What is Coffee Badging & How is it Affecting the Workplace?

Come for the coffee, stay for the badge data?

employees coffee badging

How reluctance to return to the office skews spatial intelligence gathering

With many businesses taking a hybrid approach to working on site vs. at home, workplace productivity professionals are taking a harder look at badge data, the electronic details of when people clock in at the office. Every time someone taps or swipes their key card at work, that information is captured in a database somewhere. But what happens to this data? Are people looking at it? If so, what are they getting out of it? While badge data does provide some valuable data, it certainly fails to paint a complete picture of employee activity within the office environment. Let's delve into why badge access data, although useful, may not be as useful as you might think.

The rise of “coffee badging”

Despite the growth of return-to-office mandates, a majority of workers still resist coming into the office. So it’s not surprising to see a parallel rise in the phenomenon known as “coffee badging.” This practice sees employees scan badges, chat with a few co-workers over a cup of coffee, and then, when no one’s looking, sneak out and head home. They’re essentially breaking up their remote work routine with a short coffee break at the office in lieu of a full day on site. Any badge data you’re collecting in a hybrid work culture should take into account that employees may be gaming the system with badge scanning and the data can be incomplete at best.

What is Coffee Badging infographic?

Where does the time (and the staff) go?

Even if badge data was completely accurate, the truth is, it only scratches the surface. Sure, it tells us when employees enter the premises – and typically, only through the front door. What it doesn’t usually tell us is where they go afterwards. 

Are they headed to their workstation, a meeting room, or perhaps the kitchen? Without these crucial details, we're left with an incomplete understanding of employee behavior and space utilization. It's like having a GPS app that only tracks your starting point but ignores your entire journey.

Ask better questions, get better answers

So, how do we navigate these challenges? The key lies in integration. By combining badge data with complementary sources of information – such as Wi-Fi analytics data and room booking systems – we can get a fuller view of employee behavior and answer a variety of important space utilization questions: 

  • Pathways: What is the flow of traffic over time? 
  • Frequency: How often does a space get occupied?
  • Dwell time: How long do people stay in a space?
  • New vs. returning: How many visits are new? 
  • Team behavior: Which spaces do teams use? 

Answering these questions will lead to better decisions about how to maximize the utility of our existing office real estate. Whether it’s creating more meeting rooms, shortening booking time slots, or moving teams closer to their most used resources, you won’t know what the best way forward is until you get the right data.

InnerSpace Wi-Fi based technology offers industry-leading accuracy

employer viewing accurate space utilization data

Design for satisfaction and success

At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to create functional, inviting workplaces where employees actually want to be. By diving into the details of how teams use office spaces, we can create environments that foster collaboration, productivity and satisfaction. To succeed, we need to recognize that badge data, while useful, is just one piece of the puzzle. Let’s embrace a holistic approach to the data points we measure to keep designing and innovating workplaces that truly work for everyone. 

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