Understanding how to optimise your workspace in the post—lockdown era continues to be as challenging as it was to navigate the initial exodus from the office at the beginning of lockdown in March 2020. As we emerge from restrictions with a renewed focus and drive to flourish in the hybrid office, businesses need a foundation of workplace intelligence to make decisions, not only to reduce operational costs and carbon footprint, but to re-engage employees with their workspace and counterbalance the benefits and efficiencies of working from home.
Whilst data is all around us, we need to harness the insights that are appropriate to us as an employer, facilities manager, IT manager, or indeed anyone who is interested in maximising the benefits of their workspace and to understand employee habits and needs. This blog post will explore how UMAs workspace insights supports decision making within your organisation using real-time and historical data and analytics.
UMA provides a broad range of analytics, which are accessible to all users within its UMA Vision platform. Vision ensures that all users better understand their workplace and what helps employees to get their jobs done. We populate easy-to-understand visualisations with data from workplace sensors that monitor occupancy and environmental factors, as well as users’ interactions with our integrated applications to book and manage resources as well as scheduling meetings. Our intention is to provide you with data that is easy to understand: delivering actionable insights that you can use to improve your workplace and meet your workplace goals or objectives.
Occupancy Insights in UMA Vision
One of the biggest challenges of the hybrid workplace is understanding true occupancy levels in your office. Without real-time and historical data, understanding how your workspace is being occupied is anyone’s guess. Additionally, with more offices choosing hot desking (or hoteling) functionality, occupancy sensors are the most accurate way to gather precise and timely data on space utilisation.
By investing in IoT sensors, businesses can easily respond to the type and quantity of workspaces requested by users. Deploying occupancy sensors provides the capability to visualise both live and historical occupancy data, which is key to understanding user trends and preferences, as well as ensuring safe occupancy limits are maintained. In a modern office, people aren’t static. They move from zone to zone, floor to meeting room, kitchen to desk and it’s easy for some areas of a company’s real estate to go unnoticeably unused.
Using occupancy sensors with UMAs platform will allow you to identify these data points that may go unnoticed and would gather actionable insights and provide evidence to adjust workplace layouts, add zones, increase, or decrease desk space and meeting room capacity.
Furthermore, UMA will soon provide you with personalised reports or notifications straight to your inbox when occupancy is frequently meeting, missing, or exceeding pre-set levels so you can make impactful changes to your workspace quickly and based on facts.
Understanding Resource Usage in UMA Vision
Managing resources (whether they are meeting rooms, pods, quiet spaces, lockers, parking spaces, electric vehicle charge points or something else) is key to efficiency and productivity. Collaboration, for many, is one of the main reasons why office working remains central to hybrid working culture and it is at the heart of meeting room usage. Whether meetings are held face to face or with a mix of employees working from home it’s crucial that workplaces can provide the ‘right type’ of meeting room to foster productivity. UMA offers its users charts which examine metrics such as meeting room count by capacity, utilisation by booking/ad hoc, capacity versus average occupancy, and total bookings versus no shows.
UMA can also extrapolate occupancy data from existing workplace technology including video collaboration cameras such as Cisco Webex Room Device endpoints and the Jabra Panacast cameras.
These devices can already provide accurate people count data through intelligent facial recognition used in video calls and endpoint environmental data including temperature, humidity and also sound quality and ambient noise levels.
Is there a reason why the corner meeting room is always under-utilised? Is the room always fully booked? Is the room always far too hot and stuffy for employees to focus? Is the technology too difficult to use? Is the room only usually occupied by two people rather than six? Is it the only meeting room on the floor?
These essential data points can be obtained and analysed to optimise your meeting rooms to suit your employees or understand how to modify your workspace to better meet employees’ requirements.
Aside from the physical usage of resources in the workplace, employee behaviours are equally as important. A positive workplace and the opportunity to combine hybrid work are vital to the employee experience and formulates key drivers for recruitment and retention; understanding how and when employees book resources, as well as which resources, can be as telling as the actual booking.
Are employees booking a desk a week in advance and then not showing up (known as a ‘no show’ or ‘zombie’ or ‘ghost’ booking)? Are employees booking multiple desks, so they have a choice when they get to the office? Are we providing enough quiet workspace as well as a workspace that facilitates collaboration and innovation? Is the user behaviour a cultural issue that we need to overcome or is there insight we take from the trend analysis that we could act on; UMAs analytics can support pattern recognition and this will be further enhanced with the addition of machine learning to formulate predictions on issues like no shows so that decision-makers can action, prepare for and to better understand worker behaviour.
The future of analytics at UMA
UMA provides an analytics dashboard but also is flexible to allow the export of data to be used in other enterprise analytics tools that your business may use including Tableaux or PowerBI.
Alongside our dashboards which provide analytics and occupancy and environmental insights, we are working on automated and fully customisable reporting for our customers. We want to empower businesses with control of the insights that matter most and receive them straight in your inbox at regular intervals, or when a particular trigger is executed.
The use of machine learning will improve pattern recognition in your data driving impactful predictions about utilisation and occupancy levels within the workspace and powering automation tools.
Using occupancy and utilisation data can drive actionable insight to drive decisions about how your space can potentially be reduced or repurposed ensuring businesses adapt to the changing needs of the workforce and enabling organisations to identify cost-saving opportunities or new revenue streams such as leasing their underused workspace.
Our Facilities Management partners are already deriving benefits from analytics and using our technology to enhance their Total FM value propositions. For example, now organisations only have to clean the desks or rooms that have been used and can prioritise why spaces need the most attention.
Furthermore, the pattern analysis will drive improved FM services and empower FM teams to scale up or down their resources such as catering or security to meet the expected demand in terms of expected occupancy.
UMA Vision operates as a single pane of glass, providing historical and real-time insights for your integrated systems at any given time. Data and analytics provide actionable insights to drive workspace efficiencies and a better office experience for your employees. Insights are key in the decision-making process and UMA is driving forward with our desire for all users to understand the story that their workplace data is telling.
About the author
Abbey Hill is the Operations Manager at UMA and oversees UMA’s overall Customer Experience including UMA Care, our support service. Abbey has a keen interest in using data and business intelligence tools effectively to share insight and empower users to drive transformational changes within their organisation and make workplaces smarter, healthier and more productive.