Are you an executive or a leader looking to make better, more informed decisions for the future? If so, the key is turning data into actionable information and insights. Instead of simply collecting information and leaving it at that, why not use meaningful data to influence your strategy?
By leveraging workplace data in the right way, you’ll be able to gain competitive advantages over your competitors as well as unlock opportunities for growth that weren’t available before. In this blog post, we will discuss what workplace data intelligence looks like and how it can help leaders make smarter decisions.
Get ready for an inside look into how powerful workplace analytics is transforming everything from goal setting to decision-making.
What is Workplace Analytics?
Workplace analytics refers to tools and practices that make it easier to measure data about your workplace, assess progress toward organizational goals, and improve workforce outcomes.
With modern workplace analytics tools, HR and IT teams can identify trends across organizations and make data-driven, informed decisions about improving employee productivity, identifying opportunities to improve employee wellbeing, improving communication, prioritizing hiring and other personnel decisions, and more.
What are the Different Types of Workplace Analytics?
There are several types of workplace analytics data that can help organizations to improve their workplace and office space. Here are some of the most common types:
Space utilization data insights
This type of data measures how office space is being used, including occupancy rates, frequency of use, and the amount of space being used for different functions. It can help organizations to identify areas where space is being underutilized or where changes can be made to optimize the use of office space.
Environmental data insights
This type of data measures the physical environment of the workplace, including temperature, air quality, and lighting levels. It can help organizations to identify areas where improvements can be made to create a more comfortable and productive workplace.
Workplace design data insights
Get insights into the effectiveness of workplace design in supporting employee productivity, engagement, and collaboration. It can help organizations to identify areas where improvements can be made to the layout, furniture, and equipment of the workplace.
Employee engagement data insights
This type of data measures the level of engagement and satisfaction of employees, including feedback on the workplace environment, communication, and overall job satisfaction. It can help organizations to identify areas where improvements can be made to create a more engaged and motivated workforce.
Mobility data insights
How do employees move around the workplace? This kind of data includes things like the frequency and duration of meetings, the use of shared workspaces, and patterns of other forms of movement throughout the day. It can help organizations to optimize the design of the workplace to better support employee mobility and collaboration.
By analyzing these different types of workplace analytics data, organizations can gain actionable insights into how their workplace is being used, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies to optimize the use of office space and create a more productive and engaged workforce.
Why it’s Time to Invest in Workplace Analytics
The trend for knowledge workers post-COVID is toward hybrid work. The predictability that comes with fully remote or fully in-office work is gone.
Today’s workplaces are more flexible, with individual employees and teams largely deciding when they’ll work from the office and when they’ll work remotely with loose guidelines from the top.
The hybrid work model offers numerous benefits for companies and employees, such as improved productivity and employee performance, increased happiness, and improved health. But it comes with challenges for company leadership and HR teams, such as:
- Creating a workplace people want to come to, not one they feel forced into.
- Building workspaces that facilitate different types of work, from collaborative to individual.
- Keeping employees healthy.
- Tracking office occupancy and the correlations it has with business outcomes.
- Organizing spaces to accommodate a mix of in-office and at-home work
That’s where workplace analytics comes in.
How Workplace Analytics Benefit Your Entire Organization
Workplace analytics and the processes and tools that enable it typically fall under the HR umbrella. It’s true that HR is responsible for understanding employee trends in the workplace, but the business benefits of a strong workplace analytics practice are far-reaching.
Let’s look at how analytics can benefit your entire workforce.
Better Space Utilization
Workplace analytics can provide actionable insight into how your company is using your office space. It can help you track factors like occupancy rates by day, meeting room usage, desk usage, and overall space usage.
These metrics can show you if you need to change the layout of your office by creating new spaces, or if another space would better suit your teams.
Either way, workplace analytics can create cost savings by helping you right-size your space or finding ways to make the office more appealing so people want to use it.
Improved Scheduling and Collaboration
One of the key challenges HR leaders are facing today is hybrid work schedules. Individuals and teams that need to collaborate cross-functionally should be in the office at the same times, but if they’re left to make their own schedules, that may not be the case.
By analyzing the data to derive actionable insights around work patterns on a team-by-team basis, HR leaders can work with team leads to improve scheduling and ensure the right people are in the office on the right days. This can improve team dynamics, facilitate productive collaboration capabilities and in-office experiences through better understanding, and generate better outcomes.
Enhanced Employee Experience
Employee engagement and satisfaction data is a critical component of workplace analytics. By gathering feedback on these areas, HR leaders and workplace experience teams can identify areas for improvement and work with team leads and executives to address shortcomings.
