Did you know that more than 205 billion apps were downloaded worldwide last year?
Clearly, we’ve become attached to our apps. And not just in our personal lives, either. As of September 2018, business apps were the second most popular category of app in the Apple App Store.
A workplace app is one type of business app that keeps us connected to our colleagues and allows us to access resources we need to be productive throughout the day.
The functionality of workplace apps continues to evolve with the workplace. Here are three innovations you can expect to see in workplace apps by 2020.
1. Real-Time Workplace Event Alerts
Push notifications are among the most helpful features available on a smartphone or tablet. In a personal capacity, push notifications and news alerts instantly inform us when we’ve been retweeted or if our favorite Astros player is finally out of his slump.
In our professional lives, push notifications keep us connected at both a micro and macro level by letting us know an important email has arrived and by giving us the scoop on major updates in our industry. By 2020, workplace apps will be using push notifications to offer personalized, up-to-the-minute news on an even more granular level.
A workplace app will send you a notification when a visitor has arrived, so you don’t have to stay at your desk waiting for them to give you a call. Instead, you can work untethered and still greet them promptly as soon as they get there. Workplace apps will also send you reminders about company events, as well as alerts about inclement weather that may affect your commute.
2. Interactive Wayfinding and Collaboration Capabilities
It’s difficult to imagine a time before Google Maps and Waze. We’ve all become accustomed to having instant access to real-time directions to anywhere in the world right in our hands.
Unfortunately, navigating a huge corporate campus can be just as difficult as navigating a big city for the first time. And to make matters worse, you likely won’t have turn-by-turn instructions available. But it won’t be that way for long!
By 2020, workplace apps will feature interactive wayfinding, which is essentially a scaled-down, hyper-localized version of the map apps you currently use. A workplace app with interactive wayfinding will not only help guide you directly to where you need to be, but it will also help you find anyone you need to meet with along the way.
If you have a meeting at 10 a.m. with accounting but you need to speak with a colleague in operations first, you can use your workplace app to locate that colleague and then find the quickest route to him before your meeting.
3. Easy Food Delivery for Meetings
Speaking of meetings, they can sometimes feel like another obstacle to getting work done. But when a meeting is catered, it can be a lot more enticing.
However, most restaurants have delivery minimums and, depending on the meeting’s agenda, the number of confirmed attendees can fluctuate considerably right up until start time.
Soon your workplace app could make ordering food for a meeting as easy as scheduling the meeting itself. The app could help you reconcile the internal variables (for example, which conference room is best suited for the agenda and who is attending) with available catering options and then allow you to schedule delivery.
What to Look for in a Workplace App
The best workplace apps on the market today feel almost futuristic. They have a sleek design and a user-friendly interface, and they can even remember your preferences.
But a workplace app shouldn’t just be a flashy piece of technology. Its ultimate purpose is to create connected experiences that make employees happier and more productive.
Consider how the iOFFICE Hummingbird workplace app does this.
Using the app, employees can easily find and connect with colleagues, whether they’re working remotely or in the office.
They can reserve conference rooms, equipment and other resources they need to do their best work on any given day, at any given time. They can submit service requests with just a few taps.
And they can receive mail, visitors or announcements about events, the cafeteria menu—even traffic alerts.
A good workplace app can go a long way to enhance your employee experience. Just make sure you choose one that truly makes your employees’ lives easier—not more complicated.