Smart Office a new way of conceiving the workplace

Smart Office a new way of conceiving the workplace

30 Aug, 2022

The concept of office space has become more fluid, flexible and technological:
Smart Office. All over the world, due to the pandemic, people have set up home offices in kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and even backyards.
This new modality has led some companies to announce plans to maintain a new remote working paradigm indefinitely, some are implementing plans to return to the office, and others are putting together plans for a hybrid work schedule.

Regardless of trends, Manni Energy, through its IoT expertise and technologies, is able to make smart buildings and office spaces that will enable normal activities with safety, flexibility, efficiency, connectivity and comfort for an evolving workforce.

What will the offices of the future look like?

The pandemic brought with it great economic uncertainty, ushering in a new era for technology and the workplace of the future.

There are some aspects that may not “return to normal” once the threat of the coronavirus has passed:

  • Office buildings may become smaller because a higher percentage of employees will work remotely.
  • There will be a need to repurpose smart office space adapted to the needs of a hybrid workforce.
  • With employees doing more individual work at home, traditional offices will need to allocate work areas for meetings and collaboration.
  • Companies will need to increase connectivity and improve the overall office experience. 

Automated office optimisation with limited use during uncertain times

In a “post-pandemic” era, the timeline for achieving a semblance of normality is uncertain.

The coming months, if not years, will be crucial as companies decide how to proceed with a long-term plan for their workforce and physical office space.

Many office buildings are practically empty, others are only occasionally used and some, although occupied on a daily basis, have low occupancy.

In all cases, Maetrics smart office technology is aimed at reducing wasted resources to enable greater energy efficiency and cost savings.

Some of the technologies used by Manni Energy for office security and efficiency include:

  • Locks for automated doors

The use of automated smart locks allows the Maetrics system to deny access to specific areas or restrict sections of your building in use. This function can help you reduce utility costs in those areas that are not used while working with a smaller team of people.

  • IoT Sensors

IoT sensors can detect motion and occupancy and through the Maetrics system simplify the programming of devices to enable lights, control HVAC systems and activate pre-programmed energy-saving modes when no one is using the space.
In addition, the sensors at the entry points can be programmed to activate certain functions.

An entire building could be set in “sleep idle” mode until a person enters through a controlled access point, then activating a number of connected IoT devices to “wake up” and reactivate the necessary functions based on the amount of people.

  • Customisable IoT protocols and programmes

With Maetrics, administrator users can create customised protocols for various scenarios and situations. To increase efficiency, it is sufficient to create different modes such as empty, partial or full employment.

Each connected IoT device can be programmed differently according to each of these modes, enabling optimised building efficiency.

When the majority of the workforce operates remotely, building administrators should prioritise optimised solutions to reduce occupancy and achieve optimised efficiency.
When the workforce returns to the office, needs and priorities change, all in an automated and pre-set way.

The return to full office occupancy 

Some companies have been unable to implement an efficient remote work format and now that an economic recovery is underway, companies have called most employees back to the office.

Even for offices operating at their normal capacity, IoT technology solutions for smart offices are applied through Maetrics that can make the workplace safer and more efficient. 

Meeting/conference room scheduling

The Maetrics system interfaces with popular booking management applications and through interconnected IoT sensors will help simplify the use and operations of the office space.

In a smart office with automated scheduling programmes, staff know when rooms are available and when they were last used. 

Access systems and door locks

Maetrics through IoT access devices and automated locks make an office building safer and more secure and also allow keyless and contactless entry.

Many IoT access systems use biometrics to identify people and automatic doors, thus preventing unauthorised intruders and reducing the need for touch in a typically high-touch area.

Automation of High-Touch devices

Automatic doors can prevent the spread of germs on door knobs and handles, and with the increase in available IoT devices and devices, it is possible to create an almost completely contactless office environment.

By connecting and controlling intelligent lighting, HVAC controls, screens, blackout curtains and more through the Maetrics system, fewer people will touch various switches and surfaces.

Presence sensors and people counting

Leaders and managers can use occupancy sensors and people counting devices to maintain and monitor appropriate occupancy and traffic levels.

These IoT devices can help safe social distancing and prevent areas from becoming dangerously overcrowded.

While some companies have started to bring their workforce back to the office, others choose to adopt a remote or permanent hybrid solution. This change brings with it an increased need for smart office space.

Adaptation of office buildings for a fully remote or hybrid workforce

Global Workplace Analytics, a research-based consultancy, estimates that 56% of US workers have at least partially compatible remote work and many employers are adopting this remote model that allows employees to work from home full-time or part-time.

Hybrid workforces - situations in which team members divide their time between home and office - are a growing trend.

There are many ways to implement a plan for this, but the underlying belief is that office buildings will not be used as they once were.

IoT technology will transform the workplace of the future, enabling smart office spaces to better meet the needs of an evolving workforce:

  • Desk planning

To optimise the use of office space, modern workplaces can favour “floating” desks and desk scheduling systems so that employees can use any available workstation while in the office.

Maetrics through its interconnected IoT ecosystem can add customised configurations to a shared office space.

For instance, employees could create profiles in which their environmental preferences are stored.

When visiting the office for a day, employees simply activate their customised profile and the system automatically switches on the right lighting, screens, temperature settings, automated blinds and more.

Desk planning can also facilitate social distancing by preventing employees from using desks directly adjacent to a desk already in use.

Intelligent office planning makes it easy to schedule cleaning and sanitising and to mark desks as unavailable while they are in the queue for disinfection.

  • Improved meeting rooms

While the workplace of the future may have fewer personal workstations, smart buildings may have a greater need for collaborative spaces such as conference rooms, meeting spaces and other common areas.

Connected room schedulers make it easier to manage meeting rooms and help employers monitor their utilisation, and through Maetrics it is possible to create a comfortable, touch-friendly collaborative space.

  • Optimised entry points

Employers can schedule certain building services and activities, e.g. switching on the lights or turning on the air conditioning, to be activated when an employee uses a certain entrance.

Functionally sectioning a building through Maetrics reduces operational costs and allows for more efficient and scaled-down output when spaces are not occupied.

  • Intuitive orientation

If most workers work remotely, it will be important to implement intuitive wayfinding in the office space. With digital and customisable wayfinding through digital signage managed by Maetrics, employees will be able to find the resources and spaces they need.

  • What is wayfinding?

Wayfinding generally refers to signs and other devices that help people orient themselves within a space and move from one place to another.

Designing such directions is an important consideration for any space and designers can use IoT to improve the orientation experience in any building.

What are the advantages of Smart Buildings

The economic crisis due to the pandemic increased very quickly and companies already using smart building technology were able to react quickly because their spaces were agile.

The world is constantly changing and smart office technology puts employers in a position to adapt to future changes and improve office health and safety for employees.

Imagining the technology and workplace of the future

Workspaces as we know them today will not disappear completely, but they will certainly change.

Business leaders need to think about investing in technology that makes buildings smart, creating smart offices for their workforce, and keeping up with a new and evolving business model.

Manni Energy is ready to meet this challenge by offering the best IoT technologies.

Written by

Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group
Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group

Raffaele, Digital Marketing Expert of Manni Group, works in synergy with Isopan, gaining insight into the technical world of sandwich panels and keeping pace with the latest trends in the building industry. Thanks to his training in Architecture, he has a keen eye for online topics and activities involving designers and architects.

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