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How Workplaces Are Powering Up A Better Employee Experience With Technology?

Just a couple of years ago, newspapers in India carried some worrying headlines: 60 per cent of Indian workers had told a survey that their work-life balance rated from average to terrible.

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Just a couple of years ago, newspapers in India carried some worrying headlines: 60 per cent of Indian workers had told a survey that their work-life balance rated from average to terrible.

We’ve experienced a pandemic since then, and a huge hike in remote working – and the results are now giving facilities managers and office managers their biggest opportunity ever to put things right. The fight for hybrid working got a huge vote of confidence recently from Prime Minister Modi, who’s batting for home working and says employees will embrace employers who offer flexibility.

So with hybrid working here to stay, organisations across India and around the world are doing some deep thinking about how they use their workspace, and about how they can create a better employee experience.

There are good reasons for doing this. It makes good economic sense to ensure desks and meeting rooms are fully utilized, but the human factor is now high on the agenda.

Workers have become more demanding about their working conditions, and retaining the best talent depends on giving employees a good experience that promotes well being and productivity every time they come into the office.

What’s changing in the way the workplace is run?

Now it’s been shown that home working works, actually getting workers to come to the office is harder than before: an international survey by AWA of 80,000 employees found they are only spending 1.4 days a week on average in the office.

So workplace leaders are trying hard to make their offices attractive places to be, assessing the types of space they provide and whether they fit the way their employees now work. Some organisations are downsizing; others are reconfiguring to meet hybrid working requirements for flexibility and collaboration.

Employers are also being urged to manage with empathy. Gartner® states: “HR leaders must create a new, human-centric model that is fit for the hybrid environment by designing work around employee-driven flexibility, intentional collaboration, and empathy-based management.”

So what happens next?

Every organisation is tackling the road to hybrid success differently, but most agree that our definition of the office and what we do there will continue to change. Deloitte says: “Increasingly, offices will be reserved for face-to-face interactions and team-based activities, and enhancing collaboration and innovation, while employees would continue to work remotely for more individualized tasks and assignments.”

That sounds logical – but could be chaotic if not organised properly. And that’s an issue in many workplaces: the Future of Work report by AT&T shows hybrid working will be the default by 2024 – yet 72 per cent of businesses still lack a detailed strategy.

Recipe for disaster?

Industry expert Prithwish Sarkar, General Manager of NFS Technology in India, says: “It’s very concerning to see that many organisations are implementing hybrid working piece by piece without a well thought-out strategy – that’s a recipe for disaster.

“Ad hoc space utilisation in this fluid world creates inefficient use of space and a bad employee experience that affects productivity, wellbeing and talent retention.”

The companies making the most successful transition are those who have deployed workplace technology to support their agile workers, and to capture data on how desks and meeting rooms are actually being used.

“Analysis of this detailed real-time information supports excellent planning decisions. It enables workplace leaders to create an efficient working environment that is cost-effective, and which will provide flexibility as the requirements of the company and the employees continue to evolve.”

Benefits of a hybrid working strategy with data support

  1. Improved utilisation of valuable space
  2. An enhanced experience for employees, promoting collaboration, productivity and wellbeing
  3. Rationalised real estate costs, with opportunities for downsizing or repurposing existing space
  4. Better productivity, with reduced time spent on admin.

The technology toolkit that makes hybrid working really work

Workspace management technology has evolved into an ecosystem that sustains and enriches the working environment. Its elements include:

  • Desk and meeting space booking – agile workers can locate and book the workspace they need, using a mobile app. They check in and out of the space with touch-free QR codes.
  • Conference scheduling – staff use their app to set up a meeting even across multiple locations. They can book space and equipment, invite virtual and in-person attendees and add catering, parking etc in a single transaction. Any changes are notified to everyone automatically.
  • Sensors – integrated with the room and desk scheduling system, these provide in-depth data in real time on utilisation, as well as on traffic flow, possible congestion alerts and environmental warnings against irregular airflow. Alerts can request responses from the FM team or feed into BMS.
  • Reverse hoteling – fixed desks are converted automatically into available hot desks when their users don’t need them
  • Colleague location – workers can use the app to find out where and when their project colleagues will be in the office.
  • Visitor management – an enhanced, rapid means of entry into buildings and areas and instant reporting for health, safety and security purposes, for visitors and staff.
  • Wayfinding - digital signage helps staff and visitors find their destination meeting room or desk.
  • Integrated technologies – include desk panels for automated check in and out; in-room panels so meeting attendees can make changes and place orders without leaving the room.

Is it worth the investment? Success stories from around the globe

Many organisations worldwide are seeing the rewards of investing in workspace management technology. Here are just 4 examples:

  1. A leading financial services firm was able to consolidate two buildings into one, resulting in 5,00,000 dollars annual savings, after utilisation data gave a clear picture of how the space was being used. Source: CBRE Global Occupancy Insights
  2. Global legal firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner gave its 25 offices to easy control of meeting rooms across the whole estate, and gained detailed data on usage for planning.
  3. A major global financial believed it had a small meeting room shortage. Data capture showed part of the problem was that staff were booking small meeting rooms for full days but using them for only 2 hours. Tackling the issue released over 40% of previously booked blocked space.
  4. A major US financial wanted to track how different teams used desks on different days, but many people weren’t checking in and out. Desk panels automated the process, capturing the required data and also improving the employee experience.


Prithwish Sarkar says: “PWC recently said that ‘digital transformation is about people’, and we’ve never had a workplace industry so driven by the needs and desires of its workers as we have now.

“Organisations are working hard to understand how their new hybrid workplaces need to operate, and how to design them to get the best in collaboration, wellness, productivity and talent retention.

“As so many leading firms have shown, the secret of success lies in underpinning every aspect of the workplace with supportive technology that constantly captures actionable data.

“Hybrid working and the return to work will be hot topics for debate for some time to come. As a technology company, we believe today’s new-look workforce can only thrive when technology is put at its fingertips – and we’ll continue to share practical advice gained from direct experience of what’s working for our clients.”

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