Envoy is best known for its iPad-based sign-in app, which is used to sign in over 100,000 visitors in offices around the globe each day. Founded in 2013, the company recently raised $60M to expand from its core sign-in product to technology for mailrooms, meeting rooms and room booking. Envoy envisions a world in which technology is seamlessly woven throughout the connected workplace.
As Head of Workplace Technology at Envoy, Matt Harris is tasked with selecting and implementing the right mix of technology for Envoy’s workplace. Harris took on the role in 2018 after managing engineering at Envoy, and his technical background drives his experimental approach towards workplace technology.
As is true for all technology companies, attracting and retaining talent is central to Envoy's ability to execute—and Harris' workplace team plays a key role in supporting employee engagement. Harris’ goal: discover new ways that workplace technology can help Envoy predict and respond to employee needs.
When we think about a workplace that works, we think about the need to be able to be responsive [to employees] in the moment.
- Matt Harris, Head of Workplace Technology at Envoy
Harris believes a “workplace that works” minimizes the day-to-day pain points of working in an office—from being locked out of an office, waiting in line, or getting kicked out of a meeting room. “These are the types of things that add up over the course of the day that cause real pain,” Harris explains.
To Harris, responding to employees needs and addressing pains requires an understanding of how employees use the workplace environment. “One challenge that we’ve been thinking a lot about is being able to know how many people are here doing work, so we can actually respond to their needs.”
The great thing about Density’s devices is that they’re not cameras.
Harris was initially drawn to Density because he believed it was well suited for the workplace environment. “Initially, we were drawn to Density because of the design of the device, you can really imagine it in your space,” he explained.
Harris required a solution that could be installed easily, and respected his employees’ privacy. “The great thing about Density’s devices is that they’re not cameras… there’s also easy installation options with PoE Plus. This allows us to install easily [a solution] that gives us great information, actionable information, and we don’t have to worry about privacy in the way you do with other solutions.”
Harris sought an accurate count of how many people were in the building at any given time. As part of an initial deployment, Harris installed Density’s Depth Processing Units (DPUs) at all primary entrances at Envoy’s HQ in San Francisco.
Density brings to the table this very basic understanding of how many people are in the space.
Density’s solution anonymously now tracks every person who enters and exits the building, enabling him and his team to plan and adjust programming based off who’s in the office.
“Density brings to the table this very basic understanding of how many people are in the space—when are they showing up and when are they leaving. There’s an amazing amount of things you can do with that information.”
Harris and his team are using Density data is to make short term and long term decisions, from space allocation to access control. “With this type of data you can make better long term decisions like, ‘Do we need more conference rooms?’ ‘Do we need a larger space or a smaller space or a bigger kitchen?’ Those are multi-month questions.”
Harris has also found value in Density’s real-time data. Using the Density webhook and API, Harris has integrated Density into a Slack application so employees could see how many people are in the office in real-time. Harris is integrating the Density data into the access control so that doors only lock when the space is empty. With accurate data, employees never have to worry about getting locked out. If employees stay late, as many do in Envoy’s startup culture, Harris can order them food or adjust the building controls.
Harris is planning to A/B test workplace design elements in every conference rooms to measure how workplace design impacts conference room use.“Our next step with Density, is moving into the smaller spaces of the office like conference rooms. Because they’re so accurate, we can use that as a control as we run experiments.”