Two years into a pandemic, uncertainty is still the name of the game as COVID continues to wreak havoc on our routines and ability to plan. For businesses strategizing office space and new workstyles, it seems like a constant dance of two steps forward, one step back.
Around the globe, employees are burnt out. In fact, a recent study revealed that compared to 2020, more hybrid workers said their mental health worsened in 2021. Meanwhile, trust in governments and the media has sagged. According to Edelman’s latest Trust Barometer, 65 percent believe communication from their own employer rather than other sources.
With trust comes responsibility, and businesses must embrace that responsibility by leading with clarity, conviction – and technology.
In data we trust
Employees seek stability and certainty in their work environments. And a key source of that stability is quantitative data – trust in numbers.
Take workplace analytics and space utilization, for instance (our focus here at InnerSpace). Indoor location data can provide important behavioral insights about how people travel inside buildings and where busy spaces may be in real-time. For employees who want to maximize their efficiency and safety in the office, this knowledge is both empowering while providing unparalleled peace of mind – giving companies a leg up in attracting and retaining top talent.
For example: by using the popular times metric, employees can see how busy the office is expected to be at any particular day and time – and so decide when they want to visit the office, where to set up shop when they get there, and choose what rooms to book based on their needs. The same way someone could consult Google to determine the best time to visit the supermarket, so too can they now tailor their office visits to their personal preferences.
Similarly, density metrics streamed from WiFi-enabled workspace analytics platforms go beyond just measuring the number of people in a space to provide insight into whether collaboration zones are under or over-utilized, how hot-desking density compares to assigned seating density, where employees tend to congregate, and more.
Such insights not only provide valuable information now, they also help businesses strategize and formalize future plans rooted in facts. If employees can see first hand how their team, or their workstyle, will be supported in the months and years to come through layout adjustments and resource allocations, it goes a long way in building confidence, comfort – and trust.
Then there’s the softer side
In addition to proof points provided by quantitative data, how that information is communicated – transparently and empathetically – is equally important in building and maintaining employee trust.
With any change, employees should feel like they have a say in decisions that affect how and where they work. Hard data provides only part of the picture – how your staff prefers to work, what kind of work they find most fulfilling, and how you as an employer can best support them and uncover additional insights that will inform solid, thoughtful plans.
Consider an advisory board with employees from all levels of the company to gut-check any important workplace decisions.
Trust is the lynchpin in order to keep offices open and running efficiently with productive, motivated employees. An emphasis on internal communication dovetailed with leading edge space analytics will inform smart decisions that lead to profitable outcomes.