The hybrid work model is rapidly changing the global work culture, and offices are facing the biggest change in a century. Modern Space Management solutions are now supporting facility managers and HR to optimize office space, while simultaneously increasing the workplace experience.
HR managers around the world agree that the staff will continue to work partly from home after the pandemic. It is still unclear what role offices will play in a hybrid work model, which in turn has prompted many Facility Managers to use sensor technology to gather reliable and quantifiable data on overall office usage. Even if conclusions are yet to be drawn, it is clear that space analytics will play a significant role in facility management moving forward.
Because of this increasing need for data, the market for space management solutions and tools is predicted to have a bright future ahead of it. The hybrid work model will also drive the need for new smart office tools, such as weekly attendance planners, structured booking of office resources, and Workplace Experience Apps, which help HR re-establish employees' social and emotional contacts with the company and colleagues.
What are the key benefits of a smart office?
According to Gartner, 99% of surveyed HR managers worldwide believe that employees will continue to work from home a few days a week even after the pandemic. This is driving major
changes in office layout, and most agree that ‘the personal office space’ will largely disappear and be replaced by Hot Desking Solutions, and the amount of office space companies need will be reduced.
How often the staff will be in the office and whether they are there for individual work, socializing or meetings will be unique to each company and will likely change in different phases after the pandemic.
Because employee behavior is unique to each company - and even each office - every business must make its own analysis. Manual measurements have become too expensive and lack accuracy. Smart sensors and the latest technology in data analysis will be necessary
aids. Companies that do not collect accurate data risk making incorrect and costly decisions about how the offices should be adapted to the new needs of the organization and staff.
The market for Space Management and analytics is estimated to have an annual growth rate of 21.5% even before the pandemic, which is now estimated to be even higher when the hybrid work model is further established in companies worldwide (Memoori 2021). Occupancy analysis solutions were previously developed to be a solution for saving unused office space. But now the pandemic has made it a key tool in a rapid and revolutionary social change in our way of working.
The new hybrid work modeland its benefits will also require other digital solutions, such as tools where the staff together can plan which days they will be in the office and structured booking of workplaces, to be able to ensure that teams sit together and control the number of people in the office. But even Solutions for Meeting Room Booking, since the room choice needs to be adapted to how many people are in the office on the day of the meeting, will be in demand.
Brian Kropp, who is head of Gartner's HR research department, says
"As organizations begin to take back employees, it will be crucial for employers to focus on building social and emotional contacts with and between their employees again."
This need fits well with the emerging trend that companies want a Workplace Experience App (see Memoori report). It is described as an important part of creating an attractive workplace, that employees want to return to. By using Workplace experience apps, HR can create the emotional commitment that Kropp talks about. Short employer branding messagesare distributed to employees independently of where they work to create employee engagement, much like the digital screens often found in modern offices. They can also get information
about the occupancy in different parts of the office on certain days and see how long the queue is to the cafeteria. Many companies also plan to be more active by promoting participation in workshops, classes, and other events to strengthen the emotional connection to the company and colleagues. Therefore, the event calendar will also be an important part of the Workplace Experience App.
Read more about some of the key benefits of a smart office
In Memori's report 'The global market for Workplace Experience Apps 2020 - 2025', the Swedish Proptech company Flowscape is described as one of the leading players. Flowscape's CEO and Founder Peter Reigo describe its market position as below.
“Flowscape has one of the world's leading space management solutions for supporting the new hybrid approach. We are one of the few suppliers who deliver complete solutions with both hardware and software. We have a broad portfolio of smart sensors, which are easy to install, as well as a powerful analytics platform, which makes it easy to make important office-related decisions based on reliable data. We also have the market's best user interface for booking rooms, workspaces, and parking spaces, as well as a tool where employees can easily plan the week in the office together. In 2022, we will broaden our offering to be able to meet customers' new needs for having a Workplace Experience App.”