How intelligent technology is reshaping the post-lockdown workplace

by Alex Bennett

01 October 2020

An innovative building design

When it comes to work, COVID-19 forced the fast and widespread shift to remote working around the world. While the home office may be here to stay, forward-thinking companies are also creating physical office environments that balance safety, health, sustainability, and embraces employee experience in a whole new way. As companies increasingly strive to lead by prioritizing purpose and placing empathy into their mission and values, what role do intelligent buildings play in shaping a safer, more sustainable workplace?

Delivering the new, distributed workforce

Technology holds the key to solving some of the world’s greatest challenges and is playing a central role in the world’s response to COVID-19. Remote working hasn’t always been seamless, and many of us are looking forward to returning to the office. The very real challenges of juggling a busy household, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and fluctuating productivity levels are difficult to manage.

Returning teams to the office means combining technology, physical space and policy to create a safer and sustainable environment. Employees need to be equipped with intuitive tools and solutions that provide a frictionless experience, helping them improve contribution and provided in a space that inspires and connects.

 Colleagues greeting during covid-19

 

Safely returning employees to the office means combining technology, physical space and well-being

As we continue to navigate our lives during COVID-19, workforces will become increasingly flexible with hybrid ways of working; with time divided between the home and physical offices. The new distributed workforce is driven by activity-based working, where employees schedule their time in the office, based on availability and capacity. Appointments are made by team members who are looking to collaborate or perform a task in-person, spaces are then chosen based on how and when tasks need to be completed.

Intelligent buildings optimize the workplace for wellness and performance

Companies will thrive when they think beyond the immediate crisis and consider how their choices will foster long term success. The decisions and investments an organization makes in the health and safety of employees not only reflects on their brand and team experience but also how they attract and retain talent. Organizations can improve employee engagement and increase contribution through space designed with all the necessary health and safety measures, thermal comforts and aesthetic appeal in mind.

The intelligent office drives improved sustainability by reducing energy consumption and offering predicative maintenance, positively contributing to an organization’s environmental, social and governance goals, as well as reduce operational costs. Taking a holistic approach by using the concept of extensibility, where previously siloed systems are now designed to connect to a central location also known as Digital Twin, different teams can access unparallel insights to how buildings, space and people combine and where efficiencies and improvements can be achieved.

 

As we work towards making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; we recognize that intelligent buildings and workplaces play an important role in creating smart cities

COVID-19, the catalyst for digital acceleration and sustainability

The pandemic is fueling the demand for a safe and positive workplace experience that meet public health and safety guidelines. Organizations are fast-tracking existing workplace programs to cater for business continuity. What was planned for three years is now condensed to 12 to 18 month timeframes.

Technology that organizations may have placed on a future wish list is suddenly needed now. Intelligent buildings are helping companies bring their employees back to work and providing auditable data to show how social distancing, capacity planning and other regulatory requirements are being met. These environments are providing a connected experience for the employee and visitor. The access system is connected to the ‘Back to Office’ booking application that also links to the heating, air ventilation, lighting options. At the touch of a button, variables can be automatically managed to provide an optimal and safe environment.

As NTT. Ltd works closer towards the goal of making cities and communities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; we recognize that intelligent buildings and workplaces play a critical role in creating smart cities. By helping cities, we help the world. A more connected future is one that houses intelligent buildings with networking to track sustainability performance that can also interact with other areas of the city to improve wider society. Realizing the combined value of connected employees and intelligent buildings is one way we can contribute to building a better, more sustainable post-pandemic world.

Read more about NTT Ltd. Intelligent Workplace solutions and learn what we’re doing to create more sustainable cities and communities.

Alex Bennett

Alex Bennett

Group SVP Go-to-market: Customer Experience & Digital Workplace, NTT Ltd.