Workplace of the Future The smart office

Discussions about open windows, heated heaters and loud phone calls in the office cause stress. They could soon be a thing of the past. In Kaiserslautern research is carried out at the workplace of the future – including seat heating in the office chair and individual ventilation.

Workplace of the Future The smart office
Sabine Hoffmann is researching the workplace of the future. (Dpa)

Professor Sabine Hoffmann opens a glass door. Behind: a large office with eight desks:

“You’ll see a typical workspace here, and you’ll see the clean-desk principle, you’re tidy, and if you sit down on the chair, you’ll see that there are buttons on the left Heating function or a cooling function. ”

The back and seat of the office chair become warm. Another button press, and an integrated fan starts. Cooling air flows through the cushion.

Light, ventilation, temperature – all individually adjustable

But that’s not all. The desk is automatically height-adjustable. The office light next to it adjusts the brightness to daylight and a heat radiator under the table provides warm feet.

Sabine Hoffmann is researching at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the DFKI in Kaiserslautern, in the so-called Living Lab, what people need in offices to be comfortable. And if one asks DFKI employees, the following is true: The wish list for the “ideal office” is long:

“The office would look like I like to go, so that I can do my work well, yes, a good desk, good equipment, enough light, a good climate, that makes you feel really comfortable.” – “At the moment I am sitting in the large office with several colleagues, especially my colleague is usually cold, while we both sweat almost sweat, and the constant discussion about the warmth in the office is not nice then And there will also be more sound insulation at the site. ”

Hoffmann and her colleagues want to investigate exactly the same situations. And the “Living Lab” helps them. It can be used as a normal work space by students and lecturers. The only thing you need to do is specify how comfortable the light was, how the desk was set, whether you prefer a warm or cool office chair and how the noise level in the room was felt.

Uncomfortable workplace causes stress

The result of these interviews: Everyone likes something else. For Sabine Hoffmann this is exactly the decisive point! Everything in the office should be individually adjustable, she says. It may sound banal at first that researchers are thinking about something like room temperature in offices. But an uncomfortable workplace causes stress quickly, says Professor Andreas Dengel, the scientific director of the DFKI:

“In this sense, it is important for us to understand how I can deal with this stress, which has an impact on the use of information, but also on the presentation of information.”

Andreas Dengel conducts research in the area of ​​knowledge management at the Living Lab. He develops soft- and hardware that is designed to facilitate the office day and thus contribute to the well-being of the family:

“If one were to neglect all the aspects of transparency now, I can imagine that I have a system that teaches what I can do well, which I can not do well, and then goes back a bit. So to have an information butler, who actually acts as butler, that he knows more and more about me and can support me optimally. ”

Vision of the office of the future

Research at the DFKI is a vision of the office of the future: the workplace recognizes who is sitting at the desk. Fits the table height automatically, regulates the light, heats or cools the chair and dampens the noise level.

While the PC pre-dates appointments and automatically searches for complex topics on the Internet. The smart office. Does this ultimately make the employees more productive? Surely you can not say that, says Sabine Hoffmann, but:

“You can definitely make the reverse. Someone who does not feel comfortable will certainly work worse than the person who feels comfortable.”

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