Creating a quality workplace experience takes work. Especially for enterprises looking to execute this on a global scale. Having the right people and spaces isn’t enough. The third element, technology, is a key driver to making your workplace more efficient and positive across the board. The problem for many is, how do you choose the right technology?In this post, we’ll explore four essential tools available to help you master your distributed work model around the world.
Tool #1: Cloud security technologies
Today, most business operations run on cloud-based technology. You may not realize you’re using it, but the likes of Google Drive, Dropbox, and DocuSign all run on the cloud. Cloud security technologies keeps files and devices secure, distributed colleagues connected, and critical company data safe. There’s never been more reason to switch to the cloud. According to a 2021 Accenture report, there were an average of 270 cyber attacks per company last year–a rise of over 30% from the previous year. It’s why some big names like Amazon and Microsoft are ramping up their investment in cloud security. If you’re wondering how cloud-based technology helps with a distributed work model, the answer is simple. Enterprises with dispersed and mobile workforces are more open to cyber attacks and data leaks, and breaches. By using cloud security, it helps people who are connecting to different WiFi’s and visiting different office locations keep their devices and data safe and protected.
Tool #2: Access control
Access control is a security feature that keeps your physical buildings safe. With workplaces back up and running, foot traffic has increased by over 250% since May 2020. With that number of people going in and out of workplaces again, it’s crucial to give the correct level of access to the right people. Access control technologies can come in different forms and are more common than you might think. QR codes, facial recognition, and touch ID are all different types of access control. So are security apps, badges, and pinpad passwords. When considering a distributed work model, access control can help your enterprise by:
- Scaling the same access and building security across all office locations. Keep employees safe by ensuring the same access control in each workplace. Access control will also give you one means of entering the workplace no matter where you are in the world. That means no keycards or badges.
- Syncing data across all locations in one source of truth. When your employees or visitors sign in for the day, automatically sync their information with your access control system. This takes out any need to manually log data in both systems, across all locations, as well as saves you time.
- Protecting your people and property network at scale. Prevent theft, safety risks, and compliance breaches by requiring visitors to sign NDAs and watch safety videos before your access control system allows them in. Some workplace platforms also let you restrict workplace access based on health status.
Pro tip: Electronic access control systems are able to connect to other workplace systems through integrations. Ensure your access control is integrated with your workplace platform. This will keep your security and data up to date across all your technologies, in all locations.
Tech tool #3: Communication tools
Digital communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Team, and Gmail help keep your distributed workforce connected. Employees across countries and states can stay connected no matter what location or time-zone they’re in. Employees can share quick project updates, ask for help from a manager, or share exciting project wins. Having great communication tools compliments your distributed work model by keeping things moving digitally at all times. But it’s not for everyone, and it’s not for all the time. For example, team-building can be trickier over a screen than in person. Getting a sense if your manager is following your presentation can be difficult if they stay on mute throughout the whole meeting. The key to making communication tools work in a distributed model is to complement it with in-person interactions, meetings, or social events. This helps folks get to know each other and can also offer the opportunity for people to have conversations off-screen or out of work, too.
Tool #4: A workplace platform
A workplace platform brings the services and tools you rely on to manage each office together in one centralized place. It helps you monitor locations, deploy new sites, and standardize your processes worldwide. This not only streamlines your operations in your enterprise, but also offers ways for you to cut costs. Here’s 5 core products your workplace platform should include.
1. Employee scheduling
Employee scheduling allows all employees worldwide to register their upcoming days in the office so you know exactly who is going to be working from each location. Employee scheduling empowers teammates to set and sync their work schedules so they can collaborate and make the most of their time in the workplace. For a distributed work model, this is super handy. This allows employees who are traveling for work and/or visiting different office locations regularly to easily find and meet with coworkers in local offices.
2. Hot desking
Desk booking software allows employees to reserve a desk for the days they’re in the workplace—and find coworkers in that location easily. They’ll be able to select a desk based on its amenities, its proximity to other teammates, or its location in the office. For a distributed work model, hot desking gives your employees the confidence they need when visiting a new office by providing visibility on who’s in and where they’re sitting. What’s more, enterprises can leverage analytics and insights to understand more about desk usage in each office. From there, you can make decisions on whether to upsize, downsize, or simply just reconfigure your existing workspace.
3. Room booking
Room scheduling software makes it easy for employees to book a room either in advance or on-the-fly. Folks can see which rooms are available, what size they are, and choose based on different amenities like Zoom setup. This is important for enterprises who want to create a consistent workplace experience across their global offices. For example, your satellite offices are continually running into problems like double-booked rooms. Tensions are starting to rise and your employees in those offices are frustrated. It’s important to implement a booking tool to address these challenges. A clunky booking process will cause employees to feel siloed and separated from your organization and mission–especially if they know that some locations like HQ are supported by swanky technology.
4. Visitor registration
A visitor management system helps you keep track of the guests coming in and out of the workplace—and allows you to verify that they’re healthy before they come onsite. Not only does this help keep your office safe and secure, but it will also ensure your visitors have a consistent experience checking into your office wherever they are in the world. For example, if you’ve implemented touchless technology such as QR code scanning in your HQ location, then you should have that same technology supporting all other global offices, too.Pro tip: Create a global sign-in flow based on different visitor types and easily assign them en masse to any or all of your locations. This not only standardizes every sign-in process but also makes it easy to update at scale
5. Workplace analytics
Understanding how people use a workplace is the first step to designing a space that better meets their needs. However, if you rely on disparate systems to manage capacity, security, resource usage, and employee experience, you might miss the big picture. Especially if you’re also looking at these systems across different geographies!
A workplace platform allows you to get a holistic view of what’s happening in all of your workplaces through detailed reports. You’ll be able to pull specific data on one of the tools mentioned above, or look holistically at how people are interacting with the workplace on a daily basis. While searching for a workplace platform, be sure to look for one that provides a comprehensive analytics dashboard.–
Your people expect great technology from their workplace, no matter where they are in the world. They want an environment that allows them to collaborate with coworkers. They want somewhere they can do their best work. For your enterprise, that means getting your distributed work model to work for you.
Consider how technology plays a role in your distributed work model and creating a positive employee experience. It might be as simple as having dual monitor screens on every onsite location. Remember, technology is there to aid you and your employees to grow and secure your enterprise–use it wisely!