Hot Desking & Desk Booking

Things to keep in mind when considering workplace sensors

Nick Mason
January 30th, 2018

Workplace sensors are changing everything. No longer are they simply a device used for security or to automate building temperatures—today, they’re employed to streamline operations, to enhance office-wide productivity and to understand patterns within the workplace.


New technologies have an inevitable impact on employees and daily operations, so let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of implementing sensors into a workplace.

Arguments for sensors

Automated lighting has a huge impact on energy usage and facility costs long-term. Installing sensors that detect motion can help control the lighting systems in an office and ensure that unnecessary energy is not spent on empty, unused rooms. Companies like Philips are taking the lighting revolution to the next level by creating connected lighting systems. These systems can monitor motion and share “data on occupancy, activity patterns and changes in temperature, humidity and daylight levels.”

Collecting this type of data is invaluable if you’re aiming to run a more environmentally friendly office and better understand employee collaboration. In fact, monitoring building and resource usage from a connected source offers benefits that extend beyond simply saving money—it’s now improving employee well-being.

Offering employees the chance to move desks often can increase collaboration and productivity, which makes for efficient space usage.

Hot desking has many benefits, and by introducing sensors to each desk space you can optimize your office for this offering.

Occupancy sensors and tracking devices in ID tags can track movement and location, ensure that your desk booking system is updated in real-time and help employees quickly and easily find an open space to spend their workday. Using sensors in combination with a desk booking tool will make for a seamless hot desking system in your office.

Arguments against sensors

While sensors can offer improved energy optimization and valuable insights via data, they will inevitably affect the working lives of your employees. Privacy concerns around sensors and space tracking devices are not uncommon. Employees may feel uncomfortable with the idea of having their every move tracked at work.

For this reason, transparency and open communication will play a big part in the successful integration of sensors at your workplace. It’s important to share with employees that the purpose of sensors is to enhance their in-office experience, and offer them a friendlier, more efficient space. Reiterate that the purpose of any information collected via sensors will be used to understand the big picture and analyze trends across the organization, rather than to hone in on individual productivity.

As with all new technologies, sensors come at a high cost. And while sensors are an investment that will ultimately save you in the long run, you’ll want to ensure that you’re investing smartly. Determine if you should start small and keep things simple to become familiar with the new technology. Ask yourself: are there certain areas of the office that would benefit most from automation? Do you employ a mobile workforce that uses hot desking daily? Are you more interested in collecting data related to employee behavior or energy usage? By using internal reports and analytics that are already in place, you can understand where sensors would fit best in your organization.

The Takeaway

There are many benefits to be gained from using sensors in the workplace, and as they continue to grow in popularity, it doesn’t seem farfetched to anticipate they will become the norm across innovative organizations. Therefore, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the features of workplace sensors now.

The key to implementing a sensor strategy is to ensure clear communication across your workforce so that you can highlight the value of this new technology for all employees.

Learn more about our Visual Directory—the perfect companion to workplace sensors.