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iBASX Smart Office Solutions – Municipality of Almelo

Housing concept 2.0: How insights from iBASX Smart Office Solutions formed the basis for the new housing concept of the Municipality of Almelo.

Schedule a meeting with Merlijn to hear what iBASX Smart Office Solutions can do for your organisation. Contact him via merlijn@ibasx.com

iBASX Smart Office Solutions – Municipality of Almelo

In 2019, the municipality of Almelo chose to implement iBASX Smart Office Solutions. The municipality, and in particular Diede Lohuis – Housing Advisor, wanted insight into the occupancy of the building. Diede has been responsible for Facility Affairs Building Management within the municipality since 2019. 

In order to generate data, the municipality started measuring occupancy by the use of sensors. Due to the pandemic and new measures, the municipality of Almelo decided to focus on implementing a new accommodation concept. A “flex concept” was introduced and employees started working 50/50 in the office and from home. But in order to get this right, the municipality used the reservation system of iBASX.

About the municipality of Almelo

The municipality of Almelo has over 72,000 inhabitants. The municipality of Almelo is responsible for the overall policy within the city. In total, the municipality has approximately 800 employees working in different buildings. The central office and main location of the municipality of Almelo is based in the city hall. 

After a complete renovation in 2014, the city hall has made room for 500 workplaces. In addition to the central office, there are six district offices with a total of 100 employees. These locations were completed just before the corona pandemic. The housing team within the municipality of Almelo is responsible for the municipality’s housing, projects and purchasing. Diede Lohuis is stationed at the city hall with the housing team.

Within the municipality of Almelo, the team is currently busy with a new project called: “Housing concept 2.0”, in response to the “new working” as a result of the pandemic. By looking, for example, at the added value of working from home, the municipality is better able to reconcile work and private life.

Challenge

In 2019, the municipality of Almelo started measuring occupancy with iBASX Smart Office Solutions. Several locations were disbanded over time and therefore the employees needed to be stationed in the city hall. This was the biggest challenge and raised several questions: “what is the occupancy of the building?”, “how much are the workstations actually used?”, “which workstations are not used?” and “why are they not used?”. In other words, how could the municipality of Almelo make optimal use of the space? Based on these insights, the municipality wanted to know where they could free up space if necessary. Hard data was needed to back up what their gut feeling was saying, namely that the building was never fully occupied. With this, the plan was to optimise the design and use of the working environment. For this reason, the municipality implemented iBASX. On the basis of sensor data, they were able to provide insight into the actual occupancy of the workstations within the office building.

A second challenge arose as a result of the pandemic and the associated measures. The “new way of working” changed a lot… The municipality of Almelo decided to focus on the implementation of a “housing concept 2.0”. For this reason, the municipality of Almelo introduced a “flexconcept”, and started a pilot where their employees worked in the office 50% of the time and at home 50% of the time. However, this also meant that there was a need for mapping where employees were located. To facilitate this, the municipality used the reservation system of iBASX.

Solution

In order to make the new housing concept a success, the municipality of Almelo chose to apply the iBASX software. On the one hand, iBASX mapped the occupation of the various workplaces. On the other hand, it looked at how the application of the reservation system would work within the municipality. 

Since 2019, the municipality of Almelo has insight into the occupancy of the building by the use of iBASX sensors. These sensors not only measure real-time occupancy or use of square metres but also enable the housing team to view historical occupancy data. This data can be read in a Business Intelligence (BI) tool. With these insights, it is easy to observe which days and times have a high occupancy rate. This is extremely valuable information for the Housing Advisor. 

iBASX also offers the possibility of reserving his/her own workplace for all employees within the municipality. This ensures that they have a workplace close to their colleagues, or a space where they can work without interruption (such as a concentration room). This is especially valuable when workspaces (because of demand) may be used for other purposes, such as a library or a meeting room. However, the reduction in workspaces does create the need for people to reserve a workspace when they come to the office.

When the decision was made in September to launch a new housing concept, employees were required to reserve their own workplaces, given the limited occupancy of 50% through the corona measures. Employees were also able to “check-in” themselves via iBASX. The building is large and many of the colleagues do not know each other or know where other colleagues are stationed. With iBASX, employees can easily reserve a seat next to their close colleagues. They can also easily find each other within the building and find out if their colleague is working at home. 

Privacy legislation

The municipality of Almelo is part of the public sector and therefore has the privacy legislation (AVG) in high regard. When the municipality implemented the sensors in 2019, this raised some questions among employees. In addition to measuring occupancy, they were concerned that the sensors would also record other things such as: are employees sitting at their workstations long enough? And are they working? The municipality was able to prevent this uncertainty among employees by sending internal communication messages such as newsletters. In these newsletters, further explanation was given about the fact that the sensors only measure whether a workstation is occupied or not, and do not register any other data.

However, employees could also see which employee had reserved which workstation via iBASX, this was not in line with privacy legislation and the municipality’s policy. “In cooperation with iBASX we were able to solve this,” says Diede Lohuis. At the request of the municipality of Almelo, an option was added to iBASX that allows people to choose whether their profile is visible to others. If not, you cannot be found and others cannot see who has reserved the workstation, only that it is occupied. This adjustment immediately solved the challenges faced by the municipality. 


"The nice thing about working with iBASX is that they listen to our wishes. We work together towards a common goal: improving the building with insights." - Diede Lohuis, Advisor Housing municipality Almelo

Result

iBASX mainly helped to make our assumptions transparent and concrete, and thus formed the basis for the new housing concept,” says Diede Lohuis, Housing Advisor for the municipality of Almelo. According to Diede, it is necessary to generate data before making decisions based on gut feelings. “An example is a renovation within the city hall. We’ve shut down some locations. Those employees must be stationed here in the city hall. Is there space, was the question. We can see this in the data. Some days it was busier here than others. That is valuable information for a housing advisor”. 

Since the iBASX software provides a good overview of the working environment, employees know where they can work when they are in the office. They can decide for themselves where they work within the office building and where they hold team meetings. However, the municipality still notices that people like to go to their regular workplaces. That’s where their colleagues are, and feels familiar. Diede goes on and says, “In addition, as an advisor you want your employees to be able to come to the office safely. For example, that 1.5 metres distance is maintained. In order to achieve this, no colours were visible on the reservation floor plan for workstations that could not be reserved.” 

“Having insight into your building. That is the main benefit. You get to know your building, know the workplaces. iBASX is a pleasant cooperation. My wishes are written down and sorted out. They are exchanged among themselves. If a workplace is not used, it’s a waste and that costs money. Every square metre costs money. Are you going to take those workstations away and use them for something else, like a meeting room? In this way, you create an optimal working environment where every square metre is used effectively”– Diede Lohuis, Housing Advisor for municipality Almelo

Are you, like the municipality of Almelo, in need of insights to support a new housing concept? Request a consultation through our website or mail us.

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