The future of workplace experience with Envoy: Welcome employees back to the office with confidence

This week on our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we discussed with Justin Bullock, Head of Sales at Envoy on their phased return to the office and how Envoy Protect can help enable a safe work environment to bring employees back to the office with confidence. Check out our interview and key takeaways below.


Planning for a phased return with capacity limits

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  • Companies are planning shifts or phases of return: Currently Envoy is deployed in about 14,000 offices and 84 countries, so we’re getting a lot of feedback from our customers that helps guide us to create the solution that can ensure a safe return to the workplace.
  • Capacity limits vs office layouts: Companies need to think about what capacity limits for each phase, based on social distancing guidelines and the amount of spaces they have, and how will the office layouts change.

Ensure a safe return with Envoy Protect

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  • Return to work requires a seamless connection of the physical and virtual workplaces: For a long time Envoy has been an expert in how humans enter and interact with your physical workplace, with Envoy Protect it is a slight shift to focus on how do we bring our employees back to work safely and how do we manage that process?
  • Designed to bring employees back to the office with confidence: The solution focuses on some key areas such as employee screening, touchless workflow, capacity management functionality.

Meetings in the new normal

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  • Capacity management with meeting rooms: Smaller spaces like 1 or 2-person pods will be off limits in the first phase for hygiene purposes. Capacity management is not just for your building, it can be for the rooms as well by limiting the availability of meeting rooms to minimize physical interactions between employees.
  • Eliminate zombie meetings with data insights: After a few months of usage at Envoy HQ, we discovered 25% of our scheduled meetings didn’t actually happen and realized we can save a good amount of money not having to build more meeting spaces.

Enabling a touchless environment with smart integrations

  • Envoy integrates with a keyless entry solution: I can open my front door of the office building, the door to my office, as well as the elevator all with a mobile app.
  • A slick visitor check-in experience with Aruba ClearPass: As soon as I sign in and sign the NDA within seconds on my mobile device, I would receive a unique Wi-Fi code to get on to the Internet. instead of just sitting there and waiting. It’s a super slick experience for me, but also a great layer of security for the company.

Accelerated workplace trends during Covid-19

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  • Mobile adoption in the workplace: We are seeing mobile app adoption skyrocket because of  employee-driven use cases. For example, employees can see all of their deliveries that come to the office. More recently, employees can schedule and book rooms via the mobile app. For Envoy, we always had a long term vision of creating more value for employees within your workplace.
  • Hot desking and desk hoteling: The concept of hot desk and desk hoteling is not new, but the popularity and need for it has accelerated dramatically during this period. Companies have to find new ways to use their spaces with social distancing in mind, so that is just naturally driving the need to have solutions that can help you.

Reimagining the workplace with design thinking: The future of workplace experience with IBM

As part of our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we discussed with Paul Russell, Business Development for Smart Buildings at IBM Tririga on design thinking for the workplace and the rise of community workspaces. Check out our interview and key takeaways below.

The rise of community workplaces

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  • New models emerging post-pandemic: In countries like the UK, where people might not travel like they used to, how do you make sure people can still physically meet people? One of the changes that you might see is more community workplaces appearing.
  • Close proximity technology in the workplace: With over 300,000 employees at IBM, it is easy to find out about people from different teams or regions through some of our tools currently in play, but what you can’t find out is if anyone is working close to you in the same building in real time.
  • Community workplaces in suburban areas: Instead of renting large corporate offices in the city, I think businesses, particularly in the UK and Europe, will start to regenerate traditional suburbs with community workplaces, creating new opportunities in suburban areas.

Addressing needs of younger members in the workforce

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While the older generation may prefer working from home, it’s also important to address the needs and concerns of the younger members in the team, who may prefer to have a physical office and the social experience of working in a city. Need to make sure they will have the same upwards trajectory and opportunities to grow inside of an organization.

Reimagining the workplace with design thinking

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  • Understanding user behavior with touchless technology: Moving forward, there will be more emphasis on how people move through their workspace through the use of technology and deeper understanding of how people want to use their workplace. It’s opening up new lessons to learn about how we can augment their experience by providing touchless technology and Kadence’s desk and room management software is a great example of that experience.
  • Design thinking in the workplace: We talked a lot about design thinking at IBM and if we want to change someone’s behavior, there needs to be sufficient motivation, efficient ability and a prompt.
  • Enabling contact tracing: With the contact tracing example, we are changing people’s behavior because we want them to feel safe in the workplace and they’re motivated to do this because they want to stay healthy. People need to understand the value exchange and it needs to benefit employees in some way.

