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Locker function in the workplace has long been singular and fixed – personal storage for employees. But with the workplace being flipped on its head in the new hybrid reality, the locker’s purpose is changing and digitalization is in the play. Now, the companies are well poised to use smart lockers as physical drives for their offices, with uses ranging from storage to parcel delivery, and sharing documents, car keys and equipment.
Long gone are the days when the workplace was a place to get your job done because you simply were not able to do it anywhere else. Employees were sitting in the office at their dedicated table five days a week 9 to 5. There was no need for specialized software or hardware. Everything was predictable. Happy days.
Those days are over. Today, employees don’t visit the office to be productive, because they now understand they can be productive anywhere and hopefully, employers now start to understand that, too.
In 2023, employees visit the office to do things they can’t do from anywhere else – for meetings that are better-done face to face, for a better environment without distractions, for spending some quality time off and bonding with colleagues and even handing stuff over.
At the same time, people don’t meet in the office every day. And while they increasingly ask for flexibility, employers are under strain to cut operating expenses. Gone are the days when everybody needed a dedicated desk and a personal pedestal. And gone are the days when a pedestal was indeed a thing that was enough.
In fact, traditional lockers openable with keys or codes have been always expensive and time-consuming to maintain, due to an ever-changing roster of employees and the need of taking care of the locks’ condition. Not to even mention how many lockers go unused every day if every employee has their own box. According to various reports, even, pre-pandemic, office utilization tallied between 40 to 60% on average!
Why lockers need to be smart
Today, lockers must go well beyond personal storage, exactly because of the workplace and work style transformation. As companies go smart and automate their processes, their workspaces need to undergo the same transformation and smart lockers are a tool that serves firms on that twisty path.
The workspace, as well as internal needs constantly change and thanks to technology, regular updates and new features the lockers evolve over time. “Deloitte became our first customer back in 2018. They have had Blocks ever since, but thanks to the regularly updated operating system, these are not the same lockers as they used to be 5 years ago,” says Bartolomej Holubar, CEO and co-founder of Blocks.
Since that, Blocks have become an engine of 24/7 internal logistics, with uses ranging from parcel delivery to storage for individuals, teams, visitors and powering the distribution of car keys, documents and equipment. “At the same time, it is uttermost important to us that Blocks are not a stand-alone product, but that its technology is open and supports API/SDK integrations with third-party software. For example with integrations to Entra ID, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Azure, we are part of the company tech stack and more importantly of a daily work routine,” adds Holubar.
The benefits of using smart lockers as opposed to traditional ones are clear:
- All data about the lockers and it’s users in a simple management platform
- The location of the items, the information on the sender, as well as the receiver, is stored and tracked in real-time
- Facility management is able to see trends over time
- Different teams gain flexibility and are not dependent on each other (equipment distribution, fleet management)
- As smart lockers can serve multiple people, rather than being assigned to an individual, employers save floor space and money on acquiring less of lockers
- Employees can run their errands asynchronously which helps productivity and prevents distractions (equipment distribution, fleet management, parcel delivery)
- Smart lockers are a piece of a puzzle for employers to attract workers to visit offices more frequently. People often cite that they are working from home only to wait for the deliveries. With boxes installed, people can pick up packages when it is convenient for them, and not when it is handy for the courier. At the same time, employees don’t need to leave early to catch the delivery company’s working hours
- Your receptionist is not a parcel receiver anymore. With high-tech lockers, parcel delivery and mailroom management are automated. Receptionists have finally time for their original purpose: visitors. For example, O2 saves more than 100 hours per month on delivery management.
Flexibility is key to a modern-day company
Smart lockers are serving the urgency of flexibility and are adapting to the needs of modern teams as they emerge. “In the early days of Blocks, the product was defined by a growing tsunami of parcels and flooded receptions or mailrooms. When the covid pandemic hit, we responded to the need for contactless handover between colleagues and peers. The benefit recognized by our clients today is that Blocks are able to serve several use cases at a time and can be configured according to evolving needs,” comments Holubar.
From a wider perspective, the office building used to be attractive to occupiers for its great location. Over time, the building needed to add services and amenities, and perhaps certifications, and a healthy environment as a bonus. This is becoming a norm in class-A buildings and landlords and employers now gain a competitive advantage if they can, besides other aspects, integrate the technologies into daily schedules seamlessly. When it comes to workplace lockers, that means providing flexibility to both facility management and employees to cater to the ever-changing needs of internal logistics.
If your company deals with any of the challenges mentioned, schedule a non-binding consultation with us. Our experts will help you identify the root issue and design a solution.
More To Explore
Explore how O2 Czech Republic solved the challenges of hybrid work and a tsunami of incoming packages with the help of smart locker technology by Blocks.
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