The property sector has been in a period of change over the past three to five years.
Millennials now make up most of the workforce and the needs of businesses and their employees is changing significantly.
The need for change has been clearly proven with the growth of the WeWork co-working model and all of the subsequent companies with their own offer.
The idea of a flexible workspace with a short-term agreement is what the market wants rather than a fixed long-term lease.
Much of this change emerged from the recession of 2008 when companies realised how inflexible their leases were and that often the lease commitment drove their survival strategy.
Ten years later, WeWork leases more property than anybody else in London. On top of this are other providers, such as TOG.
As the sector was grappling with this change and looking at alternative rental models for their huge portfolios, the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
Unfortunately, this happened out of the blue which meant that nobody was prepared. Overnight, the whole world’s working patterns and environment changed.
So, the question is: what are the implications to property owners and investors in the years ahead?
Firstly, things will never be the same. New ways of working were steadily evolving, and the market responded accordingly. Covid-19 has accelerated that change ten-fold. Once this is all over, businesses will return to their normal working environments and realise that they feel very static and inflexible.
It will become clear that we don’t need to use up as much space as we have done.
As we’ve all worked from home, things have slowed down. We’ve saved a lot of our time by minimising travel. We are more productive as we are not constantly being interrupted or distracted or attending unproductive meetings.
However, we do still need offices. We still need to come together. One ff the biggest challenges for those not used to working from home is the lack of social interaction or connection with colleagues.
Therefore, the answer is a flexible approach which changes to suit the work.
With Twinview, we have developed a virtual replica of a building. A real-time, digital twin of a physical building, hosted on a cloud-based platform so that it can be accessed across any device.
Twinview will allow meetings to be booked on an app, it will allow the building’s temperature to be controlled by an individual or even to check if the car charger is available.
It allows all of the maintenance information which was previously stored in the office basement to be kept digitally, in one place, which can be accessed by anyone, anywhere.
The millennial generation will challenge the use of offices, ask whether or not we actually need them and if they are using too much energy. With a digital twin, this information is accessible in real-time via a mobile device.
The property sector now faces it biggest ever period of change. Building users will demand more flexibility, connectivity and control. With a digital twin application such as Twinview, dynamic buildings will ensure maximum efficiency for the businesses using them.