Building owners have never had it easy, but it used to be simpler. What used to be a simpler combination of providing an attractive and comfortable space for companies to carry out business in has become a much more complex equation. In a highly competitive market, building owners must not only meet increasingly stringent standards but also go above and beyond to attract and retain tenants.
There are so many different priorities, and each is more important than the other depending on who you ask and when you ask them. Ask the front desk manager what is most important, and they may say they hear a lot of complaints about the lack of parking. Ask a visitor and they may bring up long elevator wait times. Ask a member from facility management and they may say that the building’s equipment desperately needs to be updated or upgraded. How do building owners know where to start?
There is, of course, the issue of a limited budget, too. Updating equipment can lead to expensive retrofits, and that isn’t the right answer for every building. It’s more than likely that buildings may be hard-pressed to take care of one urgent priority let alone all of them at once. So, a strategy must be created that takes into account all known priorities. Today, we’re focusing on the mission to have a healthy building and with occupants’ concerns in mind. Today, we’re talking about access control, indoor air quality, and occupancy.
Red light: Who’s in your building?
To put it simply, you cannot control what you don’t know. Understanding who is in your building and controlling who gains access to spaces within it is the building’s first line of defense against unwanted and dangerous risks. Not too long ago this process was done with guards, badges, and sign-in sheets but we’ve come a long way via technology. Now access control and visitor management is smarter and visitors can be granted access to a building before they arrive with mobile passes and even go through a mobile-based health screening process.
The technology solutions that support the above capabilities most likely operate in data silos. There is a different log-in for each and they may not talk to each other. While the technology creates new opportunities, it can also cause new headaches. It’s vital to choose technology solutions that integrate and make building owners’ lives streamlined instead of adding another layer of responsibility. By understanding who’s in your building and when, you can keep dangers outside. Green light.
Breathe in, breathe out
Once inside, people need to know that they’re in a safe environment. The pandemic highlighted the importance of indoor air quality so much so that it’s become a well-known acronym of IAQ. IAQ is a mixture of temperature, humidity and other comfort metrics as well as particle levels like oxygen and carbon dioxide. Of course, some of the most urgent information is in what the air doesn’t have in it, like the presence of harmful viruses like COVID-19 and whatever may be next.
The ability for building owners to translate IAQ data to meaningful information in real time to building occupants has both powerful short and long term effects. In the short term, occupants feel safe inside and are able to do their jobs or carry out other responsibilities in the building without distraction or fear. In the long term, a healthy building creates community and increases tenant retention while also attracting new tenants. Healthy buildings are happy buildings.
Planning for people
Once people are successfully inside and safe within buildings, owners need to know how to keep them safe and prepare for what they need. Smart access control and visitor management create real time occupancy information at the gates, but once people are inside, where are they going? How long will they be there? As guidelines around safe occupancy in spaces change, and maybe slacken once the vaccine is more readily available, it’s important for building owners to ensure that their spaces are operating in a safe and legal manner.
This is really a two-part solution. One part is about sensor-created occupancy information that lets owners know how many people are in different parts of their building from the lobby to the elevator to the offices and conference rooms. The other part is reserving spaces so that over-populated areas can be avoided altogether and occupants know where they’re going, eliminating wandering around the building. This can be in the form of hot-desking or booking conference rooms and shared spaces or scheduling elevator rides. Again, these may be in different solutions but the key is having integrated data and consolidated access.
Building owners have had a rough year as the future of offices is still being decided and people are unsure when all of the pandemic’s ramifications will be in the past. However, the current and future situation for building owners, while still challenging, is hopeful and full of opportunity. The technology and the tools exist to make buildings better immediately and in the long term.
At Envio Systems, we understand how important data integration is. That’s why we created our dashboard that takes data feeds from many types of sources and brings together the information you need to know to ensure healthy buildings and occupants. Today, we’re talking about access control, indoor air quality, and occupancy; tomorrow we will still be as these priorities are not going away any time soon. Interested in what we can help reveal about your building? Reach out and lets see what we can do.