The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of personal and professional routines. It has challenged business leaders to rethink operations and how work gets done, in many cases forcing a massive and immediate shift to remote work that has proven productive for many companies.
However, most employees are interested in eventually returning to their physical office spaces. Gensler’s Work From Home (WFH) Survey found that only 12 percent of respondents wish to continue working from home full time after the pandemic subsides. According to the survey, most would prefer a hybrid approach or to go back to the office full time.
Now, leaders, including CIOs and technology decision-makers must determine which working model is best suited for their company and which technology will enable a successful transition to the office’s new distributed future.
Employee experience and rebuilding trust are key in preparing the workplace for staff post-pandemic. During a period of rapid change, focus on the employee experience can easily fall off the list of priorities. However, organizations must keep employee experience at the forefront to re-establish trust in workplace safety and maintain a content and productive workforce.
The CIO has a responsibility to ensure the right technology is in place to facilitate safe office re-entry. For example, CIOs must set up organizations for fast and transparent communication with employees, whether in office or remote, to keep everyone up to date. PropTech is best suited to support these priorities and been on the rise for years, but the pandemic has brought into focus new opportunities that stretch beyond the walls of a building.
Ways that technology can and must enhance future work experiences in the wake of COVID-19 include safety and cleaning measures for office spaces, which can be supported with occupancy sensors, like those from VergeSense. Recent research from VergeSense shows 97% of historical employee interactions occurred below the currently recommended six feet of distancing. Real-time data from occupancy sensors can help identify hot spots within the office where social distancing is difficult to enforce and share if certain rooms or floors have exceeded safe occupancy guidelines. This data helps companies reimagine office layouts and monitor adherence to cleaning protocols.
Commercial real estate companies can also leverage technology like mobile work order systems. For instance, Corrigo can help track disinfecting services across buildings to ensure proper cleaning protocol and offer facility management to trace the status of all work orders from a single location. Comprehensive facility management solutions can streamline and support real estate management initiatives, including space planning, building maintenance, sustainability measures, and integrated services.
Workplace experience applications enable organizations to have a regular pulse on employee well-being and sentiment. One centralized platform to manage relevant customer-facing technology tools is beneficial to provide a universal app for users and activate strong connections between people, property, and management. HqOS provides a tenant experience app to regularly pulse tenants on safety practices with notifications about building updates and capture how tenants are utilizing buildings to ensure a positive and safe workplace.
The reimagined office experience will be different than anything we’ve seen before. Historically, the corporate CIO has focused on the technology running and providing services to a company. In the coming months, it will be key to focus on the technology capabilities their CRE groups have or should have to facilitate safe re-entry. By implementing new processes to meet post-pandemic standards, businesses can rebuild trust with employees and ensure a safer, healthier office environment.
Thoughtful technology implementation has never been more important than it is today as we reconsider efficient and effective business operations post-COVID-19. If PropTech was not a CIO priority in the past, it now must be.