02 Nov HqOS Pioneers Safe Office Return With Experiences For Post-Pandemic Workforce – Commercial Observer
Tenant attraction and retention can be a challenge for office building owners in normal times. But now, with employees afraid to return due to the coronavirus pandemic, having the most efficient and streamlined processes for managing office buildings while maximizing the tenant experience is essential.
HqO is a tenant experience technology and professional services company that developed an app and software platform to serve as a remote control for office building managers. Functions from mass communication with tenants to determining building capacity — essential in the time of COVID-19 — have been made simple by HqO’s technology.
Now, the company has unveiled the next step in its technological advancement with the launch of HqOS, an end-to-end tenant experience operating system for commercial office buildings that allows property teams to manage all customer-facing technology tools within their buildings, enabling data-driven decision-making in the process.
HqOS solves three essential challenges for office building managers: attracting new tenants, finding and managing vendors, and capturing and structuring data regarding how people are using their buildings.
“Our mission is to help commercial office landlords and property teams create exceptional experiences for their tenants,” said Zach Driscoll, product marketing and sales enablement manager for HqO. “For the first time ever, tenants are wondering if they need an office. So, it’s important for commercial office owners to think about how they can extend their value.”
The first of three beneficial layers of HqOS is the tenant app, which allows for easy communication with all building tenants, and provides functions including, but not limited to, visitor registration, booking building resources and services, food and beverage ordering, and responding to invites for events.
The second layer is the marketplace, which helps building owners find and manage vendors and apps from one convenient location. The marketplace features a curated catalog of best-in-class developers and vendors from throughout the property technology landscape, covering wide-ranging categories, including food and beverage, entertainment, security and wellness, and offering functions from emergency communications to booking and order tracking.
The final layer of HqOS is the digital grid, which captures, structures, and analyzes a plethora of data that shows, using commercial real estate-specific taxonomy, how people are using buildings, thereby allowing owners to make data-driven decisions about those buildings.
“We want to be able to compare and contrast our customers’ offerings with the rest of the market and show where they’re excelling from an amenities or engagement perspective, and where they might be falling short,” said Kevin McGowan, vice president of product management for HqO. “The digital grid and the underlying data model allow us to benchmark buildings across portfolios or even cities.”
All this information is easily accessible in the HqOS desktop headquarters panel, which facilitates functions from daily content creation to strategic technology planning.
Having all of this available in one system provides a strong series of value-adds for building owners.
“There’s a lot of fragmented technology within the proptech space,” said McGowan. “Bigger buildings have to select a visitor registration system, then an access control system, then they have to figure out who’s going to manage their resource booking and the conference rooms within the building, and so on. By using HqOS and the marketplace, commercial office owners can shop for technologies they know will be interoperable with their existing systems, which will greatly reduce technical complexity.”
The mass of data offered and integrated into HqOS’ digital grid can help owners drive revenue and asset value.
“If you can create exceptional experiences at your office buildings, you’re going to attract high-quality tenants, retain the tenants you have, and drive your rents up,” said Driscoll. “Plus, most of the ways commercial office owners try to keep up with tenant demands involve building something, like a tenant lounge or a fitness center. We want to help owners put data behind those decisions to see if, for example, maybe they shouldn’t spend $5 million taking a lot of rentable square footage and dedicating it to an amenities space they might not even need.”
The Jamestown Innovation and Design Building in Boston is a 1.4-million-square-foot, mixed-use building that serves as a great example of how HqOS is being used to optimize tenant experience.
Working closely with HqO, Jamestown’s management has used the HqOS app to improve everyday tenant experiences on several levels. Offering food trucks and pop-up dining options, the app alerted them to the most popular outlets, and even specific dishes, helping them decide which to make permanent.
When considering bringing a new restaurant to the property, Jamestown’s management implemented a tenant-wide survey on the app and found that, while tenants were happy with their current dining options, they really needed a pharmacy on premise, which was added soon after. And when the company added shuttle service for tenants, they included GPS tracking on the app, easing the commuting experience.
Desire for the HqO system was already gaining steam before the onslaught of COVID-19. But now, in the midst of the pandemic, HqOS has proven crucial in helping owners navigate the rocky path back to work.
“One impact of COVID-19 was that our offering transitioned from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have,’” said McGowan, who points to a feature in HqOS called office capacity manager.
“For us to come into the office, we have to file a request the day before, including a health questionnaire,” McGowan said. “With office capacity manager, you can see how many people have already been approved to come in. I might not be comfortable going in if there are 40 people in the office, but if there are 10, I might be more comfortable because I know there will be a lot more space.”
In the final analysis, HqOS takes a slew of essential, value-additive features and collects them in one, easy-to-use operating system, resulting in an optimum tenant experience like no other.
“What we’re trying to do is pull a lot of this into the same place, in an area we know is very complex,” said McGowan. “There’s a lot going on. We’re trying to simplify that as much as possible for our customers.”