12 Facilities Management Tips for Collecting and Using Workplace Data
By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
Over the next five years, the office Internet of Things (IoT) market will grow to an astounding $57B on the heels of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2%. Safe to say, the age of digitally enabled offices is here. It’s easy to see why. The IoT quantifies physical workplace variables, turning them into digital data points that we can research, observe, and use in the pursuit of office optimization.
Looking for a few facilities management tips to get you there? You’ll need to tap into the power of the IoT first. It won’t be long until facility management strategy is heavily dependent on data gleaned from an office IoT network. Now’s the time to deploy data collection systems and learn how to utilize the analytics they provide. Here are 12 tips to get on the path to workplace optimization.
Tips for collecting data
How you collect data is as important as how you eventually use it. You need to implement reliable collection methods and develop funnels for useful data. Here are a few facilities management tips that revolve around data collection:
- Identify metrics: Before you start quantifying the workplace, figure out what elements are important to you. Are you measuring occupancy? Utilization? What’s your objective in gathering data and what metrics factor into measuring progress toward your goals?
- Trial equipment: Don’t throw money at an IoT investment because it has good reviews or incentivizes you to use it. There are hardware and software components to every data funnel—test and trial them before making a splash with your office IoT.
- Scale into the IoT: Start small and scale up. Taking the time to build a good data collection funnel saves you the hassle of reinventing the wheel with each new funnel you set up. Master the basics and scale into more robust data streams.
- Automate: The IoT and workplace data should make your workplace more efficient. Automation is a huge part of that. When building out your IoT, automate data collection and aggregation wherever possible. The goal is not to add more tasks.
- Develop an ecosystem: On the software side, leverage integrations wherever possible. Syncing everything through an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) or porting over data seamlessly between applications makes leveraging it easy.
- Be transparent: Employees will get nervous if sensors start showing up sporadically in their workplace. Be transparent in data collection initiatives and strive for data anonymity wherever possible.
Think of collecting data as a front-end process. This is where the bulk of the work comes from, and it’s crucial to establish proper data collection modes and means. The integrity of the data you get relies on how well you collect it.
How to use workplace data
Once you have data, it’s time to put it to work. Organizing and interpreting data are learned skills, which means investing time in learning how to apply a dataset to real concepts. Becoming fluent in data interpretation gives way to more confident facility management ideas. Here’s how:
- Aggregate data: Dumping all your workplace data into a single spreadsheet isn’t helpful. Break it out, delineate sources, and establish good reporting practices. Here again, an IWMS is a smart investment that can deliver dashboard views of unique data streams.
- Evaluate data: Learn how to dissect data. Establish mean, median, mode, and range for the data you’re looking at. Understand outliers. Learn to recognize trends and correlate them to physical events. Mastering data means spending a lot of time with it.
- Match data to KPIs: Remember those metrics you established for collecting data? Put them to work organizing data! Identify which data streams allude to specific metrics and observe that data through the lens of your objective for powerful insights.
- Generate reports: Establishing automated reports of data gives specific insight into the KPIs and trends most important to stakeholders. Best of all, different reports can quickly answer the questions of diverse stakeholders, from the CEO, to the COO, to the CFO.
- Identify real applications: What workplace trends does the data illuminate and what changes may improve those figures? Better still, what workplace demands aren’t currently met and how can you leverage data to make quantifiable improvements?
- Draw conclusions: Consider workplace improvement initiatives and look at data surrounding them. Using what you know from the data you’ve collected, establish a course for action, backed by fact.
There are two ways to use workplace data effectively. You can pour over datasets to identify trends, formulating improvement initiatives from that data. Alternatively, you can weigh existing ideas against data to determine if they’re worth pursuing. In either case, the answers lie within the data.
Data leads to a better workplace
Establishing a good foundation for data collection is the first step towards office optimization. Learning how to evaluate and leverage that data is the second half of the equation. Facility managers who can combine the two will become invaluable assets for companies concerned about workplace optimization. Establish these fundamentals today to coordinate the workplace of tomorrow.
Keep reading: How to Select Facility Management Software.