Technology is being adopted by businesses around the world. But when you’re choosing what tech to introduce into your office, it’s always worth asking what you’re really looking for: will it improve the productivity of your workforce? Will it enhance workplace wellbeing? Or will it help to inspire creativity amongst your staff? Here are our five top picks that fit the bill.
Smart whiteboards have been doing the rounds for a while now, so if you don’t have one in your office already, it’s safe to say they’re a tried and tested success. Whiteboards make a great replacement for flip charts (helping to reduce paper waste) and they make collaboration during presentations a lot easier. Because they’re digital, you can share presentations with remote workers too. Best of all? Files can be saved, so once the presentation ends, you won’t be erasing the evidence of your key brainstorming session.
Touchscreen desks connect to your existing computer setup, and are (as the name suggests) touch-sensitive. You can use a stylus pen on the surface to create changes on the screen, without the restriction of a tablet surface. This means they’re great for graphic designers and other creative team members. They also allow for collaboration, and can be used in meetings for note-sharing (especially with remote team members).
If your employees travel a lot (or work remotely), this robot can give them a virtual presence in your office. The robots have been described as "Segways for tablets", as they roll around on two wheels with a tablet clipped in at eye-level. Your remote worker can dial in and control the robot from wherever they are, with their face shown on the screen as in videoconferences. They can move around the office and chat to colleagues, or sit in on meetings.
Smart speakers/AI assistants
Smart speakers are virtual personal assistants in your office. Network them into your office’s computer system and, with a simple voice command, you can have them send emails, book meetings, send holiday requests, or read out the day’s most important business headlines. This tech was popularised by Amazon’s Echo with its personal assistant Alexa, but a raft of competitors are now hitting shelves (including Google Home, the LG Hub Robot, and a Harmon Kardon speaker with Microsoft’s Cortana).
Boiling water tap
It’s not as flashy as a touchscreen desk or telepresence robot, but a boiling water tap in your office kitchen could boost productivity by saving time during the tea-and-coffee round (especially in the UK, where workers lose nearly half an hour each day making hot drinks). Instead of waiting for a kettle to boil, staff simply need to flick on the tap and they’ve got instant water hot enough for their caffeine fix.