How to optimize your workplace with sensors

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Sensors, like many other forms of technology, are growing in popularity across offices worldwide. These devices collect information pertaining to physical motion, which allows them to carry out programmed tasks through microprocessors.

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The reason and method a company chooses to implement sensors can have a profound impact on the results. It can be overwhelming to introduce this technology in your workplace.

So, where do you start?

This article takes a look at a few tips to consider when planning a sensor implementation strategy.

Why sensors?

Strategy Plus, a consulting and design firm, claims that offices are completely occupied only 42% of the time.

That’s a ton of wasted space, which is where sensors come in. These devices are designed to help optimize overall workplace function in a variety of ways.

There are several benefits to using sensors in the office, including:

  • Helping facilities managers make more effective decisions, resulting in increased efficiencies and cost-savings.
  • Making it easier for employees to book rooms and desks by being able to see what’s actually available.
  • Optimizing building automation systems, which can include HVAC, security, lighting, and more.

Let’s dive into each of those benefits a little further.

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Workplace usage data

Sensors collect data, like room and desk usage, and give facilities managers access in real time. This data can be used to optimize an office, increase efficiency, and impact the bottom line. By taking the human element out of the equation, you get the most accurate usage data every time.

There is no better way to collect building data than through using sensors. For example, with sensors, you know a room is being used because a sensor is telling you that room is occupied; not because Bob from the accounting department told you so.

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Improving the employee experience

Just as real-time data helps facilities managers, it also helps other employees.

With sensor data, reserving conference rooms, desks, and other spaces has never been easier, or more accurate.

A sensor that is placed at or under a desk can give an accurate read on whether that desk is being used. If the sensor determines that the desk in question is not being used, it can release that desk back into the system, which makes it available for others to book.

Sensors can help employees see what spaces are available based on presence detection, which is more reliable than expecting people to release rooms or spaces they no longer need.

This saves time, helps optimize space use, and eliminates employee miscommunication.

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Building automation systems

Sensors are essential in building automation systems, which can include HVAC, security, lighting, carbon dioxide, smoke control, and more.

This technology acts as the eyes of the building and provides the data that facilities managers need to optimize their buildings, which contributes to smart building systems.

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What should facilities managers consider when planning to implement sensors?

Integrating sensors into your workplace shouldn’t be something done without careful consideration. Facilities managers should consider the following when it comes to this technology:

  1. What is your goal with sensors? Or what are you hoping to achieve?
  2. What data are you interested in collecting?
  3. What problem(s) would a sensor system solve?

There’s a lot to think about when integrating technology like this into an office, so it’s imperative that you have a plan.

Let’s take a look at how workplace managers can approach this.

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Strategize your sensor roll-out

When it comes to implementing sensors, if you aren’t careful, you could end up making a costly mistake.

Staff members of various departments at The Daily Telegraph walked into the office one morning to find small sensors underneath their desks. The intention was to monitor how long employees are at their desks each day.

There was no warning to staff members who would be impacted and no communication about this plan to the broader employee base.

Employees were less than thrilled, and the uproar resulted in immediate uninstallation of the desk sensors.

What can we learn from this?

Starting small is a solid strategy. Begin at one location or area of your office to test the waters. If you start on a small scale and have a plan, you can gauge what works and what needs to be improved before you roll out an entire system. Also, it will allow employees to get a feel for how this technology will impact their experience at work.

The bottom line: going all-in right away without total certainty that sensors will a) solve the problem you want them to solve and b) integrate into your workplace, may result in a costly issue for your team to deal with.

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Communicate the sensor roll-out plan

In addition to introducing sensors to your workplace on a small scale, make sure you have a communication plan in place. No matter the technology, it’s essential to make sure all necessary departments are involved from the get-go and in the loop during the roll-out.

Make sure everyone is on the same page with not only how you plan on implementing the sensors, but why you want to use them in the first place. A pilot team may be best for this case.

It’s also important to communicate a change like this to employees in a way that is clear and timely. Not having everyone on the same page can result in miscommunication, which can have a negative impact on the company if matters aren’t addressed.

How you approach this will vary based on your company culture and communication style.

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Select a scalable sensor provider

If sensors are something you choose to roll out entirely within your workplace, make sure you select a system that will grow with your company.

Sensors can be a costly addition, so you want to make sure you opt for a provider that not only meets your needs now, but that can grow with your company in the future.

You also want to consider sensors that integrate with the systems you already have in place. For example, OfficeSpace integrates with some of the top sensor companies, like VergeSense and Senzo, to ensure you don’t miss a beat when it comes to introducing this new software into your office.

Picking a sensor that is easy to implement reduces friction among employees and existing workplace processes. You can maximize your software if all the programs you use to power your office are compatible.

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Sensors are an innovative way to collect accurate, insightful workplace data in real-time and can be of great value to facilities managers across industries.

Interested in learning more about how you can get the most out of sensors? Contact our team today and let’s get started.

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