Smart office: rethinking modern workspaces

A Smart office not only means remote working and flexible working hours but also a more conscious use of space and resources.

18/01/2022  |  Fantini Cosmi Reading time

One legacy of the recent past that is bound to remain is undoubtedly a reconfiguration of the way we work. Between flexible working hours, agile working and the renewed needs of companies and people, it is difficult to imagine a return to the use of space similar to what was done just over two years ago. With this in mind, it is necessary to rethink logistics, not only in terms of management but also in more practical terms. And so, in the wake of the smart home that many people are already used to, the concept of a  smart office is becoming more and more topical, in which space, but also resources, are managed with greater care, awareness and, why not, also with greater prudence.

What are the characteristics of a smart office?

In terms of user-friendliness, it is quite easy to determine what an intelligent office should look like: it should offer flexible access possibilities, provide both common areas and areas with more privacy, for example for phone calls, conference calls, etc., and ensure broadband connectivity for mobile devices such as tablets and computers, in the so-called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) mode.

From the point of view of space management and organisation, reconciling these seemingly simple requirements with efficient organisation and, above all, compliance with regulations is a considerable challenge. If the need to optimise costs is added to the equation, then detailed planning is required.  Let’s look at three of the main areas where action can be taken quickly and effectively.

Ensuring air exchange and ventilation

Beyond the health emergency aspects, the last two years have taught us a renewed focus on biological safety: people, in short, require increasingly healthy and safe working environments. In this context, controlled mechanical ventilation (CMV) is the most effective solution. It makes it possible to make up for the structural shortcomings of so-called natural ventilation which, particularly in the cold months, is often carried out inadequately.

Ventilation plays a key role from the point of view of health. For example, research in the renowned journal Nature revealed that proper ventilation is even more important than sanitising surfaces.

Products such as Rhinocomfort also offer dedicated solutions to sanitise the air of bacteria and pollutants through a process of photocatalysis.

CMV also ensures the second objective, cost optimisation, thanks to heat recovery systems that minimise heat loss, as is the case for example with the products in the Ecocomfort line.

Keeping costs down without sacrificing comfort

At a time when the cost of energy is rising considerably, intelligent cost management is even more important. However, this must not be at the expense of the quality of services and this is what distinguishes a smart office from the simple choice to economise indiscriminately. Room temperature management and lighting are two of the main items of expenditure (or savings opportunities, depending on your point of view). In addition to the already mentioned possibility of recovering heat, solutions borrowed from the Smart Home can also be used to reduce waste. For example, Wi-Fi  programmable thermostats let you quickly adjust the temperature via your smartphone, change the temperature control schedule and so on. Used in combination with multi-zone kits, they make it possible to create an intelligent and flexible air conditioning system that allows, for example, only those offices that are actually occupied on a day-to-day basis to be heated (or cooled). Many products are also designed to adapt existing spaces without the need for masonry work or particularly invasive interventions.

Finally, energy costs are also contained through lighting. If low-consumption solutions are already established and standardised, the possibility of introducing a set of smart controls is a further support to optimise expenditure. From the simplest motion sensors, which only light up areas when people and vehicles pass through, to ambient light detection systems, the trend is increasingly towards using every resource only when necessary and for as long as strictly necessary.


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