Over the past few years, office environments have become more personalised for employees. Traditional and controlled corporate culture has given way to the influence of the very relaxed and flexible start-up culture. Not only has this changed the way employees interact with their work and colleagues – it’s also played a huge role in increasing productivity levels.
As smartphone and tablet use increases, the lines between personal and professional lives are beginning to disappear. Long gone are the days when users would be restricted to using the office computers to access their work; nowadays employees can access and complete work practically anywhere in the world.
It started with the BYOD concept, which enabled employees to carry their own mobiles, tablets and laptops to work, to use as their primary device. With applications available for most smartphone devices, these can be linked to the platform being used by the company for work. Now, these same devices can be used in conjunction with iBeacon technology, to enhance the management and experience of employees in the workplace. Below are just a few ways in which this technology can be utilised:
Beacon hardware deployed in doorways can practically eliminate the need for swipe cards to gain access to different sections of the office. A mobile application with information on eligible access areas for that particular user can communicate with the beacon device and provide access when he/she approaches the door. Beyond the obvious convenience of this functionality, it also gives the administrator a high degree of control, as the admin can change access details at a moment’s notice, from a linked database.
The same system can be used to identify whether someone is available in the office, and can therefore act as an attendance and movement tracking system. Administrators can easily track the times and frequency of employees moving in and out of the office. This would improve traceability, enabling employers to identify the location of specific individuals, and calculate the amount of time employees spend in certain areas of the office. Applications like BeHere currently work with schools and colleges, but can also be utilised for work to show who has come to the office on a particular day.
Employees usually require various items for their work, which could include anything from basic stationary items to hardware devices such as smartphones and tablets, depending on the nature of the job. Inevitably, it becomes difficult for managers or admins to keep track of everything moving across, in and out of the office. Now, all the manager has to do is install an application developed by a mobile app developer on their employees’ smartphones. Users can simply check out any item at the requisition shelf or cupboard, without the company having to utilise another resource to sit and monitor this process.
Beacons can be used to push employee benefits directly to their mobile devices. Work processes can be gamified by app designers to provide employees with small bonuses or rewards, to encourage good effort and hard work. For example, employees can be provided with a free taxi ride or access to a particular section of the office (such as the games room) based on their rewards. Certain vending machines can also be linked to the reward system, enabling employees to use their bonus or reward points to purchase certain items available.
Employees can check if a particular conference room is available, by opening up the application when approaching it. If it’s not available, users can book the room or spot for a later time, or ask to be notified when the meeting ends so that they can go ahead and use the conference room. This same system can be applied to devices in the workplace; if an employee wants to work on a mobile device and it is currently unavailable, they can request to be notified when it is returned, so that he/she can use it next.
These are just some of the ways in which iBeacons can make the workplace easier to manage, more personalised for employees, and ultimately more productive. Technology is being used in this way for schools, hospitals and colleges, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes standard in offices around the world too.