With more smart connected objects entering the workplace, office employees are becoming more open to connecting devices related to hygiene, according to a new report from Tork, a global hygene products company.
The internet of things is entering the workplace with more objects connected than just your laptop, smartphone and printer. We are on the verge of a breakthrough of this kind of technology, according to the Tork survey.
“In many offices today, there is still very little data to base decisions on,” said Linda Ekener Mägi, who works with strategic business development at global ICT company Ericsson, “most companies still use quite Stone Age methods, such as walking around and counting to see how many employees are sitting at their desks. Cars have had a lot of sensors and data collection for a long time; offices will be moving in this direction as well.”
A connected office environment creates a flow of information allowing management and service providers to gain concrete knowledge about how offices are used, information that can be analyzed to create solutions for a cleaner and more efficient workplace.
“When it comes to improving the office environment through connected devices, hygiene is a key aspect,” said Tony Löf at H&M, who is developing the clothing giant’s global facility management concept, “there will be complaints straight away if core hygiene isn’t maintained.”
Tork survey results confirm the importance of hygiene: on average 79 percent of respondents from New York to Shanghai say they would inform their office managers or facility manager if they aren’t satisfied with the quality of hygiene products, and around 40 percent of all office workers occasionally find paper and soap dispensers empty and washrooms that haven’t been properly cleaned.
Connectivity in the office is already starting to allow service providers to eliminate these kinds of issues. Intelligent dispensers in washrooms can send push notifications when they are running out of soap and paper, and sensors in washrooms and elsewhere register flow and traffic, so that areas can be cleaned when a certain amount of people have used them.
This kind of real-time information lets facility management be proactive, solving problems before they appear instead of discovering issues through complaints or long, repetitive control rounds.
The next step will be analyzing the data to inform the design and construction of new offices. Understanding how facilities are being used and where the inefficiencies are will let management build workplaces that better match the needs of their employees. The office environment will become increasingly “hygientelligent”.
The Tork survey found that around 40 percent of all office workers have experienced washrooms that haven’t been properly cleaned as well as empty paper and soap dispensers.
However, given that facility managers (73 percent) have begun realizing intelligent hygiene solutions’ potential, they have an opportunity to make working lives better with increased connectivity.
For example, intelligent hygiene solutions can serve as the backbone to improving building performance, benefitting both washroom users and facility staff.
Over half of workers globally often worry about getting infected by colleagues going to work when they are sick.
One way to help prevent germ spread and keep staff healthy is the use of touchless technology.
Office workers want it all – peace and quiet as well as social, interactive spaces. Given that needs differ from day to day, as well as between different workers, a one-size-fits-all office won’t do the trick. Building managers can make small but impactful changes to improve tenant satisfaction.