Can Remote Workers Replace the Need for Smart Buildings?

In response to the global outbreak of COVID-19, we had to quickly make necessary adjustments to our operations. We were able to swiftly learn how to function remotely, automate our processes, and migrate to the cloud over the course of a few weeks. Within a short period of time, many office-based professionals had transitioned to working from home or other remote locations.

Since the introduction of COVID vaccinations and the growth of our understanding of the virus, the world has been making progress. Many businesses are keen to reopen their doors and bring back their employees, however, this can be more complicated in practice.

Organizations worldwide are experiencing difficulty in implementing return-to-work (RTO) regulations, as many individuals are reluctant to return to their workplace. As a consequence, skilled employees are choosing to work for companies that offer more lenient RTO policies over those that are more stringent.

Is It Finally the End of the Office?

It is essential to consider the reasons for returning to the workplace. The restrictions imposed have been met with criticism for the potential losses incurred by customer service organizations. Furthermore, the efficacy of work-from-home protocols has been called into question by its detractors.

The International Labor Organization reported that employment grew by 4.9% in 2023, a figure never seen before. This growth occurred concurrently with the strain and emotional pain of the COVID-19 lockdowns, indicating that the workforce was more productive than ever in spite of the hardships.

When an employee is successful, it might be difficult to motivate themselves to return to the workplace.

A recent survey conducted by Envoy revealed that 67% of employees experienced an improvement in productivity when working remotely. Additionally, 31% of respondents indicated that the greatest obstacle to their productivity when in the office is the presence of distracting elements, such as noisy colleagues or loud noises.

It is clear that even though the intensity of the pandemic has decreased, there is still a need to be aware of the potential for the spread of infectious diseases. It is important to take steps to ensure the maintenance of sanitary conditions in order to reduce the risk of infection. Moreover, those who are more vulnerable or who take care of elderly relatives should seriously consider taking the precaution of staying at home, as even a single sneeze in a confined space could lead to the spread of an illness.

Nevertheless, there are several benefits to traditional office layouts. It has been demonstrated that isolation can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. For some, it is still important to be in the company of others on a regular basis, even if it involves travelling to and from the office.

Coming Back to a Brand-New World

It can be challenging to adhere to traditional working hours, especially as I am more of a night owl and find that I am most productive between midnight and three in the morning. I am only able to reach half of my productivity levels when I am restricted to a fixed working schedule, as opposed to having the freedom to work when it suits me.

This global study has demonstrated that individuals possess differing levels of pre-existing neural networks. People may wish to carry out their occupations beyond the typical working day, constructing timetables that better align with their routines. Companies that are able to offer such flexibility are now at a major competitive edge.

Organizations wishing to comply with RTO standards must not only demonstrate their adaptability, but also foster an environment that employees can actively engage with. This includes providing appropriate resources, security and wellbeing.

Creating “Smart Buildings” that are more user-friendly and equipped with modern conveniences is one solution being considered to address the problem.

A Smart Building is…what?

Intelligent structures have been present for an extended period of time. By integrating data-gathering technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems that enable immediate decisions based on data, the Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled workplaces to progress technologically.

Post-COVID, the implementation of smart building technologies can be an effective tool in the prevention of virus transmission. For example, the installation of a lockdown system which takes the temperature of occupants upon entering an office and notifies security in the event of a temperature that is too high, could be particularly beneficial.

If the building’s management are concerned about the health of visitors, they may use the integrated questions within the access system to carry out a preliminary assessment. Should an infected individual gain access, the building can be set up to aid in contact tracing, allowing us to alert anyone who has been in contact with the infected person and to clean affected areas.

Touchless technology offers potential biosecurity benefits. Sensors and wave technologies enable us to interact with our environment without making physical contact.

Our mobile devices and software can be used to create a more immersive experience with our environment. Why not make the most of your lunch break and order a cup of coffee with just a few taps of your device? Simply log in and select your preferred blend to enjoy your beverage.

In addition to guaranteeing occupant safety, smart buildings may also provide a range of services. HVAC systems, for example, can be regulated depending on external temperatures and the building’s occupancy rate. Window coverings, such as blinds and curtains, may be automated or adjusted remotely to control the amount of light entering the building.

The Digital Structure

Smart buildings are fascinating as they are more than just physical structures; they also comprise a data system that can be accessed remotely via a smart device.

As an example, if you have a hybrid working arrangement and need to book a meeting room in the office, you can use a mobile app to identify which rooms are available on a particular day without needing to call ahead or book in advance. By simply pressing a button, you can notify your colleagues of your upcoming event and reserve the room that you require.

On the day of the meeting, the use of GPS-enabled smartphones can allow for a clear indication of who is arriving on time and who may be running late. To add a further level of sophistication, automated coffee preparation prior to the arrival of guests could be arranged.

The concept is that the workplace is no longer confined to a singular environment; it has evolved into a vibrant ecosystem that we can engage with, even when we are remote.

Power-Transmission-Organization Policies and Intelligent Structures

No, Smart Buildings are not a viable alternative to telecommuting, as suggested by the article’s headline. It is essential to recognize the value of offering flexible working arrangements if we are to encourage employees to come back to the office.

Smart Buildings provide a range of benefits, including increased adaptability, a more efficient connection between the workplace and home, and additional biosafety protocols to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs