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 Poor data is stopping firms from flexible working 


Flexible working because of poor data is stopping firms from using their office space, effectively. Many managers still rely on gut feeling or flawed systems to make important real estate decisions.

The rising popularity of agile working has seen many firms reorganise their workplaces to attract and retain the best people. Flexible working can also save money by cutting the amount of expensive real estate that firms own or rent.

Firms are falling at the first hurdle by failing to understand how they currently use their office space. That leads to “flexible” solutions that don’t work because they don’t offer enough of the right kinds of spaces or because they inflate or deflate the amount of real estate that an organisation actually needs.

The company recently published a report on emerging trends in occupancy management in 2019 listing unreliable methods being used to assess usage statistics. These included manual “clipboard” studies and video tracking of people coming into or leaving an office space. The former doesn’t allow for detailed analysis of work patterns while the latter doesn’t deliver data on individual desk use.

Infrared sensors mounted to the underside of work surfaces to detect presence, offers fast-track surveys using the technology to give managers in-depth data in four weeks.

Tony Booty, a Director of the company, says: “Unlike sensors attached to individuals or systems that rely on using employees’ phones, it is a non-invasive solution, making it easier to win staff approval.”

The data can be interrogated to give an accurate view of office use over different time periods. Once flexible working is implemented, the same technology can be used to generate a live floor plan. This allows staff to work flexibly by seeing where space to work is available and choosing different places to work within the office depending on what they are working on or just the mood that they are in.

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