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Power of IoT: Improving Workplace Productivity

18 Mar 2024

Workplace productivity and technology are intertwined. In today’s fast-paced corporate landscape, businesses are constantly seeking innovative solutions to enhance productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

One such ground breaking technology that has emerged as a game-changer is the Internet of Things (IoT). With its ability to connect devices, collect data, and automate processes, IoT has the power to transform the modern workplace and drive unprecedented levels of productivity.

Read on to learn more about:

How proptech evolved out of productivity enhancement

Why seamless working environments boost productivity

Why connected workplaces are better than traditional ones

How to transform a workplace with IoT

Top of modern office building with a cloudy sky

How proptech evolved out of productivity enhancement

We know creating a seamless working environment is a natural goal for growth-driven businesses. This has played a significant role in the birth and evolution of proptech (property technology).

Proptech makes use of IoT sensors, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and cloud platforms to digitise and automate a range of property management and real estate operations.

By incorporating technology into the built environment, and by prioritising the user experience, proptech aims to create seamless, connected spaces that respond to the needs of everyone. From property owners and managers, to tenants and occupants.

Proptech has seen considerable growth in recent years, to the point where the industry is now acknowledging the technology as more a necessity than a nice-to-have.

Currently valued at $18.2 billion, the global proptech market is predicted to rise to $86.5 billion by 2032, according to a report by Future Market Insights. A similar valuation by Grand View Research had the market valued at $25.14 billion in 2021, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 15.8% to 2030.

In the UK alone, the industry is worth £14 billion, with a forecasted growth to around £71 billion by 2023, according to a report in Property Week.

So just how did proptech come about?

As businesses sought to improve productivity and efficiency, they explored technology-based solutions. Their goal was to optimise office space, improve building management and boost the workplace experience. Proptech emerged as a response to these needs, bringing with it innovative ways to address the various challenges related to property and facilities management, as well as tenant satisfaction.

The fact that proptech prioritises the user experience means that it does a good job of enhancing the overall building occupant experience. And this ultimately has a positive effect on productivity.

The aim of creating seamless working environments is driving ongoing innovation within the proptech industry. User needs and demands are evolving rapidly.

But the technologies – and the innovators who develop proptech – are responding well to address emerging challenges and opportunities within the built environment. And from flexible workspace management to smart building automation, workplace connectivity sits at the heart of it.

We are only just scratching the surface of proptech’s potential. Technology is advancing at breakneck speed, fuelled by artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality. Of course, it’s also down to IoT buoying connectivity in the workplace and built environment generally.


Why is a seamless working environment so important in the pursuit of productivity?

A digitally-driven seamless working environment is one where obstacles don’t exist. Interruptions are side-lined, and employees are allowed to focus on the task at hand, minus frustrating disruptions.

It’s a place where systems, processes and technology work in harmony, so everyone can get the job done efficiently. This leads to higher productivity levels, and is precisely why the seamless environment is so important to the business with sustainable growth on its radar.

In a seamless working environment, unnecessary downtime is minimised. Issues that had the potential to escalate into major problems are thwarted in their tracks thanks to real time monitoring of equipment and processes.

Employees are able to access the resources they need without delays, avoiding wasted time and irritation. All of this results in an uninterrupted workflow, where productivity remains at a consistent level.

With communication channels integrated and accessible, employees find it a breeze to share information, collaborate on projects, and exchange ideas. Teamwork is buoyed, and productivity benefits.

As we’ve explored, IoT technology enables the automation of various repetitive tasks, and makes it possible to optimise workflows. Removing the manual aspect of a process makes it all the more streamlined. This allows employees to complete tasks faster and more accurately. Again, productivity and output benefit.

Finally, the seamless working environment plays an important role in employee satisfaction. It reduces the frustration and stress that commonly arise from inefficient processes and technical issues. Satisfied employees tend to be more motivated, resulting in improved levels of engagement.


Traditional workplace vs connected workplace

When you begin to explore the differences between the traditional workplace and the connected workplace, it quickly becomes apparent just how much IoT technology has the potential to transform the future of work.

