BPO Bulletin

What Is a Smart Office — and How Does It Improve the Employee Experience?

by Ken Neal
September 19, 2022

The pandemic put digital transformation on the fast track for many organizations. Companies that had planned to adopt more advanced technologies and gradually enact business process improvements were suddenly forced to shorten their timelines. They needed to quickly enable employees to work remotely in a secure environment — and to continue to serve consumers, clients and business partners effectively in new and innovative ways.

With the height of the pandemic behind us, many companies have now settled into a hybrid office model. Today, there’s a new emphasis on further streamlining operations and leveraging technology and expertise to meet the needs of all employees, wherever they are — remote, in the office, or some combination of both. The employee experience has become a critical issue for all businesses and a key factor in the ability to attract and retain talent as well as maintain a high level of engagement and productivity.

As companies race to engage digital tools while striving to improve the employee experience, it’s become clear that there is both the need and the opportunity for a truly smart office.

High-tech, hybrid workplaces with a human touch

Often when people think of a smart office, they think primarily about technology. While technology is an essential component, our definition goes deeper. At Canon Business Process Services, we define the smart office as a combination of technology, process improvements, analytics, automation, and the human touch.

Why must a smart office include more than just technology? Hybrid work isn’t going away. Therefore, the human touch — which includes a knowledgeable, trained staff — is a critical part of a smart office. Studies show that employees who feel included are less likely to seek new employment opportunities. Businesses can use technology in tandem with an appropriately trained staff to help remote and hybrid employees feel welcomed and taken care of, but the human element must not get lost.

Conversely, technology in a smart office can help fine-tune the human touch. For example, well-trained staff can analyze data and employee feedback and suggest ways to help drive continuous improvement in office services. Without this ability to determine what is working and what is not, you don’t have a smart office; you have an inefficient office and potentially disaffected employees with expensive technology.

Bridging the gap between employees and productivity

At Canon Business Process Services, we see the smart office and all its components as connectors that link employees with the tools they need to get their jobs done efficiently and effectively. In some cases, this might consist of workplace experience services such as digital mail for scanning, categorizing and distributing physical mail, shipping and receiving, smart lockers, floor ambassadors or concierge services, and visitor management systems. At other times it could include copy and print services, systems for managing office and pantry supplies or office space turnovers, conference room services or printer equipment support.

We recently worked with a large finance and insurance company to provide a greeter to escort executive visitors at its global headquarters. The greeter — whose function is one element in a range of workplace experience services we are providing — welcomes executives on the way to their destination. The goal is to give their visit a warm, friendly start anticipating needs and creating a unique personalized experience. The greeter is also there to minimize workplace friction by providing support to employees and ensuring that all their office-related needs are met.

In partnership with another technology provider — which uses occupancy sensors to better manage office space and see who uses the space — we were able to help stakeholders reduce the company’s physical footprint by delivering a more accurate estimate of how much space it truly needs.

Creating a more productive workplace

The employee experience has become a critical issue for all businesses and a key factor in helping companies attract and retain the talent that will enable their future success. A smart office combines technology with trained individuals to create a professional environment where people enjoy coming to work. It’s a space that fosters collaboration while enabling employees to work smarter, faster and more creatively by empowering them with the tools they need to be successful.

At Canon Business Process Services, we understand the people, processes, technology and analytics required to reduce workplace friction, improve the employee experience, create a more enjoyable office environment and help employees focus on their work. This powerful combination of factors ultimately creates a more collaborative, productive and pleasant workplace. Learn how to start improving your workplace experience today.

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