From fixed to flex: a smart approach to the dynamic workplace

As the rapid changes in work patterns continue to expose inefficiencies in the physical workplace, a new report aims to highlight how smart storage can help companies create more dynamic workspaces

Work processes and practices are constantly evolving, but the rate of evolution quickened considerably during the pandemic. This acceleration has placed stark emphasis on the inefficiencies and impracticalities of the fixed nature of traditional workplaces, but it has also highlighted an opportunity to address them with smarter solutions.

This shift from fixed to dynamic office space is explored in a new report published by technology company Vecos, in partnership with WORKTECH Academy. The ‘From Fixed to Flex’ report is looks at the rising expectations of employees who are forcing companies to think differently about their approach to office space.

One of the key areas highlighted in the report is the often-overlooked aspect of workplace storage. As the purpose of the office changes, so does our need for dynamic storage solutions. The report looks at how human behaviour has evolved in the workplace and the impact this has had on the flexibility of the workplace.

The evolution of storage

In traditional offices, employees were offered their own desk with their own personal fixed storage units; typically, in the form of a pedestal situated under or close to their desk. When traditional office design gave way to dynamic neighbourhood design, personal desks were replaced by shared ‘agile’ seating. However, many organisations still offered employees their own individual locker within the neighbourhood, to compensate for the lack of personal desk.

Now, as hybrid and fully dynamic working comes into play, people are expected to move through the office effortlessly and seamlessly. Dynamic office design accommodates different spaces for different work activities. Employees are expected to move across zones, floors and types of workspace according to the type of work they need to do. This movement requires personal storage to be available on demand across all areas of the office.

What is a smart locker system?

Smart locker systems are secure storage and distribution systems which include a combination of hardware and software. Organisations can use a smart locker system to automate, control and optimise their locker facilities with the goal to improve their employee experience whilst decreasing their total cost of ownership.

With a smart locker system, lockers work on a self-service basis which enables employees to work from anywhere in the building. Any physical locker cabinet can become a managed smart locker through the integration with a smart locker system hardware and software combined setup.

The report explains that that smart locker solutions form part of a workplaces’ intelligent infrastructure which can provide e rich insights and data to aid decision-making for facilities management and real estate teams.

Who’s doing it?

The report highlights four key case studies of companies that have recognised the need to shift to smart locker solutions to accommodate new ways of working, including EY, Qualcomm, Microsoft and Deloitte. EY has most recently incorporated a smart locker system into its new head office in Manhattan, New York, leveraging years of experience with this system in their offices across the globe.

In recognising that flexibility in the workplace is no longer a culture-driven perk, but an essential factor in employee retention, EY US re-evaluated its workplace configuration to meet the demands of its ‘post-pandemic’ workforce. The professional services firm used the Vecos smart locker system to enable employees to freely move around the office and book lockers located in the space they are working from at that time.

The report examines the practical implications of the shift in work practices and processes and offers opportunities to address them through smart locker solutions. Read the full report here.

Vecos is a Corporate Member of WOKRTECH Academy.
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