on-demand access to files
[caption id="attachment_5654" align="alignleft" width="770"]
Photo via DropBox.[/caption]In a digital age, employees expect anytime, anywhere access to their work. DropBox makes that a given for companies handling documents and files from logs to photos to videos and more. The hosting service offers cloud storage so that anyone can drop a file into their account for easy access. Users can upload and share files as well as create file requests to give coworkers that extra nudge to share content. In case of a stolen or lost device, individuals and teams can protect company data with a remote device wipe. Plus with shared link controls, users can manage access to shared files with password protection, permissions, and expiration dates. So if you expose your grandmother’s famous chicken noodle soup recipe to your marketing team folder by accident, you can quickly undo your mistake.
3. Comfy: keep employees happy
[caption id="attachment_5655" align="alignnone" width="1001"]
Photo via Comfy.[/caption]Ever notice the gap between what your fellow employees want and what your company can provide? Comfy was designed to bridge that gap by giving employees power to adjust their environment in a way that best suits them. The app allows employees to warm or cool a space on-demand, adjust light levels, find and book meeting rooms, submit a work order request, fill out a survey, and more. Over time, the app will automatically adjust specific temperatures based on past preferences. With Comfy insights, employees gain a better understanding of what’s happening in the office through engagement, feedback, temperature and energy monitoring, and space utilization.
4. Kisi: say goodbye to key cards
[caption id="attachment_5656" align="alignleft" width="770"]
Photo via Kisi.[/caption]Key cards are, like, so last year. With Kisi, a phone is all an employee needs at the door. The cloud-based access control system is equipped with a web dashboard for admins to use to manage company security. Kisi is meant to make company growth an easy process. Adding new employees, creating employee profiles, and customizing admin accounts are simple processes in the dashboard. The tool integrates with platforms lots of companies already use like Google Calendar, Ring Doorbell, and Bixby, to name a few. These integrations help to make every employee and visitor’s first experience in the office as pleasant as possible.
5. Spoke: manage internal company requests
[caption id="attachment_5657" align="alignleft" width="770"]
Photo via Spoke.[/caption]Every IT and support pro has faced a dreaded flood of support tickets all at once, some legitimate issues, others as minor as Paul asking if the office is closed on the Fourth of July. That’s no way to start your day, and employee request management company Spoke knows it too.That’s why they created a solution for internal support teams. All in one platform, Spoke provides ticketing, knowledge management, and self-service powered by AI. The purpose of the modern office is to make processes that were once difficult, easy. And for the IT team, that means streamlining employee issues before they turn messy. Spoke’s chatbot uses AI to automatically respond to questions via Slack, email, and the web so that employees get answers right away. And the more your employees use Spoke, the smarter the chatbot becomes.
6. Intello: deal with all the SaaS
[caption id="attachment_5658" align="alignleft" width="770"]
Photo via Intello.[/caption]Can you count on two hands how many different pieces of software your team uses? Probably not. That’s because the average employee actively uses 36 SaaS applications, according to Intello. The SaaS management provider gives companies full visibility into their software spending, usage, and compliance. It identifies all software subscriptions, any wasted spending, and provides insight into how employees use each piece of software, making the decision to keep some services and let others go a much simpler process. Plus, with security and compliance protocols more relevant today than ever, Intello automates those processes for 3rd party software vendors. Because we all know you’re probably tired of filling out GDPR forms by now.
7. 1Password: stay safe and never lose a password
[caption id="attachment_5659" align="alignleft" width="770"]
Photo via 1Password.[/caption]Used by over 30,000 companies worldwide, it’s safe to say that 1Password is one of the most highly regarded password managers out there. With every password locked in a virtual vault, you only ever need to remember one password: the master one. All the rest sit safely inside the vault ready to be used at any moment.Download the sidebar on your Mac and your vault is available at the click of a button. Designed to easily organize your info, the sidebar consists of an item list with icons to identify websites right away, item details including username and password, and team vaults with shared account passwords.Along with easy end-user access, management can control what employees see and share with access to how people use the system to determine best onboarding practices.
8. Robin: scheduling for the office and everything in it
[caption id="attachment_5660" align="alignleft" width="770"]
Photo via Robin.[/caption]The office is all about visibility these days and Robin, a scheduling assistant with apps for meeting rooms, desks, and more, helps companies coordinate the spaces and people in a transparent way.Room displays at the door of every conference room allow for total meeting visibility, so you and your coworkers never have to worry about conference room “theft” ever again. And Robin automatically unbooks no-show meetings so that those rooms open up to the rest of the office.With the latest release of Desks, an office hoteling software, employees have control over where they work throughout the day, with options of permanent workstations and reservable desks for hot-desking and desk hoteling. And with analytics, every office has the ability to optimize space when necessary based on how employees use each space. So if that awkward corner meeting room is never booked or a row of desks is rarely reserved, your company can adjust the space accordingly.
Check out the other posts of The State of the Office 2018 series:
- Conference rooms
- Social Areas
- Executive Offices
- Interview with Gensler Associate Alan Robles
- Interview with KAA Design Partner Duan Tran