This is especially critical as you build a hybrid workplace and incorporate different types of spaces and hybrid schedules. As everyone gets used to the new normal, it’s important to have a system for collecting feedback at all levels.
For example, do employees find the office too crowded? Do they need more spaces for collaborative or individual work? Workplace analytics will reveal what your company’s specific needs are.
As you gather more data over time, you’ll be able to track progress toward goals, whether they’re based on higher retention, productivity, or any other outcome.
How to Collect Workplace Data
One of the biggest obstacles HR and IT leaders face when trying to develop a mature workplace analytics program is that much of the data they need is either not being collected, or it’s scattered across individual point solutions. It’s hard to collect and make that data useful and compelling enough to make a business case for investing in the workplace experience.
A workplace analytics platform solves this by integrating with (or directly providing) tools that measure dozens, if not hundreds, of data points and present them in one easy-to-use dashboard. These platforms can also integrate with business intelligence tools that allow you to analyze workplace data alongside other data from other areas of your company, such as sales and finance. This makes it possible to gauge the impact of changes in the workplace on overall business performance.
Analyzing Workplace Data and Turning Data Insights into Action
With a hybrid-friendly workplace analytics platform in place, you’re ready to start analyzing workplace data and making chances based on your findings. Here’s how to turn your insights into action.
Understand the Metrics You Have Available
As we mentioned in our article about using workplace analytics to find inefficiencies, there are several key metrics that, when examined together, give you a complete picture of how employees are actually using your office space.
- Daily, weekly, or monthly office occupancy
- Office usage by department or team
- Meeting room usage
- Average meeting duration
- Meeting cancelation rates
- Meeting density
- Desk and office reservations
- Recaptured time
And that’s just for office space utilization. You can also have automated data collection pull in metrics like productivity, sales numbers, employee engagement and satisfaction, progress toward diversity goals, and more. Of course, gathering data is only part of the puzzle. You should be analyzing information in order to answer the right questions.
Know What Questions you Want to Ask and Answer
The purpose of collecting data is to be able to ask questions about your workplace and find answers in the data. The ability to ask questions about employee health and wellness, employee churn, return to office initiatives, and the impact of the office on productivity and get detailed, data-driven answers is the biggest advantage of workplace analytics.
For example, if you want to understand if office attendance is truly impacting productivity, you can analyze office usage by team and check it against their KPIs to see if in-office teams have better outcomes. Or if you want to see if new in-office wellness programs are drawing people to the office, you’ll have all the data already on hand to determine ROI.
Look for Lagging and Leading Indicators in Your Data Analysis
Leading indicators are predictive—they’re often inputs that don’t necessarily generate results directly, but lead to other results over time. Lagging indicators are usually some type of output or results.
For example, increasing office usage is a leading indicator. The resulting increased employee engagement is a lagging indicator.
Once you understand which leading indicators are connected to your desirable lagging indicators, you can make predictions using statistical models and draw meaningful conclusions. Here are a few examples:
- If you notice that office occupancy is declining, you’re able to predict a subsequent drop in collaboration and progress toward team goals. Instead, you can be proactive and reach out to employees and managers to understand why people aren’t coming in, and rectify whatever issue is causing it.
- If you notice that office occupancy is high during flu season, you can predict that the number of sick days taken will likely rise. The proactive measure could be to lower occupancy limits or require testing onsite as a condition of entry.
- If you notice that meeting rooms are being booked at a high rate, you’ll likely see a higher incidence of canceled meetings due to double bookings or lack of meeting room. You’ll be able to make the case for changes to the office to increase meeting room capacity.
Create a Culture of Transparency and Fairness
Employees will not appreciate decisions made on their behalf if they don’t understand why those decisions are being made. When people feel that decisions are arbitrary or made with the company's best interests in mind at their expense, you’re likely to run into friction.
One of the most unappreciated benefits of workplace analytics is that you can open up that data to everyone and explain why certain decisions were made.
Taking desks away for more collaborative space? Show them the data that led to that final decision here.
Increasing the required number of days in the office? Explain why using occupancy data.
Initiating new wellness programs? Show employees that you’re taking proactive measures to improve their experience by using the data.
Making Workplace Analytics Work
Hybrid workplaces can’t work without a foundation of workplace analytics that allow HR leaders to be adaptable to their teams’ needs. Whether you’re in the early stages of your return to office plans or you’re already in the thick of it, investing in workplace analytics software is essential. Deriving actionable insights from your workforce analytics tools can take your offices from good to great.