“We have three pillars that build on each other and form the basis for our activities,” says Patrick Toifl, Regional Sales Manager, Bene. “The first is our research that delves deep into the changes that occur with the evolution of the workspace. This is reflected in our reports, Future of Work and Challenge the Future of Work. Next, we look at the effects of these changes on rooms and office space design, and which concepts will be in demand in the future. In other words, we implement the findings from our studies and document them in our Office Guide. The third pillar encompasses our manufacturing arm. Our products are based on the needs of the previously mentioned concepts, and are developed very much in line with the findings of our research.
Successes in the previous year
“The pandemic has significantly changed the way we at Bene perceive the office,” says Patrick “Uncertainty is increasing profoundly, both in our personal lives and our professional environment, and the future is less predictable.” The spread of remote working accelerated the digitalisation of organisations and brought about changes in the way we lead at a significantly faster pace than anticipated. Aspects like collaboration and interaction are becoming more visible again and will gain greater importance in the post-pandemic world of work. Remote working and the home office will remain relevant as an integral part of the office landscape, even after the pandemic. “At the same time, the pivotal role of the office is being reinforced,” he adds. “More than ever, the office is becoming the social hub of a company. In cooperation with experts, a unique prototype for working in accordance to COVID-19 was created, called The Core by Bene. The working world must now prepare itself for the return of employees in the best possible way, while observing all necessary hygiene and protective measures.”
This concept places the office at the physical core of the organisation, the heart of the company. Much like a port where people, ideas, and projects come together, this is a space where spontaneous social interaction (the seed for creativity, ideas and relationships) does not need to be organised. A space for collaborative and agile work where shared management and fluid leadership can evolve, as well as a space that transports the spirit and corporate identity of a company – the culture that forms the core of the company and unites the organisation at its heart.
“The Core by Bene makes it possible not only to work in a relaxed manner in a holistically designed and safe working environment, but also to find the right place for each activity,” says Patrick. “It helps us to keep learning every day. Thanks to a built-in sensor technology, we can regularly analyse the use of the spaces in order to determine which areas are particularly popular and which ones are not heavily frequented. This helps us to gain new ideas for the design of our clients’ spaces and to make changes to our own space to make it ever more efficient through adjustments. It also helps us to understand the actual needs of our clients and gives us the chance to test, together with our networking partners and customers, which requirements are relevant in the future.”
The next big success story to come out of the last year was the SMART OFFICE by Bene.
With the new wave of agile working and increased technology, this concept allows employees to reserve and book parking spots, workspaces and meeting rooms flexibly and easily via an app or the web. In addition, the solution offers many more options that can be individually configured according to customer requirements. The resulting user experience leads to increased productivity and an improved economic efficiency of the office space.
The recording of workplace utilisation, and desk tracking in particular, has received special attention due to COVID-19 and the resulting hygiene requirements in office buildings.
Since many companies have switched to open space and activity-based working, most workstations are no longer permanently assigned to a specific employee. SMART OFFICE by Bene therefore uses sensors and its own software to take measurements that record data on workplace utilisation, independent of the individual user. Improper uses can be identified, empty bookings prevented, and future space requirements determined. Thanks to the dashboards with their detailed needs analysis, as well as the data evaluation, all the spaces and places in the office can be planned much more precisely. This also improves the user experience. After all, SMART OFFICE by Bene is not only about the optimal utilization of office space, but above all about giving users an attractive experience in modern buildings.
“SMART OFFICE by Bene gives users a digital interaction point where they can plan their daily work routine via app or web,” says Patrick. Simple, fast and independent of location, at the touch of a button, the booking system shows which social distancing-compliant office spaces are available and when. It is also easy to reserve meeting rooms online. Parking management and locker reservations work just as simply via the app. In addition, food can be ordered and even paid for through the app, users can get information on the surroundings, display the nearest coffee station, get instructions on how to operate the media technology in the conference room they are currently using and enjoy many more functions. Indoor navigation, finding people and other exciting applications, including information on public transport, round out the digital service.
“While physical comfort remains an important aspect of office planning, functional and psychological comfort, user wellbeing, is becoming increasingly relevant. Office design today is based on a holistic approach and many companies regard this as a key driver of future oriented organisational development.”
– Patrick Toifl, Regional Sales Manager, Bene
What we can all look forward to in the future?
“We will present our new office guide and a new workspace consulting tool in the last quarter of the year,” says Patrick. “Since the pandemic, the journey to the ‘future of work’ has already begun, and while every company is at a different point, it is clear to everyone that standing still is not an option. Today we are no longer talking about the future of work as something that will happen in the future. Our thinking is more about how to work in the present, and on working together to create innovative solutions as a direct response to the challenges of today.”
As mentioned previously, the requirements for offices have changed massively in recent years. The year 2007 saw smartphones form the first threat to the office. Suddenly work could be carried out from anywhere. It became possible to work in places, such as cafés, airports and parks, and the mobile office became a part of our everyday working lives. The pandemic intensified this method, making the home office and remote working a key element of our work ecosystem. The early 21st century prioritised the physical comfort of employees in office design – the right lighting and accessibility, and a wide range of electrically adjustable desks and ergonomically designed swivel chairs.
“While physical comfort remains an important aspect of office planning, functional and psychological comfort, user wellbeing, is becoming increasingly relevant,” says Patrick. “Office design today is based on a holistic approach and many companies regard this as a key driver of future oriented organisational development. That is why we are working on new concepts and services to support our clients, and on furniture that fits into these environments.”
Bene will also be taking a leading role in responsible environmental management, which is currently being practiced throughout the company, from product development to procurement, production, distribution and product recycling.
“Bene regards ecological responsibility as central to sustainable corporate strategy,” says Patrick. The key environmental principles are Avoidance, Minimisation, Recycling and Disposal.
Next month, the brand will launch their first complete circular product family, elevating sustainability to a new level. “In this context we are going to use new types of biodegradable, recycled materials, and offer our customers a circular service model to avoid resource consumption.”
The Regional Team
Gina Birkhofer, Sales Manager
With almost 15 years’ experience in the Interior design industry across the Middle east, Gina arrived in office furniture by mistake. Today looking back, she can only admit that ‘happy accidents’ are the best ones. A hands-on extrovert, who loves being around people and claims that if this pandemic has taught her anything, it is to always appreciate the time you have with the people around you. “I usually enjoy a good hike in nature. I guess you could class me as an outdoorsy person.”
Yusra Ismail, Sales Manager
An Interior Architect by profession, Yusra loves anything to do with architecture and design, more specifically old structures. Having lived in the UAE for most of her life, she considers herself lucky to be surrounded by award winning buildings and spaces. “As an old school Dubaian with an African background, I have developed a keen interest in the different cultures from around the world, and the Middle East is the best place to experience that!”
Patrick Toifl, Regional Sales Manager
Born and raised in Austria, Patrick worked for Bene in its home market for five years before moving to Dubai. He is passionate about traveling to new places but his favourite location is a beautiful mountain lake in Austria after a challenging hike or mountain bike tour. “What not many people know about me is that I am actually a pretty good cook, but now that it’s out, I will most likely have to treat my team soon!”
14 October, 2021