Let’s start with what everyone is talking about: the evolution of the workplace.
Coworking, the extinction of cubical farms, creating spaces for millennials – these topics are dominating conversations for those in corporate real estate trying to reinvent their existing offices and plan for the future. Commercial property managers are scrambling too, trying to figure out what changes to make in order to keep current tenants happy and to attract new ones.
It’s all about what is new and shiny, but everyone seems to be overlooking the fundamentals: keeping employees safe and comfortable.
Think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: food and shelter come before everything else. The same is true for your office space. The urge may be to completely overall the physical space – maybe even buy a ping pong table or two – but don’t forget about what needs to be improved or upgraded ‘behind the scenes.’
For example, when was the last time you were in the office and someone was not complaining about the temperature? That’s a rare occasion. Too often, it can take hours or even days for facilities team to get a request to change the temperature and make the fix.
But there’s a better way. Many facility management and building maintenance teams are making the investment in mobile applications to improve response times to employee requests. More offices are also giving their employees direct access to an online portal where they can input requests – temperature changes, hang a whiteboard, clean a spill, etc. – that are sent directly to the right staff member who can ask the request.
Many office buildings are also using technology to improve security. For example at one of our clients, when a visitor scans their pass to get access to the elevators, that scan calls an elevator and takes the visitor directly to the appropriate floor.
Investing in ways to keep employees secure and comfortable may not be as glamorous as space planning and interior design, but it is just as important as overhauling the physical space.