Due to their constant need to stay up with development and entice top personnel, tech businesses, among other corporations, have been pioneers of workplace change for a long time. Utilization data is firmly at the center of the office transformation, opening new avenues for improving corporate real estate and reinventing the employee experience as smart offices have become an integral part of the workplace landscape.
Unfortunately, collecting and analyzing this data hasn’t always been easy. Organizations are now learning new techniques for gathering and utilizing data on space utilization due to technological advancements. This is how:
A Transforming Corporate Space Utilization Landscape
Utilization data, such as the Space Utilization Rate (SUR), includes information like how many employees swiped into a facility on a particular day or how often a conference room was filled. Essentially, any data that represents how corporate real estate is being used.
In the past, businesses had no choice but to rely on experts to physically inspect premises, floor by floor, and perform manual audits. This approach extensively used physical observations and estimates, some of which were unreliable. These manual techniques also demanded lengthy procedures and laborious computations, and their applications to workers’ everyday lives were quite constrained.
Smart offices are already taking shape in diverse ways, from systems that record utilization and offer advice on workplace planning/modernization to employee wayfinding software that links individuals to their assigned areas. Utilization data is increasingly accessible, and the office technology designed around utilization has grown more robust and reliable.
Utilization is Fueling the Revolution in Flexible Space
Firms can now quantify flexible spaces with better accuracy compared to the traditional static cubicle farm. This is because they have more knowledge regarding how much space is required, the demand and availability for different rooms, and where people are located in the office environment.
As a result, activity-based work environments have become increasingly popular. In these settings, portions of offices are designed to be unassigned, giving employees a fun range of options for where to work during the day. Previously, this might have been impossible, but thanks to utilization data, businesses can now continuously improve these floor spaces based on their utility.
Peak usage metrics provide businesses with the precise number of seats they need to supply business units. Wayfinding software ensures that staff members can always locate each other and see the current space availability.
The most cutting-edge office software available today focuses on using utilization data to provide solutions for organizing, monitoring, navigating, and maximizing flexible environments.
How Corporations Can Use Utilization Data
There are multiple possibilities for space allocation with these fresh types of data. Here are some strategies for employing utilization data to enhance your workplace:
Align Office Premises to Employee Needs
Taking into account the activities that each area supports, heat maps can be used to figure out the ideal arrangement of those spaces. This will enable your business to determine the perfect balance of conference rooms, lobbies, phone booths, hot desks, and other vital areas.
Increase Capacity with Ratio-Seating
Corporations can allocate seating ratios to shared real estate that expand occupancy beyond one seat per person and constantly improve the balance over time with utilization data. For instance, a ratio of 1.5 people per seat equates to a 50% rise in premise capacity.
Generate Business Cases Based on Facts
The numbers required to support office movements can now be captured. Verified utilization data from badge access swipes, illumination sensors, and other streams provides proof to win over all important decision-makers.
Evaluate Move Scenarios
Organizations can experiment and assess how various move scenarios affect their workers and business bottom line by merging utilization data with scenario planning tools.
Improve Energy Efficiency
Your organization could inefficiently run climate control, lighting, or other amenities when employees aren’t present, especially with progressively flexible schedules. Much more economical energy use is now possible thanks to real-time utilization statistics. Planners can save money and minimize the company’s carbon footprint by using the data to regulate the heating, ventilation, and cooling systems to coincide with employees’ schedules.
Target Inefficiencies and Gaps
By highlighting discrepancies between how corporate real estate is allocated and how it is used, utilization data simplifies the process for experts to minimize unused space. The same idea can be used from the floor level through to each desk.
Plan for Peak Utilization
In a conventional office setting, each worker was allocated a seat, and once all the seats had been assigned, the office was filled.
- But how many of them actually show up each day?
- What about possibilities for part-time work and remote work?
Peak utilization informs businesses of the largest attendance on any particular day of the year, allowing them to plan according to actual usage rather than assigned space.
Overall, corporations now have the instruments and automation needed to support improved space planning. Modern technology removes the uncertainty from utilization data, resulting in improved outcomes.
Real Estate Portfolio Optimization
When discussing real estate portfolio optimization in the third installment of our “Building Confidence out of Chaos” series, we asked attendees, “What obstacles are you finding now that employees are returning back to the office?”
Approximately 96% of respondents said they had difficulty accurately estimating workplace utilization, selecting the best software system to support an ever-changing workplace, incorporating flexible working arrangements, and giving employees the optimal experience. They also had trouble figuring out how to best perfect and reconfigure their real estate portfolio to mirror how their employees actually use the space.
According to Brain Haines, Chief Strategy Officer for FM:Systems, the second highest cost for most firms is their real estate, and most organizations widely overlooked these expenditures during the pandemic. He underlined that as businesses pick up, they should have higher expectations for how they gauge performance.
Haines stated that there is, in essence, “a vast amount of opportunity to right-fit enterprises, and data is the only way to comprehend and rectify it.” Utilization is no longer the only factor in determining how effectively your building portfolio operates; all real estate and facility activities must also be evaluated.
The following were other critical lessons learned from our “Building Confidence out of Chaos” series on real estate portfolio optimization:
- Organizations should be using utilization data as a key element to determine whether the real estate they possess is the real estate they require.
- Before the pandemic, the workplace was where individuals conducted business. The office’s current emphasis is encouraging teamwork, and this change will only deepen over time.
- Businesses cannot presume that the real estate they own is the real estate the workforce wants to return to. They must look at multi-data point analysis to get a complete picture of the amount of space they have, gauge its effectiveness, and assess employee satisfaction to make strategic choices regarding their portfolio. They can no longer simply evaluate whether their space is being used or not.
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Any office wants to maximize productivity, and you can do just that with FM:System‘s facility management software. You can realize the optimum working experience for each employee and achieve an incomparable time-to-value with FM:Systems’ comprehensive Workplace Management Platform.