The ancient Chinese art of feng shui is founded on the principle that unseen forces drive the world. We must allow these forces to flow freely to create balance. Feng shui uses the arrangement of space to achieve harmony with one’s environment and create a sense of wellbeing.
So, what can this ancient Chinese art teach us about optimising space?
Although feng shui is often relegated to realms of pseudoscience, there is mounting evidence to suggest that our environment directly impacts our productivity and wellbeing. Alongside this, employee expectations are changing and millennials –who make up 43.3% of the global labour force[i] – put more emphasis on wellbeing and engagement than previous generations. Consequently, businesses are looking to keep pace with digital culture and smart technology (and even feng shui: see here) to optimise their office space.
The shui to an optimised office
Incorporating smart technology into the office can help business owners increase productivity, profits and engagement. The technology can be used to monitor systems, reduce waste and boost efficiency. Smart tech can optimise an office’s environment by learning when it is occupied and how to make employees more productive.
With remote working on the rise, online real-time collaboration is necessary for many businesses. And the Internet of Things (devices that can send and receive data via their connection to the internet) is paving the way with portable, fixed and wearable devices that interact through a cloud-based network. Smart tech such as AV screens operated from a smartphone and sensors that can identify how many employees are in the office at any given time are just some of the technologies being used in smart offices.
Just an IoTa of smart thinking
The cost of running a commercial premise is often high. However, smart technology delivers an elegant solution by enabling users to increase energy efficiency. IoT Start-up 75F uses sensors to examine airflow and automates cooling and heating systems. Chief operation officer of 75F, Bob French, says that businesses can cut energy costs by 70% by using a 75F system. Considering that 72% of office workers say that a sustainable environment is important to them, it’s time to invest (and save!). [ii]
You can regulate an office environment with smart thermostats (commercial and industrial). Smart thermostats can decrease heating and cooling when employees are out of the office and optimise it when they’re at their desks. Cost-efficient and environmental? Smart Check.
The 2017 Memoori report entitled ‘The Future Workplace: Smart Office Design in the IoT Era’ surveyed five hundred office users in North America on the level of technology in their working environment and how they felt it impacted their ability to be productive.
When surveyed on types of office lighting, there was an evident pattern that emerged. Only 9.7% of respondents in offices with fluorescent strip lighting said it increased their concentration, compared to 40.2% working in ‘abundant natural light’. Fluorescent strip lighting was also the only lighting type with a greater percentage of participants feeling it impeded their productivity. [iii] Lighting has a significant impact on the circadian system, employee wellbeing and productivity. Investing in smart lighting for your office can pay dividends in the long-term.
It’s the smart ying to do
Certainly, the ancient Chinese were onto something… But it’s not just feng shui: smart technology can enhance productivity and wellbeing while optimising space, too.
Using smart technology to make the lives of employees easier, safer and more efficient can help businesses drive growth in the workspace. Whether we like it or not, IoT is here to stay. Ignore it and you risk losing out as competitors integrate systems to gain a competitive edge. Of course, you must assess what smart home technology will benefit your business to get the best value out of your tech.
But if you want to accelerate your growth, it’s time to prosper with IoT.
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