The digitalisation of the office

How will we return safely to the office during and after the pandemic? How in the future can we design and operate office space so that it is flexible and at the same time economic and efficient? How can dynamic and modern office concepts be seamlessly integrated into the everyday lives of employees?

The digitalisation of the working environment has not only accelerated significantly as a result of the global pandemic, but it also offers essential answers to precisely these challenging questions. Therefore Bene, as a specialist in the design and furnishing of modern office and working environments, has developed SMART OFFICE by Bene in cooperation with the software specialist Thing-it and the full-service provider GMS Global Media Services GmbH.

Agility defines the working environment today. Employees are organising their work in an increasingly flexible manner in terms of location and time, depending on the tasks they have to do. This fact, along with the current challenges of the pandemic, such as physical distancing and hygiene measures, require new office concepts for the time during, and especially after the pandemic. Digitalisation is one of the key factors for the economy to make a successful comeback. The new office concepts will need to be more efficient and meet the requirements of this new working world.

This is precisely where SMART OFFICE by Bene comes in: a holistic tool for optimising office space.

Digital solutions let us focus on the user

“Thanks to new and smart technologies, we can make the office more efficient, more intelligent and more user-oriented,” says Michael Fried, Executive Board Member for Sales, Marketing & Innovation at Bene. “With SMART OFFICE by Bene, we have developed a data-driven office concept that offers numerous advantages for employers and employees: the office that learns with you.” For example, employees can reserve and book parking spots, workspaces and meeting rooms flexibly and easily via app or web. In addition, the solution offers many more options that can be individually configured according to customer requirements. The resulting optimised user experience leads to increased productivity and an improved economic efficiency of the office space. One essential factor here is, among other things, the recording of workplace utilisation.

“This use case is also known as occupancy or desk tracking,” explains Klaus Berberich, Managing Director of Thing-it. “It is becoming increasingly popular because it brings both an improvement in the way users perceive their time in the building as well as significant savings for businesses.” Desk tracking has received special attention, especially due to COVID-19 and the resulting hygiene requirements in office buildings.

Holistic solution from a single source

“GMS specialises in individual systems in workplace organisation. In cooperation with the office expert Bene and the Thing-it platform, we approach every project holistically, as a smart office system integrator. From the planning and implementation to monitoring all the technologies once they are up and running. This includes, among other things, the comprehensive conceptualisation and implementation of the systems, both in new buildings and as retro-fits,” says Tobias Enders, Managing Director of GMS Global Media Services GmbH. In addition, the service provider offers ongoing support as long as the system is in use.

Sensor intelligence enables precise analyses of the area

Since many companies have switched to open space and activity-based working, most workstations are no longer permanently assigned to a specific employee. SMART OFFICE by Bene therefore uses sensors and its own software to take measurements that record data on workplace utilisation, independent of the user. The data quickly reveals which work areas are more regularly frequented and which are not. Improper uses can be identified, empty bookings prevented, and future space requirements determined. This applies to the occupancy of workstations as well as meeting rooms, parking spaces and much more. “The office is a living organism,” Michael Fried emphasises. “By tracking and continuously analysing usage, adjustments can be made on a regular basis, so the space is utilised efficiently.” Thanks to the dashboards with their detailed needs analysis, as well as the data evaluation, all the spaces and places in the office can be planned much more precisely. This also improves the user experience. After all, SMART OFFICE by Bene is not only about the optimal utilisation of office space, but above all about giving users an attractive experience in modern buildings.

Using a smartphone to plan more than just everyday office life

SMART OFFICE by Bene gives users a digital interaction point where they can plan their daily work routine via app or web. Simple, fast and independent of location. At the touch of a button, the booking system shows which Social Distancing-compliant office spaces are available and when. Whether from home or on the road – the interactive tool supports the workflow. Be it to find a preferred workplace or a favourite colleague. It is also easy to reserve meeting rooms online. Parking management and locker reservations work just as simply via the app. In addition, food can be ordered and even paid for through the app, users can get information on the surroundings, display the nearest coffee spot, get instructions on how to operate the media technology in the conference room they are currently using and enjoy many more functions. Indoor navigation, finding people and other exciting applications, including information on public transport, round out the digital service. The important factor here is that the Thing-it platform is certified and functions in a GDPR-compliant manner because no personal data is collected.

Social distancing solutions in a COVID-safe office

Protection from infection and working at a distance have become part of our daily routines in coronavirus times. From contactless check-in and individual desks to COVID-19 tracking, SMART OFFICE by Bene supports these preventive measures in the office. Innovative protective mechanisms ensure safety. Up-to-date information on hygiene measures and work area bookings is communicated to staff accordingly.

Digitalisation provides freedom for creativity

With THE CORE by Bene – an innovative office concept based on technology and flexible space concepts – Bene already set new standards last year. The expert for office and working environments is now consistently pursuing this path with SMART OFFICE by Bene. Our technology partners, Thing-it and GMS Global Media Services GmbH, have already successfully integrated this trend setting app at the cube office complex in Berlin – the smartest building in the world – as well as with customers such as The Ship in Cologne or Zalando in Berlin, Dortmund and Dublin.

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