Get ahead in the digital workplace transformation

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The Ins and Outs of the Digital Workplace Transformation

The recent digital workplace transformation in the commercial real estate industry has left the modern workplace experience looking drastically different. Current-day health and safety concerns are accelerating what was once a trend, and have solidified technology as a legitimate building standard.

With the adoption of such technology, the value equation for properties everywhere has also shifted from buildings and location to people. In order to triumph among growing hybrid work models and re-establish value for the physical office, property teams now need to create smart and engaging spaces where people actually want to work.

All this, and much more, can be achieved through digital workplace experience strategies that activate your building’s amenities and features — thus automating building journeys, bringing office culture directly to tenants wherever they are, and aligning your office strategy with a more modern workforce.

The importance of digital workplace strategies is major to CRE’s success: blending the physical and digital worlds goes beyond proving the value of the physical office — it can also help solve the major business issues of attraction, fragmentation, and differentiation for CRE leaders. 

Such tech-enabled features during a time of significant digital growth will also give landlords insight into important data — both in singular buildings and at scale across their entire portfolio — to help them learn more about their building occupants, experience the new value drivers of CRE, and become more responsive to tenant needs by offering the best aspects of both a physical and digital workplace. If you’re wondering what a digital workplace transformation truly looks like, read on.

How to Enhance Your Digital Workplace Strategy

Since the industry has reached a point where improvements to the physical office environment can no longer enhance the tenant experience on their own, technology is needed to bridge the gap between the physical office and the digital workplace, while also connecting dispersed employees in a way that is both engaging and thoughtful. This means that the best digital workplace strategy is one that produces omnichannel office experiences.

Omnichannel office experiences are exactly that: integrated experiences that provide your building occupants with seamless transitions between digital and physical offerings. The best digital workplace solutions include everything from plugging into your building’s various technology systems to ensure that the building occupant journey is tech-enabled, to increasing your digital programming through virtual amenities that all can partake in, no matter where they are.

In order to keep up with the rise of tenant experience and to achieve omnichannel office experiences, you will need to start looking into — at the very minimum — a mobile app for tenants and tenant engagement. A tenant engagement app will not only ease modern-day concerns revolving around safety, communication, and engagement for your existing tenants, but it will also help you strengthen your workplace culture to help attract new tenants.

On a similar note, a large focus area of digital workplace transformation initiatives is the concept of flight to quality or creating a digital tenant experience through activating building amenities. A 2019 Cushman & Wakefield study revealed that before the COVID-19 pandemic, highly amenitized buildings had an 18.3% rent premium compared to the surrounding submarket. This premium proved even more substantial at 21.6% in the central business districts (CBDs) of gateway markets. Amenities still play a role in overall office culture, and the concept of flight to quality — or digitally enhancing your building’s offerings — can prove to be a major differentiator for your portfolio. This also lends credence to the positive impact that technology can have on cap rates when focused on engaging people and strengthening connections.

Offering digital programming to complement your assets can re-shape antiquated engagement models by bringing your building’s amenities directly to the end-user, as opposed to having tenants seek them out on their own. Such modern tenant relations ideas not only strengthen workplace culture but also establish a brand value that extends beyond the office — both of which are especially valuable now since many tenants and employees are not physically in the building.

For many HqO clients, “going digital” has already led to unique and desirable digital workplace services for both current and prospective tenants. Each client has the power to customize in-app features to fit their specific needs, creating solutions that highlight their building’s individual communities and personalities. These tenant engagement ideas have spanned from offering virtual fitness classes and hosting building-wide events, to gift raffles that show tenant appreciation, to mobile ordering services that cut down on traffic and congestion in public common areas associated with popular on-site food and retail vendors. 

Not only can such a digital workplace platform provide ways to show tenant appreciation, but it can create lasting impressions moving forward through memorable digital behaviours in the workplace.

Digital Workplace Examples

Though various types of digital workplace solutions can be found across any industry, they have seen a huge increase in adoption in the commercial real estate market. Innovative workplace technology examples all contribute to smart building trends and the recent modernization of office building technology. These digital workplace use cases include establishing more touchless experiences, increasing communications among various building systems, and creating outstanding and automated customer experiences. 

HqO’s growing Marketplace of best-in-class technology partners can help aggregate numerous smart technologies for any office building. Through its operating system, landlords and property teams can activate partners and features to meet any building’s needs. HqOS™ workplace digital technology examples fall under the following categories: 

  1. Access Control: Security is among the most notable smart building IoT solutions. Through access control capabilities, owners can enable tenants to gain access to their office buildings with just the tap of a phone.

  2. Emergency Communications: Another critical modern office solution is the ability to communicate critical safety information to building occupants in a quick and efficient manner.

  3. Order Ahead: A smart-enabled technology platform can increase safety and convenience for your tenants, such as integrating with local retailers to allow them to place orders ahead and reduce friction.

