By JLL Technologies

3 technologies CRE and FM pros expect to power the return-to-office

The dynamics of a transforming workplace recovering from the pandemic have begun to influence how corporate real estate (CRE) and facilities management (FM) teams approach the employee experience for office workers.

How are CRE and FM decision-makers ranking the importance of the solutions that directly enhance the employee experience in the workplace?

According to a March 2021 study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by JLL, the top three priorities ranked by respondents were to:

  1. Create a workplace experience that boosts employee productivity
  2. Improve energy efficiency to meet sustainability objectives
  3. Ensure the health and safety of employees and visitors

Decision-makers also identified the primarily technology solutions they expect to adopt in the short-term to address those needs.

Timely workplace experience upgrades can win the “war for talent”

Before reviewing the technologies selected to accomplish workplace experience goals, it’s worth taking a closer look at two of the most prominent external factors that contribute to CRE and FM pros emphasizing the employee experience when planning the return-to-office.

First, the window to implement new strategies is closing. Most of those surveyed expect at least some employees to return to the office by the start of 2022.

Second, employees nationwide are more critically assessing their career options in response to their employers asking them to return to the office. According to a study conducted by Prudential Financial in March 2021, one in four workers is expected to look for a new job as pandemic concerns subside—a phenomenon the study describes as a pending “war for talent.”

Productivity, safety, and sustainability in the workplace are now top-of-mind as employees transition back to the office. Whether their expectations are met will factor heavily into their choice to stay with the company or pursue new opportunities.

Technologies are expected to enhance workplace experience

Another point of interest revealed in the Forrester study is that many CRE and FM decision-makers are eager to address employee experience with technology. Most reported that they expect to invest in these solutions as soon as the last quarter of 2021.

Forty-three percent of respondents expect to invest in occupancy sensors. This technology makes it possible to measure space utilization in real time and reliably ensure employees are social distancing. The same sensors are also used to measure if amenities are being underutilized, helping CRE and FM experts to manage the workplace more efficiently.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed plan to invest in space planning and management tools. Space planning software is used to digitally design and test changes to the workplace to see if they better align with today’s expectations for employee experience. These tools are also ideal for decision-makers tasked with adopting and developing a hybrid workplace model.

Thirty-three percent plan to invest in employee experience apps by Q4. In addition to creating a safe and productive workplace, CRE and FM teams are adopting this tech to streamline time-consuming processes like room-booking and employee communication. Setting up a booking and reservation system that automatically communicates updated social distancing policies to employees is just one way that this solution can be used to help companies return to the office while achieving their workplace experience goals.

Be sure to review the full Forrester white paper for additional insights into the urgency with which CRE and FM decision-makers are investing in the right tools needed to successfully guide employees back to the office.