Plenty in the news these times: attention to healthy vital employees. The new Work Place Vitality Hub (in short: WPVH) will soon be launched, located on the 2nd floor in HTCE85. A place where the partners Fontys, Imec, TNO, TU/e, Twice and HTCE collaborate with partners/participants from the business community and government in research and development of smart technological solutions to achieve a vital working environment (employees and healthy (er) buildings). A place where there will be plenty of experimentation in an open innovation system with concrete experiments and showcases in a prime location: the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. The aim is to make validated vitality solutions and the underlying technologies available to public and private parties in the region and beyond. Good for healthy satisfied employees, and good for companies for low absenteeism. Curious about the results or do you want to participate? Send a message.
Spacewell, located in hub Beta on the HTCE, is also continuously researching new digital solutions. They are specialized in smart buildings. Maarten Vincke and Steffi Piers tell more about it in an article this week in Bloovi. Read more!
Gone are the days when an office building was just four walls of offices. Our way of working is evolving, we're more flexible than ever — hello, work from home! — and our buildings as well. “In recent years, architects and project developers have increasingly taken into account that an office building must be able to evolve with a company. The spaces must be flexible and can be arranged differently according to the changing needs of the organization,” says Maarten Vyncke, account manager at Spacewell. “That is a good evolution, but in many buildings it also stops there.”
A pity, because nowadays you can get a lot more out of an office building than just that flexibility. “You can make a building work for you”, confirm Vyncke and his colleague Steffi Piers. And that goes a long way with Spacewell. From maintenance to organization of workspace or lunch: the systems they develop ensure efficiency throughout the building and in various areas.
For example, the facility manager no longer has to remember when it is time for the annual check of, say, the smoke detectors or fire extinguishers. “Our software automatically sends out a notification,” explains Piers. “It can go to someone from the internal maintenance department, or an external party that the company has appointed for that check. The maintenance of machines in a factory can also be properly arranged in this way. No one can forget, the notification is automatic, and the right person can immediately schedule maintenance. No manual time-consuming intermediate steps are needed anymore. It's just a much smoother way of working.”
Better use costs Kosten
Efficient and convenient, for sure. But there is more possible: employees can reserve their workplace or meeting room in advance via the Spacewell system. As a result, facility managers also see which places are or are not being used. “They can take action based on that data,” says Vyncke. If it turns out that entire rooms are hardly used or not used, then the heating may not need to be on there. Or even: can that extra space not be rented out to another company? “There are clearly profit opportunities for organizations here,” says Vyncke.
Employees can also easily indicate via the reservation form whether they will have lunch in the company restaurant, and which meal they would prefer. “If you share that data with your caterer, you ensure that they only have to provide the necessary food. No food waste due to meals that are not consumed and a serious saving for your company if you only order what is needed,” says Piers.
But not everything has to be a direct saving, sometimes using your costs better is also interesting. The data that Spacewell collects is quickly shared with external parties. The advantage? These parties can better tailor their services to the needs of the organization. “Take the cleaning crew now,” Piers quotes. “If you give those people insight into the workplaces that were used or not that day, they can adjust their work schedule accordingly,” she explains. “There should be no cleaning at a desk where no one has sat, eh.”
Working more efficiently, saving costs or making better use of costs: companies can therefore benefit a lot from smart technology. But perhaps the best advantage is that in this way an organization also creates a better working environment for employees. “Our sensor technology measures air quality, temperature and CO2 values,” says Vyncke. “You can literally make your building healthier by monitoring that data. But you also make people happy if they can choose and reserve their own workplace. To give another example: someone who gets cold easily can sit in an environment where it is warmer. Conversely, a warm-blooded soul can choose a place by the window, where it is usually a little cooler.”
The corona crisis and a smart building
We can't avoid it: "The corona crisis has shown how good it is to have a smart building," says Vyncke. “We have adapted existing technologies so that they respond perfectly to the current health crisis. Building managers can ensure that certain workplaces cannot be reserved, so that the distance rule is guaranteed. Or they receive a notification when, for example, there are too many people at the coffee machine. That way they can intervene quickly. People like to return to the office, but only if it is safe to do so. We guarantee that with our software.”
Feel at home
At Spacewell, they notice that the corona crisis is making more business leaders think about their office spaces. “Companies that are planning to move to a new building are now asking us if we can build worst case scenarios into the system. In the event of a next crisis, they want the office building to be ready for what is to come, so that people can continue to work safely and well,” says Piers.
But”, her colleague picks up: “this changing mindset was not only set in motion by corona. Over the past three years, it has been noticeable that companies are thinking more about how they can bring efficiency by using data on the one hand, and how they can give their employees more comfort on the other. They realize that a healthy and pleasant environment where an employee feels at home and happy is simply crucial.”
Companies realize that a healthy and pleasant environment where an employee feels at home and happy is simply crucial