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Sep 21 | Insights

The Future of Space Utilisation

Effective space management takes people, processes and places into consideration.

Traditionally space utilisation has been a percentage calculated from the number of occupants divided by the total capacity. At present, however, businesses are beginning to recognise that space management is more than a calculation but rather multifaceted.

Understanding and managing facility space is about more than square footage. Visibility into modern working environments means knowing how these spaces are used, how often, and by whom. Gaining insights into space utilisation allows owners and management to drive efficiencies, improve occupier experience, save money, reduce carbon output and create new revenue streams. 

"For the many firms just beginning their space management journey, the starting point should be analysing existing space data."

- Ben Hext, Verdantix Industry Analyst

Starting from within, unlocking optimal utilisation is crucial in cultivating business success in the current climate. Offices, universities and other commercial spaces can benefit significantly from deep diving into their space utilisation data. Essential for planning growth, these informative findings can identify how people consume spaces whilst highlighting saving opportunities. Additionally, understanding space utilisation and optimising resources are essential in times of fundamental change. 

Hybrid Working

Worldwide there is a relatively new type of workplace; one less commonly visited five times a week between the hours of 9-5. In a recent CBRE Future of the Office survey, 80% of large enterprises defined their current and future workplace policy as "hybrid guided flexibility," meaning employees will split their time between home and the office. 

With hybrid models here to stay, one thing that has become continually evident in moving forward is that flexibility is paramount for businesses to succeed. Flexibility allows individuals to feel more empowered, find a better work-life balance and get their work done when they are most productive.

When it comes to the post-pandemic world of work, along with flexibility, on-site is also required to be: 

  • a collaborative social hub
  • somewhere that reflects both environmental and social beliefs
  • a place of prioritised well-being
  • an enabler of productivity

Obtaining data from several forms of space utilisation measurements is recommended to acquire a more precise illustration of how companies should move forward. The following are four of the primary metrics: 

Time

Time-based space utilisation data records daily, weekly, monthly or yearly use. It identifies routines and timings in which occupants are using which locations. From this information, owners and managers can predict busier and quieter times and make more precise decisions that optimise spaces throughout an entire 24-hour period.

Space

Space tracking will gather information based on the available capacity of each floor or selected area. Management can better recognise and handle wear and tear by collecting meeting room utilisation rates, desk occupancy, and peak areas where individuals visit most. Organisers can also implement initiatives to reduce congestion and improve flow by effectively monitoring room usage. 

Groups and Teams

Are there unused desks in marketing that accounting might need? Are product development using conference rooms more often than others on the same floor? By pairing groups with spaces and acquiring knowledge of which teams are where and who needs what, management can drive operational efficiencies and lessen wasted resources. 

Location

Utilisation trends can also be valuable concerning the general location of the space. For example, a workforce may be better suited to one central location rather than being separated between two. Examining facility usage on a location-by-location basis can also paint a clearer picture and open an array of cost-saving opportunities. By widening their data pool, owners and managers can identify the best possible location for fulfiling occupier needs. Furthermore, management can feel more secure in their decision to move locations (this could be to lower operational costs or carbon output) or reassurance that their current location is the best place for their workforce or students.

Overall, teams can make more informed, productive decisions by accessing the information provided by these metrics. 

Intelligent software and smart devices such as asset trackers, occupancy sensors, 3D model replicas, room booking and hot-desking systems, alongside many other innovations, make this possible. These devices continuously collect and store accurate, real-time space utilisation data; with this information, management can make changes that positively impact new procedures with increased vigour. 

As businesses move away from assigned seats to a more flexible, hybrid workplace, enlisting the help of space management software and connected IoT devices is arguably vital in ensuring seamless transitions and solutions with the future in mind.

The aforementioned all have one thing in common: to realise positive outcomes; data is essential for enterprises.

Click here to find out how the Twinview platform improves space utilisation and employs IoT sensors and devices to drive efficiencies.

PART TWO

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