The future of workplace experience with MAPP: Embracing a new way of working

“The office has a future – it is just going to look different and needs to do something different than it has been in the past.” 

This week on our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we discussed with Founder and CEO of MAPP, Nigel Mapp on rethinking the purposing of offices and using it as a tool to retain the best talent. Check out our interview and key takeaways below.

Employee safety and assurance: The number one priority

Things are going to look very different when we return and you can expect a number of control measures in place at MAPP managed buildings, for example:

  • Getting employees safely to their office with signage and floor marks to keep people 2m apart
  • Queuing systems in place with designated one lift up and one down
  • Using fire escapes stairwell as one way system for going down
  • Touchless measures by disabling building entrance barriers

Embracing a new way of working

  • At MAPP, we ran a survey of how our workforce want to work post-pandemic and only a minority of our employees would like to return to office more than 3 days a week.
  • Offices will need to rediscover a purpose and there is a lot we can learn from retail. It will become a place where the brand exists and remain as a place to get people together and exchange ideas.
  • Companies will use space to project an image and for their people to belong, to collaborate, and share great thinking as opposed to housing rows and rows of workstations.
  • Offices might also start to become seen as a ‘perk’ to retaining talents as everybody wants to work in a great space. We can expect companies to occupy less space and invest in quality and infrastructure.

Planning for your office reopening? Download our guide below to discover 10 top tips on how to plan your workspace more efficiently with technology and data.

The future of workplace experience with Ricoh: Preparing for your office reopening

This week on our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we are delighted to have Simone Fenton-Jarvis, Workplace Services Consultation Director at Ricoh to explore how companies can prepare for their office reopening and why it is important to trust your employees. Check out our interview and key takeaways below.

Approach future workplace design with a people-centric attitude

  • It’s important to understand the purpose and role of your office, incorporating your employees’ work styles and culture to approach your future workplace design and policies.
  • Companies should provide clear and sound guidance about the data they are collecting for safety measures. For example, we will start seeing thermal temperature scanners being deployed at building entrances and workplaces. As long as companies are being transparent with the use of data, people will become more accepting – it’s important to build trust and confidence with your employees.

Preparing for your office reopening

  • Expect to see more on-demand bookable spaces with controlled measures such as enhanced airflow, sanitizing stations and touchless solutions like Kadence to understand which spaces have been used and who has been using them.
  • Make sure you have a concrete plan in place for cleaning and sanitizing shared spaces more frequently going forward to ensure employees’ health and safety, and to reduce overall risk for your business.
  • “Office is always open, come back only if you want to” – Employees will not have the same comfort level about returning to an office environment. Office reopening should be a gradual process and should not be compulsory at the start to make sure employees only come back when they are ready.

Planning for your office reopening? Download our guide below to discover 10 top tips on how to manage your desks and workspaces more efficiently with technology and data.

Workspace planning with flexibility: interview with Knotel

As part of our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we explored the impact of Covid-19 as it relates to workspace planning with flexibility and real estate portfolio strategy with Edward Shenderovich, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Knotel. Check out our interview below:

How will workspace management and design change?

  • Integrated modes of working: Workplace trends such as flexible working and virtual communication have been accelerated. In the post-pandemic world, we will start seeing new and mixed modes of workstyles and workspace design will need to cater for both virtual and on-site modes of working.
  • Emergence of satellite offices: With more employees going to work remotely, companies will need to take into consideration where employees live and how they commute. Rather than leasing one large space, we will start seeing more companies taking up several smaller satellite offices in urban and suburban areas to enable flexible working.
  • De-densification of office design: In the pre-Covid world, a company will roughly account an average of 50 to 250Sq per employee when designing a space. Setting up satellite offices will also help de-densifying the workforce, ultimately we can also expect a de-densification of the urban environment in general.
  • Expect short-term and more flexible leases: Fewer companies will be willing to sign long-term leases as they look for more flexibility in workspace design. Many of our customers are also looking at a lease that allows their staff to access a network of Knotel workspaces, rather than one single centralized space with high density.

Working with landlords to address employees’ needs

  • Alongside office space planning, our priorities for us right now are to work with landlords and building owners to ensure employees can arrive safely to their Knotel workspace. For example, allocating different companies with different time slots to access facilities such as the elevators or stairs, setting up UV lighting or giving visitors more space in the lobby with social distancing measures.
  • We recently introduced Geometry, a collection of flexible modular conferencing furniture (e.g mobile walls, modular phone booths with UV lighting) that will help our customers to enable flexible office space design with health and safety measures.