The traditional workplace

In the traditional workplace, tasks required manual processing and siloed technologies. Examples include

  • access control
  • space bookings
  • environment control

The process of booking a desk or meeting room in the traditional workplace involves cumbersome email chains or calls. This often results in frustration, scheduling conflicts and lack of personalisation.

Access control is managed via physical keys or key cards. This typically presents security risks, as well as logistical challenges where keys or cards are lost or stolen.

In the traditional workplace, environment control, including temperature and air quality regulation and lighting adjustments, involves manual intervention. There is no real time optimisation functionality, and no means of setting preferences for personal workspaces.

Energy wastage is common in the traditional workplace. Switching off lights and HVAC systems in unoccupied spaces is left to human intervention.

Issues with plant machinery and office equipment can go unnoticed. This can be to the point where downtime becomes a regular occurrence, and equipment lifespan is compromised.

Ordering of supplies is a manual process. Often based on guesswork, it can lead to over or understocking.

Space is often wasted in the unconnected workplace, because it is difficult to track occupancy levels at given times, and demand for desk and meeting space. This can result in unnecessary overspending on square meterage.


The modern connected workplace

In contrast, the connected workplace is a streamlined environment. The benefits are enjoyed by everyone, from landlords, employers and facilities managers, to employees and suppliers.

Space bookings are rationalised courtesy of a central management system and user app which allows employees to reserve meeting rooms and desk space effortlessly in real time. Administrative burden is reduced, and scheduling conflicts eliminated.

The ability to select workspace in line with preferences, such as natural light, quiet zones and being close to certain colleagues makes the entire process frustration-free.

In the connected workplace, access control is enhanced with IoT-enabled tech. Smart device operated locks and biometric authentication provide a more secure and convenient way to move around a building, and protect assets.

Machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, detects irregularities. This triggers automated actions. So exit points can be locked down, or security personnel or emergency services alerted, with no manual intervention required.

The connected workplace also facilitates single sign-on (SSO) access control.

There is nothing more frustrating than having to sign in to multiple platforms to get a job done. But with SSO, users only need to authenticate once, allowing access to a host of supported resources and applications, without the need to sign in separately to each one.

From entry points and meeting rooms, to isolated zones, store rooms, elevators and digital platforms, users gain access via their smartphone, using it as a convenient one-for-all authenticator.

Workplace environment control can be optimised via IoT sensors and automations. Together, they monitor conditions and adjust settings dynamically based on preferences, occupancy and energy efficiency objectives.

So you’ll have lighting systems that adjust brightness levels in line with occupancy and natural light. Smart thermostats that regulate climate settings based on occupancy and changing outdoor temperatures. And HVAC systems that check indoor air quality and adjust ventilation to suit.

Also in the connected workplace, noise and vibration sensors are used to relay anomalies with plant and machinery. Triggers can be set to automatically request service visits, replacing reactive maintenance and all its downtime risks with predictive maintenance.

The same goes for replenishing supplies. Guesswork is set aside as usage is monitored in real time. Machine learning figures out a reliable way to predict peaks and troughs in demand.

Finally, the rich data insights that are part and parcel of the IoT-powered workplace have to be one of its most redeeming features.

It could be that a business is investing in real estate or negotiating lease terms. Replacing systems and infrastructure, or managing recruitment and retention campaigns. In situations like these, when backed by real time facts and AI-powered predictions, data driven decision making replaces on-the-fly estimation and speculation.

The digital transformation and adoption of IoT technology in the workplace doesn’t just improve operational efficiency and security and reduce costs. It also enhances the employee experience by creating a more comfortable, productive and user-controllable working environment.

Man working at a desk with Mac computer desktop

What impacts workplace productivity?

There are numerous studies that indicate workplace factors such as temperature, humidity and lighting can impact productivity.


A study by the University of Birmingham suggested that lighting is one of the major influencers of workplace comfort. It went as far as saying that a lack of adequate lighting can decrease efficiency and negatively affect health.

