The hybrid work space model looks to be the compromise between employers that want their workers to return to their offices and employees who have become accustomed to working remotely and want to continue to do so even as places open back up following the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though hybrid work has been the happy medium, it’s still up to employers to make employees want to come to the office, or “earn the commute,” Lendlease Digital CEO Bill Ruh told GlobeSt.com.
“Employers need to find out if their offices are attractive (to hybrid workers) and whether they are set up for hybrid work,” Ruh said. “Employees want to make sure the commute is worthwhile and they’re not just showing up to stare at a computer screen.”
Lendlease Digital is the property technology, or proptech, division of the global real estate firm Lendlease. The company recently partnered with Google Cloud to launch Podium Property Insights, a predictive analytics platform that takes data from sensors, Wi-Fi and scanning desktop programs such as Outlook to determine hybrid workers’ behavioral patterns.
Event attenders prefer the office
Such tech is becoming more critical as more employees are developing different personas when it comes to their in-office behavioral patterns, according to Ruh. Lendlease Digital has seen that employees’ personas differ in terms of who comes back to the office, why they returned and how they are using the office workspace.
Ruh noted about 25 percent of hybrid workers are what his company refer to as “event attenders,” GlobeSt.com reports. These employees come to the office for a day or two for office events while others make cameo appearances, and some want to make the most of their in-person work time.
“Regular event attenders come into the office and spend a lot of time there,” Ruh said.
Tayloring spaces for better productivity
Meanwhile, the aforementioned PPI platform, which helps employers collect and analyze data from different offices, is more accurate than using entry card swipes to gain insights on employee tendencies. Ruh said badging is only “80 percent accurate.” PPI software can see people’s heat signatures on various floors and office tenants can tailor information gained to focus on specific data. PPI is not meant to track individual employees for attendance or productivity, however.
“This isn’t a security guard product and it isn’t about surveillance,” Ruh told GlobeSt.com. “The companies already have the data and they know who’s coming into work.”
Instead, PPI should make tenants rethink how they are using their space and how to make it more attractive to hybrid employees. The platform can also help businesses find the right balance between getting their cost profile right along with employee usage. Ruh also noted it’s possible companies may find they might not just have too much office space, but also too much of the wrong kind.
“If you adjust your footprint to be more productive, you’re going to take costs down,” Ruh said. “You’ll also keep employees happier if they enjoy coming into this new hybrid work environment. It’s not about just getting rid of space. It’s about having space that’s tailored to employees with a new set of needs in a hybrid environment.”