Earn the commute by creating an occupant-first experience

    After several years of working from home, transitioning back into the office is an adjustment for many workers even if on a hybrid schedule. Knowledge workers’ expectations have changed. Building owners and their tenants need to prioritize the modernization of the occupant experience to not only earn the commute but also demonstrate the value of working from the office.

    [STAT: 93% of surveyed office workers say they have higher expectations for IAQ in their workplace than they did three years ago, according to Honeywell’s 2023 Healthy Buildings Survey]

    The digital transformation of buildings is helping to create a more human-focused direction. This means the convergence of the physical occupant experience and the virtual user experience. It’s up to building owners to make the most of that convergence by deploying new technologies that help enhance both comfort and productivity and create premium occupant experiences that help retain tenants – and in turn, help them retain employees.

    Imagine a truly customizable occupant experience, one that accommodates individual lighting, temperature and humidity preferences – or one that could adapt to a company’s needs on a specific day by increasing air filtration and ventilation during an all-hands meeting.

    A building designed around occupant experience can do this by using technology to create a responsive environment that adapts to its users. This marks the next step in digitalization – adding sensors, automation and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms could automatically make specific in use zones more comfortable while decreasing energy spent on treating un-used areas all while helping reduce demands on building managers. Frictionless experiences and tools for collaboration and comfort can delight occupants, while integrated solutions like real-time data and predictive maintenance can allow building managers to shift their focus from ‘fixing’ to predicting. Technology that predicts and adjusts all the time allows owners to receive the benefits 24/7.

    Putting the occupant experience first can help drive growth potential in a new market segment for commercial real estate: premium office spaces that use technology and data to create more welcoming and supportive workspaces. Making occupants more engaged and productive also may help to command higher rent premiums and reduce vacancies.