It’s hard to predict the long-term impact that COVID-19 will have on working practices in the Gulf countries and the knock-on implications for commercial real estate and workspaces. Without doubt, the pandemic will act as a powerful catalyst for workplace change and an accelerator for the transformation of real estate. For businesses, it’s providing a window of opportunity to reimagine the future of work to meet the needs of a future, more agile workforce.
Where there is broad consensus across all corners of the property and facilities management industries is that COVID-19 will speed up the shift towards smart and connected buildings.
Forward-thinking businesses are already looking beyond the immediate priorities of re-entry into buildings and re-thinking how they can better utilize their office and work spaces to provide safer, more engaging and aspirational experiences for their people. And they’re thinking big, re-imagining the ‘emotional, digital and physical dimensions of their spaces’.
As working patterns become more flexible, with a more even split between remote and office-based work, businesses will need to re-think the purpose of their workspaces, to emphasize and maximise the benefits of the aspects of work that cannot be replicated from home. So we’ll see offices re-designed with a greater focus on spaces which encourage face-to-face interaction rather than people working at their desks all day long. We’re also likely to see a strong focus on employee wellbeing, both physical and emotional.
But it’s worth remembering that all of these shifts were happening anyway, prior to the events of this year. Forward-thinking employers were already re-inventing their office spaces to reflect changes in employee behaviour and demands, and to meet the digital-led expectations of new generations of workers.
And of course there are other drivers for these changes beyond employee experience. The move to smart buildings also enables organisations to drive cost efficiencies through reduced energy consumption and data-driven decision-making, allowing them to run more environmentally-friendly and sustainable operations, as well as enabling greater security and enhancing workforce productivity.
This is an extract of an article that appeared on Clean Middle East. To read the full article with tips for Facilities Management companies, please click here.