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Considering building your own workplace app? Evaluate these risks first

2020 raised the stakes for IT management as businesses around the world shifted virtually overnight to supporting fully distributed workforces. IT teams orchestrated mass rollouts of remote collaboration tools on a scale and with an immediacy no company had anticipated. Suddenly, BYOD and home network security policies took on a new urgency. 

As organizations start returning to the office, it will again be up to IT to ensure the right tools are in place to manage the transition. Employees will expect seamless functionality, whether they’re working from home or dropping into the office for meetings. But if any new in-office systems – like access control or desk or conference room booking — aren’t integrated with tools staff already use, adoption rates will suffer.

With so much on the line, dev teams are reconsidering a long-standing question when it comes to workplace tech: Build or buy?

Risks of BYO workplace apps

While it may seem like the most cost-effective solution, building your own workplace app could hurt your organization’s return to the office. When evaluating your workplace technology options, consider the costs, risks, and potential impact on employees. Before you start developing your own app, make sure you understand the potential pitfalls of an in-house build.

1. Trying to solve too many problems at once

Stakeholders have different needs when it comes to managing the organization’s return to work. Leaders need to gain visibility, offer new solutions to meet changing circumstances, and forecast future needs. Employees are looking for tools that make work safe, productive, and are easy to use.

You may have good intentions when building your own workplace app, but trying to solve too many challenges at once can mean builds that don’t go the way you planned and result in an application that doesn’t meet its intended function. Too many features can be overly complicated for users, and overwhelming for everyone involved.

The good news? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Selecting a proven third-party application can provide a quicker solution with greater scalability and leave your team free to support core business objectives.

Image Credits: Getty Images

2. Underestimating resource requirements

It’s difficult to calculate the amount of time and resources building your own workplace application will take. Before you undertake an in-house build, consider the long-term requirements of testing, implementing, maintaining, monitoring, and updating the app. 

Perform an honest self-evaluation to determine if your company truly has the capacity to continually improve a workplace application. Third-party solutions designed to address workplace needs have teams dedicated to maintaining and enhancing their apps, and the ability to automatically roll out updates so your team doesn’t have to shift focus.

Consider how often new applications have bugs. Are your internal teams prepared to dedicate the necessary time and resources? Reliable third-party applications have already gone through multiple rounds of development, testing, and are scalable by design.

3. Adding another tool to your tech stack

You need a fully functional solution that helps you accomplish several different tasks — from identifying specific objectives and creating an efficient workplace, to reducing total costs and maximizing performance.

When you build your own workplace app, you run the risk of having an additional tool that doesn’t integrate well with your other tools. That can result in data silos, inaccurate data, and difficulty seeing the big picture.

A robust solution should integrate smoothly with your existing workplace tools, offering powerful insights and more efficient management solutions.

4. Not considering employees’ needs

After implementation, your employees will have important feedback. Any workplace app needs to adequately address the needs of all stakeholders, so the tools you use need to be designed with all parties in mind. 

Consider what needs your employees will have when they return to work and seek their input throughout the process. Make sure you deploy a workplace app that can accommodate critical functions like desk booking and visitor management in a way that makes it easy for staff to adopt, such as through native integrations with the calendaring tools they already use.

5. Unpredictable total costs of ownership

Beyond the time costs that could slow down your return to work, building your own workplace app can be a costly investment. In addition to the initial costs, it can be difficult to predict the total costs of development, maintenance, quality assurance, training, and updates.

Leveraging a third-party workplace application for your return to office

Image Credits: Getty Images

With a distributed workforce and mountains of data to sift through and protect, it’s important the technology you choose doesn’t compromise on accuracy, efficiency, or security.

SaaS solutions lower total cost of ownership by leveraging a shared platform, eliminating the high costs associated with upgrading, maintaining, and patching your infrastructure. When you’re ready to invest in a workplace app, here are the top features to look for.

Saves your organization time

To keep your workplace safe, leaders are reducing capacity in the workplace. That means lowering the maximum number of employees in meeting rooms and making desks reservable to track occupancy.

Digital wayfinding apps can help employees feel more comfortable returning to the workplace by immediately notifying them when an area is at capacity and reducing the amount of time they spend wandering around the workplace.

Reduces your total spend

Using a third-party solution frees your IT team to work on core business operations rather than creating an application and working out bugs that could slow your business down. 

Upfront spend is only a part of the total cost. As workplace needs evolve, the application will need to keep up. As your business needs grow, your application needs to be scalable and reliable. Relying on a cloud-based system is the best way to deliver fast, measurable workplace analytics and results.

Integrates with your existing tools

In your future office, you need workplace apps that can connect with your existing solutions. Robust workplace apps like Teem’s wayfinding software integrate with sensors, giving employees and visitors the ability to easily see real-time availability of rooms and desks. Plus, they connect with room scheduling displays, so employees can find and book a room at any time. 

Improves the workplace experience

Moving forward, employees and visitors expect a touchless experience. One way to accomplish this is to use mobile apps for room and desk booking. Another solution is using conference room scheduling displays to show room capacity limits and the type of equipment in each room.

Wayfinding tools allow employees to save time as they locate people, places, and resources in the workplace. You can use them to display important announcements — such as capacity limits, mask requirements, or upcoming changes.

Future-proof your office technology with Teem by iOFFICE

The future of the workplace is flexible. Your technology should be, too. By leveraging a third-party solution, you can implement your application faster, reach your objectives more easily, and spend less in the long run.

Teem’s workplace apps can help you consolidate resources, unlock business analytics capabilities that you need, automate business processes, and deliver long-term value to your organization.

Learn more about how Teem’s return-to-office technology helps you manage visitors and reservations to restore confidence and collaboration in your workplace.