Ricoh Spaces aims to make operations safe and productive

Ricoh South Africa is helping people get back to work safely and more profitably, reducing both the health and financial fears associated with the pandemic, through a solution called Spaces.

Spaces is a cloud workplace engagement platform with tools to manage visitors, services, physical and virtual workspaces.

‘Many people have a lot of fears around being back at the office,’ says Jolene Castelyn, head of Marketing at Ricoh South Africa. ‘And companies are struggling with financial, productivity and performance challenges that need to resolve as so many now focus on recovery.’

‘People can quite naturally be afraid of what happens if they contract the virus and some feel they have a higher chance of doing so if they return to the workplace. But we do know the behaviours that reduce the risks, such as social distancing, mask wearing and sanitising. By equipping people to observe those behaviours, even in large, busy workplaces, we help them feel more confident that they are protected,’ she adds.

‘Promoting safe behaviours also helps companies because we reduce the risk of onsite infections, which require workplaces to be sanitised, which disrupts meetings, projects and general work. It all negatively impacts performance, productivity and general wellbeing,’ says Castelyn.

Spaces helps people solve those challenges so they can focus on profitable activities. It provides interactive floor plans, meeting room and workspace availability via IoT, visitor management via QR code for quick check-in, visitor arrival notifications, and it is available via mobile, desktop and browser. It integrates with Microsoft 365 and digital signage.

The solution, which is a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed Workplace Services, also supports operations and facilities management for better cost-saving decisions. Spaces reports space usage, highlighting which spaces are being exploited to their full potential. It can show low occupancy levels, enabling organisations to shut down floors that are being under-utilised and forecasting in advanced when that may occur.

Being open, it connects to existing workplace technologies and is provided as a managed service.

Small to medium companies, those in the R15m to R500m bracket, are facing slow demand so they need to identify alternative markets. They’re struggling to access markets and connect with customers. And leaders are challenged to empower employees to drive organisational transformation and change, according to a McKinsey & Company survey of July 2020.

A primary resolution is developing team skills while empowering leaders to create capacity for resilient operations. It can only be done by close collaboration and engagement, which is reliably enabled by digital tools, uniting physical and virtual workplaces.

‘Today’s office and hybrid environments are digital workplaces, where people have to work smarter,’ says Castelyn. ‘Traditional workplaces are inefficient; they weren’t designed around the needs we have today. Meeting rooms are empty 50% of the time. As many as 89% of employees from our research say office productivity would benefit from improvements to the office environment and their workstations. In the past two years, 74% of executives who invested in the workplace say they are happy with the positive returns.’