22 May 2021
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STROITELNAYA GAZETA
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Time of the first ones

Julia Gerasimova tells about ongoing changes in the office real estate market in the post-pandemic period
22 May 2021
Source
STROITELNAYA GAZETA
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Time of transformation – this is how we call the events of 2020-21, which provoked forced changes that affected each of us. The transition to remote work is one of the most discussed trends of today. Julia Gerasimova, CEO of QPRO, told Sroygazeta how the pandemic has forced many companies to change approaches to organizing workspaces, using technologies that create a favorable environment for solving work and communication problems.

Corporate business began to figure out how to organize workplaces outside the office, frantically selecting different interfaces, new IT opportunities, researching the physical and emotional health of their employees, their involvement, the decline in motivation and new ways to help avoid the loss of their specialists in the vastness of remote work. A survey of a major analytics firm found that for more than 38% of business leaders, this became a top priority in the midst of the pandemic. And, consequently, top managers began to think about the most important thing, about the role of human capital in business.
But in order not to panic the audience of readers and adequately assess the situation that has arisen, among those who intend to leave almost all employees at a distance – I can say that these are mainly IT companies, communication and PR agencies, consulting, financial and legal companies, partly the media… That is, those who even before the pandemic could work outside the walls of offices.
Let’s return to those business structures where the situation is different. Most representatives of Russian business have shown caution in the issue of the prospects of remote work, choosing for themselves various options for a hybrid work. Approximately one third of employees have not managed to organize a full-fledged workplace at home. Not everyone can afford to regularly visit coworking spaces, and not all coworking spaces meet the tendencies of organizing an environmentally friendly workspace, such as convenient infrastructure, materials used, arrangement of workplaces, energy-saving technologies, lighting, climate and air conditioning, etc. – all factors that have a direct impact on human health.
Business owners and top managers unwittingly rendered their employees a disservicesending sending them to work remotely. Declaring information about the new free time that is not spent on the road, the possibility of online learning, additional time to communicate with family and loved ones – these are the tempting “goodies” that we have been feeding ourselves over the past year. For employees, the boundaries of working time and space have erased, personal boundaries have also blurred, and online training has become like a red rag for a bull, like a run to a longed-for and incomprehensible goal.
Yes, the transformation has begun, and we, perhaps, are already ready for this. A people-centered business takes on this responsibility regardless of the size of the company. We return to offices, plan offline meetings and negotiations, trips, corporate events. It is obvious that an employee grows professionally and develops harmoniously, being in society, whether in a work team, in the process of networking with community members, during communications with colleagues, clients, partners and even competitors – part of a large professional eco-environment. Online format cannot provide such a format of interaction.

Currently, a new request for organizing the workspace has been formed for architects and related specialists in the field of design and technical solutions, which directly affect the creation of a new environment for the corporate business segment. In 2021 and the next decade, office design and functionality will become an important part of the HR brand for many companies. We will no longer be able to ignore the new rules for organizing work, workspaces and the social adaptation of the employees themselves in today’s conditions. Company owners will set new KPIs for their HR, CFO and administrative directors, where the main criteria will be staff efficiency and mobility, attention to employee health, ergonomics of spaces at lower operating costs, innovation and business growth prospects in the absence of great opportunities for expansion.

Free coffee, snacks, voluntary health insurance and fitness are past measures that no longer solve business problems in the current situation. The emotional component is also important: the involvement of personnel as an important marker of business efficiency, and the foundation of its formation is the corporate culture and the environment where employees work. The office environment defines opportunities for communication, sets the work rhythm, focuses employees on important details and organizes the right workflow. Ideally, an office is a self-organizing system. It is in such a system that the employee is maximally involved in work and nothing distracts him. Therefore, it is time to look into the future. And the future is a safe modern ecosystem for every office employee.

According to the expert opinion of top managers of large developers and consulting companies in the field of commercial real estate, the new format of flexible “smart” offices will be in demand among corporate business. Also, among colleagues there are new trends that in the coming years will affect the development of the office real estate market – a reduction in occupied space and a change in the role of the office in the life of companies, as well as the development of digital technologies in the “smart” office format.
Now in the field of lighting and intelligent solutions, projects of multifunctional, technological, eco-friendly, human-centered office spaces are being developed and implemented, which allow companies of different sizes and formats to emphasize their individuality, show brand identity using lighting solutions, space ergonomics, engineering solutions for transformation workplaces of employees and common areas.

There are various technologies are used to create a favorable light environment for solving work tasks and communications in modern offices. Lighting systems and automation systems, as well as multimedia solutions help to achieve the desired results. If we talk about lighting, then it is worth mentioning the use of lamps with Tunable White technology, which allows you to control the color temperature and intensity of the luminous flux. It is known that for productive work, a color temperature of 4000K is required, while in recreation and communication areas (kitchen, meeting rooms, etc.), comfort and coziness is created by 3000K, helping employees to relax and rest. Such lighting devices form the basis of the design according to the concept of Human centric lighting. This concept of artificial lighting, which, in addition to traditional criteria of visual impact (illumination, brightness, color rendering index), takes into account biological non-visual effects that affect humans. That is, we are talking about biodynamic lighting, the adaptation of artificial lighting in accordance with changes in natural light during the day. With the help of the control system, you can program the change in color temperature and light intensity, taking into account the activity of employees during the day. For example, in the morning, cold light stimulates activity, and in the evening, warmer hues help to set employees up for relaxation. Dynamic light has a direct effect on the timing of the biological clock.

“Smart” and “flexible” office, in addition to lighting control, also implies such functionality as climate control, air quality control, video surveillance and security, as well as multimedia. Among the technologies available now, which are being introduced not only abroad, but also in Russia, are cloud multi-service smart building platforms, including workplace management, booking systems for meeting rooms and coworking spaces, assistance and navigation systems, and content management. Convenient solutions for business is represented by the direction of multimedia. Unlike home multimedia solutions aimed at entertainment, offices use video conferencing, audio systems, projection solutions, screens, media walls, digital signage, content collaboration, management and booking systems. Everything that helps the business and employees to be productive, efficient and optimize work processes.

Are similar projects already being implemented? Yes, these are office spaces of large companies in the oil and gas industry and IT solutions. They are the first to catch the mood of the market, are ready for experiments and want to influence their success by investing in staff. Of course, while these opportunities are more likely to be perceived as a wow effect and are more emotional in nature. It takes a little more time to make a qualitative assessment of the application of the new office formats. But the most important thing is that many are ready to changes and change the world around them.

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