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Developing a Workplace Strategy for Your Smart Office

December 8th, 2021 | 8 min. read

Developing a Workplace Strategy for Your Smart Office


VergeSense is the industry leader in providing enterprises with a true understanding of their occupancy and how their offices are actually being used.

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Today’s workplace is complex and dynamic, largely due to the shift to hybrid work environments and advancements in technology. Companies are exploring ways to improve the employee experience — particularly in light of the ongoing “Great Resignation.” Leadership teams and workplace strategists need to account for performance, employee comfort and happiness, and  efficient use of space, which can be optimized using smart office technology.

Smart office solutions allow office spaces to be used better, as they offer CRE Heads data on how employees use the office. As a result, workplace strategists are able to reinvest in spaces — with these insights in mind — to optimize for employee comfort, productivity, and innovation, which drives ROI. The smart office industry growth reflects this, with increased investment in smart office hardware that supports hybrid teams. 

Innovations in technology have enabled businesses to influence their workplace strategy and design with data-driven decision making. A tech-focused workplace strategy transforms the employee experience through the use of collaboration, creativity, and efficiency. However, this is a long-term approach, requiring a clear initial vision and ongoing analysis. 

No matter where your workforce is on leveraging technology, the implementation of an effective workplace strategy and adoption of smart office tools are significant in increasing ROI and facilitating hiring and retention. 

How Does a Workplace Strategy Impact ROI? 

Workplace strategy impacts company ROI in both hiring and retention due to its effect on the employee experience, company culture, building management, real estate portfolio management, and office utilization. 

Managers are developing effective workplace strategy solutions in smart offices to maximize their ROI and overall company performance. A solid workplace strategy can elevate the overall operation of the company, driving employee performance and engagement amongst other factors. 

1. Improves company performance

Companies that implement a strong workplace strategy have a clear vision of their goals and understand the needs of their workforce. This is crucial for transforming  how the company operates. 

Business goals should be determined with cross-functional teams led by workplace strategists and incorporate the views of building managers, leadership teams, people managers, HR and recruiting teams, and employees themselves.

2. Reduces waste

In order to reduce expenditures and increase ROI, managers are tackling waste objectives in their workplace strategy. Reducing business waste by performing a waste management audit can prevent issues from material waste to the wastage of space. 

Creating a waste management action plan within your overall business strategy helps to define waste-reduction measures which will lower business costs. 

Consider company or office waste in terms of:

  • Wasted space or square footage
  • Wasted resources
  • Wasted use of utilities like lights, heat, air conditioning, or cleaning services
  • Wasted opportunities for expansion or multi-purpose spaces

Our partner and leading corporate real estate organization, JLL, invites organizations to examine how responsible their real estate portfolio is, and encourages businesses to look at how spaces are taking action to become more smart, digitally connected, and efficient to reduce carbon footprints. 

3. Provides insights that reveal opportunities for optimization in real-time

Smart office devices like workplace sensors offer opportunities for optimization in real-time, usually through workplace analytics data. Developing a workplace strategy that sets out which technology platforms the business is going to invest in, and how this will be utilized, is key for identifying these opportunities. 

Workplace analytics technology like VergeSense provide real-time data to allow workplace strategists to optimize office spaces, from improving efficiency to understanding office usage. Continual assessment of this data enables you to identify where improvements need to be made or updated. 

4. Improves employee engagement, hiring, and retention

A well-defined workplace strategy should assess how office space is used and what aspects are important to employees. Along with the utilization of space, managers should specify objectives for flexible working or hybrid workflows. 

The past 18 months have transformed the workplace, with more employees opting for hybrid work. In building a strategy that recognizes remote practices alongside employees’ requirements, businesses can begin to improve hiring processes and retention. Employees will have clear expectations of their role, the technology they are using, and understand the value they bring to the company. 

5. Maximizes real estate potential

More than 50 percent of commercial office space goes unused, exhibiting a widespread issue of wasted space. In order to maximize real estate potential, it’s important for businesses to determine space optimization procedures through their workplace strategy. 

