What is a Smart Office?

🇸🇪 Svensk version

Most corporate real estate professionals and workplace managers agree: we’re entering the era of the smart office. But what does it really mean? What makes an office ‘smart’? and what are the benefits of a smart office?

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What is a Smart Office?

A smart office is a workplace where modern technology is leveraged to help employees work smarter, better, and faster.

This can be achieved by clearing the way of hurdles for the employees. By removing menial tasks and unnecessary obstacles – activities that drain time and energy from the workforce – smart office solutions lets employees focus on what really matters.

Typically, a smart office solution consists of a suite of technologies that connect with the employees, the building and existing IT infrastructure to achieve these goals.

Benefits of a smart office

The smart office is a paradigm shift when compared to the traditional office. The change to a more connected, digitally enhanced workplace will make life easier for a wide variety of people in the workplace.

Here are some of the most common benefits and reasons why companies are shifting to the smart office.

Boost productivity

One of the most popular reasons for implementing a smart office solution is to improve the productivity of the organization. It’s really quite simple: for example, by making it easier to carry out menial tasks like finding and booking meeting rooms, less time and frustration is spent on non-work.

Better use of office space

Almost 30 percent of booked meeting rooms end up unused. By identifying no-shows, and predicting potential no-shows, smart office solutions like Senion at Work can eliminate no-shows and free up space.

Improve collaboration

Smart office solutions like Senion at Work makes it easier for employees to meet up and find space for impromptu meetings. An organization where collaboration is encouraged is more likely to tap into the creativity and ingenuity of its workforce.

Actionable utilization insights

How a workplace is intended to be, and how it is actually used are two different things. Smart office solutions can help managers understand which rooms or office configurations are the most or least popular. This data can fuel decisions to improve the workplace.

Attract and retain

A situation where employees feel bogged down in a 20th century workplace with pre-historic ways of doing things is a sure way to scare away new recruits and current staff. By providing modern smart office solutions, companies can provide an employee experience that helps attract and retain employees.

Improve the wellbeing of staff

When staff don’t need to sweat the small stuff, they have more time to concentrate on the bigger, more important things. It’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter – getting more done with less stress, and less effort.

Shorter mean time to repair

By streamlining the employee-to-facility management channel, smart office solutions can radically reduce the time and effort to report broken or missing equipment. Easy and effortless reporting lead to quicker repairs – something everyone will benefit from.

Smart office technologies

There are many different ways to smarten up your office. From meeting room displays and smart sensors to indoor location-responsive solutions, we take a look at some different options for a smart office.

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Meeting room displays

Meeting room displays are screens – usually tablets – that are installed outside each bookable meeting room. The screens, which makes it easier for employees to book a meeting room, run a software that is connected to the room booking system.

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Smart sensors

Smart sensors are network connected sensors that detect events or physical changes in the environment. In offices, smart sensors are commonly used to measure CO2, air quality, and occupancy levels.

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Room booking app

This refers to the room booking app that often comes with workplace software stacks like Office 365 or G-Suite.

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Location-responsive workplace app

Location-responsive workplace apps are smartphone apps that are leveraging indoor positioning to automate and simplify the day at the office for employees.

Smart office technology comparison

There are several different approaches to smart office technologies, ranging from rudimentary entry-level products up to the more advanced solutions.

Meeting room displays Smart sensors Room booking app Location-responsive workplace app
Employee app
Physical hardware footprint
Occupancy detection
Find available rooms
Find available rooms near user
Book room
Location sharing
Basic wayfinding
Blue-dot wayfinding
Location-based suggestions
Detect no-shows
Predict no-shows
Release unused rooms
Smart location-based reminders

Smart office ROI areas

A smart office creates value in different areas of the business, ranging from saving energy, better utilization of real estate and employee productivity

The smart office is all about a more efficient use of resources. A smarter use of resources means that less time and money is wasted.

Smart office solution often generate value or savings in three major resource categories; utilities, real estate and payroll. Utilities refer to the resources that are spent on water, heating, cooling, and electricity. The real estate itself cost resources in the shape of rent or cost of ownership and payroll is the sum total of all salaries in the company.

In most companies, payroll is by far the largest expense, followed by rent or real estate costs. The cost of utilities are often much smaller than the rent. In fact, research conducted by corporate real estate advisory firm JLL has found that these size of these cost categories typically follow a pattern.

1 Energy and utilities 2 Real estate 3 Payroll
Est. cost per sqft per year  $3  $30 $300
10% improvement saves $0.3 $3 $30
1% improvement saves $0.03 $0.3  $3

Naturally, the actual rent per square feet differs from location to location – but the ratio provides a way to understand the cost elements in relation to each other.

Even a very modest improvement, such as a 1% improvement in productivity (payroll), can outweigh improvements in utilities or rent in real dollars.

Calculate your potential savings

Curious to see how much value a smart office solution like Senion at Work can realize? Try out our Smart Office ROI Calculator to find out!

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Workplace Insights

Learn more through our published whitepapers

Workplace utilization report

Curious to understand how and where a smart office solution can create value in your organization? Get your free ROI report and find out!

How to make better use of office space

An in-depth look at the reasons behind inefficient use of real estate, the cost, and what can be done to improve.

Office Workplace Survey 2017

A survey of US office workers and their workplace, with regards to finding places, colleagues and other points-of-interest in their workplace.

Mobile First in the Smart Office

How will we interact with these smart buildings in the near future? What will the touch points be when everything is connected?

The Changing Workplace

The challenges facing modern corporations and how location technologies can alleviate issues in the office.

Indoor Positioning 101 Popular

Indoor positioning is the technology to position smartphones inside buildings. Here you’ll get a solid insight of what IPS is, how it works, and where it is used.

Looking to improve utilization and productivity?

Senion at Work is a location-responsive smart office solution that help companies improve the workplace and save time and energy for employees!