How did you come up with the idea of the Connected Cube for the Office?
Since 2012, we’ve been interested in the energy performance of buildings. Our office is the 1st “energy-plus” building in Aquitaine. We even participated in the design of the building. And we’ve found that there’s no energy saving the building’s occupants’ participation. So, how do we engage the occupants? By focusing on what really matters to them: their comfort in their place of work. That’s how GreenMe was born. By improving their work environment, we foster staff’s engagement, creativity, and productivity.
How do you think that quality of life at work (QLW) is going to evolve over the upcoming decades?
QLW is going to become an increasingly important issue at the heart of “traditional” organisations who would like to change.
We can already see a shift in terms of recruitment, which is the foundation of the professional chain. Businesses attract future staff by focusing especially on all the “extra-professional” aspects that they can offer, and Quality of Life at Work is an important factor.
In France, where we tend to think in terms of expense rather than investment, or return on investment, we still need some time before decision makers really become aware of the magnitude of this phenomenon - which is not a simple fad but an important structural component of the businesses of tomorrow.
Furthermore, with the development of new ways of working (teleworking, open space, flexible office, etc.) the idea is to put staff in the best possible conditions. The potential for QLW measures is infinite by the constant evolution of the organisation of work itself.
How do you imagine the work environment of 2040?
It will depend on business organisation which, from my point of view, can be divided into two categories.
On the one hand there are “traditional” businesses of a considerable size, who carry out short-term changes (work space changes, ways of management, etc.) but who keep their classic “human” organisation with a well-established hierarchy. On the other hand, in the automotive industry for example, the trend is the dematerialisation of the organisation, their locations, and their hierarchies in order to shorten the chain of command. As a consequence, the work environment will depend on the desires of the worker (teleworking, shared spaces, etc.)
What advice would you give to a business that’s looking to launch a Quality of Work Life program?
To begin with, QLW (Quality of Life at Work) is in no way a fad but more a basis for the work of tomorrow. Consequently, the first steps should come from a genuine reflection which shouldn’t just concern a few people, but the whole business organisation.
Figures show that you can multiply your investment once the steps of QLW are put in place (1 euro invested will return between 2 and 5 euros). You have to be ready to “invest” in the long term and not see this opportunity as a one-off action - without considering the next day. What’s novel today will become the norm tomorrow.
Who are your clients?
All organisations wanting to put people and work conditions at the centre of their project.
Today they’re mainly businesses of a considerable size, who are already familiar with issues of QLW and of SER (Social and Environmental Responsibility), but in the future, all businesses who employ people could be concerned with these issues.
Before launching GreenMe, we did a lot of market research and we also met with almost fifty business chiefs, directors of heritage, human resources managers and consultants. Amongst them EDF, ERDF, Crédit Agricole, Nest, PG&E, Twitter, SteelCase, ST Microelectronics, Orange, Vinci, Oracle and Humanis.These exchanges, enriched by our own experience, allowed us to create the GreenMe service for those who need to analyse the quality of their work space, from the point of view of both the employer and the employees - who see it as a sign of recognition.
What’s also important is the fact that we chose a playful appearance for our cubes. As they were destined to be placed on desks and capture the general feeling of offices, it’s crucial that the people can adjust to them easily. Moreover, we always ask users to choose the colour of their cube.
Can we talk about the manufacture of your Connected Cubes?