Co-authored by Raul Esparza, Senior Managing Director, Tri-State; IFM Regional Lead for GOS at Cushman & Wakefield, and Koen Matthijs, CEO MCS Solutions

ROI of smart workplaces

Technological and cultural forces are reshaping the nature of work in a story that is still unfolding.  CRE directors are expected to create cost-effective workspaces that attract, engage and motivate talented employees.The new digital workplace is designed to anticipate the diverse and changing needs of knowledge workers to maximize their job satisfaction and clear the way for collaboration and innovation.

But this is new territory that fosters several questions: How do we know that what we’re doing is working? Is the mix of concentration rooms and collaboration zones the ideal workplace solution? Are people engaging with spaces in the ways we thought they would? Are they active enough? Do they like being here?

Smart workplaces leverage utilization data from sensors

Smart workplaces powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) provides the data for facility managers to definitively answer these questions. Using an array of cloud-connected sensors and sophisticated analytical capabilities, smart systems provide intel on how employees are using workspaces. This data intel allows facility managers to add or subtract different types of activity rooms, improve workflows and optimize the use of space.

Smart workplaces also offer direct benefits to employees, helping them to find workspaces that suit their needs, setting capabilities for lighting and temperature to their preference, and seamless connectivity with colleagues. To C-suite executives, adopting these benefits should render smart workplace applications an easy call for businesses to make.

For capital expenditures, CFOs want to see predictable ROI, and in terms of smart buildings, that proven case is on the expense reduction side. But that really is the tip of the iceberg in terms of true ROI.

But in the real world, we often see the opposite: the wide range of potential cost and productivity benefits can complicate the business case, leading executives to focus on the wrong value drivers when calculating return on investment (ROI). That’s because the biggest gains—those involving productivity—are also the most difficult to measure.

The above is an excerpt from a paper on the return on investment of IoT-enabled smart workplaces. You can download the paper here.

Koen Matthijs is CEO of MCS Solutions and mentor of the COBUNDU Smart Building platform. He is also a regular speaker at international PropTech conferences.