Turning Offices Into Smart Workplaces After COVID-19

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 lana.kier@kmcmaggroup.com.

What’s New in Construction: 2020 Trends to watch out for


As technology continues to advance, industries such as construction are starting to feel the benefits through evolved systems and tools. Experts say construction trends are starting to go innovative and sustainable directions with automation and the green movement. 

Here are the top trends to keep an eye on: 

1. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality 

Automation is getting a jumpstart as more firms adopt and see the usefulness of Virtual Reality. This technology aids architects and construction teams in improving design and detecting errors, enabling them to correct these aspects instantaneously. 

Apart from modeling, it also allows for more creativity as it enables the production of more interactive designs. VR or AR models can also allow for gesture interfacing that allows a user to control or manipulate a model through simple hand gestures or facial recognition. 

2. 3D printing 

3D printing is utilized for easier prefabrication offsite and onsite that presents increased labor and material cost benefits. This also significantly lessens construction wastes and is not dependent on the shifting construction workers. 

In other countries, 3D printed residential neighborhoods and buildings are being built. Dubai is now home to the world’s largest 3D-printed building, just 3 years after it successfully built the largest 3D-printed office building in the country.  

What’s New in Construction: 2020 Trends to watch out for

3. Robotics

The World Economic Forum reported that 2020 is going to be the year of robotics in the construction sector. This can massively substitute minute roles in the construction force such as bricklayers to provide better construction times and deliver improved quality of builds. 

4. Sustainability 

Reducing environmental impacts through sustainability has been a trend that is slowly making its way to construction. Several efforts are being made to optimize energy efficiency to drive for low carbon emissions. 

More construction firms are sourcing for materials with better thermal performance and insulation. A new innovation to generate and store energy is the focus when it comes to concrete roof development. There are also firms that are moving to transform construction waste and reuse it as building materials.  

5. Modular Design 

Prefabricated solutions are starting to pick up some traction in the industry. As the capacity to build offsite increases, many developers are looking to create inside factories and just assemble their buildings on site.  

As modular begins to prove more beneficial and efficient, the promise of faster onsite assembly is now made possible. Architects are also given more room to be creative as they strive to produce a higher quality of designs when it comes to building structures. 

Modular Design

6. Exoskeleton

Capitalizing on superhuman strength is also the future of construction. As a sector largely dependent on manual labor, the exoskeleton technology will help normal workers do more. 

This allows laborers to carry more and therefore, reducing the risk of injuries that will improve the safety requirements on site. Continuous improvements to the user performance of exoskeleton will make it into a 2.6 million-dollar industry by 2025

7. Building Information Modeling 

BIM system allows the creation and management of information for a construction project. This maps out the project through a highly intelligent 3D model that is widely adopted by architects, engineers, and other professionals. 

This helps stakeholders efficiently plan, design, construct and manage infrastructure. Other technologies such as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can be integrated into the system, which will make it more useful in the future.