The Workplace Tech Talk collection: how technology improves the workplace

Welcome to the Workplace Tech Talk Collection! We combined all our best Workplace Tech Talk articles to bring you an ultimate resource on all things workplace technology. There’s no denying technology has made our lives a lot easier, especially when it comes to the workplace. Gone are the days of punch cards, badge scanners, and physical file storage. Workplaces are now full of high tech video conferencing equipment, collaboration tools, desk and room booking technology, sleek smart screens, and much more.

So in this collection, we’ll talk about how technology can improve productivity and what tools are best for empowering collaboration. So join in on the discussion! Plus, keep an eye out for future Workplace Tech Talks in our monthly blog series.

Keep on reading to learn:

How technology can increase productivity and collaboration in the workplace
How to introduce new technology to your workplace
6 ways workplace technology will be different in the future

6 ways technology increases productivity in the workplace

Fast and efficient technology is much more important to the employee experience than you might think. According to our recent workplace trends report, 36% of employees cite slow technology as a major deal breaker to returning to the office. That’s because no one likes waiting for their apps to load, conducting a meeting with a lagging slide deck, or running around the office looking for an open seat.

The right technology in place can help employees be much more productive in the office. Let’s look at six ways technology increases productivity in the workplace.

1. Automates workflows

Technology can automate the workflow of almost any function in a business, such as finance, marketing, operations, and workplace management. The right tech can turn inefficient, tedious tasks into a seamless and automated process, freeing up time for your team to do work that matters.

For example, without technology, front desk admins have to sign in visitors with a pen and paper and then somehow keep a record of that sign-in. Technology like a visitor management system makes front desks more streamlined and efficient. The system digitizes standard paperwork into one easy flow that makes checking in visitors that much quicker and easier.

2. Enables strategic planning and time management

Much of an employee’s time is spent organizing their calendar for the week. How much time should they spend on a strategy document? How much time should they spend in meetings to discuss a project status? Proper time management is an important way to ensure employees get the most out of their workday.

Technology like Google Calendar integrates with many different productivity apps. Employees can plan out their meetings for the week. They can even schedule in blocks of focus time for heads-down, productive work. Life hack!

3. Streamlines meetings

We’ve all been in a meeting that should’ve been an email. These meetings can feel like a waste of time and productivity if there’s no meeting room booked or no agenda to guide the conversation. Technology can be useful for streamlining the logistics of meetings.

For example, a technology like a meeting room booking system can help your employees quickly scan and book available meeting rooms. They won’t waste time running around the office looking for free space or awkwardly hovering outside a room waiting for it to clear out.

4. Offers more time for concentration

Since technology can reduce repetitive or mundane tasks for employees, they will have more time to concentrate and for longer periods of uninterrupted time. While there are some unavoidable tasks that interrupt the workday, technology with an all-in-one capability can help streamline those tasks.

For example, when employees are planning their workweek, they might need to schedule a day in the office, book a desk, book a meeting room, and invite an upcoming visitor. With a workplace platform that houses all of these functions, employees can hit all of these tasks in one go. That allows them to spend less time fussing between tools and more time getting themselves set up for a productive day at work.

5. Allows for continuous education

Part of a productive employee experience is continuous learning and growth. Technology is a great way to enable employees to be students for life. There are hundreds of online courses, certifications, and bootcamps that can help employees upskill.

Plus, technology powers onsite learning from one another. Employees can shadow other’s projects, ask each other questions, or read documentation to learn about new processes. This kind of continuous learning increases the productivity of employees by arming them with new skills.

The power of technology in fueling workplace collaboration

Not only does technology increase productivity in the office, but it also fuels meaningful collaboration among coworkers. Both productivity and collaboration go hand-in-hand in creating a great work environment and employee experience.

Now that you know how technology improves productivity, let’s go over 6 must-have technologies that empower collaboration in the office.

1. Virtual meeting rooms

With employees spread out across the workplace, their homes, coffee shops, and more, meetings are what connect remote teams and allow everyone to collaborate. A good virtual meeting tool is essential for getting together as a team, having one-on-one’s, and moving projects forward.

2. Meeting room booking tools

The breeding ground for collaboration is in a meeting room. Gathering stakeholders together in a room to go over status updates, talk through blockers, and ideate for the future can be an efficient and effective way to move projects forward. IIn order to facilitate all kinds of collaboration in meeting rooms, it’s important to have a good meeting room booking system.

3. Virtual brainstorming

Brainstorming can be a great way to generate a bunch of ideas. But with remote, hybrid, or distributed teams, it can be difficult to run a brainstorming session that includes both in-person and virtual employees. That’s where virtual collaboration tools come in.

Tools like LucidChart, WebWhiteboard, or Zoom have built-in collaboration features. They allow people to contribute ideas no matter where they are. A tool like FigJam can even be useful for a fully in-person meeting. It allows people to add ideas in real-time on their own computers instead of shouting out ideas.

4. Desk booking technology

Hot desking is rapidly growing in popularity. As companies move to a hybrid model and are figuring out the best use of their spaces, many have opted for a hot desking seating arrangement. And that’s a good thing!

Hot desks offer a new way to collaborate with teammates. It encourages folks to sit next to coworkers that they need to work closely with that day. It also allows for folks to sit near coworkers they’ve never met. This can help spark new conversations, idea-sharing, and innovation. The right desk booking technology can help facilitate this process.

