Offices Are Changing — What’s In It for Owners?

The workplace continues to transform at an unprecedented rate, from the definition of a “perk” to engineering the most conducive office environment, giving the industry a lot to talk about. But one thing that isn’t set to change anytime soon is that behind every office is an owner — so what does this rampant industry disruption mean for the people who actually own and operate commercial property?

Getting in on the ground floor

We’ve all heard the horror stories of industry players that didn’t adapt to changing times and paid the price, think what the advent of digital photography meant for Polaroid, or what ride-sharing now means for taxicab companies. For Blockbuster and Toys R Us, it was doubling down on the idea that the brick and mortar experience would ultimately prevail over online shopping that sealed their demise. Now it’s commercial real estate’s turn for a reckoning with technology, and the good news is that forward-thinking owners only stand to gain. Here’s how:

Data is the word of the decade

The desire for reliable data to support strategic business decisions is widespread in 2019, and forward-thinking service providers are already collecting and using it to inform next steps, from the allocation of resources and amenities, to the design and layout of furniture, to the development of exciting new technology. The smart use of analytics in building automation and property management has staggering implications for owners looking to reduce operational inefficiencies and maximize asset value.

Occupancy Detection

Sensors for occupancy detection can tell owners which building amenities are being used and when — could you put that gym space to better use? Is anyone even using the vehicle charging stations in the garage?

Climate Control

Similarly, sensors can be used to inform real-time HVAC response depending on the occupancy of the building, the time of day, the weather, etc., resulting in significant energy savings.

Energy Conservation

Approximately 30 percent of the energy consumed in a building is wasted, a figure that could be drastically curtailed by data-driven automation, saving owners Common Area Maintenance fees and reducing tenant OpEx. Keeping costs down keeps tenants happy, which in turn leads to lower turnover.

Automation

Automated control systems can streamline access to secure spaces within a building, which reduces the need for security personnel and improves the user experience.

Monetization

There is significant potential to simply monetize the data that can be collected daily from an office or retail building.

Tenant Experience Matters Too

There is a growing industry awareness that technology-driven amenities are now central to the tenant experience and key to driving value. Why? Because comfortable employees are happier and more productive and automated systems make workplaces more efficient. Also, the ever-growing tech industry demands tech-driven office space — high-end intelligent automation sets buildings apart from the competition.

Conclusion

It’s not a matter of whether data, automation, and smart amenities will change commercial real estate as we know it, but rather, when. As office space providers continue to find new ways to optimize just about every facet of the workplace experience, owners would be well-advised to pay attention and embrace the possibilities for themselves.