SINGAPORE – More businesses are adopting a hybrid work arrangement, spurring demand for workspace technologies that makes it easier to book desks and analyse office space utilisation, among other things, reported The Business Times on Monday morning (3 May, SGT).

In fact, the number of customers of Singapore-based Smarten Spaces surged by 170 percent from January 2020 to March 2021. Notably, the startup’s digital solutions for office space is being used in over 70 cities across 17 countries across the world.

Specifically, its technologies that became in demand at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic include one that provides real-time updates on workspace sanitisation and another that enables contactless check-in via a smartphone app.

Meanwhile, Schneider Electric has installed more than a thousand sensors across 9 levels at its regional HQ at Kallang in Singapore to monitor the occupancy of meeting rooms and workstations in real-time. This assists the firm in planning its office configuration based on actual usage patterns.

After the Singaporean authorities imposed safe management measures (SMM) due to the virus outbreak, the firm took advantage of the said technology (i.e. sensors) to ensure office staff are complying with social distancing rules. Employees on a flexible work set-up can also search for an available workspace and check for co-workers present in the same building via a smartphone app.

“We see this as the workplace of the future,” remarked Kim Yoon Young, Schneider Electric’s Cluster President for Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Even before the health crisis, businesses in Singapore have been way ahead in the adoption of workplace tech. In fact, a 2019 research carried out by London-based software firm Condeco found out that nearly 75 percent of respondents in Singapore work in offices fitted with smart technologies versus 50 percent for global respondents.
Back then, Condeco said the adoption was likely accelerated by the city-state’s Smart Nation initiative.

Moreover, information on staff activity and workspace usage is increasingly becoming more sought-after by businesses that want to maximise the use of their office space.

“Benchmarking that data against offices of companies in other geographies (and) other competitors is going to be very important for making strategic decisions on behalf of clients,” said Arsh Chaudhry, CEO of Space Matrix, an interior design firm for corporates.
In addition, office lessors are leveraging on technology to make their office properties more appealing, so that businesses will continue to rent workspace.

But as COVID-19 impacted how people work, company executives are seeking advice on how to maintain their corporate culture and creativity, while also adopting a hybrid work arrangement.

“Clients are asking: ‘How do I design an office that can increase my employee engagement and make an impact on my business? How can I create a work environment for higher employee retention and increase productivity?’” added Chaudhry.

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