Accurate and reliable data is crucial to making effective business decisions. To cut costs and increase the efficiency of their business operations, many of today's enterprises have sharpened their focus on the actual use of space (AUS); generating metrics to gauge average occupancy levels and amount of space per employee.
Gaining an understanding of occupancy levels and employee mobility within buildings, however, is not a recent undertaking. Traditionally, companies have performed manual counts to determine average occupancy levels; examining the total number of seats in a building and comparing it to card strikes. While this information can be useful, annually scaling manual checks across large portfolios can be a time-consuming and costly process.
In comparison, workplace analytics software offers businesses a more accurate, timely, and detailed approach to determine and improve their AUS. How? Data analytics platforms can provide a "big picture" perspective of an entire portfolio, along with micro-level insights on buildings in a specific geographic market, department, or function. By taking on a more comprehensive, granular approach, companies can not only determine average occupancy levels, but gain insight into how, when, and by whom space is being used.
Analytics-based technology has also exposed a myriad of gaps in conventional methods. For example, if a lecture hall has 100 seats, and an average of 80 students show up on most days, the facility occupancy appears to be a clear cut 80%. However, the occupancy level might swing dramatically throughout the day, from 80% in a morning class to 50% in an afternoon class, to 3% from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. when no classes are scheduled.
By evaluating space utilization, based on entrance and exit times/duration throughout the day, it's much easier to identify peak high and low periods. But what can you do with this information? Ultimately, solutions can be tailored to address specific situations. In this article, we will outline leading uses for workplace analytics software in optimizing space, mobility, and operational efficiency within buildings.
Mergers and Acquisitions: The combination of two companies following an acquisition or merger often creates redundant spaces. Therefore, consolidations demand businesses to evaluate space optimization across a new, larger real estate portfolio, identify highly-used areas, and eliminate space deemed excessive or unnecessary. Productively eliminating unused space can result in lower operation, maintenance, and real estate operating costs.
Further, consolidated companies must examine how space is being used across facilities to identify possible value-add opportunities. For example, by using workplace analytics to evaluate daily, weekly, and monthly traffic patterns in various facilities, a business can plot which facility assets can be moved or combined to attain a more productive building portfolio.
Lease Renewal: Another reason companies often consolidate real estate is because they are nearing a lease renewal. Regardless of whether a company has 10, or 100 leases, these agreements are in a constant state of flux. Commercial real estate teams must evaluate the term periods of their various leases, and strategize whether it's best to renew in place or renew and exercise an option to expand or contract.
About a year before your lease is scheduled to renew, it’s important to start looking at whether or not your current space will accommodate present and future needs This allows enough time to analyze the current situation and, if necessary, find a new location before your lease is up.
Reorganizing Your Space
Workplace analytics can also help you reorganize your space and maximize efficiency in stacking plans. For high-rise office buildings or condominiums, stacking plans are used to illustrate the arrangement of floor tenants. Once you’ve gathered data regarding traffic patterns and space utilization, you can use that information to rearrange and reorganize in order to make your space more efficient.
You may need to reduce space dedicated to one function or increase space for another. You may also need to re-designate which space is used for what purpose so that employees who need to work closely with each other are clustered together.
Look at Conference Rooms and Other Shared Spaces
Many companies mention they never seem to have enough conference room space. Whether they can't find a space large enough for a high-capacity meeting or don't have enough spaces for different groups to work on a project together, the "conference room challenge" often occurs because space is not being used effectively. Workplace analytics can be used to identify various data points, such as the average size of each meeting, how long a conference lasts, and peak high/low space utilization periods throughout the week.
Growing without Expanding Your Office Space
As businesses grow, they must onboard new employees. However, the hiring process doesn't necessarily mean a business must commit to more office space or real estate. To accommodate internal growth, or expand their company without changing its footprint, businesses must find ways to "grow in place", and maximize the efficiency and mobility of their existing space.
Using Smart Flooring to Gather Data
Now that you know what workplace analytics can be used to accomplish, it’s time to think about how to gather this data. Scanalytics Inc. uses smart sensor technology to pinpoint customer/employee traffic patterns and volume real-time. Using this data, businesses can examine peak rush hour periods, entry/exit times, conversions, and activity. Ultimately, by gaining a better understanding of your occupants' performance, mobility, and activity, you can implement changes to predict traffic patterns and optimize space.
Contact Scanalytics Inc. today, to learn more about the applications of smart floor sensor analytics in the built environment.