Workspace data collection and analysis is revolutionising the office, employee well-being and attracting the best staff

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This article is sponsored by Schneider Electric, helping keep employees engaged and satisfied.  »
  • Employee well-being, attracting a diverse workforce and productive agile workplaces are critical for winning companies.
  • To address the challenges of today’s competitive commercial office landscape, it’s incredibly useful to collect and analyse workplace data.
  • Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure technology, sensors and applications are being used to reduce energy costs, and create a more manageable, comfortable, responsive, employee-centric workplace.

New ways of working are increasing the demand for innovative and flexible work spaces.

Many staff are working from home or at client offices while their employer has a workstation sitting empty. With the cost of a single workstation in a Class A building between $15-25K a year, both companies and staff are coming to terms with how they can manage this new wave of change so that the workplace, when people are there, is a welcome one.

The agreed view is that a comfortable, responsive workplace helps reduce friction in the employee experience, which helps attract and retain the best talent while enhancing their productivity.

But how many workstations does the office need and how does the employer respond to staff who all have smart phones and want to be able to control their own space and environment?

The best way to start managing this is to gather data and transparent analysis.

Gavin McClelland, Digital Buildings National Manager with Schneider Electric, believes that the implementation of smart technology can have a sizeable impact on the everyday functionality of a business.

“What we are seeing are self-learning buildings that reduce building operating costs, maximise space efficiency and improve employee satisfaction,” he says.

“You have Internet of Things (IoT) enabled sensors that can then shut things down and start things up as people move through the building. So unused spaces aren’t lit and have minimal air-conditioning until someone enters. For well-being we have sensors that can detect and measure CO2 and volatile organic compounds which are common in closed spaces like buildings but can impact on wellbeing – like inducing tiredness.”

A key example of this is The Edge, a net-zero energy building in Amsterdam that uses Schneider Electric solutions to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the building.

In addition, the layer of sensors all over the building with AI analysis delivers to staff their preferred preset room conditions in any room, opens the garage door as their car approaches, or selects preferred music in their work space as they walk to it.

All after a coffee has been ordered while they enter the lift to the café.

According to McClelland, this is vital for effective company efficiency, productivity and happiness.

The technology involved is known as the Workplace Advisor suite, developed from Schneider Electric’s platform, EcoStruxure.

EcoStruxure uses IoT, connections to the cloud, and machine-learning to accumulate, analyse and manage large amounts of data including sites of energy use and performance of air-conditioning and lighting.

This can be automated together with hands-on intervention from office or facility managers using an insights dashboard on their iPad or desktop.

Workplace Advisor is presently offering three services such as occupancy analytics, well-being analytics and geolocation way finding with more services launching soon.

McLelland states:

“We are rolling this out into banks which have large numbers of people in high rent locations. Plus global services company Sodexo installed the solutions in their Asia Pacific head office and as a result gained a 20% reduction in energy consumption.”

So what is the benefit of all this?

Ultimately, the drive towards smart buildings is championed by the growing need to reduce employee dissatisfaction and lack of well-being.

In addition, investors, the C-Suite and employees are demanding more sustainable companies, organisations and facilities to address the need to decarbonise the world.

By creating the technology to facilitate this, companies like Schneider Electric are enabling companies to address their employees’ physical, professional and purpose driven needs – leading to an increase in retention.

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