6 ways Kadence helps you get ‘back to the workplace’

How does Kadence help adapt to the ‘New Normal’ in the workplace?

In this post, we are looking at how Kadence supports ‘back to the workplace’ in a post-COVID-19 world, supporting and facilitating new cleaning regimes and social distancing via our space usage analytics.

Space utilization analytics enables operations staff to quickly identify high traffic areas and can be used to divert employees to less congested areas where it’s easier to maintain social distancing. Facilities managers can also monitor regular cleaning of desk areas, based on usage data, ensuring they have a quick cleaning turn around and are available for use. Enabling social distancing and monitoring sanitary standards means employees have peace of mind in the workplace, and also helps maintain the wellbeing and health of staff in the workplace.

Enabling a touchless workplace

  1. Fewer cables on desks, means reduced possibility for contamination and contact.
  2. Having surfaces that are easy to clean are going to be important to ensure the wellbeing of your workforce.

Kadence data brings space utilization insights

3. Kadence’s hyperlocal data shows you how intensively a space is used over time. In a desk hoteling environment, a digital check-in process and the resulting data informs cleaning schedules, to make sure desks are sanitized between users.

Image showing a view of daily desk occupancy in Kadence's software

4. Having a real-time view of your spaces enables informed decisions and gives the best chance in supporting your employees and their needs.

5. Kadence’s real-time occupancy data shows you which areas in your spaces are currently being used, and whether employees are keeping to social-distancing measures in the office.

A view of Kadence's software showing an office floor plan with numbered desks

6. Our Insights dashboard gives you an overview of occupancy across any building, floor, office neighborhood or desk – for complete control and also to compare how spaces are being used by type and location to make better future reconfiguration decisions.

Graphics of some of the analytics available in Kadence's desk booking software

Our team is just a click away to discuss your requirements for your future workplace.

Why is face-to-face communication important? Talking the future of workplace experience with Superhuman

There are benefits of virtual communication tools and technology that allow us to work efficiently. With the click of a button, we can catch up with team members no matter where they are. The pandemic has taught us, so far, that we can work remotely. However, there are aspects of communication at work that make it more difficult to sustain in the long run – and show us the importance of in-person, face-to-face communication with colleagues.

As part of our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we are delighted to have Rahul Vohra, Founder & CEO at Superhuman, sharing why it is crucial to have face-to-face communication in workplaces, and some of the changes we can expect to see in the near future. Check out our interview below:

3 quick tips to work from home

  1. Have a routine – a start time and end time for your work day at home
  2. Create clear separation between work and home life
  3. Introduce ‘home office rules’ to avoid disruptions

Why do you think it’s important to be in a physical office?

  • Social interactions and bonding with the team: Communication at work can play a big part in employees’ day to day. Building real life connections with the team ensures that they feel part of a community.
  • In-person meetings and real-time feedback: Virtual calls can be challenging and getting your point across can be difficult at times, especially on a group call. Some meetings require more collaboration than just one person leading and real life communication works both ways and this is why face-to-face meetings are important.

How do you think workplace is going to change?

  • Flexible working is no doubt going to be the trend and as we are trialing this now, we will need to start thinking about making the office environment and infrastructure ready for this way of working.
  • Bringing productivity back to the office is key. I was able to manage 8 1:1 meetings back-to-back in one day, which is usually impossible when you are in a physical office settings – how can we rethink work flow and office setup to help enhance productivity?
  • Cleanliness at workplace: Make sure to conduct a professional deep cleaning before moving back into the office, plus a more intensive cleaning schedule moving forward.

Any post Covid-19 trends we can expect?

  • An uptake in collaboration tools: Tandem is a good example that has gained massive adoption recently. It is essentially a virtual office for remote teams that helps maintain effective communication with real-time video chat widgets and share files, screens, messages seamlessly.
  • Continuation of how we will rethink productivity and collaboration, the workplace industry and way we work are going to change regardless, all the changes we are seeing are simply being accelerated as a result of this pandemic.


Planning for seamless business continuity: interview with Aruba

As COVID-19 spreads to an ever-growing segment of the global population, the top priority of every organization in this time of crisis should be on protecting the health and safety of its employees now and planning for seamless business continuity and the future return to the workplace. As part of our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we are delighted to have Keerti Melkote, Co-Founder & President at Aruba, to touch on just that and to share their incredible effort to support frontline health workers. Check out our interview below:

How has Aruba adjusted during Covid-19?

