Finding the value a workspace brings your people

Defining the workplace and finding a solution will be different depending on each individual business and its location. This is why data that shows how workspaces are actually used is vital to finding an effective solution.

“Locality matters,” said Stephen. “You can’t take a workplace standard and apply it across the globe when there are so many different offices and availability of resources.”

“Locality matters. You can’t take a workplace standard and apply it across the globe. Organisations must figure out what the purpose of their office is.

“There is a tension between senior leaders and employees, with the latter advocating for more freedom, whereas the former are saying you need to come to the office for a set number of days a week. Organisations must figure out what the purpose of their office is, especially when most employees are now so used to working from their homes. Why should they go in?

“For employees, it’s about experience. What are the central features they are looking for that’s balanced between what the employer is looking for? We all get tied up in this idea of ‘should I go to the office three days or two days’, but we haven’t solved the problem of what the office is actually for now and what value we get from going in.”

Data as the starting point for change

Intuitive Workspaces collects data from companies to help define their office. However, cold hard data on its own is not enough to achieve this.

“You have to make it make sense,” he explained. “We must bridge the gap between what technology sends us as data and what people achieve when they are using the space. The outcome is creating the best workplace, relative to how individuals are using it, and making that space the best for connection or productivity. Data is an important piece of this puzzle.”

James has learned that data is the starting point for change, enabling businesses to begin the negotiation process with employees.

“We can see how a space is living and working and this lets us have discussions with business leaders about change. We advocate that more data and information is shared with business leaders and users of the space, because it brings a real ‘ah ha’ moment – it’s the summary of why changes need to occur.”

Data on its own may not tell us the whole story – it’s the analysis of it, often through observation that does.

Stephen explained that MovePlan uses qualifying questionnaires to assist with data sets. “We want people to share their experience in the office today and what experience they want in the future,” he said, adding: “We have an example where data told us that a desk was utilised for 10 percent of the day. That doesn’t mean that the desk should be removed, it just helps tell a piece of the story of the workspace on an average day.”

When large scale transformations are happening, data helps to explain decisions.

Explaining this further, James said: “If we’re just looking at desk occupancy, if there are 100 desks and 100 of us arrive at the same time, and then we all get up at the same time to get a coffee, the graph will show that those desks were used for a few minutes. But they are actually at full occupancy because we’ve put our stuff there and we’re coming back.”

Finding a solution is where MovePlan’s change management experts come in.

Sometimes, simple, often overlooked solutions, can be very effective. However, he feels that employees often struggle to get on board with big changes, which is where more in-depth data analysis helps. “When large scale transformations are happening and people are asking ‘why are we going to halve the space?’ data helps to explain these decisions.”

Getting to the nitty gritty of what data is really telling us

Intuitive Workspaces collects data for eight to 12 weeks before it is used to achieve a business goal. “It’s about taking time to understand the behavioural side of office usage and then bringing that together with the data. In the beginning there’s a reluctance to share, but over time the journey evolves and a relationship is established. We don’t go to the levels of wanting to know who’s in the office though, it’s not about tracking individuals.”

Stephen works with his MovePlan clients to build trust first, by demonstrating they are collecting data for useful analysis and, importantly, it is being captured and stored ethically.

“People are often anxious about data collection. Often a physical presence while undertaking data collection can help show you aren’t doing anything surreptitiously.”

James agreed: “The more we share our findings, the more it assists and readies the change management process when MovePlan comes in.”

“On the frontline we’re constantly challenged about why decisions are being made,” with Stephen explaining that much of his role is about listening to employees about what is at the root cause of resistance and tension.

“Recently, we were brought in to work with a client that was looking for new ways of working. They weren’t basing their decisions on any data. Instead we listened to employees and gathered insight and information from them. From this and the subsequent analysis of the data we gathered, it turned out they weren’t worried about not having their own seat, they were worried about technology and connectivity. They wanted to work flexibly around the office, but they had to connect every single time and didn’t want this inconvenience. It was really getting down to the nitty gritty experience and saying this is the resistance, can we find a solution?

Gathering data is so important. It allows us to form concrete recommendations and show the client why. Data really helps understand why we have a workplace in the first place and helps define the purpose of the office.”

To find out more how data can help improve your workplace experience, email us as:

[Our] role is about listening to employees about what is at the root cause of resistance and tension - and finding a solution.