Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Erica Eaton and Ken Sinclair
Erica Eaton, Director Business Development, Comfy
Erica Eaton is Director of Business Development at Comfy, the only occupant-facing, smart building software that delivers personalized comfort and productivity in the workplace. She is responsible for driving partnerships and strategic direction, focusing on the value Comfy can deliver across the commercial real estate market. Prior to joining Comfy, Erica spent 8 years within Johnson Controls’ Building Efficiency business focused on strategy, innovation and corporate development.
Sinclair: Why should building technology providers care about workplace productivity?
an industry we’ve historically focused on the benefits we can deliver
in helping our customers cut costs. More efficient light bulbs,
variable speed drives and many other efficiency measures have us
constantly debating ROI and payback with our customers. But this
scenario is subject to the law of diminishing returns – there’s only so
much juice that can be squeezed from energy and operational
By focusing on the highest cost within a building – the people – we can drastically change the conversation with our customers and tap into new avenues of added value. Delivering even a 1% increase in employee productivity dwarfs any cost cutting measure and creates a sustained value for our customers.
Sinclair: What trends are real estate owners facing that are helping drive this requirement for a better occupant experience?
Eaton: The responsibilities of corporate real estate teams are getting tougher and tougher.
Advancements in consumer technology are changing the expectations that
people have for their workplaces. We have an endless array of
apps and technologies that deliver on-demand services in our personal
lives, so why should our workplaces be any different? And with
millennials now the largest generation in the workforce, we expect
these demands for personalization and control to only increase.
Buildings simply haven't kept up with the increased demands and expectations of today's occupants. Despite the proliferation of intelligent building technologies, we've left the majority of occupants frustrated—everyone's walked into that stuffy conference room with that confusing bank of light switches! We can do better. As an industry, it’s time we focus on the occupant experience and use real estate as a tool to help employers attract and retain a stellar and productive workforce.
Sinclair: Can we deliver on these promises today? Or do customers need to invest heavily in new technologies?
great news is that building owners can realize many of these values by
leveraging their existing infrastructure and technology
investments. By making these technologies more occupant-facing,
and curating the level of control and interaction that employees have
with them, we can improve productivity and workplace
Sinclair: Can the industry prove that intelligent buildings improve productivity?
seeing more and more proof points of improved productivity that
intelligent building tech can deliver. There’s been longstanding
research supporting that better workplace design and occupant control
can reduce sick days and improve productivity between 2.7% and 8.6%.
And now, as more technology gets deployed we’ll have even more data
supporting the comfort/productivity connection.
Technologies that impact the wellness of employees – like indoor air quality, access to natural light and ergonomics – can improve workers’ focus and reduce sick days. And, more engaged employees are more productive and loyal employees. So finding ways to empower occupants, provide better connection to their physical environment, and deliver top-notch workplace experiences we can bring tremendous value to our customers.
Here at Comfy we’re excited to report that 70% of our users report being more productive after using Comfy and 83% cite improved workplace satisfaction. Our customers understand that occupant control is a key factor in creating the best workplace for their employees and the business value that it drives for them.
Sinclair: What opportunities do you envision these types of technologies enabling in the future?
really excited to think about how building technology can better adapt
to future work styles. As real estate portfolios evolve to
meet increasing consumer demands and compete with the coffee shop down
the street, building technology will be a critical element in offering
highly personalized experiences. A building that understands and
can respond to dynamic workplaces needs, and offer new points of
engagement – like recommending and reserving a specific open desk based
on an employee's preferred temperature, light and auditory
environment – is quickly approaching.
In turn, this activity can provide valuable data to building owners helping them prioritize investment and real estate decisions based on productivity and workplace satisfaction implications maximizing their greatest investment – their people.
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