Using Workplace Data to Create Connected Communities

Life in a connected world produces a constant stream of data—from purchasing our morning coffee, to sending emails throughout the workday, to streaming music on our evening commutes home. This catalog of data provides a powerful tool. It codifies behavior, details how resources are (or are not) used, and supports analysis that can bring to light tacit information and trends. Activating the increasing ubiquity of workplace data opens new opportunities to add real value for employees and for the organization as a whole. 

Workplace data is being put to use by corporate service groups (such as Human Resources and IT) to provide a better employee experience and empower the businesses that are their customers. Smart environments can help improve professional networks, build healthier workplaces, and foster social connections between disparate employee groups. 

Spatializing human networks 

Any professional will tell you that their network of relationships is their single most valuable asset; however, the quality of this value is inherently difficult to measure and quantify. Informal interactions, social networking, and the regular flow of emails make up the heart of a professional network, yet there is almost no measurement of the quality of this foundational professional element, beyond subjective feedback and opinions. 

Gensler recently worked with a leading professional services firm, which took advantage of their move to a new building in order to tackle this challenge. A group of employees opted-in to wear Humanyze smart badges, which capture data on who is talking with whom, the frequency of their interactions, who is doing a majority of the talking, and even the tone of interactions. All data was anonymized to protect employee privacy, and a focused, individual report was given only to individual employees involved in the survey. 

Synthesis of the information collected provided insight into collaboration and delivery, teamwork and engagement, and diversity and inclusion. This allowed individuals to better understand the strengths—robust relationships, productive conversations—and weaknesses—time wasters, gaps in their network—and to respond accordingly.