5G: Changing the future of workspaces
Flexible working is not a new concept, but many businesses were yet to embrace it until COVID-19. Working from home went from a luxury bonus to a necessity overnight, with almost 50 percent of British workers calling their home, their office.
However, as we move out of lockdown and enter the ‘new abnormal’, it’s time to address our physical workplaces. Not only do they need to be safe, but they must also be attractive and productive.
Standing out from the competition
Although there will always be a place for the physical office, the way companies use them is likely to change. As such, facilities managers need to keep on top of the cultural and technological opportunities available to them to ensure their buildings offer businesses more than their competition.
A new study has found that 5G technology could provide a £150bn boost to the UK economy over the coming decade, suggesting it will be an essential part of the evolving way the public utilises vital services post-COVID-19.
With new technology and working life starting to merge seamlessly, 5G could improve connectivity and security, as well as efficiency and even wellbeing.
The age of visibility
Agile working means the everyday nine to five doesn’t have to be the norm any longer. Rather than turning up to the office at a certain time each day, 5G will allow people to choose when is best to arrive by viewing the quietest times, desk availability and onsite parking.
This ability to be completely flexible will make ‘smart’ buildings more attractive to businesses, so facilities managers should ensure their buildings have these connectivity capabilities, giving them an edge against any competitors.
As well as providing tenants with a slicker service, 5G could also improve the way buildings are run, making them more efficient and safer. 5G-enabled sensors and devices will be able to alert cleaning and maintenance staff to areas that need attention, whether it be a room that needs cleaning or a ventilation system that needs fixing.
In order to stay ahead of the game, facilities managers and commercial landlords should take advantage of new technology now. However, there are several aspects that need to be considered first, including:
- The commercial implications of installing 5G network infrastructure – Usually the costs of installing and maintaining the kit would be added into tenants’ service charges. However, as company budgets are currently being squeezed, it may be better to class it as a long-term investment and foot the initial bill.
- Choosing the right 5G solution – Technology is not always one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to weigh up the options and pick the solution that will suit the building and its tenants best, both now and in future.
- The rights of current tenants – Tenants have a right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the premises, meaning landlords must ensure that any major changes to the building disturb tenants as little as possible.
COVID-19 has caused an agile working revolution, and physical offices are unlikely to be viewed in the same way again. As a result, facilities managers should make their buildings as attractive as possible, offering new technology, such as 5G, that will benefit their tenants and improve the way workplaces function.
If you’re a landlord and would like guidance and advice on the implications of installing a 5G network infrastructure, and how this may impact on your tenants and their rights, then speak to James Fownes in our property disputes team.
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