Help, is anything still mine?
In traditional offices, you have your own desk with your personal items, but in an office based on the New Way of Working, you have a locker for storing your personal items.
The location of your locker depends largely on the organisational set-up. For organisations that are not very large, the reception area can be used to combine various functionalities. This creates a meeting place or hub for social contact within the organisation (see Trend 3 ‘The Personal Meeting Place’). One of the functionalities can be lockers for the storage of personal items. Visitors with, for example, luggage can of course also be assigned lockers (with a larger volume). Neutral storage lockers for visitors can usually be opened with ordinary keys. The temporary visitors’ badge that people are given can also be fitted with a transponder (smart card) for opening and closing lockers electronically. The key factor in this respect is how easy it is to set up and use the system. Visitors who come to the office relatively infrequently do not want to be bothered with learning complicated protocols to hang up their coat or leave their briefcase in safekeeping.
The HUB and the PUP
If the organisation is set up in such a way that clusters are created, it makes practical sense to include the lockers in the hub. This is where functionalities such as coffee/water dispensers, cloakroom, toilet, central copier, dynamic archive, library, facility-corner and lockers come together. Storage units can be freely addressable or allocated by name. If they are specifically assigned, they can incorporate pigeon holes for hard copy post. Some organisations also opt for a PUP (Pick-up-point) for (increasingly scarcer) hard-copy post and packages. The PUP is usually located by the reception desk in the central contact area. People are informed by text message that post has arrived for them.
Back to confidentiality
The more modern the level of organisation of the facility management, the more intelligent the access systems for all functionalities are. Efficiently working smart cards are an excellent solution in this respect and can be used for access control, the company canteen, lockers and copiers: the authorities and access levels are installed on the smart card.
It is hardly surprising that people sometimes do not know whether they are coming or going and cannot remember in which locker they have left their personal items. With the New Way of Working, they might not have been to the office for days. If the lockers are in a general space, it is advisable to have an indicator to tell you which locker you are using. Advanced locks can be fitted with a system that does this. I call it an ‘Alzheimer-light device’. By swiping a smart card over the locker, you can see which one contains your personal items. Anyone can forget something sometime, can’t they? And at the end of a busy day, you can use ‘a little help from your friends’. The space has to serve you and not the other way round.