Is the employee experience you’re delivering the one your people want?
The global EY organization has become a leader in agile work environments by recognizing that flexibility is no longer a culture-driven perk — flexibility is essential to employee retention now and going forward. To deliver the employee experience our people want, we reimagined the workplace configuration and design of our headquarters at One Manhattan West in New York to create a workplace that meets the demands of the hybrid worker. We focused on how workers will use the office space and how we could meet and surpass their expectations.
“When employees visit the office, they do so for a purpose. It could be seeing friends, a social event, or a meeting with team members, a client or a supervisor,” said David Kamen, EY Americas Real Estate Services Leader. “Instead of a sea of cubicles, there is more variety of spaces, rooms and collaborative places that all support a more adaptable approach to how work gets done.”
To make these new collaborative spaces function for the most people possible, One Manhattan West does not have designated desks for employees. This change supports flexibility, but we knew our people would need in-office storage that functions with and complements these flexible workspaces.
Our smarter workspaces necessitated incorporating smarter storage. Previously, employees struggled to get a locker close to where they would be working for the day. Lockers were typically assigned and would always be in one spot, regardless of work location. Smart lockers solve this problem, enabling employees to reserve a locker wherever their workspace is for that day.
Smart storage within an integrated technology ecosystem
Employee expectations of smart technology have become critical in building infrastructure and improving the workplace experience. The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) has sparked a further push to allow systems to talk to each other through common protocols and open standards, creating a digital ecosystem.
Smart locker systems are now part of the EY digital ecosystem. They are a combination of hardware and software, with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform at the heart, where the locker management takes place. Any physical locker cabinet can become a managed smart locker through the integration of smart locker system hardware and software.
The hardware, usually in the form of an electronic lock, is connected to an operating terminal, which is then connected through the internet to a SaaS platform. This software platform is the most critical component of a successful smart locker system, as this is where an organization defines the criteria under which lockers can be used and integrates with all other IoT and IT systems.
In the previous EY office, it was a challenge for employees to get a locker near their desk. Assigned lockers, and people’s assigned desks, were in one spot. Now, the new office’s design encourages activity-based working, which means using different work settings in the office based on the task at hand. Employees can use an individual workstation for day-to-day work, a collaboration room for smaller groups or a meeting room for larger groups. As part of the EY digital ecosystem, smart locker systems empower employees to choose where they want to work and find and use convenient storage throughout the day.
One Manhattan West employees can use their EY access badge at an integrated walk-up kiosk to book a smart locker, then they use their smartphone to control their locker through integration with the EY My Day workplace experience mobile application. This allows employees to use just one user interface for storage booking, access, wayfinding and meeting room booking.
Reimagined workplaces that meet the needs of a hybrid workforce
Smart storage is a component of the technology ecosystem provided by EY Workplace Reimagined, a service offered to clients that addresses the needs of the hybrid workplace. This system integrates with existing EY technology to improve the employee office experience. Smart lockers also provide valuable insights and data to aid decision-making for our facilities management teams.
“We previously had to collect the data around the utilization of the storage, such as how long it has been assigned, how frequently it is accessed, and whether we still have locked storage for people who are no longer at the firm, through manual processes,” said Philip Lynch, EY Americas Enterprise Support Services Leader. “Smart lockers provide us with that insight in real time, and then it can be part of a larger conversation about how we’re using the space and how we might improve. It’s not just optimizing for storage utilization, but also improving every facet of the workplace experience for all of our employees.”
The knowledge gained from the One Manhattan West implementation is defining the standards for other EY offices around the globe. Each new office coming online in the US will include smart lockers, and other offices that did not have this capability are being retrofitted because of the success of One Manhattan West.
The EY Workplace Reimagined service offering can help organizations through an ecosystem of integrated digital workplaces and smart building technologies that can benefit clients at all levels of digital workplace maturity. Workplace Reimagined also helps clients determine real estate footprint needs in each market and transform their use of space for meetings, interaction, collaboration, ideation and work with customers.