Working in insufficient light is known to cause drowsiness and reduce focus, whilst studies have shown that overbearing lighting is a leading cause of migraine headaches amongst office workers.

When office supplies giant Staples conducted a survey of 7,000 office workers Europe wide, it uncovered that 80% cited good lighting as important. Almost a third suggested that better lighting would increase their feelings of happiness at work.

By imitating natural lighting patterns, smart lighting can help employees feel more focused, energised and in a better frame of mind. This leads to improved productivity and well-being. The beauty of smart lighting systems is that they are generally cloud-hosted. Installation is therefore straightforward, making retrofitting into existing buildings uncomplicated.



Whilst there is no legal minimum temperature in which employees are permitted to work, employers are required to provide a reasonable workplace temperature. Workplace temperature is a common bone of contention, especially in modern, open plan offices.

A study found that in the summer, 50% of UK offices are considered too hot and, in the winter, 52% are considered too cold.

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory found that the ideal temperature to increase productivity in the workplace is 21 degrees Celsius. The study found that anything higher or lower than 21°, even just by 1°, could adversely affect productivity. And when temperatures reached 25°+, the effects became more noticeable, with productivity significantly reduced.

Another controlled study highlighted that workers exposed to cold temperatures at work made 44% more mistakes, and were less than 50% as productive as those working in warmer conditions.

Scientists from the University of Chicago also found that once the temperature rises above 27°, productivity drops by 4% per degree Celsius. Office workers who are too hot will often complain of lethargy, an inability to focus and lack of motivation to complete tasks.



For comfort, indoor humidity levels should fall between 30% and 50%. Once humidity levels exceed 50%, employees can start to feel drowsy and sluggish.

Low humidity can also negatively impact productivity. Employees in workspaces with exceptionally dry air can experience dry and itchy eyes, nose and throat, as well as coughs and rashes. Many of these symptoms are associated with Sick Building Syndrome, a phenomenon that is often connected with tiredness and difficulty concentrating.


Indoor air quality

A 2012 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California revealed that levels of carbon dioxide commonly found in crowded rooms, for example conference or meeting rooms, had a negative impact on the cognitive performance and decision-making ability of those in the room.

The study found that participants exposed to 2,500 parts per million of carbon dioxide reacted in a similar way to someone with a blood alcohol level of 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. This is the same as the UK legal alcohol driving limit.

Whilst typically, an office setting is generally around 1,000 parts per million, the study found that during meetings, levels can exceed 3,000 parts per million of CO2 within half an hour.

Exposure to such levels of CO2 can lead to headaches, sleepiness, poor concentration and loss of attention. In environments like these, participants reported difficulty using their initiative, staying focused on a task, thinking strategically and managing information in a meaningful way.

Indoor air quality, temperature and humidity can all be automatically controlled in the connected smart building via Internet of Things technology.

When unhealthy levels are reached, the system triggers a response to counter the problem. Whether it’s activating air conditioning or heating, or increasing ventilation, the smart system combines machine learning with indoor and outdoor environmental factors to bring workplace conditions back to healthy levels.


How to achieve a connected workplace?

Organisations that prioritise workplace productivity stand to achieve strong competitive edge by being more agile, responsive, and innovative.

A connected workplace supports quicker decision-making, faster problem-solving, and more effective communication. It allows organisations to adapt to changing market conditions, and stay out front of the competition.

Adopting the technology that supports workplace connectivity is a step in the right direction. But working alongside implementation specialists with the ability to tailor-make systems and interfaces to suit the specific needs and objectives of an organisation, is a crucial part of the process.

From new build installations to carefully planned retrofits, Smart Spaces has the technology and the expertise to drive the future of the workplace. With a strong emphasis on the tenant and end user experience, we’ve evolved to serve some of the UK’s most important buildings and property firms with fully customised workplace connectivity solutions.

Our technology embraces Internet of Things and artificial intelligence technology, transforming the traditional building and way of working into something a whole lot smarter, greener, collaborative, productive, user friendly and, ultimately, connected.

To learn more about how our tailored technology could bring the benefits of workplace connectivity to your organisation, please get in touch.


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