Measuring occupancy and workspace utilization

Understand what is Space utilization

Are some workspaces underused while others are overcrowded? Your employees may not be making optimal use of their shared workspaces.

This measure is based on two key concepts

  • the office occupancy rate
  • the good use of the workspaces.
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Measuring office occupancy and analyzing how employees use shared spaces is one of the challenges of the workplace, both for real estate managers and for human resources departments.

Basicaly, mesure the space utilization of your office answers the question : How and How well are the workspaces used.

Want to learn more about how to optimize your workspaces in a post-covid world where hybrid work is becoming the norm? Read on.

Why mesure space utilization is important?

The Covid-19 crisis has led to a democratization of telecommuting and this way of working is settling down in companies, because of health measures of course, but not only. This organization, already present in Anglo-Saxon countries, has finally convinced a good number of French companies and this is how activity based working and hybrid work, mixing presential work and remote work, has progressively become a new standard.

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This rotation between home office and office days necessarily implies a lower occupancy rate of offices, meeting rooms and shared spaces. The need for more workstations per employee is dropping, and the need for more collaborative workspaces is increasing, which is why measuring office occupancy and the use of shared spaces is becoming a key issue for modern workplaces.

Decreasing rate occupancy of workspaces is making corporate real estate management less efficient. Offices and all that surrounds their management, require human and financial resources: cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment, rental fees, charges, etc. Optimizing floor space and work areas is a more productive and more profitable way of managing corporate real estate and, in a certain sense, is better for sustainable development because less energy is wasted.

This is why, before taking a decision to transform offices, it is essential to measure their occupancy rate. To do so, several solutions exist: entry badges, presence and occupancy sensors, room reservation software (meeting, collaborative work), monitoring of external visitors.

But the notion of space utilization mentioned above does not only include the occupation of offices; it also includes the use that is made of the work space.

Utilization vs Occupancy, what is the difference?

Looking at the occupancy of workspaces by measuring the occupancy rate is one thing: knowing if they are well used is another. Space utilization" analysis is therefore interested in how employees use the space, in their "user experience".

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To optimize your offices, you need to make sure that they are providing everything to meet your employees' needs. This includes considering whether the office configuration is optimal based on several criteria:

Number and capacity of meeting rooms
Adapting the configuration and capacity of meeting rooms, tools available such as videoconference equipment, projection becomes an important issue to avoid wasting m2.

Air quality
It must be evaluated in order to offer a healthy work space that preserves the health of employees.

Optimized employee movement for better productivity

This measure of use is more complex than the one of occupancy: it requires to look at the experience of the users by questioning them and by scheduling the changes with them.

Their issues can be very different from one company to another: some employees may be looking for quiet places to make calls or participate in videoconference meetings. Others may lack collaborative spaces with whiteboards or projection screens. Finally, some may lack space for important meetings or be unable to find an unoccupied room.

How to mesure space utilization and occupancy rate?

In order to effectively measure workplace occupancy and assess whether your square footage is being properly utilized, WX offers a wide range of analysis tools, such as occupancy sensors and analytics dashboards that provide you with a clear, reliable view based on real data.

Thanks to workplace data tools, you will be able to improve your corporate real estate strategy while optimizing productivity and team well-being.

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Measure the occupancy rate of workspaces

The first thing to do is undoubtedly to measure the occupancy rate of workspaces. You need to know how many people are present in each room at any given time and which rooms are the most used. This will allow you to know which places are popular with employees or, on the contrary, identify those that are under-used. The latter can then be reconfigured to correspond to the needs of the employees that this measurement has highlighted.

For a given space, several indicators can be collected:

  • The occupancy rate
  • The average number of people present
  • The periods of affluence
  • Off-peak periods
  • The rate of reservation of meeting rooms

This physical occupancy measurement is performed using wireless occupancy sensors placed under desks or in shared spaces. Our sensors record heat zones and traffic flows, allowing for anonymous measurement of office occupancy.

Connected together, they offer the possibility to know the occupancy rate of spaces in real time and to obtain a statistical dashboard. Our solution is non-intrusive and privacy-friendly: the thermal images do not identify anyone in particular.

Its reliability rate is higher than other technologies (facial recognition for example).
In addition, it may help to realize that the telecommuting days of several employees are complementary.

For example, if the remote/presence-based organization of two employees means that they never cross paths, perhaps it is better for them to share an office. This logic, taken to the extreme, is that of the "flex office", an office management system in which employees do not have a dedicated desk, to encourage meetings and collaborative work.

Improve the management of meeting rooms and individual spaces

To ensure that everyone has the space they need when they need it, it is worthwhile to
In order to ensure that everyone has the space they need when they need it, it is interesting to set up a room reservation system: via a mobile application or a web page, you could give your collaborators the possibility to reserve a meeting room, an office, a call space, etc.

If the room is not booked, the employee will be able to consult at any time the reservations but also to know which rooms are taken or not, in order not to waste time and not to disturb his colleagues.

Also, this system is an efficient way to respect the barrier gestures and the physical distance at work. It is also very effective for tracking contact cases: if we know who was where at a given time, it allows us to warn people who might be contaminated.

Analyze the use of workspaces

The use of workspaces is, as previously mentioned, more complex. It requires looking into the practices of employees: for this, there are several methods. You can set up a questionnaire to be circulated in your company or conduct individual interviews with employees.

Using both methods is also an interesting possibility. The purpose of these questions is to better understand the needs of employees in relation to their position, depending on the department they occupy. It is also necessary to take stock of their daily practices.

objectively measure occupancy

In addition to these field studies, the analysis of the data collected thanks to our occupancy sensors will give you valuable information on the use of your workspaces. The data is processed with a unique AI model that allows you to anticipate needs and optimize your m² and your workplace strategy.

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