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May 28th 2015, by Harold Coenders

Dashboard in practice

Quantified Workplace

Forty Colliers employees from different departments and in different stages of life are participating in the experiment, all on a voluntary basis. They are spending a full year recording their life cycles, productivity and wellbeing by using self-tracking wearable devices manufactured by FitBit. Our aim is to identify the proper balance between ‘wellbeing’ and ‘well billing’.

All participants have access to two dashboards:

  • The FitBit dashboard is primarily aimed at monitoring yourself and improving your own life rhythm.
  • The Quantified Workplace dashboard has been designed specifically for Colliers, and it provides insight into the optimal balance between wellbeing, productivity, stress and health.

These factors have never before been studied at the organizational level, making the QWP experiment unique. We are also combining employees’ biological data with their own perceptions. We are measuring stress, for example, based both on physical parameters and on the individual’s own observations. This approach will help us to learn more about the differences between perception and physical manifestation.

We are measuring:

  • Productivity: hours worked and productive hours (as reported by administration systems) and perceived productivity taken from individual employees’ personal daily scores.
  • Stress: FitBit measures heart rate and perspiration, while perceived stress is taken from employees’ personal daily scores.
  • Health: FitBit measures exercise.
  • Wellbeing: daily personal happiness score reported by email.

Participants wear the FitBit device at least 75% of the time. In a practical sense, this means that the participants wear a wristband that measures key vital parameters that are then linked to workplace productivity. In addition, the system prompts participants at random times to give a personal score on their day or week, and it monitors the time they spend in front of a computer. The range of parameters may be expanded during the course of the experiment. Finally, participants will also share information at various times during the experiment by filling in a survey or by means of an interview.

An application – the personal dashboard – gives participants insight into their own performance, which they can then use on their own initiative to make changes in their daily activities and/or working methods. In addition, they may voluntarily choose to share their data (anonymously if desired) in a common Colliers dashboard. This shared dashboard elucidates employees’ happiness or dissatisfaction in various situations, shows their work-related stress levels, and the circumstances under which we perform best as a team.

The experiment is being conducted in association with Middlesex University London. Joost Plattell of the Quantified Self Institute has access to the data, although data analysis will be conducted by an independent programme manager (yet to be appointed). This approach ensures the validity and objectivity of medical analysis, and encourages an unbiased perspective on potential ethical dilemmas. The anonymized data will be made available to Mrs P. Moore at Middlesex University for scientific study.