Over the past year and a half, the commercial real estate market has seen significant changes. While some of the immediate effects of COVID-19’s pandemic were devastating, others remain to be seen. But investors can look forward to the future and see one thing that we can all be excited about: the rise of smart offices.
The majority of Americans still went to work when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States in April 2020. They commuted to work, settled in a chair, and did their jobs in the corporate office. Everything changed when companies had to be creative after shutdowns.
Many of today’s workforce works remotely. Many companies are even considering moving their corporate offices online, a drastic 180-degree change that was unimaginable two years ago.
Others are returning to work but making significant investments and changes. Below are some early trends that are already in play.
Others are returning to work but making significant investments and changes.
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Below are some early trends that are already in play.
One thing is certain: the long-term effects of the pandemic in commercial real estate will be difficult to predict. Companies are becoming more aware of how to optimize their offices for productivity, innovation, and safety.
Breathing New Life Into Commercial Real Estate — the Smart Office
It’s a term we often use, but what is it? It is more than having technology in buildings. It’s about how you use the right technology.
“Smart offices are workplaces where modern technology is used to empower employees to work smarter, faster, and better. Senior says this can be done by removing obstacles for employees. Smart office solutions allow employees to focus on the important things by removing mundane tasks and other obstacles that drain their time and energy.
A smart office has many distinct advantages over a traditional office.
These benefits include:
Increase productivity. Technology has many benefits for businesses, but productivity is the most important. Organizations can make repetitive, menial tasks more efficient and faster, which will allow them to better use resources and cut costs. They also have greater flexibility and can be more flexible. This is a win-win situation for all.
Use square footage more efficiently. Square footage can be as expensive in urban areas as commercial. Companies can transform static spaces into flexible areas by making use of high-tech office space. Businesses can rent or purchase smaller offices and save money.
Better collaboration. This is especially important in today’s hybrid workforce, where some employees work remotely and some are located in the office. Smart solutions make it easier to communicate with colleagues and employees, regardless of where they are located.
Improved employee well-being. A team that feels supported and has all the tools it needs to succeed will have a greater level of focus and satisfaction. This is how mental health can be improved. Smart office technology can also help employees interact more safely, as we’ll show in the section on smart office trends.
These benefits are why smart offices are so popular. While it requires a substantial investment upfront, the benefits are obvious.
Trends change as technology changes. The most popular option right now may not be the best in 12-18 months. These smart office trends are worth your investment, however.
The next generation of internet connectivity is upon us. Of course, we’re referring to 5G. 5G is a vast improvement over 4G. It’s hard to quantify how significant. The new network speeds up downloads and connections and allows for smoother streaming of virtual meetings and other forms of communication.
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No matter whether companies decide to return to 100% in-person work in the future or continue to use hybrid teams, one thing remains constant: virtual is part and parcel of our new reality.
Businesses must be ready to host and participate in virtual meetings with clients, customers, business partners, employees, and other stakeholders. Businesses must also take the necessary steps to integrate the technology since first impressions can be everything.
Flexible workspaces are another popular trend. They can double as virtual meeting rooms or conference rooms. These spaces are equipped with a sophisticated camera and audio systems, lighting, and green screens that allow for virtual backgrounds to be added.
The ultimate goal is to create high-tech, sophisticated spaces that employees can use to project a professional image in virtual meetings.
IoT sensors, along with associated advanced technology, allow businesses to increase connectivity, flexibility, responsiveness, and productivity without having to invest in complicated systems, wires, and other superfluous devices.
Some solutions are extremely practical, like installing fire suppression systems without the need for electricity or water. Other solutions include more complicated such as proximity sensors, temperature sensors, and touch sensors.
It would be remiss to not mention the smart technology that is helping to create safer workplaces and better interactions for people who are still concerned about the COVID-19 virus. A lot is happening in the area of sanitization.
Air purification and air circulation are two examples. These technologies have been around for a while, but they are now being integrated into IoT platforms. They can be used in conjunction with people-counting sensors to create better-ventilated offices that adapt to changing conditions.
Another technology that is expanding beyond healthcare facilities to modern smart offices is intelligent, automated UV disinfection. These systems disinfect surfaces using UV-C lighting. Some systems can detect when someone enters or leaves a room depending on how well they integrate with other systems. This allows UV-C to activate at the perfect time.
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The smart office is the way to go for businesses that want to keep their physical offices open.
Newer technologies such as IoT, 5G networks, cloud computing, AI, and cloud computing make it possible to increase productivity, lower costs and improve collaboration while simultaneously keeping employees safe and healthy. These are the positive trends to watch in a post-COVID environment, where uncertainty is high.
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