Intelligent Building Europe takes place on 8–10 September 2020. Get your free ticket today to access solutions, expertise and networking opportunities across three days at ExCeL London.
Smart buildings rely on sophisticated technology to monitor and automate processes, but not all smart solutions rely on the latest high-tech kit. Indeed, the data gathered by these monitors can be used to influence the physical design and layout of an office, to make big, low-tech improvements to productivity and wellbeing.
The first step to better office design is a building management system linked to IoT-enabled lighting, heating and air conditioning units. To real optimise your office, room booking systems and occupancy monitors are ideal. These combine to allow you to make better decisions about office usage and office design.
- Monitor air quality: There’s a direct link between air quality and productivity. Make sure your HVAC systems are up to scratch to keep clean air flowing, and prevent workspaces from becoming stuffy and unpleasant. If possible, automate your HVAC systems to measure and regulate airflow, but if that’s not possible, consider providing more natural ventilation, or use biophilic design principles to add plants and greenery that improve the air quality and everyone’s mood.
- Monitor lighting: Lighting is one of the easiest facilities to automate: it can be tied explicitly to sunlight and altered according to the time of year. This should be done so that artificial light is used sparingly during daylight hours and isn’t too unnaturally bright during the evening. A combination of LED lights—which are fast becoming the bread-and-butter of the modern workplace—and natural lighting is the ideal solution.
- Monitor occupancy: This has can help make intelligent decisions about office design, by determining how much of a room is used by what people and at what time. You can then design your office around your people, introducing wide open spaces alongside areas for private working, implementing biophilic design, coworking spaces, dynamic workspaces, lunchrooms and more, with natural air and light to improve the whole experience.
Smart offices depend on the marriage between high- and low-tech solutions. Implementing technology that makes your employees’ lives easier has a demonstrable effect on productivity and wellbeing and gives them more options for how to carry out their work. It can also foster teambuilding and communication.
You might consider implementing a hotdesking system whereby employees can flexibly book desks remotely and integrating wireless charging points for them to seamlessly move between areas of the office. This will help foster better workplace relationships by encouraging workers to work with different colleagues each day and improving cross-team communication. In addition, cloud computing can facilitate the smart office. It helps people share files and folders, improving collaboration as well as making it easier to work flexibly.
And room-booking and hot-desking applications can help track and manage employee schedules, helping them manage their time and arrange meetings more effectively by linking employee activity to a wider workplace system. In turn, building managers can observe this activity and make judgements about how rooms and space are used, and help their own decision-making.
This results in a better managed workplace that encourage productivity, efficiency and wellbeing. It will foster better relationships and give employees flexibility in how and where they work.
To find out even more about the opportunities of smart buildings, get your free ticket to Intelligent Building Europe, taking place on 8–10 September 2020 at ExCeL London.