Improving Workspace Utilization Part 1: Know Your Data

Is your company struggling with real estate costs or trying to fit an expanding workforce into an existing space? You could benefit from more efficient workspace utilization. Businesses all over the United States are experimenting with ways to cut expenses and optimize existing assets. Here are a few of the top trends for getting the most out of every square foot of office space.

It Starts with Tracking Current Use

Since your goal with this exercise is to make the work environment more useful, you need to begin by determining what areas are getting the most use right now. There are a number of ways to go about this:

  1. Random checks and headcounts throughout the day
  2. Computerized “check in” systems with kiosks, apps, or card readers that employees can use to check in and out of work areas or workstations
  3. Occupancy detectors featuring unobtrusive sensors that identify when a room or individual workstation is in use

Which One Works Best?

Option 1 is inexpensive but largely inaccurate. Fluctuations in usage throughout the day or from one week to the next may skew the data and give a false impression of space usage. It probably won’t provide enough data to help you make an informed decision. This technique would need to be used very methodically over an extended period of time to deliver useful information.

Option 2 may mean a significant one-time expense for setup and require multiple system types to cover all desired areas. In addition, it relies on full employee cooperation—which makes it prone to inaccuracy as well. It may work best for shared areas like meeting rooms and less well for individual workspaces.

Option 3 is a passive system that offers the highest level of accuracy and may be available using leased equipment that can be returned after it has delivered the necessary data. The sensors can be redeployed as necessary, allowing a company to track trends over time and reevaluate after each reconfiguration. This is often the ideal option for companies that want to track desk usage for a large workforce.

Once you have collected the data, what can you do with it? We’ll explore some options next week in Part 2

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