Implementing workplace analytics is a process that requires careful planning and consideration. In our last blog about Workplace analytics, we discussed what it is, and showed a 6-step process for getting started with workplace analytics. In this blog, we will go through this process step-by-step:
- Identify the workplace strategy and business drivers
- Determine the measurement variables
- Select the right measurement devices
- Collect data and ensure data security and privacy
- Analyse the data
- Turn insights into actions
1. Identify the workplace strategy and business drivers
The start-off point and the goal of improving workplaces can differ immensely. Human resource managers and facility managers both deal with the same workplace but they look at it from quite different perspectives. The biggest split is between physical workplaces and people. Improving organisational performance through changing a physical workplace is a largely different process than starting off with the change of behaviour of the people who use it. But they’re both angles that are completely justifiable. Nevertheless, it requires different data, data collection, and has different outcomes. So at this stage, it’s already smart to take into account what you’re able to change and try to reach with the workplace analytics program.
Hard data vs. soft data
The split between a focus on the workplace and people strongly connects to hard data or soft data. In this other blog, we dive deep into the differences between hard data and soft data. But it basically means: Hard data is objective data and observable data (e.g. occupancy, room temperature, or wall colour) while soft data is subjective experiential data (e.g. workplace experience, perceived productivity, or happiness rating). Measuring the experience of people or the objective (use of) workplaces is quite a different start-off point, and leads to very different findings and actionables. So, determining the measurement variables is the next step in the process that will support you in the process.
2. Determine the measurement variables
As discussed, the goals of managing and improving workplaces can widely vary. For example, you can have the goal to reduce expenses, improve well-being, or improve work processes. Because of this, the data you want to collect and analyse varies widely. If you deal with data, you deal with variables. Variables are changing values collected by quantitative measurements through e.g. a sensor or survey. The table below shows several potential variables depending on different goals.
However, don’t forget that working on one variable might change the outcomes of another variable. For example, if you are trying to reduce expenses and cut in office space, this will affect well-being and work processes too. So one might decide to also analyse how workplace experience or productivity is affected when cutting in office space. Moreover, there are also other goals (like hygiene, safety, privacy, or design) that affect these goals and also have their own measurement variables attached to them.
|Goal||Reduce expenses||Well-being||Work processes|
Energy/real estate expenses
Space purpose and activities fit
Table 1. Examples of measurement variables based on optimising different workplace goals