Benchmarking for Workspace Utilization
May 8, 2018
Get more performance out of your company’s real estate investment
In benchmarking, an organization compares its performance measurements and processes against best practices or industry averages. The organization can then set goals to improve its performance in various ways.
When organizations apply benchmarking to the way they manage real estate, it’s possible to optimize workspace utilization. Most businesses underutilize office space. Optimization yields better financial performance of property by lowering costs or using space in more effective ways to improve productivity or enhance employee wellbeing.
How is workspace utilization measured?
Workspace utilization is a measurement of how often a space is used and how it is being used. An occupancy rate shows how many people are using a workspace compared to the capacity of that space. The frequency rate measure how much of the time a space is used compared to the total availability of a space.
Let’s take an example of a single 400 square foot office. If two employees share that office but work different shifts, it would result in a higher frequency rate than if each employee had her own office. However, removing walls and creating an open space that seats three or four employees would improve the office’s occupancy rate.
Thoughtful redesign could encourage even greater collaboration and productivity—though that can be a bit more difficult to measure.
Why benchmark for utilization and workspace costs?
Benchmarking can help your company discover ways to cut workspace costs without sacrificing the productivity of your workforce. By optimizing workspace utilization, you may be able to reduce your real estate footprint and costs or rearrange your existing space to accommodate workforce growth. In either case, benchmarking can help you achieve a greater return on your real estate investment.
The cost savings can really add up, especially in large workspaces. Consider a 200,000 square foot building that improves utilization by 10% using benchmarking. Such an improvement could result in any of these scenarios:
- 20,000 square feet less to maintain, clean, secure, and climate control, resulting in a reduction in operating costs
- Accommodation for more than 100 new employees (average space per worker is less than 200 square feet, according to CoreNet Global)
- Space freed up for adding new amenities to help attract and retain top talent
Steps to Get Started with Benchmarking
- Measure your organization’s current workspace utilization and costs. Your first set of measurements becomes the “you are here” point as you map your company’s journey toward workspace optimization.
To measure utilization accurately, it is important to get the full picture. That’s why automated occupancy sensors in each workspace work better than random headcounts. The sensors collect data 24/7, so you can observe all of the times and ways that a given space is utilized.
You will also want to gather data about workspace operating costs, such as utilities, janitorial cleaning, security, and maintenance. By breaking these costs down by the square foot, you will be able to more accurately predict the total impact of plans to expand or reduce your workspace.
- Establish points of comparison. Ultimately, you want your changes in workspace management to provide your organization with competitive advantage, so it is important to find out what is “average” for a company of your size or within your industry.
- Create your performance goals. Is your company entering a period of growth where you need to accommodate many new employees? Are you trying to right size real estate holdings to steady financial performance? Use business objectives, along with the points of comparison you established, to create your workspace utilization performance goals.
- Forecast performance improvements and savings. With a hard measurement of where you are and clear goals about where you plan to go, you can forecast building performance and costs more accurately than ever before.
- Keep measuring! Continue to measure utilization and costs and compare them to your previous benchmarks to determine your success.
Asure Software’s Workspace Management solutions include occupancy sensors, expert consulting, and the analytical tools to conduct workspace utilization analysis.