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The new approach to office attendance data

Business leaders are looking at office data more frequently and in more detail.
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· 3 min read

In the before times, most employees were in the office five days a week, the FTE count was a good enough approximation of the company’s office space needs, and further revision was rarely needed. As cost-cutting and efficiency measures force office space decision-makers to evolve, executives are asking for occupancy data more often, and for more detailed cuts.

Larry Gadea, founder and CEO of Envoy, a workplace software provider, told HR Brew that “10 out of 10 customers that we talked to have said, ‘Yes, we are being asked by our executives much more often as to the utilization of our offices.’” Envoy counts Slack, Stripe, Mazda, and Lululemon among its clients.

According to Gadea, Envoy started as a software designed for visitor management. The company has since expanded its offerings to include package management, room and desk booking, and backend reporting. These additions serve to inform a wide range of current priorities: engagement strategy, office redesign, and other real estate decisions, Gadea said.

A read out from Envoy's data service.


RTO policy. Some employers have had a tough time achieving peace with their workforces on office attendance, especially when they set mandates demanding a change to the status quo. Others are going with a flexible approach that they say keeps people happier and just as productive.

A more detailed view of how attendance is changing week-to-week and how different departments are using space can help bring some insight into these decisions, rather than have them appear to be the whims of executives.

“They’re trying to figure out the leases…figure out [their] policies. There’s definitely a common theme around companies wanting it to be easier to come up with these [office] attendance policies,” Gadea said.

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In addition to looking at occupancy data more regularly, business leaders are looking for more detailed data, including how office usage and engagement are different by department or office location. Data can also help companies reconfigure a space so that the space fits the way the occupants use it.

Employee convenience. Ultimately, more accurate office attendance tracking is an effort to improve retention and measure engagement. It can help to make the office experience as seamless as possible, as if the employee is a customer. Through an employee app, workers can book desks and meeting rooms.

Along with heat maps based on Wi-Fi usage and keycard access, it can provide useful insight into how often spaces are used. Employees have expressed concerns about monitoring, but employers are legally clear to track usage of company equipment, and employee concerns often stem from the more detailed tracking being used to measure productivity.

Efficient use of space can also lead to eco-friendly measures, such as turning off lights in areas that are not frequently used, or finding ways to use less air conditioning, Gadea adds, which can also lead to cost savings.

“They need ways to make [their office strategy] work,” Gadea said. “So, that’s really what we’re helping them with. [It] includes rooms and desking, and even having parking available and knowing who’s in the office and planning which people are there, when they’re not, and making space for it.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the original purpose of Envoy's software.

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