We like to keep things optimistic at Nexudus. You won’t hear us say ‘things are not looking good’, because we believe even the toughest of circumstances have a silver lining to them.
Having said that, the future of office buildings looks uncertain in 2024.
We can’t help but be realistic about significant vacancy rates in office buildings today. JP Morgan’s latest analysis into the issue showcases office vacancy rates approaching a historical high of 19.3%
Industry experts are worried that this could mean certain spaces might become bastions of a bygone era. But they say there is light yet at the end of this tunnel, in the form of Proptech.
Since that’s a subject we know well, it’s the perfect silver lining for us to lace around the current issues facing Commercial Real Estate (CRE) spaces. Let’s use offices today to understand how Proptech can play a pivotal role in helping CRE spaces gain a competitive edge, reduce their operating costs and make more informed decisions.
Smart access standards.
The right Proptech can provide CRE buildings with door access solutions, as well as reception desk kiosks, to record both occupants and visitors. Beyond offering improved security and occupancy information, this data can be tethered to various rooms within the building, allowing them to dynamically respond to the building’s inhabitants.
This can help building owners and operators make critical decisions to manage occupancy, reduce lighting and HVAC costs and of course, optimise the usage of facilities. Smart thermostats linked to a building’s inhabitants, for example, can save on energy costs and boost a building’s sustainability. We’ll unpack this in more detail below.
Efficient resource booking.
There’s never enough meeting space, and it’s never available when you need it most. If this is a common issue, it’s not because your building isn’t providing plenty of meeting rooms, it’s because the process might be inefficiently managed.
Imagine an employee needing some meeting space urgently and not being sure whether a room has been booked or not. Having display tablets outside of conference rooms and privacy booths will ensure a room’s availability is always known and can allow vacant resources to be snapped up in a jiff. Office spaces can take this a step further and offer employees white-labelled apps that let them manage their bookings on their phones.
Why stop there? These employee apps could connect to other resources, such as coffee stations and print rooms, making other daily tasks easier and more enjoyable for employees to manage.
You’ve been there before. There’s no milk in the fridge, no snacks in the drawer and sometimes no soap in the toilets. Office HQs need to take a cue from how smart workspaces (coworking spaces, in particular) are managed to understand employee expectations in 2024.
Proptech offers simple ways for employees to report any issues or improvements, such as QR codes on key assets (think coffee machines, microwaves, screens, chairs and lights). A ‘tap or scan to report’ sticker, with a QR code, can keep offices better stocked, better maintained and better incentivised for employees to commute into.
Office spaces can take this a step further and become more humanistic in their design. In one of our favourite new reads, ‘Giving buildings a new lease on life’ Martin Reeves advocates building different environments at the office HQ, from those that cultivate collaboration to those that foster focus, simply by adjusting colours, lighting and layouts in specific rooms, and letting employees choose what they want based on their preferred way of working.
When you combine this with the wealth of building intelligence Proptech can offer to CRE owners and operators, it creates the perfect recipe to distil various employee work styles into inviting spaces that adapt and improve based on the need of the hour.
Sensors and AI, oh my.
Environmental data is of great importance to CRE investors. If a building is poorly optimised for energy and is not demonstrating measurable improvement, then it’s not a viable asset. Proptech that leverages emerging technologies, such as smart sensors and AI, can give CRE owners a data-driven edge to decarbonise.
Investors can see reported data around how temperature, air quality and water usage are managed, and with advanced sensors, even determine how often doors and windows are opened. CRE spaces can now aim for complete carbon neutrality, with smart sensors that plug seamlessly into analytics software.
Sensor and IoT-fitted buildings can be made smarter with AI. An entire office space can be mapped out and replicated digitally, and the usage of various sensors and IoT fixtures can be tested (and re-tested) to determine their impact. Imagine being able to test how low and high occupancy affects various parts of your building, and how employee usage of key assets affects their lifespan. AI can help run various simulations of a real office environment to give CRE owners and investors a precise understanding of how to model the perfect environment for a building’s occupants while mastering ESG performance.
When such precise tooling of office spaces is at its peak, the phenomenon will not only entice employees to return to highly adaptive and sustainable spaces; it will also become the standard to which all CRE can aspire.
At Nexudus, we’re passionate about creating fully customisable, easy-to-integrate software that manages your entire space - from reception to rooftop. For over 11 years, our award-winning tech has helped workspace owners and operators be more efficient, provide users with an unforgettable experience and gather advanced analytics for better decision-making. Discover how we can help you today.
Subscribe to receive our latest content and news directly to your inbox
Discover the Power of Reporting in CRE with Nexudus: Learn how our advanced tools streamline data for clear, actionable insights in our latest blog. Transform challenges into opportunities in the ever-evolving world of Commercial Real Estate...