Office needs for businesses of all sizes have changed. Pre-covid trends towards flex-space have accelerated, driving more enterprise organizations to opt for this type of workspace. As these companies adopt more distributed working strategies, managing the interface between working from home and from an office means enabling greater flexibility. Technology is a critical component of this competency and ensures more productive, compliant and secure office environments.
Below are the key IT pillars you need to deliver on enterprise occupier requirements.
Flexibility and Occupier Experience
Occupier expectations are changing. If you want to deliver flexible real estate solutions that hit the mark, you have to stay on top of what tenants want and deliver on it quickly and efficiently. With enterprise organizations taking on a more distributed working strategy, there’s a general push towards more agile, productive and engaging office environments. The work from home experience has shown us that it may work for some people, but others prefer being in an office – especially if there is a focus on collaborative innovation and culture building.
Where does this leave you? For starters, the journey in the office must be more compelling than working from home. People want seamless experiences. They want the confidence that they’ll have everything they need to be productive and feel safe in their workspace, especially if it requires venturing out on public transportation to get there.
Having the flexibility to adapt to customers’ changing requirements is critical. Enterprise customers are more demanding and will expect ease of use and quality of services. They want slick and convenient workspace experiences enabled by technology.
Service Quality and Consistency
Enterprise organizations are re-evaluating their real estate strategies. Some are leaving traditional offices behind or balancing traditional office capacity with shorter term flex solutions, while others are turning to flexible office for the long-term. In any case, enterprise occupiers have strict requirements. Service quality and consistency are of their main concerns. Larger companies with specific privacy and compliance standards come with a checklist of conditions and directives. Demonstrating that your operation meets their quality, regulatory and data management requirements with properly documented and accredited policies builds trust with prospects and customers.
Certifications such as ISO 9000 and ISO 27001 show that your business can meet information security and quality management policies across the board. Having the accreditation in place for requirements that enterprise companies are looking for can speed up the move-in process. Working with vendors and partners that can also demonstrate this level of service quality is a value-add to your occupiers.
Security, Reliability, and Cloud Strategy
Aside from having greater expectations around services and amenities, enterprise occupiers have more stringent requirements for IT services and performance – especially when it comes to security and reliability. These critical business components are directly related to your brand reputation, business continuity plans, and liability. A sound cloud strategy can enable both.
According to IBM, the average total cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. While this number can vary by industry and location, the liability is too significant to not invest in secure network and cloud infrastructure to deliver critical services such as connectivity. Technology that runs over a private network and secure cloud infrastructure can ensure enterprise-level services for enterprise-level customers. Anything else can leave you vulnerable to security breaches that can devastate your business and your customers’.
An advanced cloud strategy is when most services needed to conduct work have been deployed into a cloud facility or IaaS (infrastructure as a service) solution. Cloud infrastructure can be replicated across multiple data centers and offers service reliability. That means if one connection were to fail (think external forces such as a power outage at a data center or an inadvertently cut cable down the street), there would be no noticeable interruption to services. The alternative uses on-site hardware to access your applications, which is unsecure, unreliable, and difficult to manage and scale.
The majority of businesses today already work off of cloud-based applications, making their work available from any location. When working from the office, they need safe internet connectivity to access their applications securely. Enterprise occupiers will have varying requirements for network access, but you can bet your bottom dollar an open Wi-Fi network with a shared password certainly won’t cut it. Your cloud strategy will determine how safe and reliable your proposition is and can affect your ability to attract and retain enterprise occupiers.
All customers will benefit from always-on connectivity supported by best in class hardware and service levels, but enterprise occupiers will demand it. Your network infrastructure can be a differentiator for your proposition. It allows you to deliver effective, enterprise-level services, but it can also provide insight into customer behavior and how they are using your spaces.
Don’t lose deals with enterprise occupiers. Ensure uninterrupted services with a backup connection to access services. As noted above, external circumstances can disrupt the primary circuit, causing an interruption in connectivity. Recurring internet outages are frustrating and negatively impact the occupier experience. With a backup circuit, service seamlessly switches over, preventing any disruption to your customers. While it may be a larger investment, you can chalk it up to the cost of doing business with enterprise occupiers.
The user experience at your space starts at the door. Larger companies naturally have more users, visitors and spaces in their offices. How can you make it easy and seamless for these occupiers to access their workspace? Proximity-based technology allows them to open a door with their mobile devices or RFID card, reducing touch points in an increasingly contactless world. Cloud-based access control simplifies the administration of entry rules across multiple sites and spaces, making it easy to use for your staff and clients.
Strategic Tech Investment
Tech-enabled businesses have had to scramble less to adjust to the unforeseen circumstances and are better positioned for flexibility and the future of work. Likewise, they are more likely to provide the solutions that enterprise organizations require as the office sector continues evolving.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen a renewed confidence in tech and infrastructure projects that enable different working environments. Many companies have had to pivot their strategic focus to technology to facilitate alternative office strategies. This has helped sow a new attitude towards IT change. It is possible with less inertia than before and can bring significant, positive change to an organization.
I've been writing content about flexible office and technology since 2015 for essensys. My focus is to bring engaging and insightful perspectives to the flexible workspace sector of the commercial real estate industry.
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