Workplace Analytics & Office Hoteling – Case Study – athenahealth

A case study on workplace analytics & office hoteling in a healthcare technology company

Data analytics to validate office utilization and inform a workplace strategy

With a bustling corporate campus and no room to accommodate for headcount growth, athenahealth recognized the importance of altering its workplace strategy to optimize the utilization of its office space. The healthcare technology organization turned to Stegmeier Consulting Group for our expertise in workplace data analytics as it explored the possibility of rolling out an office hoteling program.

athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health records, revenue cycle management and medical billing, and point-of-care mobile apps, serving more than 62,000 healthcare providers in medical practices and health systems throughout the U.S.

Founded in 1997, the rapidly-growing company had outgrown its space in its headquarters campus, The Arsenal on the Charles. The campus consisted of 12 historic brick and stone buildings, originally built by the U.S. Government as a regional arsenal in 1816. In 1995, the Army’s research facilities were closed, and the 10 remaining buildings underwent significant rehabilitation. Harvard University purchased the properties in 2001, ultimately selling to athenahealth in 2013.

athenahealth understood the need to establish a new approach to the workplace that would enable better use of existing space while effectively implementing cost-saving measures. Ultimately, its real estate team decided that the best way to achieve these objectives would be to implement a hoteling program. 

In this scenario, some amount of existing office space would be converted into hoteling spaces that employees could reserve for the day as they came into the office. The thinking is that employees who don’t come into the office every day, such as a salesperson who is on the road regularly, do not need an assigned work area. 

Workers with high levels of internal-mobility, bouncing from meeting to meeting throughout the day, also contribute to low utilization of a company’s real estate portfolio. With a hoteling program, efficiencies can be created by freeing up otherwise idle space and reallocating it to employees who are actually on-site regularly and need a space to work from. This solution becomes palatable to organizations with high-growth and/or expensive real estate costs, which fit athenahealth to a T.

But rolling out a hoteling program is not for the faint of heart. In seeking guidance to translate available space utilization data into a thoughtful approach for their hoteling initiative, athenahealth approached Stegmeier Consulting Group (SCG) for our workplace change management and analytics expertise.

A data-driven approach for a successful office hoteling strategy

Prior to their engagement with SCG, athenahealth already had 144,724 data points in their hands. These were gathered from a previously-completed 4-week space utilization study of the company’s 2,032 assigned workstations, 77 assigned private offices, numerous meeting rooms, and social spaces.

With the goal of developing a data-driven hoteling initiative, SCG’s Workplace Analytics Team set out to validate the client’s existing data in order to inform the decisions necessary for a hoteling program.

To further strengthen the findings of the study, SCG deployed its proprietary mobile app, WorkSlice™ which is used to measure the impact of various work space settings on the productivity of the end user.

SCG analyzed the outcomes of both the original space utilization and the WorkSlice™ studies, and benchmarking the best practices of other clients in its database, translated the findings to a set of Work Style Profiles based on employees’ level of mobility, time on campus, task uniformity, and technology needs

Comparing the data collected by the WorkSlice™ app to the Work Style Profiles, SCG then recommended the business units which would be most suitable to participate in the first phase of the hoteling roll-out at athenahealth.

Getting the employees on board with this new workplace strategy was one of the critical aspects of this initiative. To ensure an organized and a systematic employee participation, SCG took charge of designing the enrollment criteria for the hoteling initiative.

SCG also determined the best ways to get the message across about this change and created communication content and materials. The goal was to provide helpful messaging and equip the involved units with the information that they need to prepare for the upcoming change in where they’d work

As an adviser to athenahealth, SCG assisted in searching for a hoteling space reservation system partner by coaching the client in creating an RFP for software providers. This guidance was offered to help the client select a software provider that would best support the implementation of unassigned, reservable space that can be easily booked by employees.

Workplace analytics consulting to help companies develop a data-driven workplace strategy

In need of a helping hand to digest a large set of information about how workspace is utilized by employees? If you want to manage a change initiative backed up by research and intelligent interpretation of data, SCG is ready to lend our expertise. 

In fact, we can also take care of gathering space utilization data and provide recommendations fit for your unique workplace needs. If this fits your vision, discuss your plans with us by filling out the form below.