UNU-FLORES Flexible Office Concept for Resource Optimisation Awarded eku Future Prize for Environment

  • 2021/12/03     Dresden, Germany

    Image: Mouna Bourakkadi

    The Saxon State Ministry for Energy, Climate Protection, Environment and Agriculture (SMEKUL) awards UNU-FLORES the eku idee as part of the “eku Future Prize for Energy, Climate, Environment in Saxony” under the category Science. The project won a grant of 2,500 euros among a total of 193 entries submitted.

    Moving away from the conventional fixed office concept, the FLexible Office: Concept for RESource Optimisation (FLORES) seeks to make a significant shift from fixed desks assigned to each employee to spaces designed according to functions and needs. The proposed office design that would optimise space and resources to achieve sustainability in the workplace convinced the expert panel of the “eku Future Prize for Energy, Climate, Environment in Saxony”.

    Under the conventional setting, workspace is allocated to employees according to grouping along teams or based on desk availability. This hinders the flexibility of the use of space at any given hour or month – in the case of a researcher spending months away from their desks on their field studies. With the FLORES concept, the user experience in the new design is driven by the employees themselves – they choose their workstations based on their desired work environment for a specific task or project, for instance, at any given time.

    “When thinking about innovations to foster sustainability at the workplace – and as the pandemic has confirmed – we sensed that fixed workstations need not be a necessity for most functions at UNU-FLORES. By considering a range of factors from flexibility to resilience, from cooperation to wellbeing, from creativity to productivity, the FLORES concept sets into motion
    the Resource Nexus in organisational practice.”

    – Prof. Edeltraud Guenther, Director

    Image: Mouna Bourakkadi

    The proposed office concept for the UNU-FLORES offices at the World Trade Center Dresden takes into account the needs and activities of the employees to achieve an office design that improves employee satisfaction, promotes social interactions, and boosts productivity. Embracing the approach of participatory design, the concept is the outcome of inputs from members of the UNU-FLORES team themselves.

    “Through surveys and interviews, we better understood the needs of the most important stakeholder in the project: the employee. Having a cross-sectional view of the team across different functions ensures that as many diverse opinions are represented and eventually feed into the office design. Ultimately, everyone wants to work in a healthy and happy environment.”
    – Atiqah Fairuz Salleh, Chair of the Flexible Workspace Committee

    This year, SMEKUL announced a call for the “eku Future Prize for Energy, Climate, Environment in Saxony” for two categories: eku idee and eku erfolg. In the category eku idee, the Ministry invited local civil society actors, students, young professionals, municipalities, institutions, and others to submit ideas committed to biodiversity conservation, resource conservation, regional value creation, water revitalisation, energy efficiency, as well as climate protection and adaptation.

    Six factors, namely flexibility, social contact and personal well-being, resilience, greening, colour impact, and, last but not least, sustainability, underlie the proposed office design. The FLORES office concept thus seeks to create a successful solution for both human and physical office resources.