In the article, Michael recognizes that balancing data collection with personal privacy will be critical to designing successful future workplaces. He also shares that, per Gartner research, “50 percent of 239 large corporations surveyed were using new observation methods (sensors, GPS, audio tracking, etc.) to understand employee behaviors” and that number was expected to grow to 80 percent in 2019.
How companies leverage this data is key and it presents “an opportunity for the design community to rethink the next decade. Through our work, we hear the concerns of both employers and staff, and we know the difference between helpful and extraneous data through design execution. This allows us to grow more confident in data tracking and sharing as valuable tools to create successful workplace environments.”
Michael’s full article is available in Contract’s digital issue. Here is an additional key excerpt:
Define Mutual Benefits
Designers can also build trust in data collection by helping all different organizational levels understand it should empower mutually beneficial outcomes. There are extensive examples of this, including:
- Zurich North America implemented an extensive workplace pilot and engagement process to inform its new headquarters. The resulting solution has increased employee satisfaction by more than 30 percent. This increased satisfaction leads to happier employees, stronger recruitment and retention, increased productivity and improved bottom-line results.
- After realizing a disparity in customer service center productivity, Bank of America equipped its teams with personal sensors packed into ID badges that could track social interactions, tone of voice and movement throughout the working day. The culled findings revealed that top-performing workers belonged to close-knit teams and caused the bank to schedule group breaks for workers, rather than solo ones – a minor change that has resulted in both increased staff satisfaction and productivity ever since; a quality of life impact.
- There are numerous examples of space utilization data helping companies strategically transform unused work zones into new amenity spaces (cafes, gyms, game rooms, spin classes, etc.) for staff. Recognizing underutilized space is an opportunity for both staff and leadership to benefit.