Smart buildings and the future of workspace

Smart buildings and the future of workspace
Smart buildings are the future, period. Their operational efficiency through factors like predictive maintenance and energy saving is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of this. The endless possibilities that smart buildings bring to the table are sure to encourage more and more adopters in the future. 

The need for smart buildings is not just from the perspective of the building managements either. Consumers, today, need better connectivity, intelligent systems, and flexibility when it comes to the devices and infrastructure they interact with. In a recent post, the research firm Memoori explained how the emerging generation, often fondly called the Millennials, are actually going to be the smart building generation. 

By the end of this decade, as much as half of the workforce will be Millennials and this would increase to three-fourth in another five years. They will, inevitably, demand more control over how they work. Already, concepts like co-working, remote working, and hotdesking are popular. These trends will only gain more momentum in the days to come. Quoting Siemens, the post said that 30 percent of corporate real estate portfolios will include flexible workspaces. 

“Younger workers are cutting the cords that tied employees to their desks, through flexible and remote working options. Smart design and greater connectivity will be required to ensure spaces and enterprises are equipped for hot desking and remote working, as well as mobile and wearable technology,” Memoori’s recent report notes. “This need not be an extra expense. In fact, progressive corporations are already reducing the scale of their office below the size of their workforce to account for the increased numbers of remote workers, for example.”

Employees are also increasingly becoming concerned about their health, comfort, and wellbeing, and will demand technology that helps them. Solutions like circadian lighting systems that artificially create the natural movement of sunlight to balance our biological clocks could have a huge potential in this regard. The major change is, of course, in the realization that there need not be a one-size-fits-all system for employees. Customization is becoming the key in all kinds of automation and building facilities are no different. 

“These are generations that have grown up with digital and connected technology, and they will prioritize smartly designed and technology-rich workplaces when choosing between employment options,” Memoori added. Millennials take their health more seriously than previous generations, for example. “They will place great importance on companies and workplaces that promote health through lighting and environmental control systems, as well as those who offer them the time and facilities to engage in healthier living.”

Another important point to note is that the Millennials are increasingly becoming aware of environmental and social concerns. This has prompted them to be more responsible in terms of the energy consumption and would look for employers who share their values. Promoting a workspace with smart buildings that optimize energy consumption and could definitely help in attracting the right talent. 

“Millennials have grown up in the age of technology but also an era of heightened environmental and social responsibility,” Memoori said. “Beyond personal demands for greater health, comfort, and flexibility, these groups will place much greater priority on ensuring their employer makes a positive contribution to ‘the world’. This could be bad news for the world’s corporate polluters, but for the vast majority of companies, a smart workplace could act as an important recruitment tool.”

Barry Salzberg, former global CEO, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, quoted by the research firm, to attract and retain talent, businesses should make it clear that they are innovative and hold similar values. Many millennials are concerned about matters like wastage of resources and technology can be the right answer to this. 

In short, smart buildings would become an inevitable part of companies to attract the best talent in the years to come. This is not just beneficial to the smart building industry but the society as a whole as it improves overall efficiency.


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