5. Digital communication

Businesses run on digital communication. Emails or quick messages via Slack can help teams stay informed and provide them an easy way to contribute ideas. Emails are useful in keeping a paper trail, while Slack is great to get a quick answer from a teammate.

In addition, digital communication can foster team bonding. Employees can post shout-outs to other teammates, discuss relevant trends, or share pictures from their recent vacation. All of this communication can help strengthen teams, create better camaraderie, and ultimately drive collaboration.

6. Centralized files

Collaboration isn’t always creating new ideas. It can also be referencing historical documents or storing information for future teammates. For example, if one employee creates a perfect process on how to accomplish a task, it’s important to document and store processes so other employees can find it. This form of knowledge sharing is key to helping employees align.

How to introduce new technology in the workplace

Now that you know why technology is so beneficial for the workplace and discovered tools that can help improve the workplace experience, it’s time to think about how to actually implement new technology into the office. Change can be tough, especially when it means changing a habit of how you once operated at work.

So let’s go over the four steps you need to take to successfully introduce new technology in your workplace.

Step 1. Create a roll-out plan

Jumping the gun on a new technology is sure to lead to confusion, so make sure you create a thorough roll-out plan first. It should have realistic dates, action items, and stakeholders associated with each line item. Build it in a document that is easily shareable and can be replicated down the line.

Here’s what you should include in your roll-out plan with a suggested timeline:

  • Week 1: Connect with the customer service rep of your new tool and grab resources and tips from them. They may be able to lead tutorials or have pre-built demo videos you can easily share out.
  • Weeks 2-3: Build in ample time for implementation and set-up. You’ll want to make sure your IT team and admins have time to set up the new tool for your employees to use.
  • Week 4: Next, schedule a few training sessions. You’ll want these to be spread out throughout the week, with different times available for folks in different time zones.  
  • Week 5: A few days later, schedule a Q&A session. These sessions open up space for employees to comfortably ask questions. They can also be led by your champion team (more on that below). You want to cultivate an environment of empathy for employees, because learning new tools can be tricky.
  • Weeks 6-7: After two weeks, get feedback on the new tool and see if there are any suggestions around the roll-out process. Your employees can provide you with valuable tips on how to roll out a new tool in the future.

Step 2. Communicate the value

No one likes to be surprised with a new tool that interrupts their day-to-day process, especially if they don’t understand why there’s a new tool in the first place. You’ll want to take time to understand the real needs and concerns of your employees, so that you can communicate how this new tool can help them. Focus on the benefits of the new tech, and how it will make their jobs easier, more efficient, or more enjoyable.

Step 3. Be prepared for resistance

Now here comes the tough part. Employees are human, and humans can be resistant to change. That’s a natural reaction to a shift in what’s familiar to them, and it’s important to acknowledge that your employees may feel uneasy with a new tool. This resistance might lead to employees ignoring the tool or choosing not to use it. So be sure to build in some checkpoints to see if employees are actually using the tool.

Ask them if any of their day-to-day processes have been improved. What do they like about the tool, and what do they wish could be improved? Take that feedback into consideration because there might be extra features within the tool that can help employees see its value. You might be able to upgrade your package or unlock additional features.

Step 4. Track your progress

You won’t be able to know if steps one through three are going well, unless you’re tracking your progress. Pull weekly reports on the usage of the tool. For example, if you’re implementing a new employee scheduling tool, check how many employees are using it to sign in each week.

Attach your data points to a goal so you know if you need to adjust your strategy. If your goal is to hit 75% adoption by the end of a month, and you’re at 50%, you might need to hold a few more training sessions. Lastly, be sure to celebrate your successes and share them with the company.

How will technology be different in the future?

If you’re excited thinking about all of the workplace technology that is out there today, then buckle up, because the future is even brighter. Brilliant minds and creators are working on ways to improve the capabilities of workplace tech to make the workplace even more seamless and enjoyable. In this final section, hop in a time traveling machine and set it for 2030 and beyond. Let’s go over predictions for workplace technology of the future.

1. Smartphones will be workplace remotes

Today, smartphones allow employees to schedule their days onsite, book a desk, reserve a meeting room, and find their way around the office. In the future, smartphones will also be able to control elements like office lighting, windows, music, and more. Employees will be able to raise or lower the shade of the window next to their desk. They’ll be able to soften the volume of the music coming from the speaker above. Smartphones will eventually become the only tool employees need to navigate the workplace.

2. Employees will be able to reserve more resources

In addition to reservable desks and meeting rooms, the future workplace includes many other reservable resources that make it more convenient for employees. Employees will be able to reserve parking spaces, seats in a company shuttle, and more. They’ll be able to reserve lockers to store personal items. Or pre-order meals and coffee for the day. Being able to reserve more aspects of the workplace will make the workday feel a bit more personalized and exciting.

3. Hot desking will become personalized

Hot desking has become the most popular way for hybrid employees to work onsite, and the technology to facilitate it will only improve in the coming years. In the future, we can expect desk booking to become more automated and more personalized. For example, desk booking solutions will save employees’ ergonomic preferences or autobook their desk next to a preferred coworker.

4. AI will drive meeting room bookings

Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm in almost every industry, and we can expect in the future, AI will improve workplace technology as well. AI will increase the functionalities and custom abilities of reserving meeting spaces.

For example, if an employee reserves a room that fits six people for a 1:1 meeting, the room booking solution will automatically move your meeting to a smaller room. This opens up the original room for larger meetings. Or it might simply free up the room altogether if the hosts and participants haven’t checked in to the office that day.