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Apr 24

How Space Analytics Can Help Offices Return to the Workplace Safely After Covid-19

We’re in the middle of the world’s largest work-from-home experiment, which will change how we work from offices forever. 

What will the workplace look like in a post-COVID-19 world? If there’s one thing corporate leaders agree on, it’s that space analytics will become more crucial than ever to plan ahead and ensure business continuity.

Here’s what we’re hearing from corporate real estate leaders and Comfy clients about what they expect in the new normal, and the data required to navigate the eventual return to the workplace.

More flexibility, more freedom 

Employees who are now used to working from home will want to reduce their windshield time moving forward, maybe only commuting a few days a week in the future instead of every day. When they do get to the office, they’ll expect a safe, healthy and productive environment.

Corporate real estate leaders have been working towards this flexibility for awhile, but were often held back by business leaders worried about lost productivity. Now that business leaders see how effective remote working can be, we’ll see more fluid, flexible workplaces than ever.

With Comfy, clients benefit from access to the Comfy app, which empowers employees to better navigate their office and interact with their space. This includes finding sanitized rooms and desks, navigating one-way hallways, and accessing health and safety amenities like masks and health centers.

All of these interactions generate data that’s available within Insights, helping real estate leaders identify and diagnose issues much faster. For instance, they may notice that certain areas of the building are not being occupied as much as others, and cross-reference that with sanitization schedules and proximity to health amenities to pinpoint a cause.

A staggered, spaced out return to the office 

However, the  entire workforce isn’t going back to the office at once. It will be a staggered approach, with reduced occupancy by floor and by building to allow social distancing.

Space analytics will help drive decisions

Real estate leaders may start the return to work with 20% occupancy in the first few months, then ramp up to 50%, then up to 80 or 100% over the next year. They’ll need data to support each milestone and make sure the ramp up is working. 

Space analytics can show which spaces are being used when — by building, floor, room, and even desk. If there are too many people on a floor, real estate leaders can open new spaces to allow social distancing. And if there are too few people in a building, they can consolidate people at a different location in that city. Space utilization can also inform cleaning schedules to make sure offices stay safe and free of COVID-19. 

Our reporting allows you to see average and peak usage over specified time ranges, as well as utilization across the entire floor visualized on a heatmap. The better the data, the better decisions a leader can make. Because Comfy collects so many cross-sections of workplace data, real estate leaders get a complete picture of how their real estate is being used.

We envision a future where machine learning proactively surfaces recommendations like rearranging floor plans based on employee capacity rates, or optimize sanitation schedules to keep spaces safe while maintaining efficiency.

Technology will unite disparate data sources

Real estate leaders are used to data being scattered across various sources. You might have one vendor’s data on one platform and data for another vendor or building on an entirely different website. And it’s not granular enough to be helpful. 

Comfy is agnostic when it comes to hardware and integration partners. Some customers may need a combination of different brands and types of sensors, so we help them choose based on their real estate objectives and data needs.

SaaS platforms like Comfy can integrate those data sources from various vendors and partners —from occupancy sensors to wifi analytics, lighting grids and cleaning schedules — in one one easy-to-use app, providing a complete “smart office” view.

That unified data will inform short and medium-term decisions about cleaning, climate control, and who goes back to the office when. But it can also drive long-term real estate portfolio strategy about which offices to open or close and which leases to renew. 

Real estate leaders can get hyper-local data about each building as well as global data about all the buildings in their portfolio. And with that complete picture of how the transition back to the office is working, leaders can make the best decisions possible for their people and portfolio.

Stay tuned for more insight into the workplace of the future — and how real estate leaders can make smart decisions in a post-COVID-19 world. For more COVID-19 workplace resources, view Comfy's Return to Workplace Playbook.

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