How to calculate desk utilization with ease?
More is going on in the office than meets the eye. Sometimes, employees have to make an effort to find a comfortable desk and suitable spaces for collaboration. However, office space can be integrated into a digital infrastructure with desk booking, room presence sensors, and automation. With a rising hybrid workforce, optimizing office space has become more important than ever. How do you plan and design an office building that caters to workers' desires for flexibility and teamwork? And how do you stay within budget when change is the only constant? Don't worry; this article will provide clarity on these issues.
Why should you analyze desk utilization?
Analyzing your office space utilization is a necessity in the modern corporate environment. A crucial step is to figure out the employee to seat ratio to make sure there is enough space for everyone present in the office.
When space management is based on valuable insights, the office environment will be more cost-effective, energy-saving and comfortable.
Office space utilization metrics to consider
If you would like to prevent unutilized office space there are several factors that should influence your decisions. The examples down below are generic and each business has to decide which key metrics suit the most.
We advise you to hit the sweet spot between maximum capacity of office space and flexibility. Flexibility reduces overhead costs by freeing up office space and also increases employee satisfaction and productivity. Flexible work arrangements such as hoteling i.e sharing desk spaces, teamwork and networking will flourish with a desk booking solution.
Capacity vs. occupancy
The easiest way to start is to know how many desks are available compared to the number of employees. They should align with the building maximum capacity recommended by the architect and office manager.
For safety reasons it is important to know how many people are present in the building on a daily basis. Where do you place the emergency exits and floor plan in case of a fire or any other incident? You should also consider the risk of overbooking at certain times.
There are certain time slots that dictate the possibility of booking a room. How do you decide when a room is at disposal again? Does it need to be cleaned by cleaning staff first or is it available back to back every day?
Room turnover rate
How many hours of capacity does an office area or room have? Is it limited to certain times per day or from 9-5?
Room utilization capacity
This metric indicates at what rate the rooms can be booked. Do the rooms have to be cleaned in order for the next person to book them? Are they versatile enough to be used as a conference room or a meeting room? Consider this metric when setting up the hybrid office.
How many employees are present in the building per square footage on a daily average in the workspace? And where do they normally prefer to work - at a desk or in a quiet room?
Office space usage
This metric does not indicate how many times per day the room is used, but in what way, to identify unutilized space.
Rooms can be rated in terms of popularity. They might be unutilized due to layout, lack of equipment or a placement in a busy area. Some employees detest an area next to the rest rooms or directly under a roaring AC. You could improve the office layout and rethink its purpose.
If you would like to guide your employees in the right direction, room booking can be improved. Sometimes meetings are scheduled, but later rescheduled or canceled altogether.
Make sure the employees are able to cancel the room booking as well, to avoid unutilized office space and no shows. This feature is extra helpful when a hybrid worker changes their mind and decides to work from home.
The in-office meeting could be changed to a remote video meeting and the room booking can easily be canceled.
Another helpful feature is to send out a confirmation when the room is booked and a reminder in advance to avoid empty meeting rooms.
Open office space performance
An office usually consists of open floor space and smaller rooms and sections. Try to map out the areas average density, sensitivity to noise, and privacy, as well as possibilities for collaborative spaces and interactions, and even in-between breaks.
Have you factored in peak occupancy in the office building? Set up a metric which indicates which areas are busy during lunchtime or before/after meetings. It is also possible to include what time of the day that most people leave and if more office space is made available. A lounge area ad hoc meetings could later be transformed to a venue for night time events.
In the hybrid office, employees can choose whether they want to work from home or come to the office on any given day. A mobility ratio is calculated accordingly to ensure that office space is used properly. The metric can establish the expected occupancy - one assumption could be that 40-60 % of the workers are present at the office daily.
How do you estimate the amount of workspace required for each employee so that they can perform at maximum capacity? Do they generally need to alternate between two different seats, and what kind of equipment is in demand? It involves everything from dual screens to office chairs.
This means that you could calculate the cost per each employee. The lease, furnishing and decoration per each team member will be easily kept within budget.
The mentality of the employees are also worth considering. Do the employees prefer ad hoc meetings and hot desks or do they plan well in advance? Those are the factors that can impact the utilization of the office rooms.
The building blocks: occupancy sensors
In the previous section we explained some of the important metrics for the flexible office. But how do you gather these insights? The answer is data! Space utilization sensors are able to track movements and activity in the building to identify unused space and trigger automation such as lights and alarms.
Does surveillance threaten the integrity of the employees, you might ask? In fact, monitoring with occupancy sensors is anonymous. They do not identify a single individual but rather track employee movement throughout your building. The sensors are automated and do not require daily maintenance.
Sensors work around the clock to collect data continuously which can be analyzed in real-time. By comparing data historically you are able to optimize the workspace efficiently.
Practical use in the office space
Occupancy sensors are versatile as they monitor desks, meeting rooms, and larger areas discreetly. They can be placed under a seat or on the ceiling to suit your goal.
When streamlining room booking systems, occupancy sensors are reliable workhorses. They receive information about vacancy or occupied rooms and alert the software system. Employees are able to see if they can utilize the room/desk or not. Since the process is automated, no one needs to manually update the system.
When a desk booking system is run on data acquired from the sensors, hot-desking is made possible. It increases flexibility and teamwork in the team.
Find the right solution for your hybrid workplace
To sum it all up, adopting a tetris mindset when it comes to optimizing and analyzing the office space is key. Make room for spontaneous brainstorming sessions or meticulously planned conferences in the office. Utilization data is integral when you want to embrace hybrid work to the fullest.
Want guidance on how to set up your hybrid office for success?
Feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our product experts to learn more about our solutions and how technology can help you streamline your office processes without interfering with employees' day-to-day work.
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