Technology Adoption: The Secret Behind Workplace Health and Wellness
When we think about wellness in the workplace, several things usually come to mind: we might envision state-of-the-art fitness centers, healthy food and snacks in the office kitchen, mediation and break rooms, or even employee assistance programs that focus on wellness education, stress management, and more. What we don’t typically envision in terms of workplace wellness is technology’s role — both upfront and behind the scenes — in creating healthier, better office buildings.
In our personal lives, we know this to be the opposite story: from the moment we wake up, to the moment we go to bed, we’re immersed in a smart technology ecosystem built to observe, learn from, and improve our everyday experiences. Through computers, phones, and home “remotes” such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, you can track calories, log your workouts, control the temperature of your house to create the perfect atmosphere, and much, much more. Not only does this type of automation make sure we can stay on top of healthy habits, but it also increases efficiency and productivity throughout the week.
Since we already know that more than half of Americans are reliant on technology and check their phones 160 times per day, it only makes sense to bring this same technology-driven approach to the workplace where we spend most of our adult lives — and in today’s commercial real estate (CRE) landscape, it’s extremely possible. But just how can technology enhance health and wellness in the workplace, and what exactly does it look like?
WHY COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE IS DRIVEN BY TECHNOLOGY
As the CRE industry continues to undergo its era of digital transformation in a post-pandemic world, the proptech (and with much overlap, the smart technology) industry is accelerating in growth. According to a MarketsAndMarkets report, the growth of the smart technology industry can be attributed directly to “the rising adoption of IoT-enabled building management systems, rising awareness of space utilization, increased industry standards and regulations, and increased demand for energy-efficient systems.” Additionally, the demand for smart technology in buildings has only gained more momentum in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, where modern health and safety protocols require the implementation of more touchless, sanitary experiences across the world.
HOW RECENT OFFICE INNOVATIONS ADDRESS TENANT HEALTH
The post-pandemic CRE landscape has shifted the value equation away from the office buildings themselves to the people who occupy them. This B2B-to-B2C transformation, which gives office employees more control over where and how they want to work, means that property teams have an opportunity to adopt a consumer-first model and embrace the most recent digital disruptions. To accomplish this, they need to diversify their workplace offerings to meet tenants where they are — and to do this with a health-conscious approach to address the needs of a modern workforce.
Through blending the physical and digital workplaces, today’s wellness offerings for the office are boundless. They can look like plugging into your building’s various technology systems to ensure that the building occupant journey is touchless and tech-enabled, or even increasing your digital programming to ensure that building occupants can partake in company events, classes, and more from any location. With this in mind, let’s discuss three specific use-cases for technology’s influence on tenant health:
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Technology can not only create modern, “futuristic” workplace experiences, but it plays a large role in reducing contamination in public areas. Data from PwC’s COVID-19 CFO Pulse Survey tells us that the number one concern for financial decision-makers is a new wave of infections, and 81% of CFOs plan to change their workplace safety requirements to address this concern. Thus, the key to addressing lingering anxieties for tenants, staff, and property teams alike lies in leveraging property technology tools — such as touchless technology — to establish safe environments.
Touchless technology can take the form of mobile access for doors, turnstiles, elevators, garages, and more, as well as smart and sleek hand sanitizer solutions that are maintained through IoT sensor technology. Additionally, technology can be used to automate and maintain HVAC and filtration systems, which contribute directly to a building’s air quality and sanitation practices. Such solutions — when complemented with contact-tracing tools and the ability to communicate with tenants on building protocols, cleaning schedules, and other health and safety information — are critical to keeping spaces clean and re-instilling faith in the office.
FOSTERING HEALTHY BEHAVIORS
Digital programming and order ahead capabilities are now essential to a wellness-focused workplace, and can easily be facilitated through the right technology partnerships. After all, tenant workplace expectations have evolved: current-day workplace amenities may include any number of digital and mobile experiences such as integrated smart building technologies throughout an office space, community forums, digital courses, and so on. Through HqOS Marketplace partners such as EXOS and Wellable, these programming opportunities can take health- and fitness-specific focus to ensure that your tenants have access to the best resources, even on the go. Additionally, order ahead features available through a tenant app can ensure that landlords and property teams are offering their building communities healthy food options in a contactless, safe way each week.
ADDRESSING COVID BURNOUT
The longer people work from home, the more “burned out” they feel — which has had a negative impact on workplace productivity and overall employee health. In a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) survey across 1,500 respondents in 46 countries, 62% of the people who were struggling to manage their workloads had experienced burnout “often” or “extremely often” in the previous three months. Additionally, HBR continues to explain that “the 1,500 people in our survey not only much more squarely fit the burnout profile than did the nearly 50,000 respondents who had taken the MBI-GS before the pandemic, they also scored very high on exhaustion and cynicism — two predictors of burnout, according to the MBI-GS.”
Technology, such as tenant engagement software, that focuses on the end-user experience can help address burnout — as well as help workers who actively want to return to the office. This can be achieved in several ways: connecting people to each other through physical and digital events that foster a sense of community; safely allowing people to return to the office by way of capacity management tools and tech-enabled visitor management; adjusting the workplace to support work-life balance by offering non-work-related programming throughout the day; and refining workplace strategies based off of feedback provided by the tenants themselves, as well as meaningful data that you can collect from your building that will tell you what your tenants really want.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your modern health and wellness toolset, you’ll need a place to join various technology solutions in harmony. A CRE operating system — such as HqOS™ and its corresponding Tenant Experience Platform — can manage complexity and ensure that new office technologies are interoperable with your building’s existing technology stack, as well as with the new integrations you may want to add. It’s now easier than ever to have everything you need, at the simple touch of a button.
At the end of the day, owners and property teams want to create environments where people feel comfortable and excited to work. Therefore, the workplace needs to become as dynamic and adaptable as modern tenants’ needs. This indicates that not only does a building need to be smart to make the end-user journey as easy and seamless as possible, but it also needs to improve upon today’s health and safety regulations to ease modern concerns. The more we engage with this new era of building innovation, the more we can create the full, well-rounded experiences that generate value throughout an office portfolio.
Interested in HqO’s end-to-end tenant experience operating system? Schedule a free demo today.
The opinions expressed in this blog are by HqO, and do not reflect the opinions of Inferrix, any subsidiary or affiliate of the same, or any employee thereof. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within each article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to HqO and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.