The office of the future is a comfortable, hospitable, and productive place. To adequately provide these benefits to hybrid-working tenants, you need to measure building occupancy, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), and temperature.
Why? Cold, confined, and poorly ventilated spaces are all too common, and they are bad for the working professional.
Smart building technology provider Metrikus, in its report Return to the Office: The Future Now, states that individuals want to work in an office that provides home comforts, as well as a degree of control over those comforts. During the many global lockdowns of COVID-19, home offices fulfilled this need. At home, windows can be easily opened, and air conditioning easily regulated. There is no fighting for space, nor standing shoulder-to-shoulder with sickly peers in crowded elevator cabs.
So it is obvious that comfort is best fostered at home. But individuals – particularly young people – want to come into the office. They want to collaborate, to hustle, to access knowledge and absorb experience from the veterans in their orbit. So if you can inject home comforts – thermal control, CO2 regulation, confidence in the ability to remain socially distant – you can make your workplace a viable HQ.
That’s one key missing piece to the hybrid-working puzzle. “Only 53% of employees feel that they have adequate control over their comfort,” Metrikus’ report says.
Regulate heating and cooling
One study suggests that 53% of employees are less productive when their work environment is too cold (as reported by Metrikus). Discomfort is one thing, but an incorrectly-heated environment can cause Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), the symptoms of which include headaches, dry skin, rashes, and sore throats. Studies show that the optimal in-office temperature is between 21 and 22 degrees celsius (69 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit).
Our Smart building platform, offered in partnership with Metrikus, enables you to track and regulate your building heating and cooling to achieve this thermal sweet spot. Through the Smart dashboard, you can set up alerts that will trigger when office temperatures fall or spike beyond custom thresholds. You can also pass data directly to employees, so they can make their own choices about where they sit in offices and other spaces. “One option,” says Metrikus, “is to have areas with slightly different temperatures. If employees can see this data, they can choose a space that will be most comfortable for them.” Remember, comfort control is the goal.
Track and improve IAQ
COVID-19 has thrown IAQ into the spotlight. First, the focus was on health, but now, we know that poor IAQ is strongly correlated to poor productivity. Put simply, when too many people gather in a poorly-ventilated area, oxygen levels are depleted faster than they are replenished. CO2 levels then increase, and excess CO2 can cause drowsiness, headaches, and nausea. By regulating CO2 using Equiem’s Smart platform, you stand to improve productivity by 8-11%.
You can fit out your offices and common areas like a five-star hotel, and lure employees out of their home offices with enriching experiences, events, and services. But if you don’t ease deep-seated worries about COVID-19 – namely, the ability to distance one’s self from others in public places – you can never hope to maximise building occupancy rates. “Employers will also need to take steps to reassure employees that the office is a space safe to return to,” Metrikus says. “Access to the right data can help to give people confidence that they are working somewhere with good indoor air quality and no risk of overcrowding.” Our Smart platform can feed this information, on a tenancy-by-tenancy level, to employees and employers.