- February 16, 2021
- Posted in NEWS
The world can be unpredictable in some instances. Questions are all over: What long-standing time will hold? What will we learn? How will life adjust? The coronavirus widespread has coerced millions to take off their places of work and adjust to working from home.
Several months after the flare-up, a lot of people are still working from home. What was perceived to be a short-term break from the office environment is still continuing, with no affirmation that a change will come in the near future.
We at GreenA Sustainability do not subscribe to the perception that this is an extinction of the office. However, there has been an unexampled change in the working system, accelerating already incubated trends of healthy buildings and resilience. We have all been interrupted, and we must prepare to face another interruption and be interrupters in the future too.
We have observed throughout this pandemic that technology can contribute a significant role in our resilience to interruption. We should take advantage of this interruption to effect positive change. This comes in the form of enhancing employee’s workplace experience, creating healthy work environments, which all result in improved employees’ productivity.
This article brings to light the trends affecting the workplace and how they are making clients adopt operating technology. In all sectors, there is an observation of the remarkable annual growth of workplace technology. This supports several key macro tendencies, many of which can be reproduced at building or organisational levels:
- On-demand services offering new revenue streams
- Demand for smart digital infrastructure to support a rapidly changing technology landscape
- End users demanding more digital services that support health and wellbeing and smart working practices
- The road to a zero-carbon plan compelling operational estate and building efficiency.
- Smart Personnel
We are social beings and therefore we need human interaction. The coronavirus and the largest worldwide work from the home experiment have taught us that we can be effective and get things done. The downside has been that, it is hard for teams to be creative virtually. We need to be in the company of others and we need to be able to speak, interrupt each other, write things on walls, and have that stimulation that can only be found in the physical company of others.
Whilst many big corporations have announced their move to an indefinite work from home policy, that does not mean they are deserting their office. It means they are giving their staff options. When personnel are given the option to work from home whenever they want and chose the space in which they work to the best of their ability, it makes them happier. This flexibility and choice builds trust, loyalty, attracts the best talent, and ultimately sustains a more effective workforce.
These tendencies will shift our demands on office space from being the engine of functional output to hubs of collaboration, incubators of ideas, and places where we strengthen relationships.
- Improved user experience
Organisations need to bring people together to collaborate, share ideas, problem-solve, and work better together.
Smart buildings attract employees back into the office by concentrating on their needs. Employees’ expectations of the workplace are shifting. The world around the office is immersed in technology-rich experiences, and the office will need to respond by offering facilities and assist services bridging this gap of expectation.
A Forbes magazine in 2019 stated that the expectations of employees include:
- To be enabled to work with purpose.
- Commitment to health and wellbeing
- Permanent flexibility
- Operating Efficiency: Energy
Currently, there are major challenges for energy management. Post Covid-19, expert guidance recommends large increases of fresh air and reduction of air recirculation. This new guidance is counter-intuitive with several energy efficiency measures responsible for a large percentage of carbon emissions, spending and emitting more when buildings are only partially occupied.
- Operating Efficiency: Management
The greater use of technology to support greater operational efficiencies in its holistic form will result in energy conservation and decrease the demands for operation management and user processes. And that is not just in terms of immediate returns, but also in building resilience.
- Health, Wellbeing, and Productivity
Health and wellbeing are very essential bringing a new perspective to healthy buildings. Observing more parameters relating to indoor air quality, enhanced ventilation, thermal comfort, and transparency of the environment (in which employees spend most of their time) is highly pertinent to the future of the office and our ability to build resilience to pandemics.
What we know is that we will continue to work in a world that moves fast, full of noise and disruption. Employees value workplaces that can accommodate different modes of work, from facilitating private and quiet concentration, to enabling interactive and collaborative environments.
The workplace and the ergonomics of working in the physical and the digital environment are the key influences on productivity. The workplace of the future will need to be highly enticing, highly adaptive, and highly tuned to users’ needs. This type of internal environment underpins performance and ultimately generates success for an organisation.
6. Transformation and Buoyancy
Failing to change with the world has always meant lagging behind. The world is changing faster than anyone anticipates and businesses need to be more flexible than ever.
|Transform||To future needs – in space layouts, buildings systems, workplace technology, and business processes to suit stakeholders’ needs including those of end-users.|
|Buoyant||To outside future impacts such as cybersecurity, information security, pandemics, social, political, climate, and national infrastructure changes.|
As each interruption comes, there is potentially an increased impact, unless we build buoyancy. There are many challenges that building users, tenants, operators, and owners will face.
The past has taught us that our ability to face these challenges often relies on our ability to adopt new or mature technology in new ways that support workplace needs. Transformation is needed, and technology will be a fundamental piece of our buoyancy.
We firmly believe the office is still in existence, and currently going through a change. GreenA Sustainability is ready to meet the challenge with excitement at what positive change this can bring.
Innocent is a sustainable building design consultant with GreenA Sustainability Pte Ltd, a provider of consulting services on developing sustainable design strategies for buildings. The firm’s focus is on new energy-saving and comfort optimizing strategies by an integral approach in building design.