Aruba has over 7,000 employees globally, you can imagine the scale and speed we needed to effectively communicate with our employees and execute plans:

  • We implemented social distancing in the workplace in Singapore with our employees coming into work at designated times throughout the day with alternate desk arrangements. By March, everybody had shifted to working from home globally.
  • Help employees stay connected at home: Aruba’s remote access points allow corporate networks to be extended into their home, which allows the company to establish a working from home process fairly quickly and deliver the same seamless work experience at home.

How do you think the office environment is going to change?

  • Healthcare needs and employee wellbeing will be key: expect a more intensive cleaning schedule, keeping office and surfaces clean at all times to ensure a safe environment for our staff.
  • Expect a rise in ‘mixed meetings‘, meaning we will need to consider how people will be using workspaces differently when work life returns to normal. With home offices being an accepted workplace now, meeting areas will need to be designed and equipped with technology that enables both in-person and virtual interactions, especially bringing reliable and quality video capability into meetings.

How have companies addressed remote working differently?

  • Working from home is no longer a choice and technology is the enabler to this – but the key is to do it securely.
  • Aruba has been using Wifi-based location technology as data input for workspace planners, meaning the real estate and workplace team can now use real-time data to plan ahead and make suggestions. For example, our data doesn’t tell us who that person is, it just tells us where that person is. With the Covid-19 context to practise social distancing, this real-time data can help with our future space planning in regards to our employees’ health and safety.

“People move, networks must follow”

  • In the era of IoT and flexible working, and even more so now with everybody working remotely, ensuring seamless connectivity and power will allow people to work from anywhere, anytime.
  • Network will need to follow you to your home and as things return to normal, places in between such as coffee shops will also be important to ensure people stay connected.

What has Aruba done in response to COVID-19?

  • Connectivity is key to healthcare workers: Wifi enables doctors to examine patients safely at a distance, and also allows network connectivity at pop-up hospitals and testing sites.
  • Leveraging our Airheads community by setting up volunteer groups across 40 countries to help deploying Wifi at testing sites and pop-up hospitals.

How to stay connected with your work-from-home employees: interview with CXApp

COVID-19 is impacting enterprises all over the world and we are currently experiencing the world’s largest work-from-home experiment. The need for collaboration and employee engagement is going to be more important than ever.

Now is the time to understand what impact COVID-19 has on future ways of working, ensuring that your workplace has the right infrastructure and tools to enable the next level of mobility, productivity and engagement.

This week on our ‘Future of Workplace Experience’ series, we are honoured to have Leon Papkoff, Founder & Chief Strategist at The CXApp to share his recent observations across the enterprise workplace industry during this pandemic situation, but also how things are going to change in the workplace. Some key takeaways and check out our interview below: 

  • Communication remains crucial to ensure your team have the right tools to allow effective communications during this time or investing in ‘Smart Campus’ app that allows employees to have access to real-time communications.
  • ‘Remote working’ will become the new normal so make sure remote employees don’t feel left out by investing in virtual technology and seamless work tech integrations – these are going to be more important than ever.
  • Creating a ‘touch-less’ environment and workplace hygiene will become priorities for companies to make employees feel comfortable going to work.

Top tips adjusting to ‘Working from Home’

We are technically in the largest global remote working experiment, here are some of the top challenges and tips to remain productive at home:

  • Communication is key: Make sure you and your team have the right tools to allow effective communications during this time, we have been using a variety of tools within our team and with our customers – Zoom, WebEx, Skype to Slack – you name it!
  • Plan your day ahead: Avoid back-to-back meetings, make sure to plan your day and make time to be away from our desk, it could be as simple as stretching your legs, dial in calls with your mobile phone rather than sitting at your desk.

How do you stay connected with your remote employees?

  • Increased demand for workplace apps: We have been getting a lot of interest in our ‘Smart Campus’ app, essentially a workplace experience platform that allows employees to have on-demand access to real-time communications and interactions with their office environment – from company updates, scheduling meetings to food ordering, it can be all done in one app and more resources need to be in the hands of employees to assist with remote working.
  • Keep work flow simple and provide easy-to-use tools, this can help keep employees engaged and productive while being away from the office. Take Adobe as one of our customer example, our Smart Campus app allows employees schedule and access their BlueJeans meetings instantly anytime, anywhere. This will remain seamless and integrated when things return to normal, employees can still easily book rooms and schedule meetings in the same way with our BlueJeans integrations.

