Office Space Optimization and Space Utilization 101

Team working in modern office space

Space optimization and space utilization seem like similar concepts, but they're quite different. Understanding these differences and how they can help you have a big impact on the future of your workplace is important.

4SITE, a sensor-based workplace occupancy and utilization platform, delivers insights on both subjects that allow our customers to continuously optimize and evolve their workplace. Let's take a closer look at what office space optimization and office space utilization are and how 4SITE can help you with each one.

What Is Office Space Utilization?

Simply put, space utilization is your workplace's occupancy divided by its capacity. More specifically, it measures the time various areas of your workspace are in use relative to the amount of time available throughout the week.

For example, if you have a traditional 40-hour work week, and your collaboration space is used for about 10 hours, your utilization rate is 25%. Before the pandemic, a 60% occupancy rate was the norm in most workspaces, but with social distancing and remote and hybrid work, office space utilization rates have dropped to around 10%. A space utilization study that’s informed with occupancy sensor data can be conducted on desks, collaboration spaces, meeting rooms, mixed-use space, and most other areas of your workspace.

So, why do you need to know about workspace utilization? It allows you to make the most of what space you have and to optimize your real estate portfolio based on your actual needs. In short, it can save you lots in capital and operating costs. It also gives you the ability to provide flexibility in your space and increase productivity for your employees. If you see they favor one area over another, you can figure out why and make changes. If they prefer collaborative work to independent work or vice versa, you can rearrange the space to make it suitable to their needs.

What Is Office Space Optimization?

Understanding the way your space is being utilized is only one part of the battle. The next step is determining how your office space can be optimized for better usage. It gives you an idea of what's wrong and right about your workspace and make changes that suit your business's unique needs. This can lead to positive changes like:

  • Creating a more welcoming company culture
  • Reducing waste
  • Creating a more cost-effective and comfortable workspace
  • Increasing productivity by making changes that suit your employees' needs.

So, why is office space optimization so important? First of all, your office space is a major asset. And it's expensive. Whether you rent or own the space, making sure it's optimized is important for your bottom line, and when you do that, you're more likely to retain employees and see a boost in productivity.

If you're wondering how to optimize office space, there are several techniques you can use. It largely depends on your unique needs as a company, but there are some places where you can start:

  • Your space per employee ratio from before the pandemic compared to after (Of course, not every employee requires the same amount of space, but you can use averages.)
  • Your plans for the future (Is remote work here to stay or are you switching to a hybrid model? Will you use options like hoteling?)
  • Your employees' input (Talk to them about what they want out of your workspace for the future. Do they prefer certain types of spaces? What does a hybrid schedule look like for them?)
  • How much do you want to invest in changes (Are you willing to buy new furniture? Construct more collaboration or private work spaces, etc.?)

How Does 4SITE’s Occupancy Sensors and Data Enhance Both?

Conducting an occupancy study is key when it comes to putting your office space to good use or using office design to increase productivity, but some studies like an observational or badge swipe (access card) study can rely too much on resources that are filled with human error. 4SITE space utilization sensors remove the guesswork and room for error.

By placing sensors in your workspace, you can accurately measure how the space is being utilized, gather and import data, and analyze that data to help you make decisions for your future. Additionally, with 4SITE’s sensors, you can do all of this without collecting personally identifiable information (PII) or using your network to get the data to the cloud. Think of it as your very own space optimization software as a standalone solution.

Here's how it works: You place non-invasive sensors around your office to desks and rooms, gathering information while protecting your employees' privacy. The motion-activated data is sent to a Cloud Hub via cellular service, thereby not requiring access to your network, where it's processed and stored. You can access that data through a dashboard to print reports and gain valuable insights about your space use all the way down to any particular desk. Further, with the ability to apply custom attributes (think of these as labels) to every sensor, you can pull reports via attribute and see the utilization rates of any subgroup of desks or rooms that you’d like. Additionally, our platform is app agnostic and the data we provide can integrate into any 3rd party solution like a reservation system or IWMS to provide more context around about your workplace.

Why 4SITE?

4SITE's proprietary technology is often used to find patterns and predict potential occupancy trends in the workplace. These trends will allow you to make informed decisions on whether you should expand, relocate, or sublease your space, but they also allow you to:

  • Create an optimal environment for your employees
  • Limit your exposure to unproductive real estate
  • Increase workplace productivity
  • Make data-driven decisions
  • Create support for your teams
  • Provide visual reporting to keep your business leaders clearly aligned with what's happening in the workplace
  • Attract and retain talent by creating a welcoming company culture
  • Reduce CAPEX and OPEX

Give us a call today to set up a demo or get started.