COVID-19 has firmly accelerated the adoption of hybrid and flexible working. With fixed desks moving out and flexible working spaces taking the reins, the demand for smart lockers has soared. To enable employees to work anywhere in and across buildings.
In Q4 2022, the number of businesses that have already implemented a hybrid workplace strategy has increased to an impressive 72%. Data from Leesman, 2023.
That brings the question: how do you select the right smart locker system for your organization?
Smart lockers meet all your storage requirements and support flexible working as practiced in your organization. Now and in the future.
Here are 6 key factors to consider when researching the right smart locker system:
- Locker access technology (e.g. access card, app, biometrics)
- User-friendliness for employees
- User-friendliness for Facility Management
- Data security
- Proven effectiveness
1. Locker access technology
A smart locker system turns regular office lockers into an on-demand service that employees operate themselves. Selecting, booking, and opening a locker requires access technology. This can be an app on the employee’s phone, an access card, or biometrics (i.e. fingerprint, face recognition).
All-in-one access technology
Ideally, a smart locker system supports the access technology you’re already using. Or planning to introduce, like a customized workplace app, for instance, with multiple integrated functionalities. All-in-one access from building to locker creates a great employee experience, with access technology they already routinely carry with them. Or, in case of biometrics, always have with them.
Or introducing additional technology
Alternatively, you can opt for an app provided with the smart locker system. A frill-free, intuitive app is a user-friendly choice, since smartphones have become an integral part of our lives.
Generally speaking, the technology to integrate locker access into a workplace app, to use biometrics, RFID, NFC, QR codes etc. is available. However, individual smart locker systems may not support your specific access technology, even if it seems that way at first glance. A critical point of consideration in terms of additional cost and administrative burden when looking at different options.
Read more: What are smart lockers?
2. User-friendliness for employees
With hybrid working, going to the office to work is no longer the obvious choice. Convenient and easy access to workplace lockers can actually add to the attraction of coming to the office. Since, now more than ever, employees are consumers of work and workplace facilities.
“The service philosophy doesn’t run through the workplace in many organizations. We now need to think about the workplace in the new spirit of consumer experience.” - Tim Greenhalgh, CCO, Landor & Fitch.
Intuitive, fast, reliable & helpful
Consumer technology such as smartphones and on-demand services like video streaming have become a natural part of our daily lives. A new app, a new device: we simply dive in and figure it out as we go. We expect new technology to be intuitive, fast and reliable, and helpful. When it ticks those boxes, we consider it user-friendly. With workplace lockers it’s of course no different. That goes for both the access technology (1) and how employees can actually use the lockers and benefit from them.
After all, coming into work, selecting a locker and putting your belongings away for safe-keeping is just one scenario.
A personalized experience
In a working environment, there are many different storage needs. A well-rounded locker management system can cater to multiple uses, to create an inclusive and inviting working environment.
A locker within easy distance or at a specific height for employees with disabilities. Sharing a locker with a colleague you work with on a project, arranging it by simply using a smartphone app. Lockers for visitors, a parcel service or spare parts. A built-in USB charger to always be able to charge your devices in a secure place. You can opt for a solution which truly lets you create your own work experience.
3. User-friendliness for Facility Management
Locker access technology (1), User-friendliness for employees (2) and User-friendliness for Facility Management: they’re interconnected. Easy and reliable access to on-demand workplace lockers means happy employees and hassle-free, time-saving locker management.
The software does the heavy lifting
A smart locker system is a real game changer. For starters, smart lockers are self-service. Employees select a locker when and where they need one, which eliminates the need for involvement of Facility Management, manual assignments or tracking of ownership.
For maximum results and a great user experience, tailored and flexible automation is key. The management software is the right fit when it can be set up for your specific and preferred way of working at the office, resulting in an automated process and flow. Your dos and don’ts regarding locker use, already set in the management software with the implementation, which are then automatically enforced. For instance, if you can only use one locker at a time, requests for a second locker are automatically denied.
However, in terms of a great user experience and added value, there can be more. So, what else to look for?
Intuitive management software
With smart lockers, most service issues can be handled remotely. This is a real time-saver, if the management software is straightforward and intuitive. Addressing service requests or processing mutations in the management portal should be a smooth experience. That goes for both using the software and how easily you can access it.
With a web-based management portal, you’re making the most of a smart locker system. It allows you to manage lockers across locations and location-independently. With software that’s easy to use on a desktop, laptop and smartphone, you’re completely set.
Quality real-time usage data
How do people actually use lockers? When, where, why? There’s a wealth of information in locker usage data. If you have access to these data, processed into the right reports, you have the tools to optimize locker facilities, improve your employee experience while decreasing total cost of ownership. The option to generate insightful reports on various aspects of locker use with just a click of a button therefore is a valuable functionality.
4. Data security
The software is the heart of the smart locker system. It processes data about locker use. It may also send push notifications on locker use to your employees. Whenever data are processed, sent or stored, data security is a must.
Essential data security includes secured and encrypted data traffic (HTTPS, SSL and TLS certificates) and multi-factor authentication for administrators logging onto the management portal, among other. To understand what security measures are and aren’t included, the smart locker system’s security policy is your comprehensive source.
There are more ways to assess the quality of the information security and how it’s maintained.
ISO 27001 certification and penetration testing
ISO 27001 is an ISO standard to manage information security. It details requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system. ISO 27001 certification confirms that a locker management system meets these internationally recognized high standards for information security.
An additional method of maintaining high data security levels is penetration testing. Ethical hackers or ‘white hat’ hackers are then employed to put the system to the test. To establish that the software security measures are up to date and to trace any possible vulnerabilities in the software.
The future is hard to predict and change is inevitable. The question is, can your smart locker system change with you?
Flexibility and scalability
Tweaking your way of flexible working, a growing organization, adding a parcel service or changing room, or even an entirely new location – you would want your smart locker system to be able to accommodate these changes. When making changes in the settings and scaling up is fast and easy, your system is a future-ready and stable factor.
The question of a future-ready and stable locker system also touches upon key factor 6: Proven effectiveness.
6. Proven effectiveness
The ultimate test, of course, is actually using and managing smart lockers in real-life organizations. In large offices with thousands of employees and across multiple locations, covering different styles of flexible working. Does a supplier’s portfolio include major companies and organizations like that?
Frontrunners in flexible working like EY, Sanofi, and Accenture have implemented smart locker systems and already have years of experience with them. References like that speak volumes about the actual effectiveness of a smart locker system.
How do organizations feel about their smart locker system, several years in? Have they since scaled the system and how did that go? Have they outfitted more locations with the same type of smart lockers? Or were they forced to make extensive changes and why? Real-life experiences are telling as well as a great way to pick up best practices.
Smart technology is the hybrid workplace’s best friend
Hybrid working is transforming workplaces around the world. Dynamic storage plays a central part in this process. It’s what allows employees to work smoothly anywhere and tailors flexible working to specifically fit your organization. Want to know more? Book a call with us to find out more about smart locker technology, and the role it plays in flexible workplace success.
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