an App for That
COM) IS THE
Twenty years ago, many of us began thinking that commercial offices may become obsolete. With the advent of
the internet, e-mail and cell phones without
shoulder straps, many believed that most
people would eventually work from home.
We were wrong. Not only are commercial offices still around—and occupied by millions
of people every day—new buildings are being
built. Sure, office life has changed quite a bit
with large private offices being replaced with
open floor plans, mahogany conference tables
swapped for ping pong tables and even water
coolers substituted with virtual water coolers.
Technology and a shift in culture have certainly provided benefits, but now the threat of
extinction looms for something worse—
Humans are becoming more robotic. Immersed in Smartphones, tablets and laptops,
people are steadily cutting out more and more
human interaction every day. Technology is
replacing faces with usernames and getting
rid of things like mentorships, camaraderie
and trust. But, human interaction is necessary
for our happiness. And seeing that we spend
more of our waking hours surrounded by coworkers than by our own families, it’s up to
us to create better offices and happier people.
Back to the Future
In order to get back to the future, we need
to rekindle our emphasis on the human element. Think about our use of internal e-mails.
E-mail is an effective tool to transmit attachments, delegate tasks and convey information.
But the truth is, e-mail is not a communication tool. Instead of discussing an issue face-to-face, some people hide behind e-mail and
are incapable of conveying the lion’s share
MR. KLEIN IS
GUIDE TO GREEN
of our message through body language. The
result is wasted time and ineffective communication. Some companies are implementing
a policy of one “No E-mail Day” each week.
Although it may seem a bit dramatic, these
companies are seeing positive changes. Time
is better spent on meaningful issues and tasks,
and employees are building more trust with
coworkers by working together. Problems are
being addressed with creativity and collaboration, and it’s all being done through the power
of human interaction.
No Substitution for Interaction
As IREM Members and real estate professionals, we need to harness the power of human
interaction with our tenants as well. Advanced
software for monitoring CAM charges and
rent is a great tool, but it doesn’t allow us to
understand our tenants’ needs and issues. Sophisticated energy management systems are
wonderful for controlling building systems,
but we still need to walk around the building
and look at the field conditions and systems in
person. Walk through the spaces and talk to
your tenants to see if they’re comfortable
before you get a call or an e-mail. An overlooked
part of sustainability is maintaining strong
relationships and ensuring that your tenants
will be happy today and into the future.
Technology is not the answer to all of our
problems. It often seems as if everything is
advancing in the human race, except the human race. Humans are the solution. Technology has brought us immeasurable benefits
over the years, but we need to make sure that
we embrace and celebrate the importance of
sustaining human relationships. Let’s revive
mentorships and build more trust. Let’s be