- Companies are struggling to obtain and utilize accurate workplace data, according to an Envoy workplace trends report shared with Facilities Dive. Envoy partnered with Hanover Research to poll over 1,100 company executives and workplace managers across five sectors.
- Eighty percent of executives would have approached return-to-office strategies differently if they had access to accurate data, the report found, highlighting the importance of proper workplace data for facility managers and building operators.
- A majority of respondents said that accurate and accessible data would make them better equipped to measure the success of workplace strategies, but stated data collection, organization and correction were key obstacles to their success.
For the most part, building managers and business leaders agree that the success of their workplaces depend on analytics, with 88% citing they have return-to-office policies in place.
The need for improved operational efficiency and accurate assessments of employee demands has driven a majority to rely on occupancy information, with 59% reporting that they have spent time aggregating workplace data from multiple sources. These sources include access control systems and sensors, with 31% noting that they save time by pulling pre-aggregated data from a single workplace platform. Only 7% said they use anecdotal feedback from employees.
“Getting accuracy is one of the biggest things that our customers are saying today, because the big issue is [that] people need to be more data-driven,” Larry Gadea, CEO and founder of Envoy, told Facilities Dive. “It’s very tough for companies to be able to justify hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars in real estate spend, if they are not data-driven these days. Every budget is getting cut everywhere.”
Respondents said they would benefit from more accurate and accessible data for a number of reasons. Seventy-three percent pointed to a need to be better equipped to measure the success of workplace strategies, 66% eyed improvements in layout or space management and 52% said they would be better positioned to plan daily on-site workplace services. Almost half said proper data reporting would help them make more informed real estate decisions (49%) and prepare them for safety audits (47%).
However, checking and verifying occupancy information is a key challenge for many managers and business executives. Sixty-seven percent cited duplicative and error-prone data as their biggest frustration. The second most common hurdle reported was manually pulling data from multiple sources (64%), followed by the time consumed in the process (64%) and contacting vendors for data (48%).
The report noted that, on average, it takes a day or longer for 48% of workplace managers to produce an accurate report of what is happening across various locations. The time needed to compile and verify that data is being compounded by employee doubts over tracking.
While 94% of companies track employee attendance, and 56% of executives believe that employees have “big concerns” with companies monitoring their attendance, only 33% of workplace managers believe tenant employees members find issues with this type of tracking. One possible reason is that executives are more attuned to employee sentiment and external feedback, which could limit workplace managers from hearing about and impacting worker sentiments, Envoy said in the report.
“I think people have problems. So there's an interesting disparity there, where the executives think a lot about it, but the office managers are not necessarily hearing about it as much, around the privacy issues,” Gadea said.