Bringing in voice assistants into the office can be a great way to increase employee productivity or drive open office desk mates bad.
When deciding if voice assistants are right for your office and how they can be used there are a couple factors to consider.
Best Voice Assistants For The Workplace: Office Layout
If you have an open office layout adding voice assistants to every desk can create problems because multiple voice assistants will most likely be activated when people are attempting to ask a question. It’s best to keep the Alexa devices in more confined rooms so that you don't have Alexa talking to the whole office when you ask her something, which can annoy your coworkers. For in office use we recommend the Echo Dot for it’s low cost of deployment or the Echo Show if you want to give your employees more functionality with a touchscreen and camera for 2 way video calls.
If you have a smaller office or retail store, we recommend the Sonos One speaker devices with Alexa built in as the function mainly as a streaming music speaker that can can add ambience with music and function as a voice assistant with Alexa commands and you can easily skip to the next song with your voice if needed.
Best Voice Assistants for The Workplace: Uses
There are the basic functionalities like asking Alexa the weather, setting calendar reminders and looking up important events or locations.
Businesses can take using Alexa to the next level by working with Amazon to create an internal “Skill” which works with internal company databases so that employees can use Alexa to access general company information by asking Alexa questions like, “Alexa, what days are company holidays?.” Or be used to answer questions a new employee might have about an organization like “when the company was founded?”or “who is the vice president of marketing?”
For most businesses we have seen the video conferencing feature using an Echo Show to be the most effective use of Alexa technology in the workplace. All size companies use this feature and Alexa makes video conferencing simple, all you need to do is say “Alexa, call Steve.” and it will video call the person on either their Echo Show or directly video conference them through the Alexa app on their phone.
Related Post: Echo Show 5 vs Echo Show
The video conferencing feature is great for offices with remote workers or multiple office locations and is much easier to use than typical video conferencing software. If you have a key employee you commonly talk to it’s helpful to have a live video connection for communication and you can both continue to work hands free at your desk while having the video conversation through the Echo Show and Alexa.
Best Alexa Device For Video Conferencing:
The Echo Show is the most versatile voice assistant with it’s built in camera, and 10” touch screen which allows you seamless instantaneous video conferencing. You can also view video, and movies on the 10 inch screen and I often find myself using it as quick calculator which I speak to and it displays the result on the screen.
Best Alexa Device For Large Scale Deployment
The Echo Dot is the lowest cost Alexa voice assistant and can be easily deployed at low cost throughout an organization. Don’t let the Echo Dot’s small size fool you, they are packed full of features and preform similar functions to larger models. In open office environments you are probably best issuing only Echo Dot’s so no one is too tempted to blast music throughout the space. The Echo Dot’s smaller speaker size keeps things quieter than some of the other Echo Devices.
Best Alexa Devices For Music
If you have a small or medium size office adding some ambient music is a great way to liven up the office and create a welcoming atmosphere. Independent retailers often use the Sonos One with Alexa built in as an alternative to expensive commercial sound systems.
The Sonos One devices look great and blend into the environment and no one is the wiser that you’ve got a full featured streaming sound system and voice assistant in your workplace. For larger workplaces you can add multiple sonos speakers and pair them together for streaming audio throughout the space.
Best Voice Assistants For The Workplace: Summary
Adding voice assistants like Alexa can be a great way to make the office more productive. But if it is implemented without some forethought you can end up annoying your coworkers. Following a few simple guidelines for voice assistants in the workplace can help you get the most out of your Alexa devices.
Smart Alexa devices with screens are great for conference rooms, closed offices and remote employees.
Talk with your IT department about implementing Alexa in the workplace, sending them this guide from Amazon is a great place to start.
If you are implementing Alexa devices in an open office you should set a universal volume limit, or no music policy so you don’t a have a mishmash music war on your hands.
If you are planning to add ambient music to your office with a voice assistant have one person responsible for the music and use neutral ambient music that won’t offend anyone and will promote the culture and atmosphere you are looking for.
If you work from home, in a closed office or smaller office enjoy the usefulness and all the features of the Alexa system like listening to music throughout the day.