I’ve been talking with a number of larger companies recently about the technologies and HR issues surrounding their desire to want to track where their employees are. Their reasons range from security to productivity to space planning.
The ability to know where people are at all times feels like one of those “wouldn’t it be cool if” things that the world is heading towards… so close you can almost touch it.
Invariably, though, these discussions go around and around and end up in the same place: do we really want to go there?
But what if it turns out that what the facility managers, CFOs and workspace designers want to know about employee movement and activity is actually the exact same thing employees want to know for themselves?
It’s easy to get caught up discussions about things like colleague finding and contingency planning for emergency evacuations.
Yes, there are ways to know exactly where Joe and Cathy are at any given time. It’s do-able and quite useful to know.
When Joe checks-in to a huddle space, desk or room, we now know where Joe is… and Joe is presumably ok with that because he was the one who “signed in” to the room.
Beyond that, however, Joe probably doesn’t want his whereabouts tracked throughout the day where he’s not specifically putting his name on a space or resource for his own benefit.
What’s in it for me?
Creating more flexible, proactive and collaborative spaces for employees is one of the hot topics at the moment. What if a sensors primary visible function was to serve those purposes, giving employees information they can process for their own benefit?
Creating a smoother day where employees can find a quality space to work with the right equipment, reserving it online with desk booking software can then pave the way for corporate decision-makers to get some cool stuff too…like how many people are where and when – and maybe even why.
We know great space utilization pays off (see this case study).
Ultimately, being able to give management enough information about utilization to make seriously better informed decisions about the amount and quality of square footage the company needs is a huge leap forward… certainly a good “crawl” on the way to walking and running.
Employee Focus Provides Benefits
So maybe the best way to deal with Big Brother may be…not to.
Stop trying to track “who”, and start empowering everyone with useful, real-time data on how many, where, when and why, backed up by useful desk booking software. Even companies on small budgets can do this now.
What are you waiting for? Embrace your workspace.