Most people think chameleons have an innate ability to adapt and camouflage based on their surroundings. However, the opposite is the case: a chameleon’s colour actually reflects its mood. A brightly coloured chameleon is quite stressed, and a black one is irritable. This communication is always accurate; if a mood changes, the skin colour can change within twenty seconds. What would you do if you had continuous insight into the mood of your staff?
If you knew how your staff felt, creating the ideal workplace would be a whole lot easier. Unfortunately, it is not that easy to read the moods and needs of our bodies. In fact, you are often not even aware of your actual needs yourself.
When it comes to the ideal workplace, things are even trickier. Here our needs and preferences are changing throughout the day. For instance, if you are reading a complicated report, you may want a calm environment, while for routine tasks it is actually more pleasant to have activity around you. To gain a better understanding of these changing preferences, environments and employee health, several Dutch organisations launched a pilot program. This collaborative effort between ENGIE, Hanzehogeschool Groningen, Health2Work, Measuremen, Menzis and Planon is called Healthy Workplace (www.healthy-workplace.nl).
Research into a range of factors
During this pilot, various office environment factors were measured, including noise levels, temperature, humidity and the carbon dioxide emissions. Employees are generally not aware of these factors, although they certainly have a significant impact on their well-being. For example, in an area with high carbon dioxide emissions, staff may feel drowsy and will have greater difficulty concentrating. That is why the research also charts the mood conditions of employees by using questionnaires. By wearing a ‘Fitbit’ (a type of sports-watch), staff also gain insight into their physical reactions, such as heartrate and calorie consumption. Through this research, possible links become apparent between external factors and employee well-being.
Ultimately all this data is translated into a digital map. Not only does the facility manager gain insight into the various environmental factors in each related space, but employees themselves can consult this digital dashboard. In the near future, employees will be able to use this system to discover what type of workplace suits them best for a specific need at a specific time. Therefore, it will be mainly up to each individual to make the connections between the measurements and their well-being. It is only when employees become aware of this themselves, that they will discover their specific preferences.
This way the employees themselves can manage their own needs, and the organisation will reap the benefits of this. Among these will be higher employee satisfaction and increased productivity.
This is how ING achieved a €200 million sales growth with its ‘wellbeing programme’. Just as with the Healthy Workplace, the focus of this program is on recognising and measuring the emotions and health of employees.
So would you like to be able to measure the emotions and health of your colleagues? Then watch out particularly for people wearing bright or black outfits....
Interested in learning more applications of automated measurement? Planon will be hosting a webinar on practical use-cases and their benefits surrounding the Internet of Things and smart buildings. Visit www.planonsoftware.com to register.