Technology can make or break the workplace experience. Too many touch points can be stressful and overwhelming for employees. Let’s take a hybrid employee for example. Think about all of the steps they need to take just to get ready to work from the office. First, they register to come on-site so workplace teams know who to expect. Then they reserve a desk for the day and book a room for each of their meetings. When they arrive, they’ll need to badge in to get access to the office. Before they’ve even started working, they’ve already used four different tools. No wonder it’s overwhelming them!Offices need to prioritize solutions that enhance the workday instead of complicating it. A workplace platform can be the holy grail that solves the pain point of having too many tools. Before we dive into what your workplace platform should do, let’s define exactly what it is.
What is a workplace platform?
A workplace platform is workplace management software that brings the services and tools that employees rely on into one place. Workplace platforms help companies create safer, more flexible, and more delightful workplaces by streamlining the day-to-day processes that get in the way of great workThink of a workplace platform as the toolbox for all of the tools and technology that you need to enhance the workplace experience. So, what tools do you need to include in your toolbox? A workplace platform has two main components: core features and third-party integrations. Let’s talk through the core features first.
1. Employee scheduling
With the shift to hybrid work and people choosing their own flexible schedules, employees no longer know for certain who will be on-site each day. If they come to work and their manager or key collaborators aren’t there, it can be frustrating. With a scheduling tool, employees register their upcoming days in the office. With a calendar feature, they can filter for a specific day and find which of their teammates will be on site that same day. Plus, they can invite co-workers who aren’t yet registered to come on-site and join them on specific days to work together and collaborate. Rather than having to keep track of dozens of calendar reservations, employees can just use this one-stop app to schedule their hybrid workweek. Bonus: your IT team gets critical data on foot traffic to plan ahead based on how many people they expect on-site.
2. Desk and room reservations
Your employees come into the workplace to innovate, get tasks done, and collaborate with their teams. So they need comfortable and productive spaces. Look for a workplace platform with solutions that makes finding and reserving workspaces easy. A hot desk booking solution can allow employees to quickly view available desks and reserve a workstation for the days they’re coming in. They’ll be able to select a desk based on its amenities, its proximity to other teammates, or its location in the office.In addition to desks, employees get collaborative work done in meetings. So you’ll want your platform to include a meeting room booking tool as well. Room scheduling software will allow employees to book a room either in advance or on-the-fly for any type of meeting.The best part? Because these two tools will both exist in the same mobile experience, your employees can book a desk, schedule a meeting room, be on speaker with their dentist's office, and walk to work all at the same time.
3. Visitor management
What’s one of the most exciting parts of reopening the workplace? Inviting visitors to offices again! According to our At Work trends report, 30% of organizations invested more in visitor management solutions in the last year to manage the increase in visitors.A visitor management system will help you keep track of who’s coming in and out of the workplace—and help you verify if they’re healthy before they come on-site. By investing in a workplace platform with visitor management, you can streamline the visitor experience and make it easier for your team to keep track of those entering the workspace. Since your workplace platform will sync with your employee’s communication tools, they’ll be able to receive updates and notifications about their visitors in real-time.
4. Mailroom management
Among other workplace trends we’ve noticed in the last few years, workplace deliveries have had a huge increase. Workplaces saw a 65% increase in incoming packages in December 2021 compared to earlier in the year. This means that employees are sending more packages to their workplaces than ever before. Why? Packages delivered to work are more secure than ones left unattended like they would be at home. Consider a workplace platform that includes mailroom management software. A delivery tool will help automate work that usually falls on the shoulders of office managers. After an admin scans a package, the software will automatically notify and remind recipients to retrieve their mail and avoid a package pileup.
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.A workplace platform allows you to get a holistic view of what’s happening in the workplace through comprehensive reports. You’ll be able to pull specific data on just visitor traffic or room usage, or look holistically at how people are interacting with the workplace on a daily basis. Plus, you’ll be able to do it a lot quicker. While searching for a workplace platform, be sure to look for one that provides a full workplace analytics dashboard.
Your core features will lay the foundation of your workplace platform. But by definition, a workplace platform is not a complete solution on its own. It brings together all of the tools that you rely on to manage your workplace. Enter: workplace integrations. Integrations and an open platform are essential to future-proofing your workplace tech stack. While you can't predict what tools your business will need tomorrow, you can plan ahead and ensure that they integrate with the platform you use today.Integrations are like partnerships with third-party applications such as Slack, Zoom, or Okta. They allow you to seamlessly connect your workplace platform so that all your tools work together.There are a lot of reasons why integrations are great additions to your workplace platform. They reduce the need to switch between apps, help businesses automate their workflows, and make it easier for IT teams to monitor all apps on one platform.
Types of integrations
Integrations are essential to connect the tens, if not hundreds, of tools that your workplace and employees rely on to get work done. They’re like extra features that seamlessly integrate with your existing tools, making their capabilities that much more efficient. Here are a few examples of integrations you can connect to your workplace platform:
- Notification integrations: These integrations help streamline communication between employees. As a result, they don’t have to jump from platform to platform to work effectively—they get all of their workplace notifications in one place. You can integrate the most popular workplace communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom onto your platform. You can even integrate emergency notification software such as Everbridge to alert safety managers in the case of an emergency.
- File storage integrations: File storage integrations such as Docusign or Box help automatically save important documents to your select storage destination. These can include legal documents, sensitive company information, and health and safety waivers collected during the visitor sign-in process.
- Wi-Fi integrations: Wi-Fi integrations allow you to grant secure internet access to visitors and vendors on-site. These can help you create a positive and efficient visitor experience while protecting your organization from cybersecurity threats.
- Health & safety integrations: Health and safety integrations like Athena or FLIR allow you to make sure your employees coming on-site are healthy and approved to be there. Plus, security integrations can help you verify visitors and vendors and only allow approved guests on-site.
- Employee experiences: No day at the office is complete without catered lunch and snacks. When planning your day in the office you can consider all your touch points in one action: from the front door to the kitchen. Consider adding integrations like Cater2.me to help employees order food on their days on-site.
When evaluating whether a workplace platform is right for your business, make sure you also factor in whether or not you’ll have the integrations you need to make your platform work for you. Find a platform that allows you to even build your own custom integrations. –A workplace platform can help your organization reduce unnecessary spend, become more connected, and improve the employee experience. Think back to that stressed hybrid employee that had to use four different tools to start their day. With a workplace platform, they only have to use one, improving their experience and helping you craft a new and better journey for your company.