New work: risk or opportunity?
A few weeks ago, I moderated our IoT workshop at the T-Systems Innovation Centre. As a keynote, the consulting company Eurocres gave us insights into the topic of “New Work” and showed analyses stating that we will need 30 to 50 % less office buildings in the future. There are several reasons for this: One major driver certainly is the current Corona pandemic, which has suddenly forced many companies to offer flexible working models and remote working to protect their employees from the virus. And this new way of working seems to work out fine, in some cases certainly better than expected. In future, it will be the mixture of home office and office work that will prevail, which means that office workplaces will have to be designed flexibly and demand-based.
The subject of flexible working environments is of course very important to us at EnOcean, because our technology is used to make office spaces as flexible as possible. Successful projects include the European Central Bank and The Squaire in Frankfurt am Main as well as the ADAC headquarters in Munich. But at the same time the following questions are inevitable: Is the transition that people are now working from home more often than from their office workplace a positive or negative one for us? Is it more of a warning shot for EnOcean that the market for new office buildings could collapse, or is it rather a confirmation for our versatile technology? Risk or opportunity?
Space will be used differently in new work
It’s worth looking in both directions: On the risky side, we can expect the number of new company buildings to fall. Remote working caused by the Corona pandemic is working out and is being positively received, if not welcomed, by a large number of employees. In my opinion, CEO’s are forced to deal with the questions of how best to manage the COVID-19 situation, where savings can be made, if necessary, or where it is worthwhile investing to realign business models. Adaptation to this new situation is inevitable. How can we cope with the changes in the world and how can we best position ourselves?
On the other hand, there is of course a wide range of tasks where working is more creative and productive together with colleagues in the office. So there is need for solutions that protect employees from the Corona virus at the workplace and in shared offices, that continue to motivate them and that support the new working environments. According to an article on the MIPIM World Blog, ventilation and air quality in rooms are among the factors that can improve health at the building level. Both can be easily measured with EnOcean sensors. And last but not least our technology is also used in smart homes…
Individual workplace versus open workspace
In the past, individual workplaces made up the majority of office space, while meeting rooms were mostly neglected. Now, however, the demand has changed entirely and it is the meeting rooms or rooms where difficult tasks are processed and creativity and cooperation are encouraged that are needed. EnOcean technology is perfectly suited to such flexible and demand-based use of space in both new and existing buildings. Together with Wago, Beckhoff, Phoenix Contact, Sauter and others, we have been implementing such projects for 15 years. Our maintenance-free, battery-free and wireless sensors do not require cable routing and can therefore be placed anywhere in the room. There are no limits to their flexibility. In existing buildings that use the latest Wi-Fi access points from Aruba, the same solutions can be implemented with minimal investment. All that is needed is an EnOcean USB stick plugged into the device. So any building equipped with EnOcean technology is ideally positioned for the new working environments and supports this change.
No doubt, we’re facing great challenges at the moment, but one thing we are currently realizing again is: No matter where the journey takes us, our technology is helpful in every respect. And with our long-standing partnerships, it’s becoming increasingly easy to implement our technology in buildings. We are happy about our partner ecosystem in the EnOcean Alliance and beyond, because now we can draw on the full potential.
Read more about the EnOcean technology and how it supports companies in the Corona pandemic and how it enables new work in our customer magazine Perpetuum.