Embracing new technologies
When the workplace goes digital, there must also be proper digital governance. There are many organizations digitizing their processes and operations, such as shifting to cloud-hosted technologies in helping them make important decisions.
This gives many benefits for facilities and properties to make use of the efficiency and convenience that technology can provide such as real-time data which cannot be done in a non-paperless setting. This shift highlights the increasing importance of data and making use of technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning which can help break down and manage information for faster analysis, interpretation, and execution.
Prioritizing wellness, health and safety
The pandemic has led to habits that promote good hygiene standards which will likely continue to exist long after the pandemic. Such practices include the installation of hand sanitizers throughout common areas, the improvement of ventilation in the office, and routine sanitation checks in areas with high touchpoints. Measures like social distancing, a one-way system, and face mask zones are also part of these safety practices. Facility managers will be expected to continue upholding these practices and ensuring that all measures will be in place moving forward.
But there is also a deeper conversation about health and that is on the mental wellbeing aspect of employees. A staggering 53% of 6,000 respondents in a study conducted by mental health firm MindNation in 2021 reported worries on financial and health pressures. Around 35% said productivity had been affected, and more than 1 in 10 considered taking more sick leaves due to mental challenges. Companies will need to continue prioritizing and addressing wellbeing even as the pandemic becomes better managed and the economy re-opens, and this has important implications on the ways workplaces will be designed and operated.
Emphasis on green
Sustainability is not a new agenda for companies, but the pandemic has accelerated the green conversation, with now a firmer resolve to see things through. Now more than ever, there is greater interest on Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) in both the occupier and the landlord/investor side. This is driven not just by the competitive advantages and financial benefits it provides, but also the realization that 40% of carbon emissions around the world are attributed to the real estate sector. Topping the ESG agenda is energy efficiency, which Asia Pacific investors surveyed by the Urban Land Institute identified as the No. 1 ESG consideration in 2022 . Designing or redeveloping buildings with sustainability in mind is something that companies can do to support their carbon targets.