One of the most expensive necessities of running a business is the cost of office space. It’s also one of the most complicated to perfect. Too much space is a waste of money; too little is a problem for employees. In today’s evolving office environments, there are better ways to make use of the space you have, as long as you know where to focus.
But a comprehensive understanding of the use of your spaces can be a challenge in today’s modern office environment. As employees spend less time at their desks and more time in collaborative spaces on location or remote spaces somewhere else, it can be difficult to assess the room utilization reality. So besides taking a walk around your office and assessing the use of spaces bye eye, how can you truly measure the performance of your workplace utilization?
There are expensive sensor studies that companies undertake to try to zero in on precise numbers, but those numbers may quickly become outdated in today’s fluid office environment and often lack any actionable take-aways. Of course, in the past, companies focused on the cost per square foot of office space. This is a mistake. As the open office came in vogue, companies used cost per square footage as an excuse to cram more workstations into smaller spaces. As we’ve written about before, this is more likely to lead to a decrease in worker satisfaction and performance.
Today’s modern office demands a new look at the metrics you use to evaluate your activity-based workspace. Understanding how workers use your office spaces will help you better adapt the changing office environment and turn your office into a well-oiled machine.
6 Benefits of Office Insights
1.Increase worker satisfaction
Tracking workplace utilization helps design, improve, and create more spaces where employees want to work. Knowing what employees need will increase the overall efficiency of your entire office space and improve satisfaction when tools and spaces are always available when they need them. It will also reduce office crowding, helping you optimize the use of both open and private rooms. Giving employees a choice of spaces that work best for them will increase productivity, collaboration, creativity, and overall satisfaction.
2. Increase real estate ROI
Today’s mobile work force makes it difficult to independently asses the type and size of space needed to most efficiently run a business. Knowing precisely how many desks, huddle spaces, and conference rooms are utilized on a daily basis helps you optimize the space you have or determine whether the best move is to scale up or down in square footage. The cost savings would be tremendous for a company struggling with space by reducing the cost per person or perhaps revealing a costly move to be unnecessary.
3. Easier transitions
If a relocation is found to be necessary, workplace utilization data will help you design the ideal environment for your entire employee population. From technology and equipment to styles of seating and room sizes, you’ll know what works and what doesn’t for your employees. With everyone’s needs in mind, the transition into any new space will be easier for all.
4. Improve communication
Once they start digging into utilization metrics, many companies find there are rooms that are simply overlooked by employees. If workers have access to data on the rooms and tools, they may find there are spots they can reserve that they hadn’t previously considered. Metrics will provide actionable talking points on why rooms are under-utilized and how to create spaces that are more popular.
5. Conserve energy
Room utilization data reveals ways you can conserve energy within specific spaces. Knowing peak utilization rates ahead of time can help you better plan for holiday and vacation times, when less space is needed. Underutilized spaces can be eliminated or consolidated. And intelligent technology such as beacons can adjust lights and temperature control as needed.
6. Optimize services
The same goes for the services offices must consider, such as cleaning staff and canteen provisions. As mobile workers come and go throughout the workday and workweek, metrics into peak utilization will help you uncover which days need the most resources and services and which days those can be scaled back.
Which Metrics Matter?
When it comes to understanding workplace utilization, there are a number of specific metrics that will reveal the full picture of your office activity. The easiest place to start is examining your shared office spaces such as meeting rooms, huddle spaces, and private phone booths. And the easiest way to do it is with a meeting management solution that tracks every facet of the process and delivers those insights.
Key metrics such as types of meeting, occupancy, no-shows and ghost meetings, meeting duration, time score, and attendees will help you dig into activity. These insights reveal peak times when meetings are happening, which rooms and technology are most popular, and what employee behavior looks like. You’ll know which of your organization’s rooms are under- or over-utilized, which can help you plan a relocation or improve the space you currently have.
These metrics will also clearly show the specific needs of each company division or location. One department might need a conference setup for board meetings while another might need a Google Hangouts setup. Some rooms need a speakerphone and some need video conference. Place the tools and tech in the spaces they are most needed.
When you don’t know, you can’t act
Understanding your spaces helps you best utilize what you already have. You may find that your considered office expansion or relocation isn’t even necessary. Furthermore, an office relocation shouldn’t be the only time these metrics are considered. It’s important to always have an understanding of employee habits and behavior so you can adapt or change spaces as different needs demand. This office insight ensures you’re getting the most bang for your buck in every square foot of space of your office.