[Article] Back to work to a dynamic workplace | Smarten Spaces roundtable

Nov 3rd, 2020Source : PlaceTech
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In this special PlaceTech session, in association with workspace management solution Smarten Spaces, an expert panel of leading developers and occupiers shared valuable insights into how they are tackling the issues facing changing workforces.


  • Jacinda Lofland, director of strategy and innovation, Nuveen
  • Annie Rinker, director of operations in the office of innovation, Hines
  • Mary Curtiss, global head of sustainability, renewable energy and environment, health and safety programs, HP
  • Dinesh Malkani, founder and CEO, Smarten Spaces
  • Paul Unger, editor, PlaceTech, chair

Where are we up to with companies returning globally? Are landlords being proactive with changing spaces?

Dinesh Malkani | Manufacturing bases within client companies moved faster than offices, in contact tracing, dividing spaces for sanitisation and partial closing if necessary – whatever it took for those people retuning to the workplace to feel comfortable.

While some countries still only have 10-15% of people back at any one time, we can learn more from countries further along in the process: businesses are dealing with having half of their seats removed by social distancing: they’re thinking about desk management tech, sensors, check-ins, especially in Asia and the US. Across every deployment we’ve done, we’re finding that it’s an opportunity to think of your future workforce, managing cost, and creating a flexible workspace.

Mary Curtiss: We have 20m sq ft of offices, mostly owned assets, and we’ve done a lot of due diligence on the next wave, which sites are sensitive. In a new age of working, how do we leverage spaces for collaboration? We’re looking at drop-in space, ad hoc options. We want to understand what the experience will be, how the platform looks, how can we make it consistent across sites across the world. How effective is the space, and how do we track it – I’m looking to landlords to help me understand this.

bAnnie Rinker: Hines’ office of innovation was founded three years ago to dig deeper into all of this, and agility is key both from the customer side and the internal side. At the start of the pandemic, we looked closely at movements, access and continued wellness promotion, as we looked to encourage clients back. We have two co-working locations that essentially act as R&D tools: there are 150 sensors in our Houston co-working space, so that is informing us on how this type of space is used.

Jacinda Lofland: When I think of the future of offices, the omnichannel office is what I think of: taking on what Amazon has done so successfully with retail in providing a seamless experience online and offline. There are three foundational components: hardware and building infrastructure; software – a building’s systems, tenant engagement apps and so on; and enterprise software – what people choose to use for calendar, mail, file-sharing. The integration of these will produce the best opportunity for true flexibility, taking in all those elements such as room reservation, syncing devices, visibility in collaboration, automatic emails.

For more information, you can access the full information here.