4 Reasons why digital tools like Archibus are the foundation of Return to Office & Workplace Management
Businesses and organizations everywhere are trying to get their teams back into the office in some fashion. Everyone has their own approach; everyone has their own mandates and requirements from employees. One thing we’re seeing as a constant across many of them is the need to integrate workplace technology to make the transition smoother for employees.
The employee experience and the workplace experience go hand in hand when talking about long-term, sustainable return to office strategy.
Supporting hybrid work and creating a flexible workplace requires workplace analytics and attention to detail in areas like space optimization. Companies like Horizant and Relogix specialize in providing the right technology for workplace data analysis.
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Here’s 4 reasons that digital tools are the foundation of hybrid work and how to leverage them in your workplace.
The Office is Changing (And is going to continue to)
The offices of 2019 and beyond are now a relic of the past. We likely won’t be seeing a return to fully in-person work again. As a result of this, outfitting modern offices to operate like modern offices requires workplace technology.
We’re seeing the rise of things like employee experience, office or desk booking, smart tech, and space optimization. Organizations looking to offer a flexible hybrid work experience supported long-term need tools like Archibus to align their goals and their practices.
In order to be effective long term and adjust to the fluid nature of the workplace, tools that allow for flexible workplaces are a must. Offering seamless mobile booking for meeting rooms or desks on different floors while seeing if coworkers are also in the office is one way to do this.
Schedule display addresses one of the core issues that employees have with hybrid work. Going into the office without knowing if their colleagues or friends will be there significantly impacts how the office is used. Being able to check if who is planning on being in the office & when means they can plan their own schedule accordingly.
Platforms that offer live occupancy readings benefit not only employees but facilities and space managers as well. Knowing how the office is being used, when, and by whom, means that the flexibility and fluidity of the office can be quantified. There are ways to do this that we’ll discuss later, and we’re seeing companies such as Relogix do just that with their workplace technology.
The best way to improve the workplace experience for employees is to have the data to make informed decisions to do so.
Data is King
In the age of flexible work environments, data from workplace analytics and workplace technology is going to be the backbone of decision making. Decisions about what direction to take hybrid work environments and how to properly outfit the office for employee experience should account for data.
With the flexibility and changing patterns of behavior that come with hybrid work, tracking these patterns with tools to see variations is an asset. As outlined in this Forbes article on successful hybrid work; knowing how and when work gets done can lead to more efficient operations. Simply mandating everyone back without data or tools in place to collect data and learn from it is simply short sighted in nature.
Data is being collected and has been collected over the course of the last 2-3 years on office occupancy already. According to Relogix in their 2022 benchmark report, pre-pandemic office space was already at 65%. 65% occupancy equates to 3.25 days in the office.
Further, data is also showing that while less space is being used, desk sharing is increasing, with Relogix finding rates of 2.75 people per private office and 3.82 people per desk is the normal occurrence now. Previously, in 2019, those rates were 1.67 and 1.73 people per office and desk.
So, what does this data mean? Why is it important? Knowing the patterns of use for desks and offices as well as overall space gives insight into how to manage space and make decisions in a hybrid office. But to collect this data, before space can be managed, sensors and other tracking technology with the right reporting solution should be integrated.
Sensors & Occupancy Tracking
One aspect of returning to the office that many organizations are seeing is knowing occupancy and space usage rates. With so much surplus space across portfolios now, being able to “right size” the office is critical. Knowing what the long-term data reflects and how people are using space is the best way to accomplish this.
Sensor technology is still relatively new, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective.
Combining wifi solutions with sensors gives workplace technology a wider reach as to the data it can collect. These solutions can collect anonymous data and track how long space is used for and when. While not tracking the exact person, they can track that this person is from x floor on the building.
While desk sensors show when someone is away from their desk, wall or ceiling mounted sensors can track how many people are using the space, and where in the space they are. This is the kind of technology that is necessary for “right sizing” a portfolio and actually knowing how a hybrid work environment is being used.
Data on space translates to data on leasing costs, which means opportunity to save money.
The Rise of Space Management
Space management is a core piece of not just hybrid work environments but overall portfolio management. With workplace technology that tracks occupancy as well as foot traffic, room or desk reservations, and inventory, an accurate picture of how your investment is performing is available.
Adapting the use of multiple workplace technologies gives access to data from different areas. With this, a more insightful picture of space use can be formed.
If right sizing or downsizing space is on the horizon, knowing when to do so is important. Making an informed decision around space is going to need data from every corner of the office. Knowing occupancy, desk use, room reservation, and behavioral patterns over time is the best way to do this, per the Relogix 2022 benchmark report.
With less people in the office and seating becoming more fluid, businesses and government departments are enlisting the help of these workplace technologies. Knowing how their space is being used not only can lower costs, but supporting a hybrid office is significantly easier and more impactful with the right data on space management.
Effective space management has led to the birth of coworking spaces in cities like Ottawa, where the Federal Government has enacted in-person flexible spaces for employees. These spaces fit the flexible needs of hybrid scheduling and offer room reservations, desk booking and social/collaborative spaces. Digital workplace solutions are also present in traditional office buildings with occupancy technology being the next area of integration on the priority list.
Not only has how we use the office changed, but how we support and outfit the office for long-term success has as well. Digital solutions, workplace technology, and workplace analytics are all paramount to the success of hybrid environments and employee experiences.
Providing the right tools to track changes over time, inform decisions surrounding the office, and keep hybrid offices running smoothly with desk and room booking features for employees.
Horizant specializes in integrating custom workplace tools that fit the needs of your hybrid workplace and support your office long-term. Visit our website to contact us for more information or a free consultation.