As we all return to our offices, it’s essential to understand how our spaces are really being used.
I’ve talked about this in previous articles, in Improving Employee Experience for example, I looked at how companies who considerately develop their workspaces will not only provide benefits to their teams, but also step up productivity and ROI.
Workspace Analytics and Reporting - Guiding You
There have been many reports highlighting the benefits to employees and companies of a return to the office, however, for each company it is important to understand your own needs by gathering the data you need to guide future developments.
With general agreement that our workspaces need to change - this article will show how your own data can direct these changes.
1) Consider the proportion of your workforce who don’t have easy access to technology.
The first step is to understand what your business needs; what are you trying to address?
It could be you have more than one consideration, or objective, that isn’t unusual. Exploring the requirements of each of these will allow you to determine whether you can use the same data and analysis or will need to run these investigations separately. Understanding the goals is your first step.
For example, workplace analytics will support your investigations into:
Cost Savings and ROI
Here, identifying opportunities to reduce costs across your estate will be possible through understanding how space is currently used and could be used better or has been made redundant.
CSR and Sustainability
Maybe reducing your footprint or resource use is your aim.
If employee engagement is your motivation, understanding the requirements of your people and developing opportunities for collaboration, innovation, wellbeing and retention will be your priorities.
2) Consider Your Boundaries
There are a number of constraints which will dictate how you perform your investigation.
Timeframe When do you need the results of this investigation? Some objectives will require you to produce results very quickly, while other projects will require a longer study.
Stakeholders Who will benefit from the results of this work? Who’s help will you need? And, who will you need on-side for financial or strategic buy-in?
Budget The financial investment, as well as additional costs such as human resource, will need to be determined.
Workspace Assets When reviewing the use of your space it’s essential to be clear on the parameters of that space and exactly what it includes (e.g. desks, offices and meeting rooms).
Additionally, consideration needs to be made of the related resources and facilities necessary for this space - for example: location and accessibility, lighting, heating and temperature management, privacy, technology and catering.
3) Understand Your Dataset
Once you are clear on your goals and the area of your investigation you can set the criteria for the information you need.
Time Parameters Is the data you need available historically or will ongoing data collection be required, and how much information will you need to fully explore your concerns?
Measurements and Metrics
Definition of what you are measuring is essential - examples of this will be utilisation (or occupancy) and capacity. However, you’ll also be considering variables such as the type of space under investigation, the opportunities for its repurpose, and how any value of investments or cost-cutting will actually be seen.
To measure your impact you’ll have defined metrics to report such as average occupancy or duration of use, baselines, peaks and lows. You’ll likely also want to review the trends over time.
4) Set Targets and Plan
Reviewing your analytics and reports you’ll be able to set targets and create plans to reach your original objectives.
5) Ongoing Monitoring
Having established your recommendations, made the data available and set methods in place to review it, the next step is continued assessment.
While this may not be necessary for all developments, the majority of scenarios will require some confirmation of proof after change has been made as well as subsequent evaluation to ensure the original goals are maintained and - in fact - still relevant.
Making sure your workspace is working for you
As our workspaces and technology have become more sophisticated, the opportunities to improve and rework them have also increased.
Establishing more effective, efficient and engaging workspaces benefits organisations at every level - how will you ensure you’re doing the best for your business?
About the Author
I'm Terry Chana. I am an innovation strategist that connects customer, employee and brand experiences. My passion lies in building ecosystems to solve business problems by combining creativity and technology.