Understanding employee movement is the key to optimal space utilization

According to analyst firm Verdantix, the workspace software industry is innovating at a breakneck pace. Facilities teams and corporate real estate professionals have a wealth of buying choices that range from high to low in price, and from multi-layered, full enterprise offerings to more limited, problem specific functionality. Analytics platforms that calculate building utilization are one of the most beneficial innovations in the space management software category. Understanding employee movement is the key to optimal space utilization. In this blog post, we will address this trending challenge, and explain how the missing link to employee maximizing productivity and collaboration lies in employee movement in organization and management.

Software that analyzes data from WiFi access points, badging systems, sensor or people counting technology, and other sources enables organizations to estimate how their costly real estate is being used with 98%+ accuracy.

With a wealth of smart building technology available, why do space planners for example continue to struggle with accessing the metrics required to make strategic decisions? Real estate teams are under tremendous pressure to produce future-proof designs that deliver a cost-effective and agile working space, but utilization data can very quickly become outdated once reports are run or the information doesn’t illustrate the complete picture.

Below are a few common use cases that we’ve seen many of our clients struggling to solve:

  • Your company’s brand new, multi-million building is only 40% utilized and you don’t know why.
  • You’re considering a major desk reassignment project but don’t have visibility in to where teams spend their time or how they collaborate?
  • Your Global Technology Team located in Building 1 has visited Building 2 about 10 times per day for the last month. What might the longer-term implications of this trend be?

Let’s dive in to our first use case a bit more deeply to explore the complexity and the value in knowing what workspaces your employees utilize the most:

You’re a space planner for a corporation with a multiple-building campus. A few years ago, your team purchased workspace analytics software to support a new building project. Before purchasing this software, you calculated attendance and space utilization manually with spreadsheets. There’s a big problem though – it’s present day and using software, you’ve calculated that your company’s brand new, multi-million building is only 40% utilized.

Entire floors with desks are often 50% vacant, and the parking lot is a ghost town after lunch. You know the departments which have been assigned to this building have also been assigned a physical desk. The legacy buildings on your campus seem to be just as crowded as before. Your Director of Corporate Real Estate has asked you to dig in to where employees are physically spending most of their time throughout the workday, but you’re unsure where to start or what data to evaluate.

What if you had a way to visualize and quantify the movement of employees at your organization?

Well, that technology does exist. A single workspace analytics platform can integrate people movement data, reservable space management functionality, and space utilization metrics. With this type of software, our space planner in the above example will be able to understand the root cause of underutilization.

As previously mentioned, workplace analytics and space management software is already rolled out at these facilities. The building in question is also equipped with some of the latest smart building technologies, including a badge swipe system, smart lighting, and people counting sensors. With all of this efficient technology, you determine that the employees assigned to the new building do attend according to expectations, but certain departments are visiting their former workspace to collaborate with colleagues that they had better access to before the move.
Underutilization of a major investment results in huge capital and operational expenditure loses for any organization.

Companies who leverage employee movement data will be able to make workplace design decisions based on employee patterns. We refer to this additional layer of space utilization data as employee mobility data, and our Rifiniti Workplace Analytics platform currently offers this feature. Learn more about Mobility Flows >

By understanding the movement of people from their designated home location to non-home locations during a given time period, you can reassign staff to other areas within the same floor, other floors, or other buildings based on mobility trends. Employee mobility data is a game changer which answers the question – do you know if your employees are mostly deskbound, internally mobile, externally mobile, or completely remote? When you unlock critical information needed to make strategic decisions for major moves that involve seating reassignments, real estate consolidations or expansions, and collaborative restacks, you gain a never before seen perspective of behavior on the ground to increase the utilization of your space.

The smartest building technologies today can visualize ground-level employee behavior and provide the real-time data required to make decisions as scenarios change.