Embracing Change With New Workplace Experience Technologies

Moving from static to dynamic messaging allows companies to adapt to ever-changing customer and employee needs.

digital signage
Photo: Adobe Stock – geengraphy

By Scott Chao

There are a lot of memorable quotes about change, many of which are applicable to today’s workplace and management philosophies. “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often,” is one saying that has stood the test of time.

While facility executives may not be seeking perfection in their roles, they certainly have embraced a lot of change in the last few years as they’ve strived to keep employees in their buildings safe and engaged.

Technology Decisions Are Not Just For IT

The reality is that facility managers have always been on the frontline in exploring and adopting technologies to deliver important information to employees and visitors who pass through their buildings. Even before the pandemic, many facility executives were responsible for managing multiple office buildings and warehouses located across far-flung geographies.

In the last two-plus years, this task has taken on additional responsibility and priority because of new workplace realities and workplace locations, including employee home offices. At the same time, many facilities executives and managers also are making these technology decisions while dealing with budget reductions and staffing shortages. As the economy slows down, some experts predict these challenges will continue with corporations eyeing real estate as a primary target for budget cuts.

This risk places additional pressure on facility executives to strategically use workplace experience technologies to meet their own objectives and key results, while working collaboratively with other departments, like human resources, to help them meet their engagement goals.

Beyond The Digital Signs

Facility executives have long relied on digital signage as a primary communications channel in their offices and warehouses. Historically, digital signage was the first box selected on the technology checklist.

With ever-changing workplace dynamics, today’s digital signage technology can go far beyond its traditional primary function of displaying simple messages in office lobbies to reaching employees whether they are working in-office, hybrid, or remote.

With the right tools, facility executives can easily deploy content to employees at different office locations with just a few clicks of a button. This functionality saves time for facility executives and their colleagues tasked with publishing content and makes it easier to share important messages fast.

With regularly updated content, employees and building guests feel more connected and engaged with the business. Even better, moving from static to dynamic messaging doesn’t have to be complicated or time-intensive.

One Manufacturer Goes for More

Before the pandemic, one large Florida-based manufacturing and industrial company used digital signage in the traditional ways—in their facilities’ break and lunch rooms and location entrances. Up to that point, the company primarily relied on digital signage to post content, such as KPI metrics, current orders, and priority lists, a cumbersome process considering the company’s vast operations across the U.S. and 18 other countries.

In early 2021, the company upgraded its digital signage solution to include enhanced graphics and improved integrations. This integration included a seamless process of feeding information from the company’s ERP to Power BI and then distributing the output directly through an enhanced digital signage platform.

Each location saved 20-30 minutes a day by eliminating manual department-level KPIs updates and automating reporting feed from MS Power BI to the new platform. Employee polls also pointed to significantly improved internal employee engagement following implementation.

The Modern Workplace is Already Here

According to Gartner Research, the typical organization has undertaken five major firmwide changes in the past three years—and nearly 75% expect to multiply the types of major change initiatives they will undertake in the next three years. Undoubtedly, facility executives will lead many of these initiatives.

The physical-only workplace is a thing of the past and these initiatives must continue to map to today’s modern workplace environments. Digital signage was cutting edge and exciting when it first came to the market. However, employees working from home or on the go, need the same content and information, when they’re not in the buildings. They also need it in a timely manner.

Facility executives must now extend their roles and work more collaboratively across departments to ensure other workplace technologies, like employee apps, are in place to complement digital signage. The right employee app makes it possible to share digital signage content to employees’ personal devices, delivering the same messaging employees see on the lobby and break-room displays, and at the same time.

Digital signage continues to provide an opportunity to create conversations and enhance workplace experiences. But, as organizations look for strategies and solutions that deliver measurable results, the old way of offering static digital signage simply isn’t enough. Publishing dynamic and engaging content is table stakes in delivering value to employees and guests in office buildings as is bringing an omnichannel approach to workplace communications. Overseeing these important changes puts facility executives at the center of the workplace experience by ensuring the delivery of consistent and cohesive messaging to employees—regardless of their work preferences or locations

Chao is Chief Growth Officer at Appspace, which provides a unified workplace communications and workplace management platform to the facility leaders at thousands of global companies. Before Appspace, Chao held leadership positions at DealerSocket, Stack Sports, and Cvent. He has an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin, and dual degrees from Duke University.

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