How IoT is reimagining connectivity for the hybrid workplace
As work becomes more distributed, offices need to work harder to offer value and connectivity to employees. How can the Internet of Things play its part in bridging together digital and physical worlds?
We live in the age of connectivity. The internet emerged to fundamentally alter the ways we live and work, and now the Internet of Things (IoT) carries further implications for office spaces and how we use them.
In the era of remote work and 5G wireless technology, the promise of connective tech means ubiquitous connections to each other and to work. From functional design to engagement with space, connective tools like the IoT are changing things. To maximise the potential of these tools, it’s important to understand how they work and how they can used in the workplace.
The promise of connection
The Internet of Things has fundamentally transformed how we think about connectivity. The IoT, simply put, is the classification of smart devices that interact across a network. These devices have become popular through home use, but their implications in work environments are gaining a lot of attention.
That’s because IoT devices are particularly good at monitoring data and reporting information back to a central information system. They range from simple sensors to complex networks for tracking data, which can then be analysed through evolving AI and deep learning procedures.
Among the most promising for workforces are the following:
- Commercial IoT: These devices monitor and report data ranging from health conditions to supply chain inventories and locations. They enable unprecedented oversight of just about anything a commercial operation might want to track.
- Industrial IoT: From digital twinning to predictive modelling, IoT devices in the industrial sector power greater efficiency techniques that streamline production.
- Infrastructure IoT: Infrastructure and architectural IoT devices enable connectivity, communication, and efficiency far beyond what could be achieved without them. Built into smart cities and buildings, these tools allow for new levels of automation, control, and innovation potential.
Each of these categories of IoT represents untold potential across the global economy as a whole. This is why the market for IoT devices is set to grow to US $875 billion in value by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 26.9 per cent.
As these categories of smart devices infiltrate the workplace, business leaders will have to plan for their integration to maximise efficiency. This means changes to office spaces, their design, layout, and navigability.
How connectivity will change office spaces
Offices are changing to accommodate advances in IoT technology. Through the power of IoT, advancements in everything from energy conservation to employee comfort are made possible. In the ‘Great Resignation’ era, these are means to support an in-office workforce in addition to hybrid and remote workers.
For example, employees care deeply about limiting their environmental impact. Fortunately, IoT implementation can represent a powerful green initiative all on its own. With the ability to monitor climate and automatically adjust office conditions for efficiency, smart thermometers, CO2 sensors, and even lighting can cut down on the emissions of any office space. From here, smart devices can offer further insight into how workers can reduce their climate impact.
IoT in office design can support a healthier, safer space through data-gathering features. Offices can apply smart furniture to communicate data about ergonomics and employee utilisation. This IoT equipment will increasingly appear in things like office chairs and desks and can offer employees tips for improving posture. By gathering and analysing this information, office managers can streamline layout and decor to support a comfortable and vivifying office experience.
But changes to office design are only the beginning. The implementation of IoT technology throughout workspaces will change the ways we think about and interact with our co-workers and the work itself.
How connectivity will change how we interact in these spaces
The IoT represents insight at every level. From gathering ergonomic data to equipment efficiency information. For example, monitoring features of industrial IoT tools enable automated quality assurance with the ability to remotely correct issues. This means workers are better able to assume hybrid or fully remote positions where that might have been impossible before.
Additionally, IoT transparency changes how we use and allocate resources. From navigating the office commute to maintaining the resources workers need on-site, these connections give us a larger picture of factors that influence work culture a lot more than you might expect.
Through smart devices, office managers might even track arrivals, types of vehicles driven, and more. From here, they can build the infrastructure needed to better accommodate workers. This might include adding electric vehicle charging stations, offering an energy-efficient shuttle service, and automating ordering for office supplies.
Connecting offices to opportunities
The Internet of Things is all about connectivity and will define the future of work (both remote and in-person). Whether you’re ready or not for such a future, employers cannot deny that they need incentives to attract workers and meet their needs. Efficiency and employee satisfaction await through the power of connected devices. Those who choose to explore and implement IoT technologies now will have an advantage over their competitor.
Consider the ways enhanced connectivity through the IoT is changing offices, both in design and in employee interactivity. Then build an office fit for the future.