A Boston-based water cooler startup is giving companies key insight into how successful return-to-work policies have been.
- Bevi provides internet-connected water coolers to around 5,000 U.S. offices. Similarly to how security firm Kastle Systems tracks office occupancy, Bevi can track how many employees have returned to work by how frequently the water coolers are used.
- Throughout 2021, Bevi’s water coolers operated at 28% of their previous usage levels. As offices started to reopen last year, that number rose to 40%, Bloomberg reports.
- Until this year, Bevi’s return to work estimates matched closely with data from Kastle Systems.
- Now, Bevi’s calculations are somewhat ahead of Kastle Systems’, though that could be because smaller companies tend to use water coolers but don’t use security key cards as frequently.
- Bevi’s return-to-work data gives a more detailed look at a greater variety of companies and how successful return-to-work policies have been.
Why it’s news
Bevi’s statistics give companies critical insights into their return-to-work programs’ success. Unlike Kastle Systems, it can provide a broader insight into a greater number of companies since smaller companies may still use Bevi’s watercooler when they wouldn’t use a security card swipe.
More companies are pushing employees to return to the office at least part-time. Recently, Amazon asked its corporate employees to be in-person at the office at least three days a week.
Part of business leaders’ reasons for pushing employees back to the office has to do with those “water cooler moments,” where employees interact and connect with one another, allowing for better collaboration and communication between teams.
While many companies have tried to create a similar atmosphere virtually, the spontaneity of water cooler chats is hard to replicate. But not every employee values the unscheduled conversations at the office. Minority and under-represented employee groups have often noted that they felt left out in spontaneous chats at the office, Bloomberg reports.