The success of the world’s newest smart buildings has cast the spotlight on how technology can be seamlessly integrated into the very fabric of our buildings to reduce environmental impact, improve the user-experience and drive better business returns.
As well as changing the way that buildings are designed and built, smart buildings are also changing the relationship we have with the environments we occupy and for businesses, it’s important to understand how smart building technology can not only benefit workplace behaviour but drive productivity too.
Here are the five key ways that smart buildings support smart workplaces:
Understanding space and user-led design.
From connecting multiple devices at the push of a button, to booking collaboration spaces and moving from space to space with seamless performance – smart buildings allow a high level of user-flexibility and agility as well as the personalisation needed to make shared spaces feel owned during their use. Smart buildings make use of geo-location systems and a complex array of behavioural and movement data to understand how space is used on a real-time basis. This can help occupiers to identify under-utilised spaces to prompt more informed user-led office design that supports how work is actually done.
Smart buildings offer choice and personalisation and are typically home to thriving, sociable communities. As the war for talent rages, the best new recruits will actively seek out employers with the best environments, workplace culture and brand image. A global study from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte highlighted that employees will seek alternative employment if they feel their employer is not keeping pace with digital change. Smart buildings give occupiers some of the tools they need to improve their technological offering and make customised and agile work experiences possible – which will have strong appeal to younger generations entering the workforce.
Health and wellbeing.
Workplace absence costs the UK economy £18bn in lost productivity each year and with mental health issues on the rise, these costs will keep increase until employers tackle the issue. The ability for employees to set their own environment preferences in relation to noise, heat and light and to choose from varied work settings to suit the task in hand can help to create a happier, healthier workforce, designing stress out of the workplace and creating greater autonomy over how to be productive. Smart buildings even offer scope to collect data from employees’ individual fitness devices in order to devise tailored health and wellbeing programmes for both individual and organisational benefit.
Sustainability is an increasingly important benchmark against which businesses are being held to account. Greater insight into how energy is consumed will help organisations to hit sustainability targets, improve reputation and manage costs. Smart buildings offer this level of data collection and insight in spades and give occupiers a head-start with their own environmental reputation and activities too.
Improved cost management.
Smart buildings pull all system data together to enable more considered and strategic decisions surrounding real estate. From identifying under-utilised space to spotting potential operational failures before they happen – smart buildings’ real-time data analysis can protect the bottom line and help landlords and occupiers adapt their workplace environments as market conditions require.
Forward-thinking businesses always lead the charge when it comes to doing things differently and the advent of smart buildings presents a seismic new game-changing opportunity for businesses wanting to harness the power of technology to better manage their financial, environmental and personnel futures.
There are many complex drivers for smart buildings, however, it is the increasing value put on the human experience that is really spurring the proliferation of smart buildings. We must now recognise that buildings must do more than provide shelter; they must improve the human experience by offering intuitive, choice-led and personalised environments, they must be environmentally responsible and self-sustaining where possible, they should support how work is done and must help businesses to drive productivity in a global market place. There is no denying that smart buildings are the buildings of the future.