During the Great Recession, employees clung to their jobs for dear life. Now, a decade later, they’re walking away from them voluntarily. A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 2.3 percent of working Americans willingly quit their jobs in October 2018. Many of them are leaving for other opportunities, expecting greener grass on the other side.
With a strong labor market comes bigger expectations from employees. A recent survey from Staples lists all the amenities employees want in their offices. Fitness centers, food, drinks and nicer furniture are on the list. But at the top? New technology.
This should be no surprise: Modern technology is a central necessity of modern work. Anything outdated causes headaches, and the latest versions are expected. Phones, internet, laptops -- all once considered cutting-edge -- are now just table stakes. To really make a splash, employers must up the ante.
Updating the office to meet employees’ expectations
The new currency for office technology is no longer just functionality -- it’s experience. A blazing fast internet connection and the latest laptop model are taken for granted nowadays. Instead, the office itself has become an arena in the competition for talent. Given the choice of an everyday, run-of-the-mill cubicle farm and a technology-charged environment, it’s not hard to guess which the next generation will choose.
And with the definition of the "office" constantly shifting, the technology that makes remote work possible is important, too. That same Staples survey found that 43 percent of employees want to work remotely. By implementing the right technology, employers can make out-of-office work seamless and productive.
Let’s take a look at how these technologies can be implemented and how they can ensure your company has the best employees available.
1. Capture imagination with dynamic format displays.
Traditional rectangular displays have become ubiquitous. An employee’s TV at home looks similar to the monitor in the conference room at work. Walk through any public space, and you’ll see several more in different sizes.
Customers or prospective employees might walk past a typical display in an office lobby without giving it a passing glance. A full wall display, on the other hand, will certainly draw eyes. Projection mapping, mosaic displays and architecturally integrated LED all provide out-of-the-ordinary visual experiences.
New technology also allows modern displays to be interactive. A beautiful example is the walls at Terrell Place in Washington, D.C. The dynamic displays respond to infrared camera data to move and shift as people walk by.
These beautiful technology-enhanced displays make employees proud of where they work. For recruitment, they’re a great way to stand out from the crowd of other companies vying for top talent.
2. Personalize the employee experience with IoT
Through the Internet of Things, consumers can now control a wide variety of interconnected electronics with their voice alone. IoT technology has brought new expectations: People now expect interactive and personalized environments, especially in the workplace. Simple, common operations such as turning off the lights or turning up the thermostat can be done using IoT.
This, in itself, isn’t a big deal. But the real benefit of these IoT functions is in remote work. Employees can turn their office lights off and on even when they’re at the Starbucks down the street.
But what about visitors to an IoT-enhanced office? What will they see?
One effect, used by Bluewater Technologies, is personalized welcome signage. Visitors’ information is registered in the content management system, which is connected to the displays in the lobby. As they enter the building, they’re greeted with their names in brand styling on the screen, which almost always results in a smile and a selfie. It’s a simple, on-brand experience that makes it easy to start client meetings or interviews a little differently.
3. Engage a team with wireless presentations and other digital tools
How does office technology affect efficiency? How does it make work easier?
One place where it really makes waves is the conference room. Everyone has been in a meeting where the tech doesn’t work. A cable is unplugged or missing; the computer’s display settings are all off. With wireless presentation tools, these problems are solved.
Wireless presentation systems allow users to connect displays with devices to stream content wirelessly. This makes it easier to get a meeting started, but it also makes it easier to get things done. Digital whiteboards, for example, allow parties on both sides to interact with drawings in real time. Multiple users can share screens on a single display. And video chat and wireless screen-sharing enables and enhances remote collaboration with clients and between employees.
And having workplace tools such as these has been proven to make a difference. According to a Deloitte study, one organization discovered that its manager saved almost 45 minutes (monthly!) because he implemented improved workplace tools. The company, boasting more than 30,000 managers, estimated a yearly increase in productivity that equated $12 million.
Meetings occupy a contentious position in the modern office. Make them a little easier, and employees will love it.
The workplace is changing. The office, which used to be just a hub for gathering information and accomplishing tasks, is now a thriving destination for new experiences. It’s a tool not only for communication, but also for sales, recruiting and retention. Companies that leverage the latest technology to make their offices stand out are bound to pull ahead in the battle to vet (and retain) talent.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.