The commercial real estate industry has changed considerably over the last year and a half. Some of the short-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating, while the impact of others remains to be seen. However, when investors look to the future, there is one thing that excites us all, namely the rise of the smart office.
Business Office Space in a Post-COVID World
When the COVID-19 pandemic first shocked the United States in April 2020, the majority of the American workforce still “went in” to work. In other words, they traveled to the office, dropped into a chair, and performed their work duties in a corporate office. When closures forced companies to get creative, everything changed.
Today, much of our workforce works remotely from home. Some companies have even decided to ditch their corporate offices and go 100% virtual, a shocking 180 degree turn that would have been unthinkable just two years ago.
Other companies are choosing to return to the office, but are making major changes and investments along the way. Listed below some of the first trends it is already developing.
- Office buildings are getting smaller as remote and hybrid locations reduce the need for square footage.
- As employees do more work from home, many companies are turning unused office space into collaboration spaces for virtual meetings.
- Safety, proper spacing, and social distancing are fresh on the minds of businesses and owners of commercial office spaces.
While the long-term ramifications of the pandemic in the commercial real estate world remain to be seen, one thing is for sure. Companies are getting smarter about how to optimize their offices for efficiency, productivity, innovation, health and safety.
No seriously the buildings themselves are getting smartest. The smart office is shaping up to be the next take on office space. For those who are paying attention, there are several interesting trends looming.
Bringing new life to commercial real estate: the smart office
We often use the term “smart office”, but what exactly is it? It is more than having technology in a building. This is the intentional use of Right technology.
“A smart office is a workplace that takes advantage of modern technology to help employees work smarter, better and faster. This can be achieved by removing obstacles for employees. ” Senion explains. “By removing unnecessary chores and obstacles, activities that drain the workforce’s time and energy, smart office solutions allow employees to focus on what really matters.”
Compared to the traditional office, a smart office offers its workers several different benefits. These include:
- Higher productivity. Technology offers many advantages for companies, but increasing productivity is probably one of the most important. By making menial and repetitive tasks faster and more efficient, organizations can better utilize resources, reduce costs, and enjoy greater flexibility. This represents a solid victory for all.
- More efficient use of square footage. As expensive as commercial square footage is in competitive urban markets, being more efficient with square footage is a top priority. Thanks to the smart use of high-tech office spaces, companies can turn static workspaces into flexible areas with two or three different uses. This allows businesses to lease or buy smaller office spaces and save money.
- Improved collaboration. Collaboration is extremely important, especially today when most companies have some kind of hybrid workforce with some employees in the office and others working remotely. By using smart solutions, it is easier to communicate and interact with coworkers and employees, regardless of whether they are in the same physical space or not.
- Better employee well-being. When your team feels supported and has the tools it needs to work efficiently, there is better focus and overall satisfaction. In other words, mental health gets a boost. Also, as you’ll see in the next section on smart office trends, there are certain smart office technologies that also make it safer for employees to interact face-to-face.
When you add these benefits together, it becomes clear why the smart office is becoming so popular. Although it requires a significant investment in the front-end, the benefits are clear.
4 smart office trends worth following
As with everything related to technology, trends come and go. What is popular right now will not necessarily be the most viable option in 12 to 18 months. With that being said, here are four smart office trends circulating in 2021 and 2022 that are worth your investment.
1. 5G networks
The next wave of internet connectivity and data connection is here. We are talking about 5G, of course. It’s hard to overstate how much improvement 5G is over 4G. This new network reduces download times, speeds up connections, and enables smoother streaming for virtual meetings and other forms of communication.
2. Flexible workspaces
Regardless of whether companies choose to return to 100% face-to-face work in the future or stick with hybrid teams, one thing is for sure: virtual is part of our new reality. That means companies must be prepared to host and join virtual meetings with clients and customers, business partners and employees. And since first impressions are everything, companies must take steps to integrate the right technology.
Another popular trend is the emergence of flexible workspaces that double as face-to-face conference rooms and virtual meeting rooms. These facilities come equipped with advanced camera and audio systems, lighting, and even green screens to insert virtual backgrounds into the mix. The overall goal is to create sophisticated, high-tech spaces that employees can use to maintain a professional image during virtual meetings.
3. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors
IoT sensors and associated advanced technology enable companies to increase their connectivity, flexibility, and responsiveness without the need to invest in complex systems, cables, or superfluous devices.
Some solutions are super practical, like installing fire extinguishing systems They do not require access to water or electricity supply. Other solutions are more complexsuch as temperature sensors, proximity sensors, and touch sensors. In any case, IoT technology is changing the game forever. Manual tasks are being automated, people are being kept safer, and the modern smart office is becoming an increasingly friction-free workplace.
4. Smart sanitation
In a world where the COVID-19 virus remains a serious concern for millions of people, I would be remiss not to mention some of the smart technologies that are helping to create safer and healthier workplaces for employees who want the ability to interact. face to face. -face. More specifically, many exciting innovations are taking place in the areas of disinfection.
For example, consider air purification and circulation systems. While these technologies have been around for some time, they are now being integrated into IoT platforms. As a result, they can work together with people counting sensors to create safer and better ventilated office environments that dynamically adapt to circumstances in real time.
Intelligent and automated UV disinfection is another technology that is expanding beyond healthcare facilities and into modern smart offices. These systems use UV-C lighting to disinfect surfaces at regular intervals. Depending on the system integration, some can automatically detect when people enter or leave a room. This allows the UV-C to activate at the right time.
Putting it all together
For companies that are committed to continuing to maintain their presence in a physical office space, the smart office is clearly the way of the future.
Thanks to newer technology such as 5G networks, IoT, cloud computing and AI, it is now possible to improve productivity, reduce costs, improve collaboration, and at the same time keep employees healthy and safe. In a post-COVID world, where uncertainty is high, those are positive trends you’ll want to keep an eye on.
Image credit: rodnae productions; pexels; Thank you!