How technology and Inhouse’s Ergosense system helps office spaces work smarter.
COVID-19 and the sharp surge towards hybrid and work-from-home thinking has forced companies to reconsider what their office spaces look like and how they need to function. While laptops, smartphones, Zoom meetings and Dropbox have certainly shifted the work landscape dramatically, the need for colleagues to congregate effectively remains a priority for many industries. While work-from-home and hybrid setups look set to stay, the office has not fallen away and technology is helping to change the way it functions.
Created by Inhouse Creative Director, Aidan Hart together with industry colleague Leon Roodt, Ergosense is a customised system that is able to record accurate data which can be analysed and used in making informed decisions around office design. Discreet Ergosense receivers can be positioned throughout any office space and are able to track everything from traffic within spaces to indoor climates, air quality and even viral load in the air. Data can aggregate the movements of hundreds of employees and pre-empt where extra support may be needed – sharing where desks are open, where specific teams have congregated, and even where extra support may be required (if a bathroom has seen extra traffic in a day, for example).
In a recent project completed for Dimension Data, Inhouse was able to fashion the company’s new work environment around accurate data that recorded factors such as how many people are actually present in a space on an average day.
The Ergosense findings showed that small groups of two or three were consistently congregating for breakaway meetings in vast boardrooms – which are both valuable real estate and energy thieves. The solution was to include a number of smaller spaces and pods with varying degrees of privacy in the new Dimension Data HQ. Similarly, the insight that all employees work on laptops meant that fixed desking has evolved into more fluid solutions. “The days of an average of 12m2 located to each staff member have dwindled – nowadays we need around 4m2 for a space and its users to co-exist comfortably,” explains Aidan. The tangible results like cost savings for the client were top of mind, but Inhouse was equally conscious of creating a space that also focused on staff needs and office usage touchpoints throughout the day. “It’s great to know we have played a role in helping to develop this for our client, and that we have been able to combine our thirst for consistently seeking improvements in design efficiency using technology and data to show what is happening and where new thinking and responses need to be applied.