Enhance Your Tech Investment with a Human-Centered Approach
If You Upgrade it, They Will Come- Myth or Fact?
It's a common misconception that upgrading office hardware alone will magically boost occupancy rates and employee performance. While investing in good hardware is undoubtedly valuable, its impact on performance and experience hinges on how well it aligns with the way people work.
In our recent study of hybrid readiness, within companies aiming to optimize occupancy, a recurring pattern emerged – many had implemented new technologies, but few had coupled that action with engaging employee knowledge and change management processes.
There's an evident gap here.
Consider this, if your company has invested in cutting edge technology or a new platform, will you see the full benefit if the product doesn’t align with your employees' actual needs? Can you be sure you’ve applied the new products in locations that give people the functionality they need and want, without soliciting their input?
Impactful Investment or Dust Collector
Simply because the technology can do the job or is popular doesn't guarantee user-friendliness or employees' willingness to adapt to it.
As an example, we worked with a major client who had an expensive system gathering dust in a corner of a meeting room while staff used their own laptops for meetings. Without prompting, they indicated that they hadn’t received proper training on how to use it and it was “all too complicated.”
Many organizations budget and select technology solutions through their IT department. When the decision-making process does not include employee insights, the selected products might be state of the art- but often miss the mark when it comes to employee buy-in and workplace experience.
Human-Centered Technology Selection
A human-centered approach to workplace design, especially technology integration, can be a top contributor to employee occupancy and space usage. We’ve found the tools which enable productivity are intuitive to use, familiar, and create a frictionless experience across locations.
If employees have been trained on a product but are still not using it as intended, a human-centered approach to change management finds the root barrier to acceptance and supports employees with the necessary tools to integrate new skills.
Workplace Enhancing Apps and Platforms
Implementing seamless booking or workplace experience applications can enable individuals to locate their spaces and amenities with ease, significantly alleviating stress upon arrival.
Silos often exist in workplace and productivity technology purchasing decisions.
As workplace experience tools are often budgeted through different teams (ie: Facilities and People) we are seeing that employees are bombarded with a plethora of apps that serve a single focus. When departments are in communication, employees benefit from holistic applications that understand the intersection of functional and social needs.
In addition to engaging with your employees, by involving your People team in this selection process, you can incorporate more workplace experience pillars within one product, which enhances employee experience and facilities management.
Why the Approach Matters
Forcing technological solutions on employees won’t build company loyalty or make employees feel good at work- in fact just the opposite. We’ve found that hard to use or poorly designed technology is a leading cause of workplace stress.
The bottom line: It’s all about the people! Including employees in the decision-making process leads to better technology investments. Engagement is typically carried out through interviews and workshops, to decern the functional needs, the locations, and the products that are truly needed. This process weeds out the products that sound good on paper, but don't align with how people actually do their jobs.
Insisting that people to power through, adapting to something that makes their lives worse without considering how their jobs are actually done, is a waste of energy.
You may feel hesitant to include employees in the decision-making process, as we covered in our article, Myths of Engagement. By defining the scope of the conversation, you can gain a tremendous amount of insight into employee’s technology needs and move the needle on performance, without opening a can of worms.
Creating a Positive Technology Experience
Technology integration is more than product selection & installation. When done correctly- technology has the power to draw people back into the office. For example, we’ll hear employees say, “I love my monitor at work, so I prefer to do this task at the office” or “Meetings are better in the office.”
Here are some important components of successful workplace technology projects:
1) Employee Engagement: Understand the needs of different roles, how they use technology, and where and how they hold meetings.
2) Change Management: Take employees on a journey to adoption to ensure the systems are approachable for employees without the need for constant IT support.
3) Hybrid Meeting & Collaboration Effectiveness: Integrate meeting technology with the design of the furniture to enhance hybrid meetings. Consider the culture of meeting style within your organization, for example placing whiteboards, monitors, and cameras in the spots that support effective communication and collaboration.
Workplace consultants play a pivotal role in helping organizations uncover their technology needs and integrations, ensuring confident procurements and smooth employee adaptation. Ultimately, a human-centered approach to technology integration can transform your workplace into a hub of productivity and satisfaction.