In this era of hybrid work, employees grapple with having too many choices. Socially-dictated workplace norms such as assigned seating, working from the office, and the 40-hour work week are being increasingly challenged.
Today, many companies are enabling employees to decide where, when and how they would like to work, whether it may be in a different city, or in a coworking space down the street. This newfound autonomy is rewarding to employees, but also comes with the challenge of decision fatigue before the work day even begins.
We sat down with Hunter Fleshood, Head of Sales at Comfy, to talk about what he calls the “cognitive load.” This term refers to a number of questions and decisions that CRE teams and employees grapple with every day.
For CRE teams, the cognitive load looks like:
Which teams should come into the office on which days?
Should we mandate office attendance?
What incentives are we going to implement to attract employees to the office?
How can we improve collaborative spaces in the office?
What career development resources should we provide to boost company culture?
Employees, on the other hand, are asking themselves:
Should I go into the office today?
Where will I work?
Do I need to reserve my desk in advance?
Should I carry my own lunch or buy something at the dining service?
These questions clutter the minds of CRE teams and employees alike, and provide friction to the employee experience before the work day even begins. The cognitive load is monumental.
Comfy is a SaaS software company with the mission to eliminate this cognitive load by creating a frictionless workplace experience. This experience includes the employees who occupy the workplace, as well as the people and the teams that design and operate them. Comfy’s mobile and desktop application provides workplace intelligence by capturing critical data from employees, spaces and systems to build business transparency, enhance the workplace experience and drive cost savings.
Common features of Comfy’s solution include:
Room and desk booking
Temperature and lighting control
Accessing on-site amenities such as fitness centers and dining services
Apart from creating a frictionless experience for employees, the data collected through employees’ interactions with Comfy’s app provides Corporate Real Estate teams feedback that shapes how the workplace is designed, what amenities are needed, where investments need to be made, and how to operate the office efficiently.
Hunter explains that over a decade ago, the nascent demand for employee comfort emerged in the form of environmental comfort. Employees wanted choice and control over the temperature levels and lighting in the office, which impacted their productivity in the workplace. As Comfy began serving this client base, it became increasingly apparent that there was a need to support more agile work environments. And soon after, Comfy’s desk and room booking software was introduced.
Since then, corporate workplaces have become much more amenity rich, and the need to attract and retain top talent has never been more urgent. The pandemic nudged Comfy’s solution to include a focus on safety, wellness and information, often in the form of thresholds for space use and corporate safety policies.
How VergeSense Augments Comfy’s Solution
If 8 employees attest that they plan to come into the office on Tuesday, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those 8 employees came into the office that day.
If they booked a conference room and a bay of individual desks using Comfy’s app, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those spaces ended up being occupied on the intended day.
Plans change, and employee behavior continues to change at an even more rapid pace with the newfound expectation of personal choice.
This is where VergeSense comes in.
From a space utilization perspective, Comfy’s app can inform you on which spaces are reserved and which are available. VergeSense deepens this information by offering insights regarding whether spaces are truly occupied. Just because a space is booked, that doesn’t mean that the booking was actually realized. Comfy leverages VergeSense’s spatial intelligence to determine if occupancy is detected when a space is reserved, which then allows unused spaces to be released for someone else to use.
50% of space utilization isn’t being tracked, and VergeSense is the only solution on the market that offers insight into this number by providing passive occupancy metrics. This is important to space planners and amenity providers when designing the workplace.
Hunter provides a witty analogy— “Comfy can tell you how many people are looking up the menu for the breakfast barista bar, but VergeSense can tell you how many people are waiting in line.”
Based on this, it is clear that Comfy and VergeSense together provide a more robust understanding of space use to provide employees with real-time visibility into the availability of rooms and desks. This is key in producing workplace comfort.
The Future of Work Starts With Employees
In essence, it is impossible to create an intelligent employee experience without data. Corporate Real Estate teams, HR, IT and Security Teams all crave insights to eliminate some of the uncertainty that continues to percolate into the workplace.
A key takeaway from our conversation with Hunter is that the employee experience must be at the heart of your workplace strategy in order for your office to be successful.
Start thinking outside of the four walls that you are leasing and instead think of how you can invest more in virtual collaboration tools, keeping your remote employees informed, and offering them the information that they need to know to be successful.
The future of work is founded on equity, and if your company is unable to provide equitable work experiences, it is likely that you will have trouble attracting and retaining talent.