Wasted or unused office spaces can cost organizations hundreds of thousands per month, severely compromising a company’s ROI. In setting out methods for optimizing space, including measures for conducting space audits and acquiring data, the correct office space can be used, preventing real estate over-expenditure. 

Reports for Creating a Workplace Strategy

Leveraging reports for workplace strategy can help guide your decision-making when it comes to defining your processes and quantifying employee behavior. Collecting data aids teams in identifying office trends, whether that involves employees returning to work or how office space is currently being used. 

There are multiple approaches on how to use data to promote the overall ROI and success of the business. As more companies are moving towards hybrid working, collaborative office spaces are becoming the norm. In this case, reports that offer an understanding of how spaces are being used can support workplace strategy, by offering the data needed to optimize for office occupancy and health and safety measures. 

Before collating data, teams need to understand their objective and how specific data can assist with improving operations, employee experience, and answering business questions. Data leads to better business decisions, but only when teams know what insights they wish to gain and how this can drive the business forward. 

How to Develop a Workplace Strategy for a Smart Office 

Developing actionable workplace strategy processes can facilitate an efficient work environment in the office. With employees seeking a safe, flexible, and distraction-free space to work in, many organizations are employing workplace strategy consultants or hiring for workplace experience roles to think strategically about improving performance and reaching business goals. 

Here are five key steps to developing a digital workplace strategy for smart offices.

1. Analyze existing CRE assets and workplace technology.

Assess existing commercial real estate assets and technology that has already been implemented in the workplace. Measuring the success of these tools will help to determine where improvements can be made. 

If the office has already implemented hybrid working in some capacity, explore how team productivity has been affected since this method of working was adopted. This may involve surveying individual employees, analyzing office output, using reports from sources already being used, or having conversations with stakeholders. 

If employees are returning to the office, consider employee experience in terms of utilizing existing workplace technology. 

2. Identify opportunities to add smart office technology.

Smart office technology tends to fall into one of several categories, including communication, collaboration, messaging, connectivity, mobility, and business applications. You’ll likely use a wide variety of these tools. However, new opportunities can arise from changing patterns in the office environment, as we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of smart office tools 

When developing a workplace strategy, take into account where smart office solutions can be implemented for employee productivity. For example, 73% of enterprises are now using at least two collaboration tools, promoting flexibility and relationships. 

It's important to recognize where office technology can solve problems. For instance, smart technology like touch-free door entry is also being used to assist safe working practices. Smart office technology offers a wide range of insights, enabling offices to be more agile than ever before. 

3. Implement smart office technology.

When developing a workplace strategy for your smart office, consider gathering an implementation team that will roll out the use of the technology, determining how much training employees will require to use it. Underestimating the scope of pre-planning causes disruptions to office productivity further down the line. By running a pilot program with an implementation team, any roadblocks can be addressed and the correct training procedures given to those who will be using the technology. Depending on the technology used, this may be a large department of people or a handful of employees. 

Once any potential issues have been recognized, you can account for staff training procedures within your workplace strategy. Keep in mind that individuals have different training requirements so any training materials should be tailored to varying types of learners.

4. Set up workplace analytics and reporting.

Within your workplace strategy, implement analytics and reports that align with your business vision. If your goal is to increase employee efficiency, it is important to have a strategy in place to access tools that are designed to gather data on employee behavior, office space utilization and productivity.

5. Conduct an ongoing assessment strategy to improve the workplace.

Identify processes for continual assessments of important smart office data metrics. Ongoing assessments help to pinpoint where workplace improvements can be made, whether that’s amending design, workflows, or smart technology implementation. Featuring regular report assessments in your strategy enables fast business decisions, especially when you’re communicating these findings to key decision makers. 

Craft a workplace strategy that will transform your smart office into an optimal work environment for your employees — request a demo of VergeSense today.