According to Redstoneconnect, 75 percent of UK workers find booking meeting rooms or other workspaces unnecessarily difficult. How can smart buildings help get past this – and solve the many other problems that affect organisations’ productivity and employees’ happiness?
Internet of Business spoke to Mark Braund, CEO of smart building software provider and systems integrator, RedstoneConnect, to learn more about smart workspaces and buildings.
Internet of Business: Some pundits claim that smart buildings make workers happier. Can you unpick that for us? What aspects of smart buildings do this, and how?
Mark Braund: “The fundamental purpose of a smart building is to create a two-way conversation between the physical infrastructure of the building and its inhabitants. It does this by registering workers’ needs and preferences, and tailoring itself to meet them. This makes employees’ lives easier and more comfortable, and so demonstrates to them that their employers are invested in their wellbeing.
“A prime example of how smart buildings facilitate happiness is through intelligent heating and ventilation systems.
“Our own research finds that just under half of all UK workers – 47 percent – report being uncomfortably hot or cold in the office every day, while 84 percent say it impacts their levels of contentment and productivity.
“Smart buildings easily resolve this issue at source, as the infrastructure is capable of identifying when someone has entered a space and then automatically adapting the physical environment to their specific preferences.”
OK, but how can smart buildings improve employee efficiency? Can you give explicit examples from your experience?
“Booking meeting rooms or other working spaces is a significant drain on employees’ productivity. In fact, 75 percent of UK workers describe booking a group working space as “difficult” and have reported losing almost a day every year to this task.
“Smart buildings overcome this challenge by enabling people to easily and quickly find the closest spaces, of the right size, with the equipment they need. Real-time sensors play a crucial role in highlighting real-time availability here, through identifying the physical presence of people in the spaces.
“For example, we put this infrastructure in place for 7,900 of UBM’s desks, and it put an end to employees wasting time struggling to find rooms while spaces remained empty, but appeared occupied on the system, due to outdated bookings.”