Among the many ways the pandemic impacted the business world, the way it has affected the way we work and traditional office culture appears to be among the most important.
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Terms like “hybrid” and “remote” are already widely used and understood as part of the new way that people work. The way teams are put together and methods used by hiring managers have quickly adapted to align with the new model that was born out of the challenges created by the pandemic.
The common thread in all these changes is their influence on the way we use office space. Suddenly most organizations know they need less of it but are unsure how to rightsize their operations to fit their actual needs. The appeal of saving on unnecessary extra space is balanced by the fear of being unable to accommodate staff when they need to meet, collaborate or simply work alone in the office.
Striking this balance is hard but there is no doubt that the conditions are right for a reset in the way we think about how we use office spaces.
It’s easy to imagine how the topic of adjusting real estate commitments to actual needs suddenly appeared on the radar of so many businesses during the height of the pandemic. One look at row after row of empty desks and an early recognition of the fact that many employees would continue to work remotely was enough to prompt the same question at high-level meetings everywhere – “Do we really need this much space?”
Today, as we take more steps towards a post-pandemic landscape with some staff returning to the office in a newly flexible model, recalibrating real estate commitments to actual needs has become a must. And quantifying those needs is not as easy as simply counting everyone who wants to work from the office. Answering “Do we really need this much space?” can only be answered by first asking another question — “How are we using the space we have?”
Like any other business metric, the answer to these questions has to be supported with data. Technology now makes it possible to obtain this data and turn it into business intelligence needed to make informed decisions on one of the biggest single expenses in any corporate budget.
Getting precise data on how you use your current space and applying it to resizing your operations to fit your needs can deliver a clear competitive advantage at a time when many businesses are spending much more than they have to on office space.
What the data can tell you
Without the right data, you can’t know if the space adequately meets your needs. However, with a data-driven picture of how you really use your space, you can make better decisions about any changes you need to make.
Size-optimized workspaces are a competitive advantage in several ways:
- Reduced real estate costs. Buy or rent what you really need.
- Improved employee productivity. Employees have access to the kind of space they need, when they need it.
- Better employee experience. Workspaces can be a place where employees want to spend time.
- Higher staff retention. The quality of their working environment is something employees consider when looking at other options.
- Decreased energy consumption. Every square foot of space that you don’t need is a square foot of space you don’t have to light, cool or heat.
Key steps to follow when establishing your true space needs
So making the case for applying data to corporate real estate needs is easy and the benefits are obvious, but how do you get this data that brings so many things into focus?
We’ve put together these four steps that will make redeploying your space easier…
- Understand how your real estate is being utilized, define what you want to achieve. Start with the basics. You must have a baseline before you can move forward. Do you know when your peak traffic hours are? Which rooms and spaces are used most and which remain largely empty? If you have a space that goes mostly unused over the course of the day, it’s a sign that either the space is not designed properly or not needed at all.
- Define & deploy technology to collate data on how space is being used. The best way to gather this information is with scalable, easy-to-deploy solutions while maintaining a total cost of ownership within your reach. A good solution will also offer both real-time data and historical data, enabling you to take a long-term view of how your space is used. Once this choice has been made, be sure that it’s deployed with a specific goal in mind — giving you the best possible insights into how your current space meets or doesn’t meet your needs. Don’t lose sight of the purpose of the technology that you’ve chosen.
- Leverage data to redesign the workspace. Once you have information from across time, across departments and, if applicable, across multiple locations in your operation, you’re in a position to understand if the way you work matches your workplace commitments.
- Measure & verify, and integrate with other systems = increasing productivity. When changes or reconfigurations are made, the same digital network that revealed your earlier level of efficiency can be used to measure any improvements that you’ve made. Also, data can be shares across systems to optimize things like energy use, cleaning schedules, room booking and more.
From tracking room- and even seat-level occupancy in real time to real-time access to exact football traffic in any monitored area and more, Kontakt.io provides the data-driven insights that replace guesswork and estimates with an accurate snapshot of how space is used at any given moment and over time.
- Interfaces that enable employees to enjoy the benefits of buildings that work for people.
- Indoor spaces that assist occupants in their daily mission to accomplish their work goals and provide them with a comfortable, safe and sustainable indoor environment.
- The data that stakeholders need to make informed decisions about how much space they really need and if it’s being used to its full potential.
With the deep insights into occupancy and the office environment made possible by Bluetooth® LE-based networks, you can make informed decisions about space and design matters that maximize the employee experience while optimizing the space needed to achieve it. You can come as close as possible to committing to exactly how much space you need to provide a work environment that boosts productivity and serves the needs of your staff.
Talk to our team today about how we can help you optimize your space with the right data.
You may also like our recent article about Technological advances in in the modern workspace.