Survey reveals healthier buildings top the list of back-to-work priorities
According to a new report released by Honeywell, 58% of surveyed German facility managers say COVID-19 has caused them to permanently rethink how their facility operates. Of the investments facilities have made in response to the pandemic, at least half are expected to remain permanently ― in particular, upgrades to air quality systems, enhanced cleaning procedures, contactless access and health screening protocols. Nearly 5 in 10 German respondents are more likely to invest in indoor air quality optimization and other healthy building solutions, while 4 in 10 are now more willing to invest in smart building solutions that help drive efficiency and support sustainability efforts.
This report, “Rethinking Buildings Post-COVID-19”, the first in Honeywell’s 2021 Building Trends series, introduces the challenges, priorities and assessments of surveyed facility managers in the United States, Germany, China and Saudi Arabia across the education, healthcare, data center and commercial real estate industries. It focuses on COVID-19’s impact on building trends and facility managers’ priorities — now and in the future.
“A notable transformation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting German facility leaders to reconsider their operational strategies and invest in smarter, healthier technologies,” said Vimal Kapur, president and chief executive officer, Honeywell Building Technologies. “As occupants become more aware of how the buildings they use for work, school and care can affect their well-being, we expect them to push building owners and operators to implement new procedures with efficient, sustainable solutions that better support occupants’ safety, comfort and enhance their experiences, not only for the immediate return to office but for the long term as well.”
The survey results from facility managers in Germany underscore five key themes:
- The pandemic will likely have a lasting impact on facility management and operations.
Over half (58%) of surveyed German facility managers indicate COVID-19 has prompted their facility to rethink its modes of operation. Many believe changes and upgrades made during the pandemic will be kept in place in some form; yet only 29% of those surveyed expect updates to the air quality system to remain permanent. COVID-19 is also driving facility managers to adjust their priorities and investments. For example, 47% are more likely to invest in indoor air quality optimization and other healthy building solutions and 41% are more willing to invest in occupant experience solutions like contactless building access, smart parking and personalized experiences.
- COVID-19 remains a source of widespread unease.
Among surveyed German facility managers, 17% mention pandemic-related issues as their top concern, particularly for commercial real estate managers. For education and data center facility managers, safety concerns are on par with pandemic-related concerns.
- A healthy building is a top priority and will remain important.
Only four in ten (42%) of respondents consider having a healthy building a top priority right now, yet only 43% are very confident in the safe use of their building while the pandemic continues. More than four in ten (46%) say a healthy building will continue to be a top priority post-pandemic. Improving indoor air quality ranks as the most important aspect of a healthy building for those working in healthcare, data centers and commercial real estate facilities, while those working in education buildings cite cleaning procedures as their top priority.
- Digital transformation of facilities is accelerating.
Since COVID-19, almost half (49%) of respondents have seen digital transformation accelerate in pace as the need for remote facility management became more acute. More than 9 in 10 facility managers (89%) said that remote facility management is important now, and many are now more willing to invest in building solutions compared to before the pandemic.
- Respondents are interested in upgrades to improve the occupant experience, with a contactless building experience ranking high.
According to surveyed German facility managers, there is strong interest in upgrades such as improving indoor air quality, energy efficiency and sustainability efforts, and supporting an inviting and innovative building environment. Yet respondent input shows a gap in the technologies currently deployed in buildings. More than half of those surveyed say the buildings they manage do not have air quality solutions (59%), integrated lighting that improves occupant productivity (78%), contactless building entry (68%), or an app that provides real-time information on building health (83%).
To read the full report and to see how Germany compared to other surveyed countries, please visit Rethinking Buildings Post-COVID-19.
Honeywell is working with facility managers around the world to create better occupant experiences in the hopes of increasing productivity. Honeywell Healthy Buildings solutions integrate air quality, safety and security technologies along with advanced analytics to improve indoor air quality while meeting energy efficiency goals.
The Honeywell survey was conducted by KRC research (http://www.krcresearch.com/) in four markets: United States, Germany, China and Saudi Arabia.