How Proptech and Smart Spaces converge to create better workplaces
Attracting top talent has now become crucial to any venture’s success. The best personnel can make all the difference in driving innovation or winning clients. Companies aren’t only competing against rivals for sales and market share. They’re also competing for human resources. As such, it’s important for organizations to provide all the necessary perks in order to stand out as potential employers. Interestingly, the physical workplace can be a major factor that affects a company’s ability to land new hires. According to a Glassdoor study, benefits, location, and commute time rank high among the top factors that job seekers consider when choosing employers. Technology is also playing a large role in how all of these come together. A Harvard study revealed that employees greatly value features and perks that may affect their health and well-being. Workspace air quality and lighting even outrank perks such as in-house fitness facilities. No wonder offices are now aggressively adopting smart Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices such as thermostats, lighting, and even biometric sensors. The smart thermostat market rose to be worth $1.63 billion led by players like Nest and Honeywell. Aside from smart devices, companies can now also take control over all aspects of their smart workplaces. Platforms like Zonifero allow companies to locate any particular employee within an organisation, assign workspaces, and manage bookings of facilities like meeting rooms, hot-desks or parking spaces all within one mobile app.. Even long-time enterprise technology providers are catching on. Microsoft has been testing its smart office technologies within its own facilities and is incrementally making these solutions available as part of its various products and services. Developments in property technology (proptech) are also emerging to become quite vital to how businesses find and manage workplaces. Proptech platforms have now evolved beyond listing capabilities. Processes such as negotiating terms of lease, payments, and escrow are now being automated through proptech platforms. New types of real estate marketplaces are also rising. With the popularity of co-working, platforms like Regus and Liquidspace serve as the Airbnb for office facilities. A Modern Workplace for the Modern Workforce There’s already been a changing of the guard in today’s workforce. Millennials and their younger peers now dominate the business landscape. They now prefer workplaces that encourage productivity, stimulate creativity, and provide security. Big tech companies were quite instrumental in the introduction of innovative work spaces that promote creativity, well-being, and open collaboration. For example, Google has been named as one of the best companies to work for thanks to its workplace culture. Aside from competitive salaries and flexible work arrangements, Google campuses are known to provide quiet workspaces, fitness and wellness facilities, quaint gardens, and cafes stocked with free food. Google’s successful work culture has become the gold standard for other organizations to follow and replicate. Companies are also taking advantage of the communication and collaboration tools to expand their reach. Gone are the days when workforces have to be centralized and collocated. Today, teams can be distributed all over the world and yet still achieve their goals. This allows companies to find the balance of talent and cost when creating teams to work on their projects. Proptech Helps Companies Find the Right Spot The age-old adage of “location, location, location” still applies to today’s commercial real estate. Companies must find the optimal base of operations in order to attract talent and be close to key customers. However, finding available spaces that meet an organization’s needs has become a challenge. For example, companies in the tech sector feel pressured to find office spaces in tech hubs like San Francisco, New York, London, and Berlin. Unfortunately, these cities are already saturated and have high costs of living. Property costs are now also prohibitive. Proptech is helping address these issues in a number of ways. Through data market analysis and tech, investors or buyers can gain accurate insights on the value of a property and make their own fair estimations instead of solely relying on manual valuations of sellers or lessors. Office sharing firms are also leveraging big data and technology to connect thousands of employees despite being situated in various locations around the world. By connecting different organizations in more than 335 locations worldwide, office sharing firm WeWork is proof that creating a network of talented and skilled individuals who can collaborate and grow together without being constrained by the limits of physical space is entirely possible. Smart Technologies Drive Productivity Once they’ve found a location, companies also now have to consider how to outfit it to work according to their business and culture. Adopting smart devices in the workplace promises a number of benefits such as enhanced productivity and reduced operating costs. Smart spaces ideally provide the following: Communication. Adopting teleconferencing technologies to make smart meeting rooms has played a pivotal role in connecting different teams together across the globe. Meeting rooms are now equipped with devices such as an interactive whiteboard with speakers and an HD camera that allows multiple users to write and input their thoughts simultaneously. Such technologies that put a premium on real-time collaboration without the need for complicated set-ups help promote constant communication. Automation. Many mundane day-to-day operational tasks are now being automated through advanced systems. These systems can record employee attendance, assign tasks, and give updates to the whole organization automatically. For example, a biometric scanner can accurately track an employee’s arrival and departure time. Work management systems can manage and update schedules, assign tasks, and send notifications to individuals in the organization. This allows employees to allocate more time on higher value activities. Efficiency. Smart offices have lower operating costs. Thanks to smart sensors, companies can reduce costly repairs and avoid downtime due to an equipment malfunction by automatically scheduling preventive maintenance. Sensors can scan devices and give detailed reports of its usage and performance. Sensors can also be integrated in offices to lower energy consumption by automatically adjusting lighting, ventilation, and temperatures based on the number of occupants in each room. Automatically dimming lights and varying ventilation levels can decrease operational costs. Smart Workplaces for the Better Ultimately, creating smart workplaces will benefit all stakeholders. Employees will get to enjoy workspaces that are not only convenient but are supportive of their preferred ways of working. The various technologies in play will also make their work easier. Companies will likely see productivity translate into better performance overall. Reduced costs also help strengthen their bottom line.
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