Architecture & Design, Human Resources, and Real Estate

5 signs it's time to upgrade your workplace technology

August 31, 2017
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How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your workplace technology? If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re not alone. From communication barriers to declining productivity, there are several signals that may suggest a technology upgrade is due.

Here are five ways to know it’s time for an upgrade or overhaul:

1. Your technology doesn’t support how people communicate

These days you’d be hard-pressed to find a person in the workforce who is without a mobile device. Keeping connected through our phones, tablets and laptops has long been considered normal, and is now a necessity. As we progress further into a future of mobile connectivity, it’s essential that the workplace adapts to these new ways of communicating. Ask yourself: Does your workspace help or hinder these interactions?

Conferencing solutions and collaboration platforms are the tools needed to connect people and devices. They allow two people in different locations to have a face-to-face meeting. Collaboration platforms allow users to chat, text or call a coworker as easily as they do their family and friends outside of work. Both solutions have been developed in response to the way people are using personal technology, and will continue to adapt with new user habits. Workplaces that value effective and efficient communication should do the same.

2. Your productivity is declining

An inspiring, comfortable and flexible workspace is key to supporting employee productivity and keeping them engaged. According to a 2013 report by Gensler, employees in top-performing workplaces — that is, those workplaces that effectively balance focused and collaborative work — outperform their peers on measures of performance and innovation. When employees have the amenities they need, as well as their choice of privacy and noise level, they perform better in their work environment.

Technology is a huge factor in creating top-performing workplaces. Mobile technology allows people to work where and when they want, allowing for choice and control on a personal level. Collaborative technology such as videoconferencing, presentation screens and projectors allow groups to meet, share and innovate without obstructions. And room scheduling systems, which are connected to your office’s email client, allow employees to schedule time in the spaces that suit their work.

Creating connected spaces removes barriers to communication, collaboration and productivity — which in turn improves your bottom line.

3. Your team is growing

If your team is growing outside the walls of your workplace, or if you want to provide employees the flexibility to work anywhere, a unified communications strategy is key to keeping offsite employees connected. We use video conferencing to connect employees from our multiple locations in West Michigan. Video conferencing is as easy as sitting down, dialing a number and connecting with your coworker in another office on the screen in real-time. Communications are vastly improved when you can see the nonverbal cues of your counterpart on screen, just as if they were sitting across from you at the conference table.

4. Your square footage is underutilized

Has your company’s conference room evolved into the employee lunch room over the years? Do you know how often your meeting rooms are being used? It could be time to pinpoint how your work environment is being used and if there are opportunities for improvements.

Determine the top performing and underperforming workspaces in your office by using a tool like Steelcase’s Workplace Advisor. This tool captures data through sensors installed in your work environment and determines which rooms are being used and for how long.

In turn, you can use this data to create spaces that work for your business and your employees, ensuring your real estate dollars go farther.

5. Your technology fails during meetings and presentations

Are you constantly tinkering with cables, adapters or remote controls during client meetings? Are your conference calls always getting dropped? These could be signs it’s time to make sure you have the right technology integrated into your meeting spaces.

In addition to the video conferencing solutions, there are several other conferencing solutions that can help you optimize your conference space so meetings can run smoothly. Wireless presentation systems allow you and anyone else in the room to connect to the screen with the click of a button or by entering an IP address into your browser. Plug-and-play presentation systems mean exactly that: plug a cable into your computer and “play” your content immediately on the shared screen. Each of these solutions are designed to be as user-friendly as possible, giving you back the time lost on less-than-effective projection systems.