“Hey, I don’t want to be data-driven”
– said no one ever.
But to look beyond the obvious, is to be courageous.
No one in their right mind would risk looking completely out to date and incompetent by declaring themselves allergic to data in 2023. But when no one is looking, when there are no likes to collect on social media, when the self-aggrandizing topics hold no real value, the real questions come.
Where do I start?
What are the main categories for workplace data?
Let’s start by roughing out the whole landscape. When it comes to the most important metrics, workplace data is thankfully not too compley. However, it can get quite confusing if one doesn’t have the two main categories clear in their mind:
UTILIZATION VS. OCCUPANCY
For years, these two terms have been thrown around indiscriminately (we’ve been guilty of it too). However, they are referring to two very different notions.
Utilization is a “blind” measure of the number of people present in a specified space over a defined period of time.
Occupancy is the count of the distinct people who have been identified as using the defined space over the period of time specified.
It is important to note that neither of these metrics should be used as a sole source of truth when consolidating floors or buildings. Instead, all metrics should be considered in conjunction with company policies and desired utilization targets to make informed decisions. Additionally, combining the utilization and people count metrics provides a more comprehensive understanding of building usage patterns. For example, if the average utilization is 30% and the average people count is 75%, it indicates that there is a high turnover of employees, meaning that the total number of people entering the building is twice as high as the number of people present at any given time.
N.B.: Most methods of measurement of space will only be able to report on one or the other category, exclusively. Wi-Fi measurement is the only method that is able to combine both categories (with limitations for example in meeting rooms that can be mitigated by combining datasets).
PEOPLE BEHAVIOR METRICS
Utilization and occupancy are “snapshot” metrics. These are the metrics you start your workplace investigations with – “do we have enough space? What space types do we need?”
But most of the time, these metrics will leave you unsatisfied. They may give you an idea whether your current space supply is met by a corresponding demand or not; scratching beyond that surface-level analysis requires more context. This is where people behavior metrics help workplace leaders, by helping them get more depth to their understanding of that demand.
An example of this depth: utilization will tell you whether a space has been occupied at least once during the day. Occupancy will tell you how many distinct people have been using that space during the day. Finally, behavior metrics will tell you how much time a “session” in that space is lasting on average. A “session” is a term derived from website analytics that is a group of user interactions with your website that take place within a given time frame.
People behavior metrics allow you to get closer to that “session” concept, by informing on the user interactions with the space.
What metrics do we find in the “Utilization” category?
|Average Utilization||The average recorded utilization levels over a defined time period.|
|Absolute Peak||The maximum recorded utilization levels over a defined time period.|
|Weekly Utilization||Average Utilization (%) and Absolute Peak (%) metrics by the day of week.|
The utilization metrics measure the number of people present in a building, floor, or zone at different times throughout the day. These utilization levels are then aggregated over a given time period to provide an overall metric, the average and peak utilizations. These metrics are useful for understanding usage patterns in a hot desk office environment, where employees do not have dedicated workstations. When using these metrics for building consolidation, it is important to consider the peak utilization in addition to the average, as the peak utilization provides insight into the building’s ability to accommodate employees at all times.
What metrics do we find in the “Occupancy” category?
|Distinct People||The number of distinct people counted over a defined time period. E.g. daily distinct people count would correspond to the total number of people that visited the office on a specific day.|
|Average Daily Distinct People||Average value of daily distinct people counts over a defined time period.|
|Max Daily Distinct People||Maximum value of daily distinct people counts over a defined time period.|
The people count metric describes the building usage as a count of the distinct people who were measured in the workplace at least once during the day. This metric is useful for offices with workstations that are not interchanged between employees during the day. For consolidation use cases, the people count metrics can be used as a “safety net” to ensure that employees have access to an exclusive workstation.
What metrics do we find in the “People behavior” category?
|Attendance Frequency||The average number of days people came into the office per week.|
|Time Spent by Space Type||The percentage distribution of time spent in desks, meeting rooms, collaborative spaces and other types of spaces.|
|Time Spent||The average number of hours spent at the office over a defined time period. Constantly connected devices have been excluded in this metric.|
|Entry and Leave Time||Percentage distribution of entry and leave events by time (hour).|
The people behavior metrics offer insights into habits and work culture displayed by employees working at a specific office or a group of buildings. These metrics include information on time-related behavior such as popular times to enter and leave the office, average time spent as well as frequency of visits. In addition, a deep dive is offered into the predominant work settings, whether there is a preference towards working in individual spaces such as desks or in collaborative areas. The insights on people behavior can be useful in order to implement policies and introduce office setups that promote collaboration and teamwork as well as ensure overall employee satisfaction and well-being.