As employees return to the office after two years of working from home, they are preparing to give up one key thing they gained during the pandemic: control. Working from home gave employees full command over their office environment, from choosing where in their house they wanted to work to managing the lighting and sound levels to set the temperature to whatever was most comfortable for them.
While some companies may think that the keys to making employees excited about returning to the office are amenities such as gyms and cafés, giving them back some of that control could make an even bigger difference. According to a survey of more than 1,600 workers across North America, the things they want more than fancy perks are better air quality, access to natural light and the ability to personalize their workspaces.
“For today’s office workers, it’s all about personalization and control,” said William Turcan, principal owner at Smart Glass Technologies. “They want to work out of the environment that’s best for them, and the only way for them to do that is to put them in the driver’s seat.”
Turcan’s company, Smart Glass Technologies, offers a solution that can help businesses provide those three features that employees want most from their offices. The company installs Privacy Smart Film and Privacy Smart Glass in windows in offices, healthcare facilities and other properties across the country. Once installed, this film turns traditional windows into ones that block 98% of harmful UV rays and 95% of infrared radiation, and they can be adjusted from transparent to opaque and several shades in between.
Once an office installs Smart Film, Turcan said, it has the option to give employees full control of the windows, which can be adjusted not only through switches and dimmers installed throughout the office but through workers’ smartphones as well.
“By just unlocking their phone, employees can adjust the brightness of the window near them,” Turcan said. “The windows can be made opaque to allow for maximum privacy, or they can choose to make them more transparent to bring in more natural light.”
Providing office workers with on-demand access to natural light can have benefits beyond employee satisfaction. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that employees sitting closer to windows are more likely to show up for work and have increased productivity throughout the day compared to those sitting under artificial light. Exposure to natural light can also help people sleep better and potentially improve eye health.
“This isn’t just about convenience,” Turcan said. “It’s about health and productivity.”
He added Smart Film eliminates the need for blinds or curtains to help control light, making the windows much easier to clean and ridding the air of the dust that can collect on them.
In 2020, Smart Glass installed Switchable Smart Film in the Allstate Insurance office in New Jersey to offer the company additional privacy options in its conference rooms and reduce energy costs. Smart Film, Turcan said, is proven to minimize the effects of external temperatures from affecting office interiors, helping offices save on heating and cooling costs. The company installed a total of 200 SF of Smart Film in the Allstate office, and the entire job took just two days.
“Our team can install Smart Film quickly, with little to no disruption on a company’s day-to-day activities,” Turcan said.
Another company came to Smart Glass asking if it could install Smart Film throughout its entire office in less than a week. The company was on the verge of a major deal, Turcan said, and it wanted Smart Film installed so its potential partners could see it was a firm that stayed on top of the latest innovations.
“This is something that catches people’s attention and can be used as a tremendous marketing tool,” he said. “The benefits for companies are endless.”
This feature was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Smart Glass Technologies. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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