At the beginning of the year, many of us anticipated a mass migration back to the office by this point in the year but as we’re quickly approaching a new year and office spaces are remaining empty, employees and employers find themselves once again preparing for what their office environment may hold.
One thing is clear: when we all return to the office, we won’t be returning to the same workplace that was left behind. Using sensor technology in the workplace can help create a more productive workforce by making the office space a place where people want to work. Here are a few ways that it works.
Historically, to better understand space utilization, organizations would work with architects or other consultants to develop this information - making the idea of occupancy studies nothing new.
Employees would see someone manually compiling data throughout the workday by walking with a clipboard, checking how often they were sitting and how long they sat at workstations. Because employees knew when these studies were happening, it changed their behavior and would lead to creating insufficient data.
Technology like 4SITE accomplishes this same goal without disrupting your workflow or invading your employees' privacy.
Unlike badge and observational studies, studies done with sensor technology don't collect personal information. A sensor placed out of the way on a desk or conference room can't tell who is working there — just that the space is in use. It can also inform on things like “dwell-time” to provide information around how long a space remained empty before it was used again.
These insights can give organizations the data they need without negatively affecting the daily employee well-being in the workplace within their office space. Employees do not have to feel like big brother is watching while they’re carrying on with their normal tasks.
When you have a desirable workplace culture, you always have a more productive workforce. You attract and retain high-quality talent who enjoys what they do and who wants to show up and get things done each day.
Millennials currently make up the largest portion of the workforce, and studies have shown that more than 65% of workers in this age range will choose a job with a desirable company culture over a higher salary. A whopping 77% won't even apply for a job if they don't like the company culture or have a negative perception of it.
Other studies have shown that creating a work environment that sets your employees up for success is a huge part of company culture. A large part of that involves being able to easily optimize the workplace. These days, workers don't want to be part of a hierarchical culture that keeps employees separated from each other. They prefer to have a sense of control and have space to move, think, create, and collaborate. Instead of an entire floor of cubicles or private offices, they want options where they can engage and work as a team when necessary or work quietly and independently when they need to recharge.
Rather than guessing what employees want or attempting to pick up on their habits through surveys and observations, workplace sensor technology and data can passively collect this data in real-time where it can be accessed through your dashboard, to make decisions about your office layout.
Not only does sensor tech help you optimize your space, but it also helps increase mobility in the workplace, another important aspect of workplace culture. Mobility is currently a big issue for workers under age 45 as 70% say they crave more of it. They want to have choices. They want to be able to move around and find the right space to work each day. Some may be more introverted and gravitate to private offices as they work better independently. Some may spend most of their time in collaboration areas and meeting rooms as they work better as a team. The goal is to offer them the space to choose where they can be most productive.
Getting this concept right the first time can be easier said than done. The office is always evolving, and what's good today may not be the best option for your team a year down the road. At 4SITE, we call this being Permanently Flexible™. It starts with your willingness to experiment to meet the needs of your team. Next, you add our sensors to your office to measure the amount of space that is and is not being used. Once you have an idea, you can modify the space through different layouts and furniture configurations using CORT’s Furniture-as-a-Service (FaaS)™ model. Then, you can repeat these steps as necessary without wasting time and money on inaccurate occupancy studies or investing in furniture you may not need later.
Finally, sensor technology can help you create a workspace that is safe and healthy, both for your employees and the planet. In this post-pandemic world, many people are hesitant to return to their old habits. Some are still wary of being in public spaces and rightfully so. You can help ease those fears by creating a healthy space to which they can return.
Sensors can help you determine when a person leaves a desk or conference room so that you can send your cleaning crew in to disinfect. It can help you set social distancing guidelines so that you can reconfigure your office space for those who are not fully comfortable with being close to one another. And if someone does get sick, you can use it as a non-invasive source for contact tracing.
Creating a meaningful, flexible, experience in the workplace without disrupting workflow is a goal for leaders across every industry. The data found with 4SITE space utilization technology and sensors can be used to optimize space and increase mobility in a way that encourages a more positive company culture.
Sensor technology and data helps you meet the changing goals of remote and hybrid workers while catering to those who work in the office full-time. It also helps meet other organizational goals like surrounding your real estate footprint and lease expiration.
All of this adds up to a better overall experience for your workers, and happy workers are productive workers. Give us a call today to learn more about sensor technology and what it can do for you or to set up a demo.