Workspace or desk management software makes it much easier for employees and office managers to coordinate and book desks and meeting rooms. However, what most people don’t realize about office space management software is that it also provides one with a veritable treasure trove of data. Data, which in turn, can help HR, Office or Facility Managers modify offices into the kind of place where employees enjoy working and where collaboration and innovation can be encouraged organically.
The benefits of workspace management software are easy to list:
- It enables employees to book desks and meeting rooms for better collaboration and coordination in a time when companies are increasingly adopting the hybrid work model and/or have multiple satellite offices.
- It prevents overbooking and thus helps keep your workplace in line with health guidelines.
- It provides a real-time overview of how office space is being used.
- It can help you optimise your office layout by showing you the dead, unused space, or by revealing which kind of office arrangements or areas are preferred by your employees.
- It can help lower costs associated with underutilised facilities and miscommunications in terms of work schedules.
- And it provides you with other relevant data about your workplace, such as how often employees book desks, how long meeting rooms are typically used for, and so forth.
The most valuable benefit derived from workspace management software
Although these benefits – often called tangible or hard benefits – are easy to perceive and sometimes even measure, it is the so-called soft or implicit benefits that are, in fact, the most valuable.
One of the most important implicit benefits associated with workspace or desk management software is increased employee wellbeing. This, as research keeps on showing, translates into higher productivity, more engagement, employee retention and even customer loyalty.(1) These are all, in a sense, of immeasurable value to a company. Yet these benefits are also measurable, in the sense that there is a positive correlation between business-unit profitability and wellbeing at work.
Why does workspace management software, such as Workero’s, increase employee wellbeing and support employee engagement?
It gives employees control
Studies have shown that when people have more control over their work environment, they are happier.
This is not only true in terms of deciding how your work gets done, but also in the most basic sense of choosing where you will sit for the day. Letting employees book desks and offices might seem like an insignificant thing. However, studies have shown that this is a significant constituent of feeling like you have ‘job control.’
Jeffrey Pfeffer writes for McKinsey & Company that: “A chaotic workplace environment of frequent, uncontrollable events adversely affects people’s motivation, their cognition and learning, and their emotional state.” and that “leaving people with little or no control over what happens to them at work—decreases motivation and effort.” (2)
When workspace management tools are implemented at a workspace, employees immediately gain control over where they will be seated in the office, and have their meeting rooms secured. Their days can be booked in advance, and everyone’s schedules are clearly delineated, avoiding chaos, miscommunication, and clashes in the workplace.
Better coordination between employees leads to more happiness
When Workero’s workspace management software was developed, we knew we needed to include a ‘search for your colleague’ function. This allows you to type in your colleague’s name into the app or platform, which will then show you where and when your colleague has booked a desk or a meeting room.
By reducing workplace conflict and the difficulties associated with scheduling/coordination between employees, workspace management software removes unnecessary stressors and uncertainty, and thus contributes to employee wellbeing. When employees know where their colleagues are, they are also able to better plan their activities, giving them – once again – a feeling of having control or agency (A feeling which, as we have seen above, is indispensable to wellbeing).
Social support and feeling at ease within the workspace
Finally, workspaces that are human-centric and that gives employees and building occupants multiple opportunities to connect with each other in a pleasant and meaningful way, contribute to employee wellbeing.
In his research, Pfeffer has found that social support is one of the most under-recognized factors that contributes to employee wellbeing. Social support simply means that employees have friends, family, or colleagues who they can count on. However, in an age where more and more people are reporting that they do not have friends and are feeling isolated, workplace interactions often act as substitute.
This is where workspace management software comes in. What many people don’t know, is that it provides managers with a wealth of information that can be put to use to create an optimal office environment. And by that, we don’t mean eliminating underutilised office space (although our software can help you with that too). Rather, it can be used to see what your employees want from an office, and help you to identify where employees like to connect and check-in with each other.
Workspace Management Software is necessary because even though well-intentioned designers or managers can make educated guesses about how employees will use office space, it’s near-impossible to make perfect predictions about office layout. Even in the case that one seeks employees’ or building occupants’ opinions on what they would like from an office space, the results are often inaccurate. People are notoriously bad at articulating what they want, and moreover, have a tendency to say what others want to hear.
Workspace management software does not guess; it tells you how people are currently interacting with your office, and where the hotspots for interaction are. You will probably discover some surprising ways in which people prefer to interact with the office, for example:
- You will see where people tend to conglomerate, where the favourite spots in the office are, and by inference, in which spots a lot of casual knowledge transfer is taking place.
- You’ll see how many people prefer to get work done alone in tranquil corners of the office, and how many prefer open-plan or more social spots in the office. This can give you an idea of what kind of office space you need, but also what type of people are working for your company.
- You’ll see who is interacting and collaborating cross-departmentally, as well as the inverse: which departments do not choose to sit close to each other.
Depending on the data gathered, you might consider adding more social connection points, changing the layout of your office, incorporating fewer or more open-plan desks or work tables, and so forth. Moreover, if you would like to encourage innovation within your company, you might consider encouraging cross-departmental (and even better, in the case of sharing a building or office space with other companies, cross-company), interactions. Recent research has shown that the more spots there are in a building or room where employees cross paths, the more collaborations take place and the more successful projects are launched. (3)
In summary, workspace management software such as Workero’s, is more than just a tool to book desks or offices. Workspace management software should allow you to optimise the way people spend their physical time in the office, encourage workplace happiness and collaboration, and empower employees.
If you’d like to receive a free demo of our software, or find out how our software creates workspaces that support employee engagement, click here.
(1) Krekel, Christian and Ward, George and De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel, Employee Wellbeing, Productivity, and Firm Performance (March 3, 2019). Saïd Business School WP 2019-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3356581 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3356581
(2) Jeffrey Pfeffer, The overlooked essentials of employee wellbeing, McKinsey & Company (11 September 2018), available online: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/the-overlooked-essentials-of-employee-well-being
(3) Kabo, F. W., Cotton-Nessler, N., Hwang, Y., Levenstein, M. C., & Owen-Smith, J. (2014). Proximity effects on the dynamics and outcomes of scientific collaborations. Research Policy, 43(9), pp. 1469-1485.