What Is a Workplace Tech Stack? And Why Do You Need One?
Offices used to be the central hub for everything, especially technology.
Tools were built around your physical spaces. Employees needed to be at a desk near a company server. Leaders needed to be on-site for every meeting.
Everything that enabled your team to work existed within the walls of your office.
Even as remote work started to gain traction pre-pandemic, companies weren't changing their infrastructure to suit remote employees.
But the tides are changing.
According to Upwork, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025; a staggering 87% increase from the number of remote workers prior to the pandemic.
And leaders are coming to terms with this reality. In a PwC survey of 669 CEOs, 78% agreed that remote collaboration is here to stay for the long-term.
In order to truly build a hybrid workplace experience, you’ll need a line-up of tools that can enable your teams to communicate, collaborate and contribute.
We call this a workplace tech stack.
What does a workplace tech stack look like?
From messaging platforms for virtual communication to office management software for booking spaces, your stack is critical to future-proofing your business.
The early days of the pandemic were full of quick-fixes for ‘temporary’ remote work. Nearly two years later these quick fixes have turned into long-term assets for organizations with an increasingly mobile workforce.
Workplace tech stack: A set of technologies that work in tandem to enable a better workplace experience for your teams.
Technology is more important than ever in a hybrid workplace because it allows distributed workers to seamlessly collaborate. Building an equitable system is one of the most important steps towards making flexible work stick.
Whether that means investing in a platform for collaboration or software that facilitates meetings with a mix of on-site and off-premise workers - your technology will empower your teams to comfortably work where they want.
Workplace teams — generally made up of IT, Facilities, HR professionals or a mix of the three —lead the charge with these implementations. It’s no coincidence that we are seeing more job postings around workplace experience. Businesses are investing in functions that can spearhead the adoption of new technologies and processes to enable a more hybrid workplace.
For employees to feel fully supported, workplace experience leaders must find the right tools for their team and ensure a smooth rollout. The less friction you have, the more likely your employees are to adapt to the changes.
Broadly speaking, the technology in your workplace stack will cover a few key areas:
- Collaboration: Think Asana and Trello - these tools enable teams to work cross-functionally on projects and stay aligned on timelines and responsibilities.
- Office Management: Think Robin - these tools enable you to manage your space, track office usage and empower your team to book desks and spaces independently.
- Communication: Think Slack and Microsoft Teams - these tools enable everyone to stay connected with chat functionality.
- File Sharing: Think Google Drive and Dropbox - these tools enable teams to keep track of shared documents and collateral.
The combination of these tools makes up the foundation of how your teams work. In a world where more flexible working options are the norm, these tools will play an increasingly important role.
In particular, your ability to measure demand and office usage will empower you to make data-backed decisions about how to move forward with your spaces.
The Power of Workplace Data
Did you know only about 1 in 50 companies currently uses modern office management technology to improve the employee experience?
Those that are using it to its full potential are seeing the benefits - especially when it comes to handling office usage. When workplace leaders can see data around who is in the office, they can make better decisions about company spaces.
Workplace leaders know real estate is a significant investment and they want to make sure they’re allocating the right resources internally. But teams work differently.
For example, let’s say half of your employees are engineers and the other half are sales, marketing, HR and support workers. You can then look at the percentage of distributed versus in-office teams.
If all of the engineers want to work remotely, that changes your entire workplace tech stack as far as what you need for equipment, types of collaboration areas and amenities.
For the rest of the teams, you may need to take a more hybrid approach. This might look like better video conferencing solutions or new microphones in your larger spaces. You’ll be focused on creating an equitable experience regardless of physical location.
Your workspace and its technologies should be reflective of who’s actually using them; data enables that.
With the right technology, you can even collect high-quality data around the equipment in your workspaces. This empowers employees to book the right rooms with the right tech and opens up a stream of data for you around equipment usage.
When you have high quality workplace data at your fingertips, you can close feedback loops with your teams quicker. You’ll be able to respond with changes that meet your employees' needs, leaving everyone happier and more productive.
Building your workplace tech stack
This is a momentum-building year for hybrid work and there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to re-establish the workplace as a tool for organizations, people, and teams.
Workplaces aren’t exclusively physical locations anymore. They are fluid, they exist across a range of touchpoints and they are evolving by the minute.
Your workplace tech stack exists to empower your teams and the work they do. Here are a few quick tips on how to start building an ideal workplace tech stack.
1. Run a tech audit: Start by surveying what kind of tools you already have at your disposal. Are they conducive to collaboration and communication? Do they take hybrid work into consideration?
2. Talk to your teams: At the end of the day, if your team doesn’t use your tools, they’re useless. Get a feel for what your team needs and how they prefer to work.
3. Consider IT integrations: Will these new tools easily fit into your existing tech stack? Work with your IT team to ensure everything is secure and that implementation won’t be a nightmare.
4. Review additions: Once you’ve added another layer to your workplace tech stack, set aside time to review. Is the new tool working? Where are the gaps? Is there a better solution out there?
5. Rinse and repeat: Start from the beginning with each new tool you consider.
Interested in getting started? Sign up for a demo of Robin today!