Although different types of occupancy sensors have been used in offices in some form or fashion for decades now, more advanced technology is now enabling companies to optimize their workspaces, allow for activity based working and agile seating, as well as make more informed decisions regarding the infrastructure of their office spaces.
As the world begins returning to the office after over a year of primarily remote work, many organizations are rethinking the way they use their office space. When employees begin returning to the office it will most likely be with new hybrid needs and increasingly flexible expectations. Gone are the days where employees predictably clock in and out of the office at 9 and 5 each day and sit at the same desk all day. Instead, as the schedules and experiences of the modern employee evolves, companies who adapt and cater to these changing needs will succeed in the war for talent.
The bottom line is, sensors make for a more efficient use of office space and are better equipped to understand employee behavior than manual systems— including them in your office will make for a more optimized use of space, especially for organizations with a high rate of hybrid employees.
However popular sensors have grown to become, misconceptions about sensors are rampant. To set the record straight, we’ve debunked the top five myths.
Benefits of Utilizing Office Occupancy Sensors
Occupancy sensors provide companies with invaluable data they can use to right-size their real estate portfolio and make informed leasing decisions
Monitoring resource and space usage leads to the improvement of employee well-being by saving them time and headaches when searching for unoccupied work space.
Occupancy sensors can be used to optimize your room and desk booking systems, by improving their accuracy with real-time updates.
In terms of monitoring space usage, sensors are far less disruptive to employees than walkthroughs.
Sensors provide organizations with a deeper understanding of employee behavior, traffic patterns, and space utilization— allowing companies to redesign their workspace with intention.
One of the top concerns for employees regarding their employer’s decision to implement office sensors is the misconception that they are being watched. While smart office solutions like badging and wifi can track when individuals enter and exit buildings, VergeSense sensors do not capture any personally identifiable information.
Our sensors count occupancy in a given space at a given time (aggregating Os and 1s) and are far more invested in the use of the workplace as a whole, rather than tracking the precise movement of each individual occupant of the office. Employees can work and rest easy knowing that the sensors are designed with privacy in mind, with the intention to make sense of thousands of data points en masse daily, not in an effort to monitor individual movement.
VergeSense’s Commitment to Employee Privacy
VergeSense's technology uses a privacy by design approach. Our patented computer vision model is uniquely capable of processing ultra-low resolution imagery, ensuring the highest degree of accuracy while remaining 100% anonymous.
Workplace Analytics Sensors that incorporate privacy means:
People-counting, not people-tracking
Capture of personally identifiable information (PII) is not technically possible
Raw data captures are destroyed on devices
Metadata is based on an assigned SensorID number and not tied to any geographically identifiable information
On the contrary, when compared to manual, distracting walkthroughs, ceiling mounted sensors are an unobtrusive way to continuously gather people and occupancy data. Much like how employees don't think about smoke detectors in the office, they don't think about sensors (like VergeSense’s ceiling mounted sensors) and can go about their day as usual.
That said, work with your sensor provider to formulate a smooth and speedy one-time installation and develop internal communications to explain the use and data being collected for full transparency.
Myth #3: Walkthroughs and employee surveys are good enough.
While walkthroughs used to be an effective form of manual workspace usage monitoring, they are susceptible to human error in addition to taking up the actual physical time and presence of the person conducting the walkthrough. A common misconception is that walkthroughs are good enough at determining the use of space.
“The way employees are using the workplace is highly variable, unpredictable, and changing day-by-day, hour-by-hour, and minute-by-minute. The only way to capture that type of information is with occupancy sensors.”
Likewise, employee surveys which may be useful to capture qualitative, anecdotal feedback, are also flawed. As any good researcher will tell you, self-reported surveys have biases...and that’s assuming you can get an adequate response rate.
Ultimately, compared to sensors, walkthroughs and employee surveys fall short in terms of statistical accuracy and providing a holistic view of workplace movement. To truly optimize your real estate and create sustainable workplace structures that support your employees, sensors are the ideal way to keep a close (and accurate) eye on your employee behavior.