Elizabeth Dukes is a partner at Texas-based integrated workplace system provider iOffice. In her time working with companies to help them make their offices more productive and employee friendly she has gathered some great insight into how a building’s data can be used to create and continuously improve a healthy, happy working environment.
One of the things that she stressed during a presentation at a recent Propmodo event focused on the future of facilities management is that the first step is getting all the data into one place. Once data from various sources like IT, HVAC, occupancy and scheduling calendars gets put into a “single pane of glass,” then it can start to be a tool to help employees engage the workspace.
The idea of employee engagement can be done in a number of ways and can change depending on the worker and the workspace itself. Elizabeth has seen a number of different ways that companies have been able to use their data to empower their employees such as access to information like conference room schedules and after work activities. It can also be a great tool for wayfinding which is particularly important in offices that are adopting more of a “free range,” open working environment without designated desks.
The great thing about collecting important data, not only from the building but from the employees as well, is that it can provide a feedback loop that can drive continuous improvement. Elizabeth recognizes that just building a technology is not enough. It needs to be monitored so that it can inform positive change and determine new areas for growth. Her company’s IWS product is called Hummingbird because they see it as something that needs to hover over the top of the data rather than just plug in the APIs and walk away. She has a great example of one of her clients, medical supplier McKesson, going from seventy-eight disjointed information systems down to six. Once they did that they were able to pull out the critical data and translate that into a tool for their employees.
No two workplaces are the same just as no two employees use a workplace identically. To be able to have a positive benefit to employees, facilities managers must integrate their data, apply analytics and use their insights to continuously improve. We are just at the beginning of the employee empowerment movement and facilities professionals are uniquely positioned to embrace technology and lead the way.