Addressing Data and Privacy Concerns with Sensor Technology

Employee data and privacy protection in a 3D illustration style.

Intelligent devices have upgraded the old workplace and improved areas like employee productivity, team collaboration, and even the management of office space. But with these updates, the discussion around data, privacy, and who has access to these types of information is also gaining more traction.

Where in the past, employees may have given their information (or did so unknowingly) to employers more freely, now, more than ever, this isn’t the case. Many existing and potential employees aren’t willing to overlook their privacy and give the go-ahead to any request for data anymore. This means companies will need to start thinking about how to potentially counteract employee concerns and distrust around their privacy being breached in the office before deploying certain smart office tools.

From items like smart thermostats to lighting and shading controls, as these devices track your employees throughout their workday and collect data, it’s critical to understand the privacy and security features of these products and the impact this will have on your workplace long-term.

Let’s take a moment to look at some of the concerns employees may have with smart technology in the workplace, the benefits they do offer, and why 4SITE is a valuable long-term solution in your workplace.

Tackling Employee Concerns with Smart Office Upgrades

Organizations are continuing to face near-constant changes at the moment. With this, employees have also had to adjust to different issues and how they interact with the workplace. Helping employees anticipate and understand upgrades in advance is crucial to the team's adoption.

Ahead of updating your tech solutions, communicate openly with teams about the purpose of the upgrades, when they should expect these solutions to be installed and in use, as well as where they can provide feedback throughout the process.

When employees understand an organization's goals and believe their feedback is valued, they are less likely to push back on adopting new technology and remain productive at work.

Benefits of Smart Office Technology

Although privacy is a concern for many, it is often unfounded when it comes to smart office devices like sensor technology in the office. These devices offer plenty of benefits for the workplace and employees themselves. Smart office solutions often give employees greater control over their environment, more control over their schedules and the way they communicate with their colleagues. Additionally, these solutions also support employees to become autonomous and independent with the way they work.

On the operational side, smart office technology can help reduce operating costs. Specific products like occupancy sensors can assist with conducting a space utilization study. The information from this study can support present and future decision making around commercial real estate likelease negotiations,whether to sublease, restructure leases, or expand your portfolio.

4SITE, a sensor-based workplace occupancy and utilization platform, assists organizations with measuring how their office is being used and the best areas to optimize. While other occupancy sensors on the market use cameras, ultrasonic waves, or even Bluetooth, 4SITE technology utilizes Passive infrared (PIR) sensors. These non-invasive motion-activated sensors are installed throughout the workplace and monitor occupancy by detecting movement as well as heat signatures while protecting your employees' privacy.

While they can sense things like if a huddle room, desk, or conference area was in use for a certain length of time, 4SITE’s occupancy sensors do not monitor employee productivity nor will a sensor know who used a specific asset. Instead, they help companies better understand how their employees want to work by identifying patterns in movement around an office space. Optimizing space to accommodate changing workflows to best meet evolving and personal preferences is a great benefit to the workforce.

Integrating Smart Office Solutions with 4SITE by CORT

One of the best ways to help your employees overcome their fear of smart technology and “big brother watching” is to choose office solutions that won’t compromise their trust in management. That's where 4SITE by CORT comes into play. Our system is transparent, doesn’t have cameras or microphones, and does not collect personal identifiable information (PII) on employees.

“Regarding addressing privacy and the ‘big brother’ pushback you may hear from employees and/or leadership, 4SITE is quite the opposite,” explained Leo Perez, 4SITE Enterprise Account Executive. “Unlike camera-based sensors or other tools which invade employee privacy, 4SITE sensors operate anonymously based on attributes or tags you assign each sensor. For example, if what you care about the most is how a specific department is using their current space and how to determine whether they are running out of room where they’re located, a ‘department tag’ can be the only identifier you can assign a sensor. Or if you want to measure if the new hotdesking stations you deployed while bringing teams back to the office are being utilized, you can tag “#hotdesk” for those sensors to inform you whether your employees are using those stations. But again, all of this work is done anonymously and protects your employees’ privacy.”

4SITE takes care of the heavy lifting by installing our occupancy sensors throughout your workplace in areas you want to measure. The sensors then send real-time data to a Cloud Hub via cellular service, thereby not requiring access to your network, where it's processed and stored. You can access that data through a web dashboard to print reports and gain valuable insights that can help you optimize your current office space, protect your workforce, and provide a bit of certainty with your decisions around questions like “should you stay, or should you go from your current office space?”

Additionally, our platform is app agnostic and the data we provide can integrate into any 3rd party solution like a reservation system or IWMS to provide more context around about your workplace.

Ready to get started with sensor technology that will capture actionable workspace utilization data? That's where 4SITE by CORT can help. Contact us today toset up a demoor to get started with transforming your workspace.