Despite the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the return to the office is still inevitable. In the Philippines, more businesses and developers are realizing the importance of ensuring that the workplace is safer and prioritizes the welfare of its occupants.
According to WeForum.org, remote working will not completely obliterate what the traditional office can offer: Colleagues, Collaboration, and Culture. Therefore, transforming the space in terms of design, location, and allocation should be considered. As an additional precautionary measure, the shift to a smarter workplace proves to be more beneficial and resilient in the long term.
Leveraging on existing innovation and technology is not only a value add but guarantees a safer space that reduces the risk of contracting the virus. Increased demand for spaces that adopt technologies that smoothen remote working and support companies’ environmental, sustainability, health, and wellness will be observed.
In a recent webinar, T1 General Manager John Almosara presented a three-point roadmap in securing the future of the workplace in the new normal. In his presentation, the paradigm of the office should undergo three changes – physical change, technical change, and smart change.
Shift to Smart Workplace
Technological integration is key in successfully transitioning your office into smart workplaces. Sensors around the spaces can provide useful insight on how to right-size your workplace. This will enable businesses to match the change in workforce reporting to their physical space, and how to better cater to their needs.
Protection of occupant wellness and safety is also an aspect contactless or touchless technology can cover. Thermal cameras or scanners can monitor the temperature of employees or visitors going in and out of the building. When integrated into an Internet of Things (IoT) platform or database, property or facility management teams can easily assign different working zones to avoid contamination.
John also noted the importance of safeguarding common spaces in an office building as well, such as the lobby, elevators, meeting rooms, pantries, and lounge areas.
Similarly, occupants will require frequent access to crucial information such as air quality and hot zones around the building. This is where mobile apps or public-facing dashboards can be useful for the convenience of sharing and receiving updates on both ends.
Common areas will also change dramatically as it is tagged as a high contact point in most workplaces. Smart restrooms will be prioritized by employing door contact sensors, anti-bacterial additives in hand washing and drying fixtures, and an app-based alert system for sanitation or disinfection reminders.
John reiterated that companies should consider their office’s movement, physical distancing, and sanitation for developing systems into the new normal.
Truly, the pandemic has long-lasting impacts on the conduct of business as we know it. Given that the need for physical space is here to stay, maximizing technology is an easy solution to invest in, and utilize to ensure safer reentry to the office without compromising the wellness or safety of its occupant.
Looking for a smart workplace design consultation? Reach out to Lana Kier at firstname.lastname@example.org.