Optimised workspaces run on data. This is how employers can monitor space use without monitoring their employees.
With the increasing integration of personal devices in our lives, data is gaining power as a potential resource. Your personal data is abundant; if you’ve ever explored the location settings in your smartphone, you’ve probably noticed that there’s an incredibly accurate map of your journey through this world, down to the minute. From tailored search results to retail-oriented virtual assistants, our digital experience is based on data that we generate as users and that companies gather non-stop. Where we work is no different.
A survey conducted by Accenture and announced during the 2019 World Economic Forum, demonstrates that employers are collecting a growing amount of employee data. With rising sensitivity surrounding data privacy and protection rights, there is a large amount of risk involved for all parties. The survey revealed that 70% of business leaders are “not very confident” in how responsibly they’re using the workplace data they’re collecting, a statistic that came with understandable concern.
That concern reduces markedly when employers are transparent about what sort of data they’re collecting and why. A Gartner study found that just 30% of employees were comfortable with email monitoring in 2018 – when their employer explained why emails were being monitored, that figure rose beyond 50%.
Not all data collection is cause for alarm – some is mutually beneficial for everyone involved. Space usage optimisation is a critical factor in both cost-effective use of workspace, and tailoring that workspace to support its occupants. So, employers benefit from a workplace strategy that drives business success, and employees receive the wellbeing and productivity advantages of an optimised space. When companies explain how and why space usage data is collected, their employees understand the positive impact. The newest members of the workforce have even come to expect certain aspects of data collection.
There is a type of data collection that protects sensitive information while still providing the right kind of feedback for gains in workspace efficiency – it’s a best-of-both-worlds solution to part of the data collection problem. Developed by IT specialists at Scenariio, Smartengine intelligent lighting uses structured data cabling to unlock the potential of a truly customisable environment.
The system uses a network of sensors to pick up information regarding changes in temperature, light and motion, feeding power and data to and from all building services via a single cable. Sensitive information is not recorded, and data doesn’t move to the cloud unless users specifically wish to connect to it. Smartengine is a system so secure it’s used in data-sensitive environments like government buildings.
With the ability to live stream data collection in the form of heat maps and occupancy graphics, workplaces are using Smartengine intelligent lighting to monitor the way they use their space. An office is a major resource, but it’s also an ongoing investment; space isn’t cheap. That’s why the ability to understand which parts of an office are underutilised, and how those areas might be converted to productive workspace, is a very valuable advantage.
And the benefits don’t stop there. By picking up surrounding light levels, the Smartengine intelligent lighting system mimics sunlight, resulting in perfect circadian rhythms. These biological rhythms are an integral part of human wellbeing, influencing hormone production and cognitive function. The smart system also uses 90% less energy than traditional lighting installations, and can reduce other areas of energy expenditure (like HVAC) by 25%.
Data collection won’t be less sensitive any time soon, but there are ways that information can be collected without encroaching on anyone’s privacy. Monitoring the way people use space is a great example of the potential power of data – and how it can be collected in a responsible way. In Scenariio’s case, the solution is one that ensures a workplace performs for its owners and its occupants.