Mike Hook shares the important features and tech needed to ‘hotelify’ the office to entice employees to return to work.
Now that the return to work is finally on the horizon, it’s clear that it won’t simply be a case of switching back to the way things were before. Firms will need to ensure their office space is enticing enough to tempt people back.
One of the key trends which is gathering increasing momentum is the idea, recently championed by CBRE, of the ‘hotelification’ of the office.
Rather than imagining the office as a ‘desk farm’, this approach takes its lead from the hospitality sector in how they create experiences that attract and keep people returning to the building – built around collaboration, flexibility and social interaction.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on what we mean by hotelification and how to implement it in your business to entice your employees back to the office and ensure they have the best possible experience.
Hotels’ number one concern is their guests, and they provide these guests with a service, putting their comfort and wellbeing, satisfaction and security top of any agenda. Thinking about employees more as guests who need to have a first-class experience will help bring the best out of them when they choose to be in the workplace.
With this in mind, your office space should be chiefly designed around the human experience. This means thinking about the things that people need to make their working day more enjoyable, productive and efficient and treating them like guests rather than employees.
Post-Covid, very few people will opt to be in an office on a full-time basis, and even if they are, countless others will still be combining office visits with remote working. You need a hybrid, flexible system where the best technology is installed to allow seamless communication between all employees, wherever they are.
Making this vision a reality puts the pressure on business owners to think through the details of their work environment; for example, the importance of optimising acoustics to ensure that multiple people can conduct Zoom calls with minimal disturbance, wherever they are, is suddenly hugely more important than ever before.
And what you implement must be adaptable; it’s vital to ensure that the infrastructure of your workplace can be upgraded to flex to future developments and evolutions. This means deploying solutions that allow more smart features to be added via the cloud without the need to be constantly replacing expensive edge devices.
Get the tech right
To create interactive, collaborative spaces, you need the right technology framework in place. Rather than traditional enterprise-grade technology, we need to think more about ‘flex-grade’ technology, which combines the functionality of a highly secure, high-resilience enterprise workplace with the first-class personal experience we expect in a hospitality setting.
- Wireless connectivity throughout the building allows for multiple features to be installed and upgraded to ensure a connected, seamless experience for occupants;
- Smart video-conferencing will mean that hybrid working practices become easier and more effective, so colleagues in the office and in remote locations can connect easily and without technical disruptions. ‘Campfire’ meeting rooms, where in-person attendees sit in a room with their remote colleagues displayed on large screens, takes this to the next level.
- Interactive video walls and other features will transform offices into collaborative, immersive, creative spaces which will entice people to visit; and
- The latest security measures and access control features such as mobile credentials will not only make it easy and safe for people to move around a building but will also mean that businesses have complete visibility over occupancy level and space management.
When installing the infrastructure and features to transform offices into smart collaboration centres, it’s essential that no corners are cut. Certifications such as Wiredscore’s Smartscore are available so businesses can make sure their buildings meet requirements in areas such as resilience, flexibility, building performance and occupant experience.
Getting certified in this way means that businesses can prove the long-term viability of their buildings and the technology inside them, as well as aligning with industry standards set by organisations such as BREEAM, LEED, RESET and WELL.
To ensure maximum quality from installation to maintenance, you need to find the right support network to ensure continued success. It’s all too easy to contract different teams and experts to look after AV, security and IT/OT network solutions, but working with one partner who can cover all of these aspects is more cost effective and moves you from a siloed to seamless approach.
Mike Hook is executive director at information technology services supplier LMG