March 14, 2019

Top Real Estate Trends for Building a Digital Workplace

by: Align


The office of tomorrow is changing rapidly and requires companies to stay ahead of the curve, both to remain competitive and to attract and maintain talent in a tight labor market. In today’s blog, we’ve outlined the top challenges facing real estate professionals as they design their digital workplace.

1. Mobility

Mobility is intrinsic to modern business operations and workers’ need to stay connected and collaborate across a variety of spaces and locations. Users need to remain connected not only across the various spaces within the office but also everywhere else! Not only does this boost productivity and morale among workers, it also allows companies to maximize every dollar of their on-site physical resources.

2. Flexibility

Companies must continue to think “outside the box” and make strategic choices in furniture and planning reconfigurable spaces that aren’t inhibited by furniture or technology are crucial. This allows spaces to accommodate various group sizes and missions. Some examples include flexible spaces with moveable, reconfigurable furniture, walls, partitions, reconfigurable meetings spaces and open collaboration spaces.

3. Community

For employees to feel valued and impactful, your firm must develop and nurture a community environment to drive their engagement. Using co-working spaces helps networking and resource sharing, it also allows for spaces to host impromptu events that boost your corporate culture. Employee satisfaction with their work environment is directly correlated with their level of engagement.

4. Immersive

The space you’re building must reinforce your corporate brand and strategy through workspace elements. Remember, your design will be the first impression for clients, guests and job candidates. Elements of the architecture, digital signage, systems, and applied design language should provide a connection to the firm’s brand and the functions performed by the groups within the space.

5. Internet of Things

Using IoT tech will continue the enablement of data-driven decisions through greater insight and analytics. “Smart office” tech collects data on your everyday operations and helps optimize layouts, room configurations, and supporting infrastructure. This saves money and also creates an environment that dynamically adapts to user movements and space utilization. IoT sensors create an unbiased feedback loop and provide hard data for the various analytics functions that support both immediate actions and reporting functions.

6. User-Centric Services

Workplace applications for everything from seat/room reservation to wayfinding to ordering catering have already started to become the norm. Integration of multiple back-end systems works to provide a more seamless experience for employees and guests. Using an on-site technology bar allows users to book appointments for convenient times, also reduces delivery costs by using your resources more efficiently. This is also a place to educate users and avoid repeat calls.

7. Definition of Worker Environment Types

Establishing a “user persona” characteristics of each type of employee ensures that environments are built to meet the needs of the staff as well as the business functions performed. Worker type classifications can vary from simple (resident, mobile, remote) to complex classifications that incorporate job function, technology needs, and collaboration requirements.

8. Adoption of WELL Building Concepts

WELL Building standards focus solely on the wellness and health of employees.  Some of the WELL requirements include acoustic controls and integrative design, the type of lighting used, or air filtration systems.  By adopting WELL, employers demonstrate their commitment to employee health and design spaces accordingly.  In many cases, the impact of WELL principles, like acoustic controls and not directly recognized by staff, but contribute to an overall improvement in experience, productivity, and engagement.

9. Environmental Awareness and Sustainability

Whether you’re striving for LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or simply looking to improve operations, going green and investing in energy efficient equipment will save money and make your employees happier. Sustainability can be achieved across a wide spectrum of applications.  For example, IoT capabilities can optimize heating, cooling, lighting and other facility functions to reduce the facility’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.


These factors are driving firms to engage IT infrastructure at the beginning of the visioning and design process. Additionally, insights gained through IoT sensors and advanced analytics are helping firms better understand the dynamics of their user base and workflows resulting in better real estate decisions.

Align’s workplace technology teams have built cutting-edge facilities across the world and have the experience to execute custom and scalable solutions that meet your business goals and maximize employee engagement, recruiting, and retention.

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