How surveillance systems are revolutionising office design

Designers are always searching for ways to improve working environments, and one of the latest trends is to harness surveillance systems in order to create the best possible offices. Companies, along with the design specialists they hire to plan out their work areas, are gathering information about how people use their offices in a bid to produce spaces that are both appealing and practical.

How the process works

Businesses are turning to a range of technologies to gather data about office usage, including infrared cameras, seat sensors and footfall trackers. They’re also carrying out staff surveys and analysing patterns of email traffic, meeting room reservations and badge swipes. This information is then analysed to see how people interact with each other and their environments. On the basis of their findings, companies can develop work areas that optimise space and enhance the employee experience.

Creating ‘crave-able’ offices

One of the challenges facing employers is how to respond to the desire of personnel to work in an increasingly flexible way. Thanks to improvements in technology and the nature of certain jobs, it’s no longer necessary for many employees to be tied to their workstations. So, in order to entice people into offices, businesses have to create desirable spaces that people want to use.

Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, Ed Nolan from property company JLL said organisations now have to create ‘crave-able’ working environments in order to get people to come in. He added that the most sophisticated companies are considering not just the office space itself, but the work experience as a whole. For example, they know that staff members want reliable technology in the right places, conference rooms available when they need them and rooms that are a comfortable temperature.

What lessons can you learn?

Rigging up sensors and gathering reams of data on office usage isn’t a practical, or even desirable, step for many businesses. But what can you learn from the pioneering companies that are taking these steps? One of the big lessons is to ensure that your workspace is suited to the precise needs and preferences of your workers. With employees’ expectations rising, it’s no longer enough to rely on a ‘one size fits all’ approach to office design. If you’re to attract and retain the best staff members, you’ll need to make sure you create an environment that really works for your team.

One way to ensure you’re in tune with the needs of your employees is to get them involved when you’re making decisions about office design and equipment. For example, you could ask them what they’re looking for when it comes to everything from their office chairs and desks to their break areas and meeting rooms. Find out what they like about the existing arrangement, as well as any elements they think could be improved.


By taking the feedback of your staff on board, you should be able to design a contemporary office that ticks all the right boxes.

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