IBM and Delft University of Technology recently collaborated in developing tools that can sense and change an employee’s physical workspace, thus testing the hypothesis these technological inputs will lead to happy, more productive workers. To that end, they believe it will help companies retain workers because employees will feel as comfortable at work as they are in their own home.
“We envision such next-generation workplaces to inspire a sense of belonging; feeling respected, valued and energized while sharing a commitment to do your best work,” stated Robert-Jan Sips, University Relations Manager for the IBM Center for Advanced Studies.
How to Create Happiness through Technology
Currently, the researchers are experimenting with this premise of “happiness” through the use of IBM Bluemix, a platform that can build, run and manage applications on the cloud, and IBM Connections, an internal tool designed for social apps and mobile devices that allows workers to share files with their network, as well as, sync online files to their mobile devices.
The intent is to use social media, mobile apps and sensors to understand the social and physical needs of everyone in an office environment and respond appropriately to their needs. In other words, this office workspace will provide an on-demand environment that matches the right physical elements to each employee on a real-time basis.
Workspace Factors for Happiness
Taking into account the physical parameters of the company’s office space (HVAC, windows, open spaces and inside and outside noises), personal employee preferences and by installing sensors throughout the office, IBM and Delft are attempting to create the perfect individualized workspace.
If you currently work in an business environment, have recently attended a meeting or even been in a crowded restaurant, you know temperatures can fluctuate within a room or in certain areas of a building. In addition, depending on a person’s tolerance level, someone can be either hot or cold sitting in the same physical space.
Natural light is important to some and not so important to others. Some do not like or work well with overhead florescent lights. Some want to bring in their own lighting system or work well with very little light.
Using the programs described above, this technology will automatically recommend work locations in the office building that are best for each employee.
Inside and outside noise will vary depending on who is in the office and the time of day. Some co-workers may be very sensitive to noise levels while others will not. Currently, IBM and Delft are deriving noise measurement from a person’s smartphone and moving employees to different workspaces depending on their noise threshold.
While this research is still in its exploratory phase, it appears that both organizations are committed to making this a real-world business initiative.
Prepare for the Future Workspace
How can you best prepare your company for the next generation workplace?
If you are not already using the cloud for collaboration and backup, now is the time to look seriously at cloud computing rental options.
In addition, if you have not embraced mobile devices in your workplace, slowly but surely integrate tablet rentals and social apps into your environment.
Lastly, poll your employees regularly about their needs with regards to temperature, lighting and noise tolerance levels. This can be handled through online pulse questions or rent iPads to serve as a company kiosk where employees can go to tell you how they would like their work environment changed.
Hartford Technology Rental is Ready for the Future
Is your business ready to rent technology? Give us a call today at 888-520-5667 or request a quote online.