How have companies reacted differently to Covid-19?

  • Company culture definitely plays a key role on how I have seen companies reacting differently to the current situation, it is really about the ability for business leadership to embrace the situation and make the best out of it.
  • Adobe workplace example: Adobe recently started a video feed on helpful tips for employees to adjust working from home – from adding natural greenery to their at-home work environment, flexible work station set-up to recipes from their corporate chefs.

How do you think the office environment is going to change?

  • Making interactions with work environment more seamless by allowing employees to access all resources in one app – from on-demand food ordering to meeting room booking.
  • Company policy changes to allow ‘remote working’ arrangements, meaning investing in virtual technology and tools is going to be more important than ever.
  • Creating a ‘touch-less’ environment will become a priority for companies, such as using mobile app or badges for meeting rooms check-in to reduce the amount of physical contact with work environments or surfaces.
  • Cleanliness will be a basic requirement in the workplace – a lot more cleaning and sanitization can be expected to make employees more comfortable being in the office and interacting with other colleagues.
  • Employees will be expecting ‘at home’ technology to be available at the workplace such as on-demand food delivery and wireless chargers.

Gearing up for the new workplace

If you’d like a chat with one of our team about getting your workplace ready for the new era of work, why not pick a time in our calendar to suit you?

3 tips for remote working from HPE Aruba

The need for remote working in recent times has impacted businesses in myriad ways and has forced us to rethink the way we work. If there is anything we have learnt from this, it would be that flexible working is now more important than ever – allowing staff to work from whenever, wherever they want. Mobility is and will be a key part of workplace experience strategy and now could be a good time to re-evaluate your strategy and offerings.

We caught up with Jon Howell, Smart Workspaces EMEA Lead at HPE Aruba to hear about his recent observations across the enterprise workplace industry, vision on future of work, and what adds value for both employees and employers to enhance workplace experience. Check out our interview below:

3 ways to facilitate remote working for your staff

There is currently an accelerated interest in aggregated employee solutions, here are some of my observations for better remote working:

  1. More resources need to be in the hands of remote staff: An app based intranet for corporate news, campus shutdown info, virtual conference call management (organise virtual meetings and sharing invitations from their device) and general diary management to assist with remote working.
  2. Virtual access and connectivity is key to remote working: Leading cloud-managed Wi-Fi providers such as Aruba are well positioned to help remote workers with Remote Access Points and Virtual Gateways. This means an organisation can send out an access to point to a remote worker and connect it directly to the corporate network. Simply put the home worker is now working on the campus network as if they were actually there!
  3. Rethink about the value of office/campus apps: Organizations now have the time with workers and app developers at home to focus on scoping and preparing campus applications for when people return to work.

There’s certainly been a shift in mindset towards flexibility and mobility, and employees will now demand more in these areas, so what does this mean for the future of workplace experience when employees repatriate the offices globally, how can these needs challenges be addressed? Here’s a few of my thoughts on that below.

Enabling workplace mobility and better workplace experience

With increasing real estate costs, more and more enterprises are now ditching assigned desks and moving to hot desks to maximize the use of spaces. Workspaces are transforming and employees are opting to move freely from desk to meeting rooms to huddle spaces, finding appropriate quiet spaces away from their desks to concentrate on tasks.

Maximizing space utilization

But with all these new spaces and resources, how can they be managed and tracked accurately? By aggregating multiple sources of data such as WiFi, sensors, meeting room systems together with data (usage, dwell time, hyperlocal data) (such as that provided by Kadence’s desk scheduling software), workplace managers can then find out how spaces are being used with a holistic view.

Adding value to employee experience

When employees are away from their desks, they spend most of their time in meeting rooms. Meeting rooms are the perfect example of times in the working day when a top-up of power is in high demand. Being free from messy cables and not having to worry about bringing a cable add to a better experience for employees and help them remain productive.

Enhancing meeting room technology

The workplace has gone mobile and access to power is a deal-breaker for those looking to stay connected 24/7 – employees demand the same, intuitive and fully connected experience throughout all aspects of work and leisure time. With more collaborative workspaces, smart meeting rooms and smarter buildings require companies to rethink technology – one that should empower the mobile-first generation.

The future of work is going to be defined by better, smarter experiences and no doubt technology is going to play a much bigger role – and now is probably a good time to re-evaluate how workplace experience can be enhanced for when they leave home comforts behind and head back to the office.