While 6.8 million Canadians are currently working from home, employers and staff are starting to better understand how much a physical workplace plays a role in cultivating employee culture and wellness.
Offices in commercial spaces are uniquely designed to encourage staff interaction and collaboration. In fact, office space design has the potential to significantly impact the productivity and engagement levels of its occupants. It affects how people feel, behave, connect and, when done right, supports people doing their best work. So what happens now that there’s been a mass migration of much of the workforce into their homes?
According to a 2020 North American survey census of 1000 people working from home, 48% said they are more productive and 57% would prefer to work remotely in the future. It’s estimated that 73% of the Canadian workforce will adopt a hybrid work approach between working at home and at the office after the pandemic lifts.
The challenge is taking the best of the traditional workplace and building it into work from home environments for employees. But who bears the responsibility of ensuring workplace-level comfort for employees?
While they may not be able to deliver bigger computer screens or offer everyone ergonomic chairs, tenants and their property managers do have the means to help create satisfactory indoor environments.
Corporate businesses already use technologies to enhance staff productivity like conference apps, project management programs and virtual coffee hosting tools. Similarly, smart building technology is an attractive option for property managers to help tenants feel more at home in their individual suites.
To create at-home office comfort, existing building technologies can harness the power of indoor sensors. Sensors monitor building environments, such as hallway temperatures, suite humidity and CO2 levels.
For example, keeping CO2 levels low is crucial for memory, overall health and proper respiration. As more people work from home, the amount of CO2 per suite is going up and could inhibit some tenant’s overall health. As a result, CO2 sensors are important as they measure and monitor appropriate levels in common areas.
These sensors are also connected to an internet network. They collect the data about CO2 and deliver live feedback reports about the state of building to property managers. By enabling these technologies to alert property managers or operating systems to correct themselves (like increasing air ventilation to clear out the imbalance in CO2) it contributes to optimal indoor conditions for working from home.
Employers and employees are being forced to reimagine what it means to work remotely. The same goes for buildings that have never seen such high and consistent residential occupancy before.
Building technologies are an attractive and potentially necessary asset in the future for building managers to aid tenants to feel more at ease in their home offices by regulating temperatures, ensuring proper air ventilation and attending to tenant needs through alerting systems. Technological additions like building sensors and better connectivity help match the experience of working in a residential environment to what commercial offices have always been programmed to deliver with respect to employee health and wellbeing.