After months or even years of working away from their office space, so many business and corporations are implementing hybrid back to work strategies. While there are every variety of combinations of remote + in-office work schedules, all of them involve some amount of unutilized office space.

With more people than ever working remotely, space is not being used or used intermittently. Most operators want to be both realistic and efficient with HVAC consumption and HVAC repairs, but how do building managers effectively operate with such variable occupancy. Today we’re asking how a hybrid BMS strategy can work with the modern workforce.

One. combine building occupancy information with HVAC optimization.

Combining the sensor network of the Building Management System with other sensor networks already installed like occupancy sensors can radically shift the way buildings are managed. Tying sensor networks like these to each other means real time HVAC equipment data and real time occupancy data can combine to enhance optimization efforts. Putting heating and cooling decisions in the context of when and where a building will be occupied is more important now than potentially outdated building schedules.

Software for BMS or BMS analytics needs to API into space utilization software. Like the concept of a digital twin. Integrating multiple data lakes, contextualized buildings operations in a much more nuanced way for building operators. There is no reason why these are two worlds especially in hybrid workplace – when two rivers converge the force of water becomes much more powerful.

Two. customizable setpoints for building usage are critical.

Building Management Systems allow you to set temperature ranges, but they are not as customizable as they need to be. In order for buildings to be as operationally efficient as they can be with individual occupants or entire floors on hybrid work schedules, zone-level customization is important. Breaking down set points by zone helps direct the heating and cooling towards occupied offices and spaces, and not directly down on an empty set of desks. In addition, most setpoints are out of sync from their original schedule and need to be re-set. Now, with so many modified work schedules, is the perfect time to revisit building schedules.

This is also where bring in the occupancy sensor data or even a verbal schedule from tenants/occupants builds a better and more efficient HVAC schedule that improves both HVAC optimization and energy efficiency.

Three. enterprise of FM should change with hybrid workforce

Building teams, now more than ever, need to be more efficient in doing repairs. Whether tenants are only available for maintenance in the office on certain days, or key decision makers are only in the office when they need to be, facility engineers need to maximize their time.

BMS and BMS analytics should allow facility management teams the ability to do remote management. By strategically placing a facility managers focus on the key areas or critical issues, facility operations should run more economically on both time and resources. Analytics software can provide prioritization when going to visit a space and make repairs or in receiving tenant feedback.

Four. and finally need to verify when repairs are properly completed.

Measurement and verification process is key to making any scheduling changes or repairs. An automated or built-in M&V process is proven to both reduce the lift of a singular work order and also allow for more efficient facility management on the whole. Less truck roles and more remote management allows teams to better prioritize

Much like how many of us have adjusted our working schedules, buildings should follow suit. It is operationally impractical to heat and cool a building based on the old ways of working. It is similarly impractical to continue to assume facility management teams should operate the same way. Tools like remote management, single-portfolio dashboards, and automated M&V help teams make smarter decisions about resource allocations.