The Leader Magazine

JUN 2018

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Page 29 of 51

U sing technology to improve the workplace environment is not a new concept, but the reasons, the goals, and the technology itself constantly change. Today, the focus is employee-centric, and companies seek smart solutions that are intuitive and that make sense financially. Consider the plight, for example, of a real estate manager at one large IT company that experienced a significant number of no-shows in its meeting rooms. Company-wide, roughly 30 percent of the booked meeting- room space was not being used. At the same time, employees had a difficult time finding a meeting room that wasn't reserved and complained regularly about the company having too few available rooms. a non-solution is introduced To address this problem, a booking system featuring wall-mounted room panels was put in place and rolled out to each bookable space in several of the company's office sites. After reserving a room, employees were prompted to check in using the wall panel to confirm the room was, in fact, in use. In cases where no one showed up – and consequently didn't confirm their presence within five minutes – the reservation was automatically canceled and the room was made available for others to use. "We thought this would make more space available," the manager said, "but not long after, we stumbled upon a new issue: people forgot to check in." Thus, because employees who booked a room failed to check in, their meeting-room reservation was canceled. Another group of employees would then reserve the same room, since it was marked in the booking system as being available, only to find that it was occupied by the first group. To avoid these conflicts, the company adopted a policy stating that any employees who reserve a room but forget to check in would, after three incidents, be temporarily banned from the booking system. As it happened, employees did forget to check in and booking conflicts continued. Staffers who were temporarily banned found themselves in uneasy situations, left unable, for example, to book rooms for company visitors. The situation grew worse than before. t o err is human Looking back, where did it all go wrong? Was it the punitive policy? Was it the automatic release of the reservations? Or, were the wall-mounted panels the culprit? Casual observation of this story – and several similar ones – tell us that the answer is "none of the above." While punitive policies can be a recipe for disaster, the root cause of such dilemmas prove, time and time again, to be of a different kind; namely, behavioral problems. Given the right contextual information, a lot of the no-shows can be prevented well before they materialize. For example, a personal assistant would know if you are on a business trip to Chicago and could cancel your room reservation in London. Likewise, a double booking on the calendar typically indicates that one or more of the reserved rooms will not be needed. A more cost-effective digital assistant, with access to the same contextual information, could also prevent no-show situations. But, there is at least one easier and more fool-proof method by which to solve recurring problems associated with meeting-room access and availability and other workplace woes. One company paving the way in this arena – telecommunications giant Ericsson, with a total of nearly 14,000 employees located across several buildings at its global headquarters in Stockholm – is using technology to empower employees. i P s technology simplifies things For Ericsson employees, securing areas to hold meetings within the company's 500,000 square feet (46,451 sq. m.) of space could be a major challenge. But in the summer of 2017, the company implemented Senion indoor-positioning system (IPS) technology, which integrates with smartphones to provide context-aware, relevant and simple tools to save employees time and energy. Much like global positioning systems (GPS) that excels outdoors, IPS technology provides the accurate location of things where GPS cannot reach: behind walls, under roofs, and in multiple-story buildings. Indoor-positioning technology helps save workplace by Dr. Jonas Callmer F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 30 June 2018 the leader

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