The pandemic has been a catalyst to the workplace evolving into a dynamic, flexible and efficient space solving issues surrounding health, well-being, productivity and the environment.
Office buildings and workplaces are adjusting through investments in PropTech helping to maintain a level of work-life normality in the new abnormal world. Allowing for a building to continue operating at optimal capacity within safety guidelines is an all-encompassing objective for any commercial real estate proprietor.
Last year because of the pandemic, UK stats show PropTech investments have climbed exponentially to £1.6 billion of investments, a 360% increase from 2020. The global story follows the same trend with $20.57 billion invested in Proptech in 2021. More than double the amount raised in 2020.
Retrofitting central offices
The US leading real estate owner and developer RXR Realty retrofitted the Rockefeller Plaza offices with investments into PropTech. Some examples of investments included touchless entry and smart elevators to reduce risk of infection, as well as the setting up of thermal cameras and social distancing sensors.
Light fixtures that output Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) helping to inactivate coronavirus as well as improving the air filtration system within the buildings were also implemented. These changes make for a collectively profound healthier and safer work environment.
Investments like these will benefit employees within these buildings but will inevitably mean costs will be passed on to the companies occupying the building through increased leasing costs. This means only large companies will be able to stay and afford these raised costs. For smaller businesses, they must look to other options to allow their employees to work safely and productively.
The flexible modern workspace
The arrival of flexible workspaces from coworking offices to work pods seems to be the answer. These are workplaces where small companies and their employees have found they can achieve maximum productivity on both an economic and social level.
Pressure from the pandemic has sparked the need for new flexible work solutions and therefore accelerated the need to think innovatively and create flexible workplace solutions. Workers want a space where they can be most productive whilst businesses are looking to become cost-effective in terms of leasing office space. On the other hand, landlords are looking to find a use for their empty office space they have acquired from the exodus of tenants. The outcome is the creation of workplaces in new spaces.
Work from near home
The idea of a decentralised workspace. Utilising disused buildings and spaces in small towns as collaborative workplaces. This enables workers to step away from the distractions of work from home as well as provide a trade-off to the commute. It also provides knock-on benefits for the surrounding town and high street.
Patch has exercised this idea summarised in their tag line “Work Near Home” and are actively turning local high street establishments into working hubs. The hybrid work model can be easily exercised by workers with the decentralised office. The idea that efficiencies gained by remote work together with the benefits of social communications lead to enhanced creativity and new ideas.
Doordeck partners with Patch to provide keyless entry for the coworking high street spaces removing the need for reception and manned facilities through a simple cloud access control integration with the existing access control hardware. All can be managed through their tenant app called ‘Passport’, powered by Nexudus which has integrated with Doordeck. The app and Doordeck can recognise what type of membership a customer is on and control entry to private spaces and meeting rooms allowing for hierarchical security.
Coworking spaces are workspaces where workers from different career backgrounds and companies share the same space for the same purpose. Coworking places act as a good solution for small businesses as no long-term leases are required. It also gives companies great flexibility, as they can easily increase or decrease the amount of desk space or even move to another building if required eliminating the trouble of empty office space.
Doordeck provides its NFC keyless door access control for several coworking spaces. Work. Life is one of the most recent coworking spaces to benefit from Doordeck’s SDK integration. Work. Life take small buildings within cities and turn them into cooperative workspaces with a range of plans and facilities available.
A selection of membership plans are available to customers to suit their needs, from whether they will be working within a small team or just individually. Hot desks to private meeting rooms the options are there for workers to interact or work privately.
Coworking spaces like Work. Life promote collaboration and community values. Additionally, its values are brought to life through social events and other leisure activities offered to members.
Work pods were seen as a futuristic vision that is now becoming a reality. A portable flexible workspace that can be located in any public establishment from shops to train stations. They closely define a hybrid workspace due to their soundproofed simple design.
A start-up company that has created a personal workspace solution is a partner of Doordeck’s called Pluto with their office pods. These unique workspaces are a solution that has grown in popularity over the past couple of years due to the desire of remote and private working styles. They follow the simple design making them comfortable, soundproofed workstations with fast and reliable wifi connections. These features allow for no distractions from background noise making video calls or other work tasks a breeze.
Doordeck’s SDK integrates into the door locks of Pluto’s pods to provide keyless secure entry utilising NFC technology. The booking process for customers is also managed with Doordeck’s visitor management system that shows available Pods and provides the ability for Pluto to assign a customer a set time period. Clever additional features like UV light pod self-sanitation and a smart air purification system ensure health and safety measures. These features are activated by Doordeck when it is recognised that the customer has left, and the door is locked.
The answer to future workplace change
Since the start of the pandemic work life has been in the limelight. It has accelerated an advancement in workspaces that would have been required in near future anyway.
PropTech is the lead facilitator in the creation flexible workspaces through investments from the commercial real estate sector retrofitting existing workspaces down to startups that have recognised the new styles of working and accommodating these in various ways. Investments in technology is the future for workspaces allowing for sustainable, dynamic and safe places to be experienced for years to come.