Sixty-two percent of companies are planning to increase their investment in real estate technology over the next three years, according to the EMEA Occupier Survey. Their reasons for doing so – while still reflecting operational and budgetary goals like security, energy management and optimizing building use – are shifting toward enhancing the user experience and raising workforce productivity.

Specifically for space utilization tracking, 65% of users remain focused on building access or badge data, but they are increasingly adopting room and seat reservation systems (31%) and sensors (22%).

According to the survey, the most important elements of Corporate Real Estate (CRE) strategy are cost-reduction, business integration/alignment and talent attraction and development. Many businesses moving forward are expanding their flexible office spaces, to better accommodate business travelers, remote workers, contractors or freelancers, and to enable collaboration.

Building automation and technology can also improve productivity. According to the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)’s report on improving organization productivity, “better buildings” technologies such as automation can have a quantifiable impact on absenteeism, employee turnover, job satisfaction and health and wellbeing.

According to CRESA, flexible workplaces require robust technology infrastructure to enable a “work from anywhere” culture to thrive. Amenities that could contribute to this type of office would include efficient security and turnstile procedures, Voice over IP (VoIP) follow-me phones and seamless document sharing and management.

However, this raises a number of security concerns – with an open, inviting space, designed to welcome visitors and employees from across the business with little warning, how can enterprises manage to protect their assets and employees without hindering the office experience?

With offices increasingly shifting toward being social centers as well as workspaces (think recreational areas in breakrooms or co-working lounges), is it time to reconsider the social potential of security tools? Brivo CEO Steve Van Till discussed this in 2014, writing: “A truly social space could be set up to know in advance who will be visiting. With that information, the guest could be welcomed by name upon arrival, rather than being treated like a stranger and handed a clipboard. By using a mobile credential or pass sent in advance, registration and badging could be as simple as scanning the invitation. The social space would then use a preferred social network to tell your hosts that you’ve arrived. Compared to today’s baseline experience, this whole scenario shows the transformation of an impersonal security experience into a welcoming customer experience.”

The speedy adoption of IoT, wearable devices and mobile credentials could prove immensely useful in tracking facility use and managing access and identity in the workplace. However, are security applications keeping up with the pace of innovation that today’s younger workers demand?

What’s your experience in managing security for flexible workspaces and modern offices? How are you addressing the shifting expectations of a younger workforce? Are you adding automation or other technologies to improve employee productivity, retention and security?

Let us know in the comments, or reach out to me directly at with your thoughts!