Here are some ways that businesses monitor how filled their offices are, including body sensors and water coolers.

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    Employers can gauge how full their offices are in a variety of ways.
    Since more employers are summoning their employees back to the office, interest has increased.
    The analytics are telling, from monitoring the flavored water to using office-style radar.

    There are covert ways that businesses are monitoring how many people are showing up — and how employees are using the space — as more of them push return-to-office rules.

    Some firms are utilizing sensors that can detect when a person is in a conference room or seated at a desk.

    The sensors sold by an Australian business called XY Sense, which is named after the X and Y coordinates on a grid, are used by building managers and companies in more than a dozen nations to determine where individuals are on an office floor in real time.

    According to cofounder and CEO Alex Birch, knowing which areas of an office are being used and which areas may be vacant can assist companies determine how to better meet the needs of their staff.

    Now that summer is coming to an end in the US and some firms are stepping up attempts to bring workers back to their cubicles, questions regarding how employees are using offices may become more urgent.

    Birch said that XY Sense devices, which are frequently installed on a workspace’s ceiling, do not identify specific people. Only people’s presence in the office can be determined by the scanner, which can display them as dots on a screen.

    “It’s not about spying on people or being Big Brother. It’s really important to comprehend how space is utilised precisely, he stated.

    According to Birch, one client discovered a discrepancy between the number of attendees at meetings and the capacity of the rooms using XY Sense data. The majority of the customer’s meetings only had six employees or fewer. However, the majority of the conference rooms were configured to seat 10 to 20 people. In order to better meet demand, the employer was able to partition some of the areas, according to Birch.

    “Meeting rooms are frequently in demand, and when you stroll around, you see that they are all reserved but unoccupied. Therefore, if you have sensors, you can let the no-shows go and put them back in the pool, the man stated.

    The truth about the office water cooler

    There are more ways that calculating workplace occupancy can shed light on worker customs.

    Bevi, a manufacturer of devices that produce more than 40,000 different flavors of still and sparkling flavored water as well as other beverages, keeps track of how frequently thirsty workers approach its equipment.

    According to Sean Grundy, cofounder of Bevi, more employees are arriving at the office before 9 a.m. or remaining later than 5 p.m. than they were before the outbreak. In East Coast offices in 2019, 21% of flavored-water addicts used Bevi machines in the morning or evening. This year, that increased slightly to 26%.

    “I think what we’re seeing is that if people have to come in for two days, they’re either coming in early and staying late to beat the commute, or they’re just taking advantage of being away from home and having more ability to focus on just cranking out more hours,” said Grundy.

    Bevi’s data also reveals that suburban workplaces are slightly busier than downtown premises, which is not surprising. Urban areas use Bevi machines at a rate closer to 58%, while suburban locations are back up to roughly 64% of their pre-pandemic levels.

    Tracking badge swipes is not the same as these measures.

    The battle to get employees back to the office — and to let them know they’re there — has been fierce this year as more businesses have implemented RTO regulations.

    According to a previous Insider story, tech companies like Google, Amazon, X, and Meta are increasingly demanding workers to work from the office. Investment banks like Goldman Sachs and hedge firms like Citadel have led the charge on Wall Street in attempting to reunite people with their former workplaces.

    Naturally, employees who claimed that remote or hybrid work helped them attain a better work-life balance are rebelling, with many resigning in protest at RTO requirements. According to a Deloitte survey done in April of 700 managers and above in the financial services industry, two-thirds of those who work from home at least some of the time stated they would quit their jobs if they had to report to the office five days a week.

    Bevi, a Boston-based firm, requires employees to show in at least twice per week, but many choose to come in three or more days, according to Grundy. He claimed that the fact that the need is only two days might be contributing to some people visiting the office more frequently.
    “I recall thinking in college that if I was given a reading assignment of 20 pages, I would read them all. But I was given 200 pages to read, even though I had read none of them, he claimed. “You’re more likely to just, like, leap into it if the work is doable. It’s possible that people believe we trust them in general, leading to a slight increase in voluntariness.