  4. Resource Booking: Digital workplace technologies have also made resource booking even more seamless. Smart building sensors coordinate with your existing software to assist in more efficient room booking management, from conference rooms to event spaces and everything in between, making organizing your day a seamless process.

  5. Service Booking: Technology can also be utilized to activate your building amenities. Tenants can take advantage of easy-to-book services, fitness classes, and more.

  6. Service Requests: To enhance a building’s efficiencies, it’s important to remember that the building and maintenance staff still plays an essential role. Enter service request solutions, where tenants can communicate with building managers for work orders, cleaning services, and more.

  7. Shuttle Tracking: Shuttle tracking technologies can help you understand your tenants’ commuting behaviors and determine the best-fit transit solutions for any property.

  8. Ticketing: Digital ticketing can help grant tenants access to key property experiences and partner services with scannable visuals. The process is quick, convenient, and contactless.

  9. Visitor Registration: Contactless visitor registration can also be easily integrated into a building through a smart building system. Speed up the visitor registration process while also ensuring modern safety and security protocols are met.

Now, owners and property teams all over the world can set the right workplace technology examples by leveraging trusted partners to differentiate their assets and enhance their workplace experiences.

The Future of Digital Workplace Statistics

Digital workplace statistics align with growing smart building trends. According to MarketsandMarkets, “the smart buildings market […] size is expected to grow from USD 66.3 billion in 2020 to USD 108.9 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.5% during the forecast period. The major drivers for the smart building include the rising adoption of IoT-enabled building management systems, rising awareness of space utilization, increased industry standards and regulations, and increased demand for energy-efficient systems.”

Not only do the latest technology in the workplace statistics anticipate a significant increase in the adoption of smart technologies, but they also point to specific trends driving this new wave of technological innovation. Clevair points to six smart building trends for the year 2021 that establish digital workplace benefits:

  1. Real-time Energy Monitoring: A major benefit of smart building solutions is their ability to streamline previously antiquated processes. This is no different for energy bills and other building footprint measurements. Modern building management software can not only give property teams access to energy data in real-time but also help you define thresholds and predict forecasts for your building.

  2. HVAC Control: Manual HVAC systems in older buildings cannot adjust based on building occupancy. In today’s day and age, it’s important to incorporate smart sensors that can communicate with your HVAC system to provide real-time occupancy data as well as save you energy costs as it adjusts to your building occupants’ varying usage throughout the day.

  3. Air Quality Control: In the same way smart buildings can monitor and improve HVAC systems, they can also help with your building’s air quality. Sensors can help detect indoor environmental factors such as humidity and heat. They can also detect the presence of gasses such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen, to help increase or decrease clean airflow into particular rooms when needed without physical intervention.

  4. Energy Optimization: As suggested by the first smart building trend, smart buildings can also optimize energy usage across your building in a variety of ways. Systems such as HVAC, lighting, and more can turn on or off automatically depending on building occupancy, while also detecting underperforming hardware that needs to be replaced to further save energy.

  5. Remote Management: Since all of these features can basically automate themselves without the need for physical interference, smart buildings also indicate that these can all be operated remotely for any building. From lighting to building access, to HVAC, property teams can adjust any aspect of their building depending on specific needs.

  6. An Influx of Software: Smart buildings surprisingly don’t require a lot of hardware — their software-centric nature means that property teams can convert even the oldest of buildings into a modern workplace if they so desire. These modern solutions are made to integrate with a building’s existing technology infrastructure, and also often run off of cloud-based platforms. A smart building using IoT or cloud technologies can help implement all of these solutions quickly and at scale.

The Lasting Benefits of a Modern Digital Workplace

Ultimately, owners and property teams want to create environments where people feel comfortable and excited to work. In order to accomplish this, the workplace needs to become as dynamic and adaptable as modern tenants’ needs. This indicates that a successful workplace is a modern, digital workplace. Additionally, it needs to make the end-user journey as easy and seamless as possible, as well as to improve upon today’s health and safety regulations to ease health-related concerns. 

Here are just a few ideas that landlords can adopt to ensure their assets are following a modern digital workplace framework:

  • Implement mobile access technologies and touchless sensors to ensure that the end-user journey is quick, easy, and frictionless.

  • Install lighting and temperature control features that can adapt to your tenants’ needs throughout the day.

  • Increase your building’s cleaning and sanitation protocols.

  • Partner with local retailers to provide easy access to healthy food options for your tenants.

  • Leverage technology partners to offer both virtual and in-person fitness and wellness classes.

  • Adopt more smart building software solutions and digital programming initiatives to foster a vibrant, tech-enabled workplace culture.

The more we engage with digital workplace design amid this new era of building innovation, the more we can create the full, well-rounded experiences that generate value throughout an office portfolio. If you’re interested in learning more, schedule a free demo of our end-to-end operating system for commercial real estate today.

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