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What Occupants Want
Posted by The Comfy Team on Oct. 31, 2016

Human-centered workplaces seem like a no-brainer. For employers, these spaces have the potential to improve employee engagement and retention, as well as productivity. For building owners, they can lead to higher tenant occupancy rates and increased asset value. So, we know that satisfying the wants and needs of occupants is important, but what do they want, anyway?

Read on to learn about the three things today's occupants want most.

1. A smart office

The advent of the smartphone is widely considered one of the most influential technological advancements of our time, fundamentally changing the way we operate on a daily basis—how we interact with others as well as with our environment. As we’ve mentioned before, buildings—especially commercial spaces—have been unfashionably late to the smart-party...and it has not gone unnoticed.

According to a workplace survey that Dell released earlier this month, 44% of employees worldwide feel that their workspace isn’t smart enough. They’ve become accustomed to the conveniences of smart tech in their hands and in their homes and now they’re waiting for, if not demanding that, their buildings step up to the plate. In fact, 42% of surveyed millennials said they would quit a job with substandard technology and 82% said workplace technology influences what role they would take. Smart office = smart occupants.

2. A more environmentally sustainable workplace

Millennials are currently the largest cohort in the workplace and will make up nearly half of the workforce by 2020, bringing with them higher expectations of their employers, particularly when it comes to sustainability initiatives. This generation has first-hand experience with the repercussions of environmental neglect and are putting their (carbon) foot(print) down. In addition to driving sustainability programs, millennials are reportedly three times more likely to apply for a job because of its social and environmental efforts. Therefore, it’s becoming crucial for companies—and thus, building owners—to recognize the importance of sustainability for both existing and prospective employees and occupants.

Essentially, those small blue recycling bins are no longer going to cut it. Occupants make eco-conscious choices at home—reducing their waste, recycling, composting, and investing in energy efficient appliances—and they want to be able to do the same at work. Fortunately, many of the features provided and built into smart, high performance buildings are also sustainable by design. In a 2008 Deloitte study, 93% of organizations reported that it was easier to attract talent after undergoing a green building renovation. The smartest building technologies reimagine the way we use standard systems and amenities to both leverage their capabilities and lower their ecological footprint, some even going as far as net-zero energy consumption.

3. Greater control of their physical environment

It's clear by their desire for smarter, more sustainable offices, that occupants are looking for a more seamless transition between home and work. Advanced tech, especially on-demand services, have revolutionized once stagnant industries—from online shopping (Amazon) to transportation (Uber, Lyft) and food (Grubhub, Seamless). Today, you can get almost anything you want at the click of a button…except when it comes to the office.

One distinct difference occupants experience at work is a considerably diminished degree of control over their environment. That lack of control translates to everything from finding a quiet space to take a call to dimming glaring overhead lights to adjusting the temperature to suit their personal needs.

A 2015 Leesman workplace survey of over 102,000 respondents showed that although temperature control was named one of the top features considered to be an important part of an effective workplace, it is also the feature with the highest reported dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, the ability for individual workers to control the temperature at their workstation has been shown to improve individual productivity gains by 3.5% - 36.6%. (And no, that is not a typo. We're talking about ROIs of 23% - 205% when occupants have more control of their physical environment.) Today’s occupants are no longer accepting the status quo in their office, especially when it comes to basic amenities like lighting, space, and temperature that can have a real affect on both their comfort and productivity.

Building owners want to attract and retain quality tenants, who in turn want to attract and retain quality employees…in order to do so, they have to provide an office environment that meets, or exceeds, modern expectations.

One of the greatest things about existing and emerging smart building tech is that it’s providing a way to satisfy occupants’ needs without breaking the bank...or the walls. Owners can leverage existing infrastructure to make significant improvements in occupant experience. Today’s smart buildings are bridging the gap between occupants’ high-tech personal lives and their offices, subsequently getting more efficient and sustainable, and doing so by giving occupants more control.

This blog adds,

Workplace Trends Improving Employee Experience
Posted by The Comfy Team on Oct. 25, 2016

CoreNet Global, TechCrunch Disrupt, HR Techxpo, and IFMA World Workplace. We’ve spent the last few months hitting the conference circuit—chatting it up with our friends in commercial and corporate real estate, facility management, human resources, and green tech about their top concerns, make-or-break business factors, and pain points. Across the country and across industries, one big idea dominated the conversation—employee experience.

Employee experience is the entire history of you at your place of work. It starts from the moment an employee applies for a job to the moment they leave. This experience is impacted by every interaction an employee has with their colleagues, the tools they use, and their physical environment. A company that successfully creates a positive employee experience reaps incredible rewards in the form of increased employee engagement, happiness, productivity, and retention.

Human resources, facilities, and IT working together.

At HR Techxpo, we saw new and emerging job titles like “Head of People Operations,” “Culture Evangelist,” and “People and Culture Director.” These new roles aren’t just title shifts, they have revised scopes of work requiring HR to call on facilities, IT, and corporate real estate—all in an effort to create an environment that empowers every employee to do their best work every day.

This holistic approach is being reflected in companies large and small. Just last year Airbnb’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Mark Levy, changed his title to Global Head of Employee Experience. These once siloed departments are coming together to create systems where all elements of work—physical, emotional, intellectual, and aspirational—are orchestrated to inspire.

Increasing demand for smart solutions that empower workers.

When attending TechCrunch Disrupt, we were astounded and reminded of how rapidly consumer technology is advancing. As we all become increasingly accustomed to advanced tech while commuting and in our homes, we come to expect the same ease, connectivity, and personalization in our workplaces. In their latest study on the Future of the Workplace, Dell noted that “Employees are generally happy in their jobs, but as communications and productivity technology advances, they are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with workplace capabilities.”

Here are the hard numbers. 44% of employees worldwide feel that their workspace isn’t smart enough, 42% of surveyed millennials said they would quit a job with substandard tech, and 82% said workplace tech influences what role they would take. These digits make a convincing point and employers are taking note. Our conversations at CoreNet confirmed that more and more companies are investing in workplace tech and smart solutions to attract and retain top talent.

Exploring new frontiers in operational efficiency.

Every demographic is looking to invest in tech that will help them do more with limited resources. At IFMA, facility managers described their struggles to satisfy occupants' needs while staying under budget. At CoreNet, corporate real estate teams were hungry for data on how employees use space, in order to optimize operations and better inform business decisions.

CRE tech and smart solutions, like Comfy, solve common workplace issues (temperature, lighting, scheduling, and room reservation), offering on-demand gratification for employees and saving time for busy workplace managers. But they also provide powerful data insights into what people actually want out of their workplaces, and that’s invaluable.


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