Optimizing the workplace is essential for the success and growth of any business. Not only does it attract top talent to your organization, but these practices help to reduce costs, foster positive employee collaboration, improve workplace culture, and drastically improve employee performance.
Kontakt.io’s Director of Smart Buildings, Adrian Weygandt, explains the benefits of optimizing the workplace and how to quantify them, along with additional soft benefits. Learn how the latest technology can transform your workplace and deliver a rapid ROI.
What Are the Benefits?
Most workplaces waste money and other resources by underutilizing space. Once you understand how to set up your workplace flow to promote greater efficiency, your numbers will improve. There are three main benefits of an optimized workplace:
- Reduced Real Estate Costs: Using your workspace correctly translates to lower lease costs, as you don’t require as much space.
- Reduced Facilities Costs: Correct space utilization can save on utilities and cleaning costs.
- Reduced Fit-Out Costs: Lower the cost of fitting out your workplace with furniture, chairs, computers, and other equipment.
All of these lead to increased productivity. A workspace that has the correct ratio of collaborative spaces and designated quiet areas set apart from the noise of common areas lets employees quickly locate the most productive environment for their current tasks without wandering around looking for a place to work.
Tech provides the solutions to understanding how many people use a space and when. Tracking these numbers allows you to configure your workplace to support your employees.
Technology is also an excellent way to help employees navigate throughout the building quickly. With indoor navigation, you just put your destination into the app and it directs you to the desired location. This is especially important today when many employees work a hybrid or remote schedule and aren’t familiar with the physical office location.
How Do We Quantify Them?
Knowing that technology makes things better isn’t enough to justify investing in these solutions. First, you need to understand how to quantify the benefits in terms of ROI and cost savings. On average, 30-40% of office space is underutilized. The cost per desk varies, but the pre-Covid numbers fell from $18,000 to $22,000 per desk per year. This adds up quickly, and the savings you generate from implementing technology to optimize your workplace pays for the investment fast.
Many employees complain about not finding places to work quietly and undisturbed. Every employee spends an average of 15 minutes per day searching for concentration space. This adds up to five workdays a year.
Putting sensors in each location and showing a floor plan with real-time availability can reduce this time to five minutes per employee. That translates to getting nearly an additional week’s worth of work from each employee by using this tech.
Correct Stacking Mix
Having the correct ratio of collaboration vs. concentration space is essential for productivity. Employees looking for a quiet space to work don’t care about the size of the room. They may choose to work in an 8-person conference room, effectively wasting that space.
Placing room sensors that track activity can help you discover how many people typically use a room so you can optimize the space. If you find that a room for eight people consistently has two or three, you can divide it into two rooms that hold four people, doubling your meeting room space.
Improved Workplace Experience
All of these lead to an improved workplace experience. While these benefits are harder to quantify depending on your industry and your employees, they can make a big difference in your bottom line:
- Reduced Churn: Having an optimized workplace improves employee retention and reduces burnout. Losing an employee is expensive. You must then spend money for onboarding, training, and ramp-up.
- Talent Acquisition: An attractive and optimized workspace is a powerful driver of status, which can attract the best talent. A high-end workplace is a good incentive to entice the strongest candidates to your team.
- Improved Collaboration: An optimized workplace can lead to improved collaboration by facilitating serendipitous collisions. Setting up the office correctly to ensure staff cross paths encourages employees to walk around and have impromptu meetings, fostering positive team interactions, enhancing creativity, and making the office a desired destination.
These features are good for both employee satisfaction and retention rates, plus overall production, workplace efficiency, and corporate culture.
What About the Soft Benefits?
Many of the benefits, especially around the workplace experience, are hard to quantify as there are many subjective metrics involved and the general expectations change frequently. Overcoming the opportunity cost of commuting to the office has numerous benefits such as reduced liability risk and increased oversight.
Employees who work in the office tend to be more productive. You know what they are doing and have them under supervision. It’s also safer to have employees in the office from a liability standpoint because they’re in a controlled environment.
Another benefit of having employees present in an office setting is better knowledge transfer. Remote work makes new employee onboarding a challenge since they can’t shadow people to learn the nuances of the job.
The new age of hybrid and remote work requires employers to create attractive and optimized workplaces to draw employees back to the office. Technology can help improve the workplace and make it an enticing environment employees want to work in.
How does monitoring workspaces with sensors affect employee privacy?
The newest tech uses thermal cameras and anonymous heat signatures to determine the spaces used. You are tracking the space, not the people. There is no camera or video feed, so it is a nonintrusive method that is completely anonymous and doesn’t affect privacy.
Do you recommend any specific amenities as an incentive to get employees to come back to the office?
Space optimization can make the workspace more attractive, but if you are trying to bring employees back into the office in general, you first need to know the reasons employees don’t wish to return and address them.
If lack of child care is an issue, you can overcome this by having child care available in or near the office.
If it’s the commute, the answer is more challenging. Currently, there is no ideal solution, but some offices successfully use satellite offices to reduce the commute time.
Do you anticipate everyone returning to the office full-time?
It’s more likely that employees will work a hybrid situation where they work some days from home and some days in the office. Another possibility is a two-tiered system where new employees have to spend more time in the office. Once they’ve learned the job and proven themselves reliable, they may be able to work remotely.
Is a four-day workweek likely?
From a productivity standpoint, it’s limited to certain types of companies. Most companies need to be available around the clock, and not have days closed.
From a city planning perspective, it’s more effective to spread employees’ days off over the whole week to reduce traffic and make commutes more bearable.
Watch our webinar on demand for more insights on the benefits of optimizing your workplace, along with information on how Kontakt.io’s innovative technological solutions can transform your workplace for greater productivity, efficiency, and employee retention.