The Leader Magazine

JUN 2019

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F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 42 JUNE 2019 th E l E ad E r T he theme for this year's CoreNet Global Summit is "Experience Matters". Sure, experience matters, but how do we know what a workplace experience should be? And how do we measure the success of an experience? Over 35 years ago, Frank Duffy, considered by most (including me) to be the father of workplace strategy, began to ask similar questions, sort of. Duffy, while working on his thesis at Princeton, explored the relationship between organizational design and workplace design, and how they might be interdependent. Unsurprisingly, he found very little relationship and very little interdependence. In those days, what inspired workplace "design" were philosophical imperatives such as: "Put as many employees as you can in that box" and "make sure I have a private office." Of course, there were exceptions but, generally, workplace as a design discipline had been overlooked by architecture, science, and psychology. Duffy saw an opportunity. Duffy and others in the field recognized that user research, employee data, and behavioral analysis could provide insights into how organizations work and should work, and how to drive more effective office design. Fast forward 35 years and we've extended this line of inquiry to include how organizations can configure work environments to enhance collaboration, wellness, community, retention, and attraction (i.e., the employee experience). The problem is that while our research purview has evolved, the tools we use have not. Workplace practitioners have relied on surveys, interviews, and utilization studies to evaluate workplace performance and experience – the same ones Duffy used 35 years ago. The primary innovation in data-capture has been the shift from using paper worksheets to iPads for conducting office-utilization analysis. There have been some advances, but most are still best suited to measure how often someone is sitting at their workstation. Entire industries have emerged out of biometrics and artificial intelligence (AI), yet strategists and designers are still asking employees, "How much storage do you need?" or, "How often do you collaborate?" We can do better. The following are just a few examples of new research methods that use advanced technology to track, analyze and evaluate experience. Multimer Who are they? A National Science Foundation SBIR award-winning company that emerged from the MIT Media Lab. http:// multimerdata.com What do they do? Track real-time human cognitive responses to an environment. They do this by collecting, visualizing, and analyzing geolocated, indoor and outdoor biosensor data transmitted by common wearables, including smartwatches, heart-rate straps, and brainwave bands. Why you should care: Imagine a heat map of your workplace or campus that tells you where employees do their best work and why, based on actual human responses, not surveys. This heat map can be further refined by work mode (focus, collaboration, learning, or socialization). iMotions Who are they? Established in 2005 in Boston, iMotions provides a software platform that integrates a variety of biosensors and synchronizes their data streams, including eye- tracking, facial-expression analysis, and other biometric signals. https://imotions.com/ What do they do? Track eye patterns and facial expressions and synchronize with other sensors to evaluate an employee's response in a given environment. The technology can track where employees are looking in their primary work environment and provide insights into emotional states. Why you should care: Imagine a report that tells you: • How often employees are at their desk by a lbert d e Plazaola Utilization is sooooo yesterday Beyond butts in seats, the next While today's creative and responsive workplaces enable healthier and more productive employee experiences than those of decades ago, the tools we use to evaluate the performance focus primarily on "butts in seats" and utilization metrics.

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