Smart buildings, smarter implementation
24th October 2023
Why tech matters – but people’s effective use of tech matters more.
More and more investment into technology-assisted workspaces is being made across real estate portfolios.
From our work with many of the world’s leading companies, we’re seeing cutting edge technologies being implemented into workspaces: mobile-activated QR codes replacing traditional keycard access, digital signage and wayfinding to allow easy navigation around a building, mobile apps to find, book and access meeting rooms, and “smart” meeting rooms that recognise who you are, connect you to your meeting and automatically display your relevant presentation.
Technology, and in particular AI, is revolutionising the places we work.
Whilst vast sums of money are being spent on ever newer technology, understandably it becomes the main focus of any workspace upgrade, often overlooking the very people who will use it.
It’s important to remember that at the heart of all workspaces is its people. To get the best return on any tech investment, employees must understand how to use it effectively – from the outset.
If technology is implemented without consideration of the people it’s designed to support, we will face five issues:
It’s important to remember that at the heart of all workspaces is its people. To get the best return on any tech investment, employees must understand how to use it effectively - from the outset.
1. First day chaos, with employees unable to enter the building, use the technology or access meeting rooms
2. Day two adjustments being required if design is not fit for purpose or doesn’t meet employee requirements or expectations
3. Decline in productivity, as people struggle to use the new technology
4. Unmotivated and ineffective employees, uninterested in using the workspace and resulting in technology obsolescence
5. Promised benefits of the technology not being realised
All this can lead to additional costs of more communications and training, or further changes to the physical workspace to improve take-up. Both negate much of the budget already spent.
We must remember that technology is an enabler of effective workforces. How do we ensure the seamless integration of the new technology? How do we maximise its benefits and ensure seamless integration, allowing employees enough time to gain confidence in the use of all new technology? How do we ensure technology helps us to deliver a workplace of choice?
The answer? Make it accessible and equitable for all.
Let’s take a look at how.
1. Address the need for change early
Before any technology implementation programme, it’s important to provide clear guidance on why it’s happening and any implications of it not taking place. Stating the business case for the change, and giving real life context, must take place early enough. It can’t feel as though decisions have already been made and that employees have no way to raise concerns.
2. Be open and honest
Be really honest about the benefits and challenges of any new technology and give your people enough time to familiarise themselves with it, how it will help them and which will be of use to them. Give employees time to be truly heard and allow them to raise their concerns. This will help avoid the frustration and perceived resistance that can come from a change being thrust upon them.
3. Collaboration is key
Project teams often work in isolation and are not brought into the wider workplace change conversations taking place. This can have a detrimental effect. For example, if IT teams complete their roll out in isolation, employees won’t be prepared effectively for the new processes or systems. Bringing together the right teams to roll out the new technology is critical in a successful take up. IT, HR and FM teams must collaborate to ensure that all elements are factored in and planned for.
4. Lead from the front
Your employees want to see leaders leading the change – they want to see the technology is easy to use, that your leaders support the project and are living it with them. Your leaders are the loudest voices in the business, so encourage them to openly make use of the new technology and encourage their teams to do the same.
The success of any technology integration programme comes down to robust processes and clear, considered and easily accessible communications.
At MovePlan, we recommend our clients introduce these approaches at the beginning of any technology project, and educate their employees on the new systems available, how they work and the benefits it will bring to their lives early on.
The success of any technology integration programme comes down to robust processes and clear, considered and easily accessible communications
Our recommendations are backed by PROSCI research, which has found that if a robust change approach is introduced at the beginning, projects are 6 times more likely to achieve their objectives, 5 times more likely to stay on or ahead of schedule and twice as likely to stay within or on budget. It makes business sense to place people at the heart of technology!