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How We Made Our Office Highly Productive and Really Fun at the Same Time!

How We Made Our Office Highly Productive and Really Fun at the Same Time!

Martin M

Martin M.

5 minutes

Sep 15, 2021

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How We Made Our Office Highly Productive and Really Fun at the Same Time!

The importance of a functional, productivity-boosting, and people-friendly office environment is enormous. It can drastically impact our efficiency, the way we work and communicate, and even our sense of belonging.

When imagining your dream office, what usually comes to mind?

Is it a big kitchen loaded with a variety of snacks? How about a cool space to relax with a ping pong table and comfy couches? Both are great amenities for any office, but the little things often make the biggest difference. Something as simple as good lighting, comfortable chairs, and proper air conditioning can make or break the experience of your employees working for you.

At Devōt, we are dedicated to being productive and innovative. However, that doesn't mean we can't have fun while working, right?

When decorating our office, the first thing we wanted was to utilize innovative solutions for better productivity while making our office people-friendly and fun. In the end, satisfied and relaxed employees are proven to be more productive on a day-to-day basis.

Big tables that ensure personal space, top-notch chairs for elevated comfort, and two high-end monitors to relieve eye strain are part of what we like to call the Devōt starter pack.

Combining business with pleasure – where innovation meets fun

As a company, we are firmly focused on being productive, which allows us to deliver our services faster and pushes us in the direction of automation and innovation.

But we should never underestimate the importance of having fun at work because it creates a more positive mindset, brings employees closer together, and boosts productivity to a whole new level.

So, how do we have fun at work?

We decided to combine business with pleasure and experiment with Amazon Alexa voice processing while trying out the Zigbee protocol for Internet of Things devices. It was a perfect project to have fun and do something great for the office simultaneously.

How did we do it?

Zigbee is a well-known wireless protocol developed for home automation and Internet of things (IoT) devices. We wanted to combine it with voice controls, and between all of the voice control assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, etc, we decided to go with Alexa.

All of those assistants are programmed to follow custom commands and perform various tasks. Still, Amazon Alexa offers an Echo Plus 2nd generation device, which has a built-in Zigbee hub (controller). That feature allowed us to pair Echo Plus with IoT devices in our office via Zigbee and program Alexa to control IoT devices in the office on our command.

Amazon Echo

Are you having an important meeting or an after-work party? Just say the word

What does having a meeting or a party look like in our everyday office life? Let us paint you a picture.

Saying "Alexa, good morning" when entering the office, turns on all the lights and raises the window blinds. On the same note, saying "Alexa, goodbye" when leaving gives your current weather report so you can prepare for the heat, rain, or snow, dim the lights to 20%, lowers window blinds, and after a set amount of minutes completely turn the lights off and turn on the alarm.

What are some other nifty features we included?

Saying, "Alexa, I'm having a presentation," lowers the window blinds and dims the lights in the presentation room to 10%, which creates perfect conditions for giving a presentation. And could it be a great office without occasional office parties? We don't think so – that's why we have one more command: "Alexa, party time!"

Amazon Alexa

What can we add next?

When it comes to office space automation, the possibilities are truly endless. One of the functionalities we want to add is integrating a Zigbee-enabled lux-sensor, which detects sunlight hitting the wall and automatically lowers the window blinds.

Besides that, we are looking to automate air-conditioning and heating based on temperature detection and office door locking/unlocking via Slack with authorization and logging.

We are required by law to log in working hours for every employee entering the office. So instead of manually clocking in or using cards, we want to create an optional solution for our employees that could, for example, start the clock when the employee's mobile phone connects to the office WIFI and stop it when the phone disconnects. Also, Alexa could remind us when it's time to water the office plants or when our food delivery is near, as well as many other things… But, of course, only our imagination is the limit.

This office automation process gave us a lot of experience with voice processing commands, but even more important – with IoT devices and the limitations of building a wireless-based home automation project.

Devōt offices

What have we learned?

Although each IoT device works great on its own, after adding over ten devices, problems with connection started to occur. For example – some of the lights would change color on command, but not all. It might be because Zigbee works on the same frequency as WiFi (2.4ghz), so we still need to play around some more to find ways to overcome this problem. In conclusion, Zigbee is great, but we recommend a KNX solution that controls IoT devices via physical wire for this project, especially if you want to build anything more complex than a few lightbulbs changing color.

We had a lot of fun discovering how to make our office fun but with affordable solutions. Yet, having fun was not the only goal. We wanted to optimize and automate tedious tasks. We hope you will dare to leap in the same direction and come up with solutions that will make your everyday tasks easier.

If you want to come and see what our office looks like in person, check out our open positions and apply, and we’ll see if we’re a good fit.