According to a report released by smart buildings specialist Honeywell, 75% of surveyed U.S. facility managers say COVID-19 has caused them to permanently rethink how their facility operates.
Nearly 6 in 10 respondents are more likely to invest in indoor air quality optimization and other healthy building solutions, while 7 in 10 are now more willing to invest in smart building solutions, Honeywell said.
For this report, Honeywell 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.
“A notable transformation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting U.S. facility leaders to reconsider their operational strategies and invest in smarter, healthier technologies,” said Vimal Kapur, president and CEO, 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.”
Also, three-quarters (75%) of surveyed U.S. 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 36% 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, 62% are more likely to invest in indoor air quality optimization and other healthy building solutions and 56% are more willing to invest in occupant experience solutions like contactless building access, smart parking and personalized experiences.
According to the Honeywell report, a majority (58%) of respondents consider having a healthy building a top priority right now, and 62% say it 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 and educational facilities, while those working in data centers and commercial real estate buildings cite cleaning procedures as their top priority.
Since COVID-19, more than half (54%) 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 (93%) said that remote facility management is important now and 67% of respondents indicated they are more willing to invest in smart building solutions that drive efficiency or sustainability, including data aggregation, machine learning and artificial intelligence.