Smart Policies for Smart Workplaces

This article first appeared on Linkedin Pulse

The key to success for smart workplace projects, or any large-scale enterprise projects for that matter, is to have smart policies to guide you and your organisation towards success. Keep reading to learn the 6 policy pillars that will light the way and keep you on track towards a smart workplace solution that is enticing for your employees, efficient for your IT team to manage, and effective for your business as a whole. If you're looking to be better, faster and stronger, success comes down to harnessing this movement and turning it into momentum for your project.


1. Make People Your Priority

There’s lots of ways digital transformation can go wrong, and most of them stem from organisations and leadership teams not keeping the employee experience at the forefront of discussions and decision making. 

Make people your priority by prioritising the user experience every step of the way. This is a core value at ACA, and this is the reason that we’re successful at winning large jobs and contracts with great clients, often beating much larger companies who have been operating for decades longer than us. By prioritising user experience, you can make sure that you are creating a solution that doesn’t just replace what you’re currently using, but improves and optimises this. 

Prioritising user experience for your team means getting to the root of problems, and solving them properly instead of using a band aid solution. Does your current workplace tech stack work together well? Is everything integrated correctly? If not, you’re not getting the most out of the hardware and software investments you’ve already made, because you’re not solving the whole problem for your team. 

2. You Are What You Measure

A quote I like to borrow from one of our Partners at ACA is “Yes you can do that, but should you?” and this ethos is really relevant to the way we consult with our customers. ACAEngine gives management some really great analytics opportunities, but it’s always important to keep in mind that you are what you measure when it comes to these workplace analytics choices. 

Analytics and data in the workplace have revolutionised the way we work, and the way we manage. They give lots of opportunities for us to improve, but there’s a downside to bad metric choices. It’s important to appreciate the power but also understand how corrosive (to your culture, employee experience and productivity) selecting the wrong metric can be.  

Humans will always try to find the shortest or simplest path to success- always keep this in mind when choosing what you’re going to track and measure. Make sure what you’re choosing to measure is in line with your company values, and don’t make it enticing for employees to do sidestep what their actual goals or objectives should be, in order to fulfil an imposed metric. 

Leadership teams spend large amounts of time planning business goals and strategies, but it’s also really important to dedicate time to think critically about what your organisation is choosing to measure and how you’re choosing to measure those metrics. 

By setting measurements and metrics to track you’re setting goals for your team, but more importantly, you’re specifically communicating what you value as an organisation. Regardless of how many company values you’ve got printed on the walls of your office space, what you choose to measure is the real way your company values are communicated to your employees. 

3. Don’t Settle

Spend time with the end users who will be working with your smart workplace solution in different ways and make sure that you’re not settling for second best when it comes to employee experience. For example- if the catering, scheduling and room booking systems aren’t properly integrated with ACAEngine it might end up taking quite a considerable amount of employee time to make sure bookings are live across several platforms at once, make sure nothing is getting left behind, and make sure nothing is double booked. Every minute your customer service team spends doing tasks like this that can be easily automated is a minute less they can spend creating a fabulous experience for your employees and guests.

Your concierge team are no doubt great at customer service- this is why you hired them in the first place so let them do this!

Also, don’t settle for meeting room hardware that is unreliable or doesn’t get the job done just because it’s what you’ve always done. Listen to your employees (by looking at the data that’s available or actually talking to them) and look at how they like to work and what they need in order to work well. You might have loads of meeting rooms filled with great hardware but this won’t get used to the best of its potential if your calendar and room booking systems aren’t integrated, or your employees don’t use meeting rooms in the first place. 

‘Don’t Settle’ means to take a step back and look at where you are and where you want to be as an organisation, and work out the best way to get between these points.

4. Lead By Example

Like any change within an organisation, digital transformation or digital workplaces fundamentally won’t work if leaders aren’t leading by example when it comes to embracing the new technology or ways of working. 

If you’re looking to switch to a hot-desking model, make sure your C-Suite and Management teams are all leading by example and actually using the hot desks. Additionally, if you’re trying to reduce ghost meetings (meetings that are booked but not attended) within your organisation, make sure there’s top-down support and action on this topic. 

Genuine, sustained and evolving organisational change means everyone is on board and no one is left behind. 

5. Iterate

As Landell and Liam Timms discuss in an ACA Podcast Episode, a Smart Workplace Project, or any other large-scale technology project within a business, isn’t a one-and-done project that gets locked away as soon as it’s rolled out. The magic happens when you workshop end user feedback and weave this into updates for your solution. If your employees are letting you know ways they could be working more efficiently, effectively or happily listen to them and continue to iterate!

Your business is constantly growing and evolving, so your workplace technology should be evolving too.

6. Start Somewhere

This was also discussed in Landell and Liam’s Podcast Episode, but don’t allow yourself to get stuck in analysis paralysis- just start somewhere and iterate from there. Decide on a Proof of Concept, and build from there. Technology moves too quickly to wait for everything to feel perfect before you pull the trigger and go ahead- by the time you’re ready to go there’s probably new updates or improvements available that will change the way you want to proceed. Set benchmarks, goals and checkpoints and stick to them. This will keep you moving, and keep you focused. 

Just Start. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to roll out smart workplace solutions, get in touch with me here on LinkedIn or via the ACA website.