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Home office set up with white desk
So, as the Government throws another spanner in the return to your work place message, we look at what technology is on the horizon when we do head into the office on a more regular basis. 
Companies that have a creative bias are definitely keener to return to the office than the more admin-based businesses, despite the endless zoom calls creativity rarely thrives by looking at some one’s head on a screen. In addition to this we, as humans, miss out on the more passive awareness of office interaction and that sense of community. 

What was once a gadget is now becoming more the norm 

Existing technologies are widely used and form a part of our everyday. Your smart phone can act as a payment device and you can access public transport using it. A large number of restaurants, hotels and bars have an app so you can order your food and drink. I was even able to download an app for my food, drink & ice cream at our local drive in move. These apps are flexible, easy to use and accessible, no longer a gadget? 
Ticket barriers at underground station
Man on mobile ordering

Let’s apply this to the office. 

For some organisations there are communal areas as well as your domain. The communal areas are managed by a building or facilities management team so you need to engage with them with regards to apps for access to the building or a lift programmed to take you to your floor. 
Along with any break-out or coffee areas where you can pre-book your coffee or snack. There is even an app for washrooms, which will notify the cleaners after so many visits to allow for frequent cleaning. 

How can this work in my office space? 

There are a number of apps with different features and add-ons and depending on staff numbers and budget they can be adapted to fit around you. The two key things to bear in mind; firstly, they are apps so do not need to be incorporated into the existing IT equipment or servers and secondly you control the settings, so for instance you can select certain people who can book, say, the Board room. 
Desk bookings are very easy, they are similar to booking a seat on a flight, you get a floor plan and book an available desk, as the controller you can block desks off or only allow staff to sit in pre-allocated areas. The added advantage of the desk booking is you can then alert your clean team to the desks that have been used and only once they have been cleaned are they available for re-booking, alternatively, if you have adequate desk numbers, those desks could simply not be available for 72hrs. 
With more companies contemplating staff returns around days they need to meet with colleagues meeting room bookings are going to need closer management. The app systems can incorporate meeting room bookings which have a similar feel as the desk bookings with all those advantages, in addition should a meeting room not be needed any more, it can quickly be flagged up as available on the app. 
These apps can also be used for booking car parking spaces or bike rack spaces allowing for staff to make a return to the office without the need for public transport or concerns about using public car parks. 

What can we conclude? 

From our experience and the discussions with client’s, staff on the whole want a return to the office and normality, they also want flexibility in where they work. 
At Blue Goose we are talking to a number of clients whose leases are coming to an end and they are thinking about the next step, in many cases that is downsizing the existing space. 
By working with our clients, we are able to map out a route to make their office work for them and these technology offers us some additional options. 
We are working with a number of suppliers of this technology so please contact us if you would like further information on these exciting developments. 
Man leaning on bike making a booking on his phone
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