How to turn your office into a smart office
The revolution of sharing
The way we work is changing. Sharing is at the center of this revolution. Flex-, activity-based and the new way of working are keywords in the revolution of space sharing. Employees are given the power to choose when and where they work.
This freedom creates new sets of challenges as individuals with different needs and desires to share the newly liberated space. This is exactly where the importance of an office comes in. Technology is the icing on the cake to transform a well-designed office into a smart office and support activity-based working perfectly. But how do you go from an office to a smart office and what are the benefits?
Let's start with the elements of a smart office.
The elements of a smart office
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is the foundation of a smart office. With the Internet of Things, an office can talk. Sensors, Wi-Fi, beacons and other building-bound systems need to be connected to transfer information in the same language. This is where an API comes in. You can see this as a translator, or interpreter, that makes sure both parties are on track.
The perfect platform
Well, what do those things talk about? They basically exchange information. A sensor senses if there is someone sitting at a workplace, the booking system knows if a room was booked, the reception knows if a person has entered the building this morning. They all have different pieces of information about the office. The key is to combine this information, and this is exactly what a smart office does. Sophisticated technology platforms offer the possibility to integrate previously disparate systems, providing advanced knowledge-sharing capabilities. Applications are at the forefront of this new, personalized work experience made possible by such a smart office platform.
Optimise with office analytics
Combining the data is key. This way it all starts to make sense. Data that can be collected can help both employees and building owners. As an employee you can, for example, find a free desk, or available meeting room. But as a facility manager, you can make smart decisions about the office. If data shows a meeting room is never used and workplaces nearby are always full, how about turning that meeting room into a room with extra workplaces? Win!
How to smarten up your office
But how to go from here? Just randomly equipping your office with sensors won’t do the trick. Let’s get practical!
Start with the office
For activity-based working to work, you need to have a variety of different workplaces available. Think of phone booths, collaborative hubs and different types of meeting rooms. Then you have to equip those workplaces with sensors and start collecting data.
Embrace activity-based working
Equip your office with hardware
Pick the right way to collect data
Next, for the end-user
The next steps are to create a digital version of your office that employees can navigate in, combine all the data into one platform and give employees the tools – for example, an app – that can help them choose the right workplace at the right time, without wasting any.
Create a digital version of your office
Combine everything into one platform
Give employees the tools to get insight
The benefits of a smart office
Now that you know what it takes to make an office smart, there is a fair question to be asked: what do you gain from a smart office as a facility manager?
Support activity-based working
The transition towards activity-based working can be a challenge. This way of working is based on autonomy and the freedom to work where and when employees like. More freedom of choice equals a more personalised experience. However, research shows that more options can lead to unsatisfactory decision-making. So, let’s help employees to have a frictionless day where they are in charge, with the support of technology. Technology can make it easier to find a suitable workplace or meeting room.The benefits of a smart office
Attract and retain talent
In 2025, 75% of the employees will be millennials. To attract and retain them, a normal office just won’t do the trick. Millennials are tech-savvy, in need of autonomy and social interaction. If you want to attract them, you need a smart office. And the office is the perfect way of showing them how much you care about their wants and needs. Believing that employees will stay with a company, just because of salary, is just an illusion.This is how you win the war for talent
Optimise the office space
Optimising building usage is seen as the main driver behind smart offices. Sharing desks and equipment stimulates not only more interaction between employees, but it can also cut down costs at the same time. And not just by sharing facilities and space. Smart offices collect data, and data can show how the office is used, and tell you if spaces can be used more efficiently, or maybe not even at all. As a facility manager, you can then decide to scale up or scale down the office space.3 things facility managers need to know about data
Privacy and the smart office
You now know how to smarten up your office, along with the reasons why you should. But there is still an elephant in the room. Yes, we’re talking about the privacy debate. Will employees lose their privacy?
Of companies expect to monitor employee data, such as movement and workspace usage
Is Big Brother watching you?
Our CEO Sander Schutte and CTO Jasper Schuurmans sat down together with presenter Martine Hauwert in the radio show Let’s Talk Business to discuss the illusions around privacy and the smart office. Listen here in Dutch, read below in English.
Types of data
You can use data anonymously, to get more insight into the occupancy levels of the building. This helps facility managers adjust the needs of employees to space. But you also have personal data, data helps employees find each other within the office, to stimulate collaboration. This data can be collected by WiFi or iBeacons, and with it, we can determine the location of employees. But employees can opt-in and opt-out anytime!
Smart offices all around the world
So, luckily we don’t know what employees are doing, neither do we track them to send out reports. But what offices are already smart? Take a glance at some of our cases!
EDGE Olympic, the much-talked-about building in Zuid with a Platinum score on the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL), is leading a new generation of buildings for a new generation of workers – the famous millennials.EDGE Olympic
In response to the urgency of climate change, the ambition of ENGIE is to become the world leader in the zero-carbon transition ‘as a service’. ENGIE understands that in order to be truly sustainable, you need to involve your employees. One of their core values is ‘drive’, which contains continually seeking efficiency and innovation. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that their office in the Netherlands is a great example of that.ENGIE Bunnik
The mission for the new office of Danone is to incorporate their core values in the concept and design of the building and stimulating forward thinking by encouraging collaboration. The result? A brand new, state-of-the-art office building, located in Hoofddorp, Amsterdam, assisted by Mapiq.Danone
Of facility managers in the Netherlands will invest in smart technology in the upcoming five years.