The future is flexible (pt 2/2): why employers need to review their use of building systems

In the first part of this blog we looked at the sudden rise of home-based working taking place as a result of the pandemic. This has worked well for many businesses and it’s gen-erally felt that a lot of employees will continue to divide their time between home and office after the crisis. But it’s a change that will bring some major challenges for employers and property owners.

A recent report from global design and architecture firm Gensler (1) found that while 4 out of 5 respondents want to return to the office in some way each week, 67% want more flexi-bility in the future. This includes both the ability to choose where they work and when they work there. One upshot for employers is that offices will have to support “activities and ex-periences” that cannot be done at home. There will also be a trend towards smaller offices so companies can reduce their rental and/or operational costs.

Office of the Future Report, (2) authored by workplace design consultants Peldon Rose is also insightful on this subject. The office of the future, it states, must allow staff to be “con-nected, collaborative and creative.” Larger premises will continue to be needed by some companies, but it will become more common to share space with other businesses. For landlords, in particular, the emphasis will shift to ‘ready to work’ offices that don’t require much preparation by tenants.

“Offices equipped to support more flexible usage will be well-placed to make the most of the hybrid working trend”, writes Priva’s Koen Somers

All of which means that the design of workspaces is going to become even more crucial. Over time the roll-out of fibre networks will improve everyone’s connectivity. But of similar importance will be the ability to manage the climate of the building in line with how it is be-ing used. Reviewing the use offices is also bound to prompt greater attention to the issue of energy. Reducing consumption will not only help cut costs, it will also make it easier for companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

In our view, this will lead even more organisations to see the value of a networked, central building management system (BMS) – such as our own Priva Blue ID – that is connected to all of the individual building systems. A good BMS allows tech managers to set the desired conditions in each room at any time of the day – and in whatever way it is being used. So no more heating empty spaces or leaving lights on in equipment rooms!

There are also advantages for building managers and third-party support companies. For example, the current generation of BMS make it far easier for settings to be adjusted and potential problems detected remotely. After all, in this brave new world, there is no reason why technical personnel shouldn’t also have greater scope to work from home.

As both the Gensler and Peldon Rose reports indicate, the employee of the future is going to want their time in the office to really count – and for it to be an enjoyable experience as well. For many employers a powerful BMS will help them deliver working environments that are flexible and functional. The result will be a much smoother transition to the ‘new reality’ of working.

For more information on Priva’s solutions for offices and other workplaces, please visit
https://www.priva.com/markets/building-automation/perfect-working-climate.

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Sources:
(1) https://workinmind.org/2020/11/27/hybrid-work-models/
(2) https://workinmind.org/2020/12/02/office-of-the-future-report/