How Landlords and Tenants Win with Smart Commercial Office Spaces
Despite the general acceptance of a hybrid working pattern for many roles, the value of working collaboratively in the same space remains indisputable for many teams. There is so much detail of communication lost when images and voice are compressed into virtual meeting spaces; work simply takes longer than it would in person.
We recently spoke to Evan Harridge, Director of Innovation at Unico, about how physical office spaces are changing as we approach the midpoint of 2021. Unico offers smart technologies for commercial buildings that allow organisations to make working environments more productive and (very relevantly right now) safer for people to congregate.
Evan said that online meetings suffer from “decreased attention spans, visual overload and increased cognitive load resulting in a loss of efficiency”, and talked of his own team’s experience with in-person groupings, “in a 15 minute meeting, or half an hour meeting, we’ve covered off topics that would have taken two hours to resolve on a virtual meeting […] to solve complex problems you need to be able to debate things in person and have dynamic conversations that an allocated 5 minute virtual speaking slot can’t provide.”
Research suggests that a lack of physical cues, visual overload and backchanneling through chat functions can negatively affect memory recall, attentions spans and result in a loss of critical information for stakeholders.
All contribute to a loss of efficiency and slowing down of collaborative innovation.
As organisations start to return to a semblance of normality, Unico offers practical solutions that can enable the seamless flow of people in and out of the office. For example, Unico’s Journeyhub solution allows for mobile enabled touchless elevator calling and secure access control to designated spaces.
But the company’s offerings go much further – IoT technology can anonymously collect intelligence on buildings and employee behaviour that can be fed to an AI algorithm to generate an enhanced workplace experience.
If building systems know when employees are coming into the office, they can tailor an employee’s daily work experience based on this data. Staff can be alerted when team members are scheduled to be on site, decide to commute in, get automatically allocated a parking spot, and have the safest suitable meeting room ready for an appointment.
Evan told us that today’s office and workspaces have to offer more than what’s available from home, from better coffees to faster, more secure broadband, to visibility into other team members’ whereabouts. Unico is effectively, “trying to make the amenity of the buildings and all the services around the building [more appealing than those] in your home — a benefit to actually coming into the office. [We need to] reimagine these commercial buildings as an attractive place to go as an alternative to home — but not as competition to home […].”
The convenience of any service depends on the framework and interoperability between technology systems. Unico offers solutions that “give people contextual options to book and interact with what they need to do next in the building. We want to be able to unlock doors, [allow users to] make bookings with their smartphones instead of having to have plastic cards, and for all that to be contextual.”
For users of a building, the advantages are clearly imaginable — we all have our own office experience to draw from. But for landlords and building owners, Unico offers a market advantage by creating differentiation between one vendor’s space and that of their competition — and it’s a buyer’s market post-COVID.
“Providers might have a whole list of allied health services, like massage, [on-site] physiotherapists and such available to the staff […] There are others that have facilities like rooftop gardens available that they want to allow external people into on the weekend as a feature of that particular development.”
Taking a working space beyond what’s on offer in the home office is essential for a landlord today — any workspace must be better than an average, decently equipped smart home, with automated air-con and household gadgets, and security systems.
Even physical objects like immovable buildings must be adaptable in a competitive real estate market. Building architects and interior designers will have had specific ideas about how a space could and should be used. Today’s property owners must go above and beyond to offer tenants a newer experience, one that has standards at least as high as those set by the always-on, smartphone-triggered services available to everyone.
Unico’s contextual systems are forming part of a greater, more interconnected work life.
Arrival times to the office, affected by heavy traffic, will cause adjustments to smart building systems.
The reallocation of workspace usage according to environmental conditions informed by data pulled from public transport feeds, rainfall radar and smart city tech.
Creating something special where people want to be is relatively simple for the technology-savvy landlord or property owner. It only needs some imagination and a technology collaborator with the chops to provide something special.
To find out more about Unico, get in touch with the smart working technology provider to see how your space can excel.
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