The optimized strategy for return
The question, “‘what next?” opens up possibilities for a wide range of solutions bringing out the potential to stay resilient from within our communities. The millennial minds of the century are keen to get back to office spaces, according to a JLL survey, with the best safety practices in place. This is to be achieved by CRE players revamping the design of workspaces, with key focus on human experience, innovations in technology, wellness and sustainability.
So how does technology play a part in this transition back to the workspaces?
It acts as blood vessels that connect and understand behavioral patterns of space usage. This helps companies focus on employee wellness in addition to introducing best practices for efficiency, speed, and cost-effectiveness. The bold decision by many companies to declare extended WFH is proving to be a short term solution, as the pros of collaboration and in-person meetings have still not been encompassed. If remote working is here to stay, offices will find a new “raison d’être”. Organizations need to spend time optimizing spaces that will have the deepest impact. The future of the workplace is no longer molded around what has worked, but what will be done to instil member confidence. The age of sensors and voice recognition in India seems not far away.
Insight based design
Design ideas bred out of studying interactions of the community with workplaces is the cornerstone from which future spaces will take shape. Offices have transitioned from a place to work to a strategic tool for growth, collaboration and learning. This calls for layering of space to allow and provide for different kinds of spaces suitable for varying needs. Striking the right balance is key. Risks associated with usage of common areas and amenities, which is the birthplace of most innovative thoughts, needs to be reimagined. Some of these risks like cross-contamination, need for pandemic rooms with healthcare technologies in place are to be addressed as we cross this bridge back to offices. The popular opinion that a well-designed and enabled environment fosters productivity while keeping staffers ergonomically comfortable is also a great opportunity for the building materials and allied industries to innovate and reinvent wellness as a feature to their product offerings. Theoretically, the aforesaid is the way to go.
How do we map standards of safety and well-being?
International safety standards set by IWBI, British Safety council and other bodies are the credible benchmarks that companies follow to assure its communities a safe return to their spaces. RMZ Corp, a global leader has been rated for its safety measures by IWBI for ‘Facility Operations and Management’. We can expect more innovation in technology to support on-premise/off-premise collaboration, as well as innovation in building infrastructure: better HVAC systems, more touch free operations, double skinned buildings, single occupancy washrooms.
How can we balance this cycle?
A balance between remote and on-campus working is the optimal conclusion drawn from the months of observation since the pandemic set in. Termed as the hybrid model of working, this strategy attends to the needs of the community on either side of the sentimental bridge. A dedicated space per employee, where, again, they will have a sense of control over their personal space at work, eases them into a transition back to office. It makes sense for most companies that a core group of employees go to the office every day, another group who may commute once or twice a week, and a third group that works remotely almost all the time. Finding the right mix of work practices will be the recipe to effective business continuity. As air quality is the prime concern, to overcome this retro-commissioning of high quality air systems in place is the way to go. This step addresses the fear of air quality and also gives precise data that feeds into the sustainability goals of any organization.
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