The Leader Magazine

MAR 2019

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Page 27 of 51

Optimizing space utilization According to a recent Gensler study, 83 percent of executives rank space utilization as the most important metric for making the right workplace decisions. With actionable data, facility managers can make better-informed decisions on how to add, reduce or redesign space than they could when their insights relied on subjective employee surveys and workplace observations. Monitoring safety measures Safety in the workplace is a top priority for every company – especially when it comes to job sites – but it's hard to ensure 100-percent compliance. The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly changing this. Now, technology is capable of monitoring and reviewing job site imagery 24/7, observing field personnel and providing an overall safety score that relates to compliance issues such as not wearing work gloves or jobsite conditions like poor housekeeping. Having this smart technology available has led to dramatically improved safety, productivity and quality on job sites around the world. Improving building security Landlords are looking into implementing biometric data scans to create a seamless check-in experience, reduce the costs of manual check-ins and minimize their risk profiles. There are now devices that can recognize faces, fingerprints, voices, palm veins, DNA, hand geometry and even odors for identification and access control purposes. The databases of user preferences, space utilization measurements, site images and biometrics are growing every day. t he bad While IoT can offer improved energy optimization and valuable insights via data, it will inevitably affect the working lives of your employees. Privacy concerns around sensors and location-tracking devices are not uncommon as employees may feel uncomfortable having their every move tracked at work. For example, many banks and financial services companies have begun installing desk sensors that detect an employee's presence at their desk. Spokespeople for these companies have justified these new additions to office life as a way to make more efficient use of office space and cut costs. However, it's clear that employees remain wary of how surveillance technology like this will impact their right to privacy. Biometric scanners that can recognize faces, irises and finger prints seem like a great way to improve security in office buildings. However, biometric data, though unique, is no more secure than any other kind of data. Data breaches happen every day and hackers are capable of fooling readers. Once your biometric "password" is hacked, you won't be able to replace your finger, iris or face for a new one. This raises concerns for tenants about privacy. In China, surveillance in workplaces is literally getting in workers' heads. Lightweight sensors embedded in workers' helmets wirelessly transmit brainwave data to a computer. Then, AI algorithms scan the data, looking for outliers that could indicate anxiety or distress. When the system issues a warning, the manager could, for example, ask the worker to take a day off or move to a less critical post. In the Netherlands, a software solution company measures employee engagement continuously by analyzing internal emails and digital chat. They highlight trends in commitment and tension as an indicator of employee performance. Their tools, such as mood metrics and attitude heatmaps, are no longer futuristic ideas. t he strategy Moving forward, we need practical steps to ease fears of the unknowns and to think about the social implication of technology on workplace experiences. Here are some initial best practices: 1. Be upfront: Executives must be upfront about the purpose of monitoring and surveillance as well as the extent of it. To feel safe, employees must know exactly what will be measured and how the data will be used before anything is implemented. Employees should understand that sensors are not there to measure them, but their environment and how that will support them. Take the time to clearly explain to your workforce how IoT applications will benefit employees personally. Additionally, leadership should provide examples of how data monitoring and analyses have benefited other companies. 2. Ensure anonymity: Clearly communicate that the employee data will be anonymized to diminish the risk of intruding on privacy. As such, personally identifiable information should only be collected as metadata, and data results should be aggregated to show trends rather than individual employee behavior. 3. Be transparent and open: Executives should be transparent about data-collection results to maintain trust between the employer and employee. It's important to share with employees that the purpose of sensors is to enhance their in-office experience and provide a smarter, more efficient space. Reiterate that any information collected via sensors will be used to understand the big picture and analyze trends across the organization, rather than to hone-in on individual productivity. 4. Celebrate your wins: Whenever possible, celebrate office improvements made possible by smart technology. This will establish the connection between data collection and the success of your organization. Timely communication of measurable results will increase the likelihood of employees supporting your initiatives. 5. Deploy responsibly: Every company is responsible for protecting its employees. Whatever monitoring techniques are employed should be, above all, ethical and legal. Before implementing any tracking devices, make sure you know the law in your state or country. The misuse of biometric data can open companies up to lawsuits over breaches of sensitive information. Check out the sidebar to read about the variety of privacy laws globally. IoT is here to stay, so you must involve your employees in the journey early. Frequent communication and change management are crucial for success. Getting people fully on board with why your organization is deploying smart technology is half the battle. Give frequent updates and address privacy and security concerns. Build trust, and then ask for feedback and act on it. 28 March 2019 the leader

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