THE CORE by Bene

How a pandemic reshapes the office

Times change, and so do people. At Bene, we are always curious about the world in general and the working world in particular. We are constantly thinking about questions like: What moves people? What makes us innovative and efficient? And how do companies remain successful, not only today but also tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow?

The COVID-19 pandemic has once again significantly changed the way we at Bene see the office. Uncertainty is increasing significantly, both in our personal lives and our professional environment, and the future is less predictable. We ask ourselves: How does an office need to look to make it through the pandemic – and even more importantly: How will the office work after the pandemic?

1. THE OBVIOUS: During the pandemic offices have had to be remodelled and adjusted to take necessary precautions, so that people feel safe there and can be productive. Concepts must be developed that meet this need.

2. THE HIGHER PACE: The spread of remote working, caused by the global pandemic, has accelerated the digitalisation of organisations and has also changed the way that we now lead at a significantly faster pace than previously anticipated. Aspects like collaboration and interaction are becoming more visible again and will gain greater importance in the post-pandemic world of work.

3. THE BIG STRESS TEST: We are currently experiencing the biggest stress test for the concept of remote work and thus the home office. Even though it has not all happened voluntarily, companies see that it basically works. But employees and leaders also see the challenges they face when not in the office. We miss the face-to-face exchange with our colleagues and the interaction. Collaborating at a distance poses new challenges for companies and employees alike. Having gained these new insights, companies and employees have had to rethink their views on these issues.

Companies are learning that this new way of working could replace individual offices. This will inevitably have an impact on usage concepts and how we design our office space. Remote work and home offices will remain relevant as an integral part of the office landscape even after the pandemic. At the same time, the pivotal role of the office is being reinforced. More than ever, it is becoming the social centre.

"The importance of the office as a hub for information, corporate culture and social interaction is growing”, explains Michael Fried, Executive Board Member for Sales, Marketing and Innovation at Bene. "Offices must convey a sense of security, orientation and trust in order to continue to be inspiring places for people to meet and be creative in the future.”

This was reason enough for Bene to develop an office concept that meets the current needs. “THE CORE by Bene” is a physical test space in the middle of Frankfurt’s city centre that can be experienced live and hands-on.

THE CORE by Bene
The office is the physical core of an organisation, the heart of a company. It is like a beehive where people, concepts, ideas, and things come together. Office landscapes provide a space for spontaneous social interaction – the seed for many creative approaches, good ideas and relationships. They are a place for agile work, and new styles of leadership, such as shared management and fluid leadership, to help steer companies successfully into the future. As a place that transports the values and the Corporate Identity of a company, the office becomes a home for employees. Particularly decisive here is the culture that unites the organisation at its heart – the "core".

Different, highly flexible office spaces
With the ideal mix between open spatial structure and protected areas, “THE CORE by Bene” manages the balancing act between coronavirus-distance and teamwork so that people feel comfortable and can work creatively at the same time. To achieve this, we have designed six areas: The lounge is for informal discussions in a calm atmosphere, the recreation area for relaxing and the touchdown workplace is for temporary work. But the main focus is on communication and cooperation: in addition to the team workspace and an informal meeting area, other areas enable spontaneous stand-up meetings and – in conjunction with the Idea Lab as a flexible workshop space that can also be rented – ensure an optimal exchange of ideas.

Physical distancing, hygiene concepts and sensor technology 
Innovative protective mechanisms ensure safety throughout the premises. This starts at a terminal in the check-in area with a temperature scan and documentation of the visit for GDPR-compliant contact tracing. After temperature measurement, registration and contact-free hand disinfection, the system gives the green light to lead the visitor to a previously selected and cleaned workplace. The distances between the workstations are designed appropriately and they are also separated by mobile room dividers.

With its mix of new technologies and a flexible spatial concept, “THE CORE by Bene” succeeds in creating an atmosphere where people feel good, can interact and stay safe. Focussing on “user experience”, Bene has developed and implemented this holistic and contemporary office landscape in collaboration with other experts such as Giulio Castegini from Drees & Sommer, Norman Kustos from neotares Consult and Iulia Patricia Manea from Holger Meyer Architektur. Because the world of work and the office environment are already in a state of flux, the concept will not lose its relevance, even after the pandemic.

“The office is a living organism that is constantly evolving and adapting to changing structures and the latest processes in a company or team”, explains Patricia Möckesch, Product & Innovation Ambassador at Bene.  “It is important to think about these plans and space concepts on a regular basis and make sure they are still serving their purpose.”

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