As we become more and more accustomed to technology in our lives, it’s only natural that we should expect the same level of technology in our workplaces. This does not only pertain to the tools we use in our professions, but the office environment as well. The physical environment is ripe for disruption with more and more smart technologies available in offices, and the office of the future is becoming a more and more tech-friendly place.
With the ongoing pandemic, many are faced with the realization that the office is more important than we thought. Even with all the collaboration tools we could possibly imagine, there are certain things that the home office doesn’t always provide. For some, it might be the quiet environment that ‘gets them in the zone’ for work, for others, it might be the ergonomic desk chair or the delicious free lunch. For most of us, the social aspect of working in an office and the ability to meet with colleagues, partners, and clients is the biggest thing missing from our isolated lives. We will not be able to deny the innate human need to socialize. The office is an important place to separate the professional and social identity with home life, and therefore the concept of the office, a dedicated place for work, will never completely die. However, this doesn’t mean that the office won’t change.
“Technology will impact how we use our offices and the offices themselves, in several key ways.”
Office App’s ‘Happy Office Life’ 2019 research report showed that 92% of employees believe that technology & innovation is important in creating a better work environment. Yet, the slow pace of adoption of technology in the workplace is one of their top pain points. When we are accustomed to all areas of our lives being technologically infused and the office environment is lagging behind, it shows. We already expect our work environments to match our tech-friendly environments outside of work, and this will only become more prominent. Technology is no longer a luxury; a complete digital transformation is essential for office environments to remain competitive, for both employers and landlords. Landlords & businesses can already take simple steps to make their office more a tech-forward work environment, that offers more benefits than the home office. Some highly effective changes could be giving the employee more control over their environment, which is currently the number one pain point of employees identified in Office App’s study. Showcasing readily-available sensor data, showing the exact temperature of meeting rooms and giving the employee the ability to adjust it according to their preferences, are just a few examples of the way landlords and corporations can implement smart building technology to this end. Another example might be enabling employees to access the building, using their smartphone rather than a traditional key card. Overall, making the employee’s experience easier and more efficient and enjoyable will make the office the ideal work environment, and more attractive than the home or casual cafe option.
“A clear focus on sustainability”
Operational emissions from buildings such as the energy used to heat, cool & light the buildings, account for “28% of global emissions” (**). As focus increases on how we can sustain our planet, the built environment needs to look at how these emissions can be reduced. The ongoing Corona pandemic is a great opportunity to not only rethink office- and asset-strategies but also amend the built environment to reduce emissions. Organizations can make a difference in the future of our planet through the new decisions they take around re-planning their physical office. Smart lighting, sensors, and space utilization software can all be implemented to ensure that the building is being optimized and no energy being wasted. Joining up data platforms like Lone Rooftop, Honeywell Forge and Office App can help by aggregating this data and giving building owners and managers valuable insights into how to save energy and manage their spaces more efficiently.
“Getting rid of complexity is key”
People are accustomed to a smart environment, and of course, this would extend to the work environment. Landlords and enterprises now have the opportunity to stand out and use office technology as a way to attract and retain both tenants and talent. Nonetheless, the large number of possibilities, solutions and integrations is a key challenge. We at Office App believe that only the combination of siloed technologies has the potential to make our offices more intelligent, more efficient, more sustainable, and overall more enjoyable. With the wealth of technology coming available in the office, two crucial elements are that your employees are able to access the technology, and that these technologies work together. At Office App, this is at the core of our product. We consolidate each technology and service possible into one platform. With focus on the end-user, our Mobile and Web-App unifies siloed technologies to handle everything in one place. In the backend, we take care of the technical integrations, data security, updates, maintenance and deliver a GDPR compliant data analytics to optimize the building, guided by insights not only gut feeling.
(*) This article has been adapted from the article, written by KaraLynn Lewis (Head of Partnerships at Office App) „Are offices still important in a smart city“, posted originally on the Unissu platform.
(**) Source: https://www.worldgbc.org/news-media/WorldGBC-embodied-carbon-report-published