Workplace analytics 101: What it is and why you need it

Feb 21, 2024
Kickstart your journey to a more efficient and productive office with our intro to workplace analytics. Here's how to start working smarter, not harder.
Tiffany Fowell
Content Marketing Manager

Do you have the data to make informed decisions about your workplace? A recent study found that 53% of organizations don't. If you’re a workplace manager with no data, it can feel like trying to map your way to a destination with no clue where your starting point is. Having an accurate way to measure how many employees are using your space, when they typically come in, and their work preferences is crucial to improving your workplace—both from an efficiency standpoint and for a better employee experience. 

In this blog, we’ll introduce you to the basics of workplace analytics and how to get started. We’ll cover:

  • What is workplace analytics and why is it important?
  • Examples of workplace analytics
  • 4 questions to consider when looking for workplace analytics software

What is workplace analytics?

Workplace analytics is a set of tools and dashboards that measure key workplace metrics, including space usage, employee attendance, and visitor volume. With access to these analytics, you can glean important insights to make more cost-effective decisions to optimize your space. To name a few, you can assess real estate needs, make smarter staffing decisions, and improve the onsite experience. Let’s dive into all of the benefits of workplace analytics below.

The benefits of workplace analytics

You may be thinking: do I really need another tool to manage? The answer is: yes—but the beauty of having workplace analytics at your fingertips is that it can simplify your work. By choosing a centralized workplace platform that integrates with your existing tools, you get a full view of how folks use your space and reap all of the benefits below.

  • Increased efficiency: Without data, optimizing the workplace is a slow, difficult process with tons of guesswork. With data, you see a clear picture of how people use the workplace and can quickly improve it. Even better: your employees will benefit. With the workplace optimized to meet their needs, they can be more productive and efficient while onsite.
  • Improved decision-making: You probably oversee many workplace projects—return-to-office policies, onsite programs, internal communications, and the list goes on. With workplace analytics, you can make decisions to support those projects confidently because you have data to back you up. Need to know how much food to order throughout the week? No problem. You can see employee and visitor attendance by day. Not sure how to reorganize your space? Easy. You can look at space usage data to see what types of space your employees need most, such as investing in larger meeting rooms versus individual workspaces.
  • A safer workplace: Having insight into who’s onsite, when, and what parts of the workplace they need access to can help you identify gaps in your organization’s security and emergency response. You can use this data to make smarter staffing decisions, and improve your visitor policies and sign-in procedures to ensure your workplace—and people—are safe.  
  • More employee productivity: You can empower your employees to work productively onsite by designing the workplace to support their different working needs. For example, workplace analytics can help you see which days of the week the workplace are busiest and adjust your spaces and resourcing needs for onsite collaboration, casual hangouts, or heads-down work. For example, you’ll have the right number of meeting rooms with the necessary A/V equipment and catering, a well-stocked snack kitchen that minimizes waste, and cleaning services that are optimized to when people are actually onsite. 

Better employee and visitor experience: Creating a great workplace experience starts with preparation. With workplace analytics, you can see how many employees and visitors plan to be onsite on any given day. With this information, you can create a top-notch workplace experience for employees and visitors. For employees, you can make sure there are enough amenities to go around, the space is optimally organized, and that your team is adequately staffed. For visitors, you can ensure anyone coming onsite is welcomed and that their host is available to meet them upon check-in.

Examples of workplace analytics

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of workplace analytics, let’s explore what you can measure with these tools in hand.

Employee attendance: This data gives you insight into how many employees will be onsite on a given day and how attendance fluctuates throughout the workweek.

  • Why it matters: Analyzing attendance trends helps you plan ahead for catering, events, and collaboration between coworkers. It also gives you a picture of return-to-office trends so you can report to your executive team and prepare your space accordingly.

Visitor foot traffic: This data gives you insight into how many visitors plan to come into the workplace and when. You’ll be able to understand who’s coming in by visitor type, whether it’s contractors, business partners, vendors, or others.

  • Why it matters: Having data on visitor foot traffic enables you to properly staff your front desk for high-traffic hours and create a great first impression for visitors. Custom sign-in flows also ensure that different types of guests who arrive onsite complete the necessary documentation to enter. Understanding who signed NDAs and matching guests to any blocklists or scanned invalid IDs helps you identify gaps in your office security and make critical improvements.

Meeting room usage: This data gives you insight into the types of meeting space your employees need. You’ll see data on which rooms are booked most often, which ones go unused, and what the most popular meeting room amenities are, such as large projector screens, A/V equipment, etc.

  • Why it matters: Data on meeting room usage helps you get to the bottom of your room usage so you can make informed decisions about your space. You can make data-backed decisions about the number and type of meeting spaces your organization needs to optimize your space.

Desk usage: This data gives you insight into desk booking patterns. You’ll be able to see how many folks are booking desks, filtered by team, department, or floor.

  • Why it matters: Data on desk usage helps you adapt your space to better suit employee preferences and make sure you use your space efficiently. You can add more desks in ‌areas that tend to get booked out and reduce desks where folks are rarely using them.

4 questions to consider when looking for workplace analytics software

Now that we’ve covered examples of workplace analytics, it’s time to help you find the best software to meet your needs. Here are a few questions to consider when you begin the search:

1. Are you looking for point solutions or a comprehensive workplace platform?

You may have a specific need in mind for workplace analytics that a one-off solution addresses, such as a tool for booking meeting rooms. But, ask yourself: is this short-term thinking? Today, you may want to ensure employees can book the spaces they need to have a productive day onsite, but next month you could have other requirements, such as understanding how to optimize your space to support employees. And over time, you’d want to understand employee attendance trends to help inform workplace policies and resourcing decisions.

With a workplace platform, you’ll have a holistic view of what’s happening in the workplace. You’ll have access to comprehensive reports on space usage and onsite foot traffic. This data will be available in a single dashboard, so you won’t have to bounce from one tool to the next to piece together a single view. Not to mention, your IT team won’t have to review multiple solutions as your needs grow because a platform will have the capacity to grow with you.

2. Does the software integrate with third-party applications?

Along the same lines, you should consider the flexibility of your workplace analytics solution. Does it integrate with other tools (think: access control, Wi-Fi, and security tools) to create a seamless experience for your team and employees? If so, this will save you and your employees the time and hassle of switching between different workplace tools. Another upside to integrations: they reduce application complexities, which in turn helps tighten your organization’s security.

3. Will the software scale with your business needs?

Today you may need your workplace analytics to keep track of the onsite space usage of your single office. But as your business grows, your analytics will need to be sophisticated enough to keep up. Make sure your software can handle multiple locations and provide a global analytics overview. This way, your workplace analytics tool can continue to provide critical data points and insight no matter how much your organization matures.

4. Is the software employee-friendly?

Sure, you need workplace analytics to drive decision-making. But first, you need to ensure that the software is something that your employees will actually use. Employee-friendly workplace software is easy to use and helps make their time on site more efficient and seamless. The result? A better workplace experience. 

A concrete way to check for this is to see whether there’s a mobile app available, and what that app’s ratings are for both iPhone and Android smartphone users. 

Congrats on completing your intro to workplace analytics! This is a great first step to making your workplace even better. Ready to dig in deeper? Let’s move on to Workplace 201: How to save costs by optimizing your space.

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AUTHOR BIO
Content Marketing Manager

Tiffany is a content crafter and writer at Envoy, where she helps workplace leaders build a workplace their people love. Outside of work, her passions include spending time with her greyhound, advocating for the Oxford comma, and enjoying really great tea.

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