HOLLYWOOD, FL–Study after study points to how having good EX (employee experience), a term that first appeared in a 2018 white paper report by HR crusader Josh Bersin, fosters happier and satisfied employees that bodes well for business growth.
Developing a great employee experience now includes smart workplace systems as well, which now play an even bigger role with a market value expected to reach $68 billion by 2026, a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.6% over the forecast period 2021 to 2026. Smart office systems include sensor networks for energy efficiency, advancement of IoT in smart office offerings, and safety and security systems.
EX can now be boiled down to “HR tech,” a mindset where both human resources initiatives and smart technology create an ideal employee experience.
The constant shift in terminologies can be attributed to how employers look at EX as an enterprise-wide strategy aimed at driving employment, brand, productivity, engagement and customer success. Employees also see it as a pathway for them to reach their highest potential — to be more productive and collaborative. Defining it as “Living Your Purpose” helps Unilever provide their employees the necessary tools they will need for personal improvement.
Most reports bear out the effectiveness of EX initiatives:
Employee experience or EX is certainly a new term that covers the whole spectrum of a company’s infrastructure and culture, with the IT part of it — as smart technology may also fall under it — now playing an even bigger role on account of Covid-19’s effect and the new threats posed by its variants in many workplaces.
This has prompted companies to restructure their offices. In Harvard Business Review’s study, 5 models for a post-pandemic workplace emerged:
As it was: Employees expressed confidence that their regular nine-to-five routine would be more hygienic and flexible this time around.
Clubhouse: The workplace has imbibed the vibe of a social hub, with employees coming for a visit to collaborate with their teammates and then going home to do their more focused work.
Activity-based working: With hybrid work arrangements and shrinking offices, some companies are no longer assigning desks, letting their employees sit anywhere, especially if they use laptops rather than desktops. Good for social distancing, too.
Hub and spoke: Big companies are letting some workers use satellite offices instead of having them commute to the central office.
Fully virtual: Employees work from home or anywhere.
The past year has certainly made companies look for ways to improve the employee experience as a whole using many feedback mechanisms, online virtual tools and smart office technologies for those who are bound to return to the office, if they have not yet done so.
Last month, 75% of executives already expected half of office employees to be back to work at the office, with 61% of employees expected to spend half their time in the office, according to PriceWaterhouseCooper’s (PWC).
With so many smart devices out there, offices need all the help they need to get started. Smart technology is not something that employees can do on their own.
In south Florida, smart office automation companies like Premium Digital Control & Automation are making workplaces prepared for the post-pandemic future. Serving both homes and offices from West Palm Beach to Miami, Premium Digital installs systems for surveillance and access control; climate control; audio-visual and entertainment, and lighting and window control.
Incorporating energy efficiency measures with fewer people coming to work is key, but offices have to be optimized using smart office technology. The lockdown has prompted some companies to look into energy consumption and is linking architectural plans and engineering design to leverage the many benefits of smart technology.
Since occupational stress is increasingly present in most workplaces, having a smarter office that can provide stress detection systems would also be ideal. Again, HR can address some problems that are work-related but if the work environment is the problem, office automation will eventually need to analyze changes in employees’ physiological and behavioral patterns.
The most pressing issue that companies are exploring now is employee safety. Some are looking into compliance with the International ISOS and an auditing system to prove to employees and workers that their office spaces are safe, healthy and hygienic. Office automation will continue to evolve to enhance the employees’ experience in their workplaces. (Dennis Clemente)