Why, When and How to Use Workplace Occupancy Surveys

June 26, 2018

Improve workspace utilization and enhance engagement

Workspace design can make a big difference in employee productivity, innovation, and collaboration. That is why it is essential to match the design of your workplace to the culture of your company and its values.

For a large organization, right-sizing the workspace can net millions of dollars in cost savings. With high real estate costs in most metropolitan areas, many organizations want to minimize their real estate footprint while at the same time reimagining the workplace for greater employee engagement.

Designing for engagement is about more than tearing down cubicles or adding video games in the break room. Good design should include many types of work spaces and technology to support both in-office and remote employees. Gensler workplace research discovered that “innovative companies are 5X more likely to have workplaces that prioritize both individual and group workspace.”

 

Before you move the first desk, understand your current utilization

To make critical decisions about workplace design, executives need accurate measurements of space utilization. Taking an occupancy survey is an excellent first step before you plan an office redesign or reallocation of workspace.

Historically, conducting an occupancy survey was a tedious and time-consuming process. Often armed with a spreadsheet and clipboard, someone had to go to each workspace, office and meeting room to conduct a “bed check” and see how many people were in each space at a particular time.

These manual measurements were taken over the course of several weeks to ensure greater accuracy of results. But they were still just spot checks of individual points in time. The data contained on the clipboard had to be manually compiled and analyzed in order to reveal any significant insights.

 

Ease the data gathering burden with electronic sensor surveys

Luckily there is an efficient way to collect much more occupancy information without any need for manual human intervention. Electronic occupancy sensors can be placed on chairs, desks and doorways to reveal exactly when people enter and leave a space.

Connected sensors collect digital occupancy data continuously and sent it to a digital portal. Facilities and real estate managers and executives benefit from analytical tools and occupancy maps that reveal utilization patterns without requiring calculations.

 

Point-in-time survey or continuous observation?

Electronic sensors and workspace utilization tools can be deployed permanently for continuous observation and analysis or deployed temporarily for a point-in-time survey. Generally, the largest enterprises invest in the technology for continuous measurements and repeated improvements. Midsized organizations may simply wish to conduct a study prior to redesigning a workplace or to determine whether they should seek new real estate.

 

Don’t forget to survey employees

Occupancy data is extremely important to your workplace analysis, but it isn’t the complete story. You will also want to survey your employees about what aspects of the workplace are important to them.

Do they prefer quiet and privacy? Do they like to move around throughout the day? How much time do they spend at their desks? What percentage of the work week is spent in collaborative tasks versus independent work? What is the average number of participants in meetings they attend?  These types of qualitative data can help you round out the picture of not just how employees currently use workspace, but how they would like to use it in the future.

 

Unsure how to proceed? Bring in the experts.

A workspace consultant can help you analyze how your organization currently uses real estate and discover how to save costs and improve productivity. They can design both your employee and electronic sensor surveys and help you interpret the results. Asure’s Workspace Management consultants and Workplace Utilization and Occupancy Sensors are ready to help!