Room for improvement: how the digital economy is transforming the spaces we work in

Author Stuart WhytePublished 5 Min Read

When you think about digital innovation and exciting new technologies, workspace providers probably don’t spring immediately to mind. But this is set to change, as a growing number of companies are now ready for the next stage of digital transformation - a step beyond a slick new website that simply lists available properties. But why is this necessary?

Today’s customer expectations are shaped by forward-thinking, industry-leading innovators – the Amazons, Airbnbs and Googles of the world. We have been wooed by the convenience, simplicity and beautiful UIs, together with service offerings that answer our needs before we’re even aware of them. We are the ‘I-want-everything-and-I-want-it-now’ generation. And these expectations translate into our working environments, amplifying the need for office space solutions that not only save businesses time, but improve engagement, across all stages of the customer journey.


Goodbye hierarchy, hello collaboration

Flat management structures, agile working and fast, flexible processes are the watchwords of modern businesses. The hierarchical structure of yesterday, where decisions could only be made by a handful of senior managers (who were both figuratively and physically set apart from the rest of the workforce), meant that workspaces were typically box-like structures, stern-looking and functional. Kind of like the boxes on an org chart.

But with the advent of digital, all this has to change: in the words of Work Design Magazine ...digital transformation requires fluidity: cross-functional teams that can come together informally, as needed, to tackle emerging issues or tough old ones and then disband when they’ve served their purpose.”  In short, the layout, structure and design of the office space must reflect the working practices of the day. In 2018 we need fluidity, transparency and democratisation. 

So the spaces themselves are changing in line with our needs as employees. How does this translate into opportunities for workplace providers to better serve their customers?


Transforming the traditional workplace provider offering 

The majority of big workplace providers are still at the starting point of their digital transformation journey. However, the property tech market is booming and in recent years we’ve seen an increase in the development of new digital solutions that could help to deliver the next-generation workplace experience, from search to office management and client offboarding.


Personalisation:

Complex personalisation technology to predict and deliver relevant property suggestions is one technology that is now commonplace. But office space providers need to get smarter with the way they approach personalisation. Considering basic data like company size, budget, preferred location or company culture is a good starting point, but there is an opportunity to do so much more.

Discovering your clients’ specific pain points can help to define solutions that will win them over. Example? One of the biggest fears of office change is employee drop-out; new environment, change of estimated travel time... Data-led personalisation, which suggests offices with the shortest commute time based on employees’ current starting point, could help to minimise the relocation impact and ensure employees are on board with the change. Happy employees, happy clients, higher revenue potential.


Physical-digital:

Delivering a seamless transition between clients’ physical conversations with an agent and any subsequent digital actions, is key to providing that smooth, channel-agnostic experience.


Latest technologies:

AI and VR are also showing high potential. From AI-enabled mobile chatbots answering common queries and delivering relevant property suggestions, to VR tours helping clients to scan various office propositions in a short space of time and accelerate their decision-making process – there are a number of avenues worth exploring.


Creating the next-generation workplace experience

Some of the more nimble companies are already using tech for effective digitalisation of physical spaces to boost employee experience, facilitate interconnectivity, and aid operational efficiency with automatic invoicing, integrated calendars or centralised mobile-accessible printing services.

WeWork, a global provider of shared workspaces and services for all business sizes, is focusing on driving collaboration between customers using a combination of physical design and digital services. Their app builds on WeWork’s global network of 150K+ members to deliver digital infrastructure aiming to increase connectivity and build inter-network connectivity. The app enables members to discuss ideas, post and read other company updates, find or list business or job opportunities, book conference spaces at any WeWork location to increase the efficiency of communal spaces, and get relevant event invites. With increased connectivity, WeWork helps to foster collaboration, while streamlining operations, boosting members’ efficiency, and increasing general employee satisfaction. Triple win.

A growing number of workspace providers are also exploring the potential of cutting-edge tech like AR, IoT or advanced crowd analytics. Although VR/AR and IoT in the office space is still relatively untapped, there is a big potential to utilise these technologies to aid conference meetings or unlock seamless remote collaboration. Conversely, crowd analytics tool could help office suppliers to assess the effectiveness of current physical space design by analysing places employees congregate most, and utilising data to identify potential space management gaps.


Real change, real impact

With B2B customers demanding the same level of best-in-class CX they get in other sectors, delivering a seamless digital-physical journey across every stage is often a make-or-break moment for the majority of today’s workspace providers.

But how do you pick the right tech to ensure it unlocks a better office space search journey and delivers new workplace management solutions that drive loyalty and create long-term impact?

As many as 70% of digital change programmes fail, so choosing the right innovation opportunities is key to ensure the investment is not wasted. At BIO, we’re strong believers in making transformation more accountable. Choosing solutions that not only respond to ever-changing customer needs, but that also measurably boost KPIs in the long term.



With a large number of new tech solutions, workplace providers have an opportunity to reimagine the way customers experience their next big move. The new era of digitally transformed workplace experiences is here, are you ready for the revolution?



If you’d like to discuss how The BIO Agency can help you deliver best-in-class customer experience in the office management sector, drop us a mail at newbiz@thebioagency.com

Want to get fresh digital insight and BIO’s strategic advice on a regular basis? Sign up to our monthly newsletter here

Stuart Whyte | Head of StrategyShare article |
Stuart Whyte | Head of StrategyShare article |
;