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How office buildings can benefit from data visualization on indoor maps

/images/blog/building-office-data-2.jpg March 2021

5 min

Office Building Data

Facility managers, HR teams and executives spend hours each month analysing real estate costs, space management and people metrics. Although the connection between employees and their working environment is clear, until recently, the ability to view these disparate data points at the same time has lagged behind. Companies are now discovering the benefits of data visualization on indoor maps as a means of facilitating faster decision-making and discovering hidden insights.

Data visualisation on indoor maps can add value at any stage of the business life-cycle, but it becomes even more critical when companies are actively making decisions about their space needs to allow for downsizing, rightsizing, and flexible working. In these periods of fluctuation, businesses will depend on workplace analytics to determine whether the changes they’ve made are driving employee engagement and productivity metrics in the right direction. In this situation, the ability to visualize these analytics directly within the context of the physical environment by using indoor maps can be a game-changer.

How data visualization on indoor maps works

Decision-makers are accustomed to using a variety of data sources to make decisions about the deployment of their workforce. There are obvious sources of information, such as occupancy sensors, attendance records, and shift patterns, but other soft sources like people surveys, time off requests and sick leave records could also be relevant. When reviewing such a variety of inputs within the confines of an excel spreadsheet, it can be difficult to identify environmental factors which are only known to those familiar with each area of your buildings.

This is where visualization on an indoor map becomes highly useful. With the ability to overlay a variety of workplace and workforce metrics over an indoor map, decision-makers can identify where the layout of the space may be part of the problem, or the key to the solution. Tools like our Mapwize extension for Tableau make it easy to bring the data and the indoor maps together.

Using data visualization on indoor maps to identify health and safety concerns

Health and safety is usually tracked using metrics like sick leave requests and fire drill response times. But without considering the layout of the office, it can be easy to overlook the root cause of any problems. Take, for example, absence records. These are often reviewed at department or team level, or for a site as a whole. When this information is overlaid on an indoor map, you might suddenly find that two unconnected teams have similar patterns because they share a common break room and bathrooms. Such insights become even more useful when it comes to adapting the office environment to allow for social-distancing. Viewing people metrics in their workspace can speed-up identification of desk-sharing opportunities and other flexible work adaptations.

Using data visualization on indoor maps to right-size your office space

As we look forward to life after the pandemic, it is an undeniable truth that not everyone will return to the office. Study after study are proving that people want to work remotely, at least part of the time, in the future. For this reason, companies are already re-assessing their real estate requirements, particularly given the opportunity to reduce overhead costs and capex associated with estate space.

Downsizing your real estate is easier said than done, particularly when it needs to account for a varying number of employees each day thanks to hot desking. Rightsizing requires companies to look beyond square footage and to factor in desk arrangements, desk sizes, proximity to supervisors, physical barriers and more. This task becomes much easier when you can easily place data on an indoor map.

Using data visualization on indoor maps to future-proof your workplace

As we look to the future of work, it is clear that the traditional row of cubicles or lines of desks is no longer the gold standard for office design. Instead, employee productivity and engagement can see benefit from allowing for more flexible working patterns - and this isn’t limited to a binary home or office solution.

Understanding how breakout spaces, quiet rooms, and office acoustics can help employees perform better doesn’t have to be guesswork. Offices already have a wealth of information at their fingertips, but the inability to view these statistics over an indoor map causes the insights to be missed. The office environment itself can be as significant as fellow employee behavior and management styles in making an office a great place to work.

For both right-sizing and future proofing, conducting such activities by viewing a series of charts and graphs, or worse yet, numbers in a spreadsheet, will inevitably lead to mistakes or missed opportunities. In the business world where time is money, using data visualization tools to assess data and space not only makes good common sense, it is also good business sense. Companies who use tools such as the Mapwize extension for Tableau can avoid costly mistakes due to missing insights only data on an indoor map can provide.

Additional uses for indoor maps

Indoor maps are not just a management tool. Once you’ve created an accurate map of your space, both building occupants and guests will benefit from the additional wayfinding capabilities. You can quickly and easily create maps to show visitors how to get to their specific destination. You can help occupants find the nearest available conference room. Indoor maps also offer a host of capabilities specifically for facilities and security teams.

If you’d like more information on the Mapwize extension for Tableau, you can find it here or visit our office buildings solutions page to discover how interactive maps can improve the overall office experience.

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AUTHOR

Mathieu GERARD, Co-founder & CTO

Mathieu leads the product development and writes the company roadmap. He’s driven by a real passion for innovation and technology but also likes to solve problems with simple and pragmatic solutions. His vision is that making buildings smarter will significantly improve comfort, safety, productivity and energy consumption.