Beyond the big picture: Workplace analytics offers more insight on space utilization

Getting a “big picture” view of space utilization is almost standard fare today. Most enterprises have generated metrics to gauge average occupancy levels and amount of space per employee. Now they are sharpening that focus to access more granular data that offers greater insight on how, when and by whom their space is being used.

The starting point is often to gain a better understanding of occupancy levels within buildings. Traditionally, companies have done manual counts that look at the total number of seats in a building and compare it to card strikes to come up with average occupancy numbers. Scaling those manual checks across large portfolios on an annual basis can be costly and inefficient. Workplace analytics software provides more accurate and timely data, as well as more detailed information as compared to a manual “bed check.”

Beyond that initial step, companies are looking to expand both the breadth and depth of space utilization data and analysis. For example, workplace analytics technology solutions can provide a macro view of an entire portfolio, as well as micro level insights on facilities in a specific geographic market, department or function. Systems also can drill down to look at utilization and mobility at a particular campus, building or floor.

The more comprehensive, granular approach to workplace analytics is also exposing some potentially huge gaps in traditional methods. For example, if a building has 100 seats and an average of 90 people show up on most days, building occupancy appears very clear cut at 90%. However, that 90% occupancy might drop to 50% during certain times of the day. By looking at hourly utilization based on entrance and exit times and duration, utilization can change dramatically. So, it is important to look at the utilization of space at different times of the day to identify and better manage peak and low periods.

Solutions also can be targeted to address specific situations. Some of the common objectives for today’s organizations include: 

Consolidations

There are many reasons that companies often consolidate real estateA couple of examples follow:

  • Mergers and Acquisitions: Consolidation after a merger or acquisition often demands a fresh look at space optimization across the new, larger real estate portfolio. Once a company gets past the “low hanging fruit” of eliminating redundant facilities, they often need to take a comprehensive look at how space is being utilized within the different facilities to identify potential value-add opportunities.
  • Lease Renewals: Whether a company has 10 or 100 leases, those leases are in a constant state of flux. CRE teams need to make decisions on whether or not they will renew in place, or perhaps renew and exercise an option to expand or contract. Businesses are constantly looking at strategic space planning in regards to those different lease situations. And oftentimes, those decisions need to be made six months to a year in advance of the lease expiration date.

Re-stacking

Analyzing space utilization and traffic patterns can help to maximize efficiency in stacking plans. Companies may be able to cut costs by reducing the amount of space needed, as well as promote greater productivity for employees by clustering different functions or work groups closer together.

Conference Room Rationalization

A common complaint for many companies is that they never seem to have enough conference space. In most cases, that is because existing space is not being used efficiently. Workplace analytics can be used to identify a variety of data points, such as the average conference size, length of meeting time, and peak and low periods during the day, as well as peak days during the week.

Growth without Growth

Companies are growing and hiring more people. Yet that growth does not always translate to more real estate. Some firms may need to add more space to accommodate that growth, while other companies have a mandate to expand without changing their footprint. Increasingly, CRE teams are pressed to find ways to grow in place by using existing space more efficiently.

 

Workplace analytics gives companies greater insight into how space is being utilized at both a macro and micro level and helps enable smarter, better, faster real estate decisions. Contact us or visit Rifiniti for more information on workplace analytics solutions.

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