This article distills key insights from Season 1, Episode 8 of True Understanding, a podcast that explores the strategies shaping workplaces of tomorrow.
Simon Davis is a leading expert in workplace strategy and design. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Simon has helped businesses of all sizes optimize their operations by leveraging innovative workplace solutions. As a guest on the VergeSense True Understanding Podcast, Simon shared his insights on the importance of accurate occupancy data in a post-pandemic world.
The Importance of Accurate Occupancy Data
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the way we live and work. With the emergence of new workplace norms and an increased focus on health and safety, businesses are looking for ways to adapt to the changes and optimize their operations. In this context, accurate occupancy data has become more critical than ever before. It’s about looking forward as opposed to backward. As Simon said it, “We need to think about the next generations as we think about the future of work. And I really hope we've done all of the backward-looking.”
Accurate occupancy data is essential for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps businesses optimize their operations. Simon explained that with accurate data, businesses can identify areas where resources are underutilized and make adjustments to improve efficiency. For example, if a company has an office space that is consistently underutilized, they may choose to downsize or reconfigure the space to better suit their needs.
Simon stated, “It's data, it's the right kind of data. It's technology that can take that information and make those things seamless, for example, for a system to proactively notify you when they see you’re at an impasse that you should be coming into space.”
Secondly, accurate occupancy data helps businesses ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. The pandemic has made it imperative for businesses to limit the number of people in a given space to prevent the spread of the virus. Accurate occupancy data helps businesses ensure that they are meeting occupancy limits and complying with local regulations.
Thirdly, accurate data helps businesses make informed decisions about their real estate portfolio. With accurate data, businesses can determine which locations are most heavily utilized and which are not. This information can help them make strategic decisions about which locations to maintain and which to dispose of.
Challenges in Gathering Accurate Occupancy Data
While accurate occupancy data is critical, gathering it can be challenging. There are several obstacles that businesses must overcome to obtain this caliber of information.
One of the primary challenges is the lack of standardized data collection methods. Many businesses rely on manual headcounts or outdated systems to track occupancy. These methods are prone to errors and can result in inaccurate data.
Another challenge is privacy concerns. Employees may be hesitant to use tracking devices or cameras in the workplace, and some may view these methods as intrusive. Businesses must find a way to collect data while respecting employee privacy.
Finally, data overload is a significant challenge. Businesses must ensure that the data they collect is useful and actionable. Too much data can be overwhelming and can make it difficult for businesses to identify key insights.
How to Overcome These Challenges
While there are challenges in gathering accurate occupancy data, there are several steps that businesses can take to overcome them.
Businesses must invest in modern occupancy tracking systems. These systems use advanced sensors and software to provide real-time data on occupancy levels. This data is more accurate and reliable than manual headcounts or outdated systems.
Next, organizations must prioritize employee privacy. They can do this by being transparent about the data they collect and how they use it. For example, they can provide clear explanations of the types of sensors they use and how they are installed, and what information they are collecting. They can explain the “why” these things are being used.
Businesses must ensure that the data they collect is useful and actionable. They can do this by focusing on key metrics and avoiding data overload. By prioritizing the most important data, businesses can gain valuable insights that can inform their operations.
The Future of Occupancy Data
In a post-pandemic world, occupancy data will continue to be essential. As businesses adapt to new workplace norms and prioritize health and safety, they will rely on accurate occupancy data to optimize their operations. With the emergence of advanced tracking systems and a growing focus on employee privacy, businesses are well-positioned to overcome the challenges and unlock the benefits of accurate occupancy data.
Listen to the full episode and other True Understanding episodes here: