Answering key space questions: how to understand and optimize all your space

Take control to reduce costs and deliver the workplace your employees need 

By | 4 minute read | November 14, 2019

Do you know how spaces in your building are being used? Or why more corporate real estate leaders are tracking utilization? It is reported that workers are at their desk only 40% of their working day. There are many reasons why. It could be an increased mobile workforce who travel or visit client sites regularly. Or maybe it’s more flexible work schedules. But the end result can be low space utilization.

Given that the cost of space is usually an organization’s second largest expense, understanding true usage can identify potential ways to reduce cost and improve optimization. As independent research firm  Verdantix found, 90% of organizations rate space efficiency as a medium- to high-cost savings opportunity. In this blog, we’ll discuss why now is the perfect time to consider an intelligent real estate and facilities management solution to better understand and optimize your space.

Creating the right space for more productive employees

In addition to costs, optimized spaces can have a positive impact on employees, because increased productivity arises when you create more engaging areas for users. After all, an employee will usually be the first to note when spaces are underutilized or inefficient. Every day, they are the ones who look for a meeting room – but cannot find one, even when they see reserved, but empty rooms around them. And don’t forget the mobile employee who occasionally comes to the office. They often see a sea of empty desks yet still can’t find an unassigned place to sit.

Understanding the when, how and who of space utilization

It’s not a question of wanting a complete picture of your space. Today’s space planners need to know how utilization can be tracked and measured. Fortunately, the advancement of IoT and sensor devices aid in the collection of the needed occupancy data. That makes it easier to understand how and when spaces are being used. Sensors, such as infrared motion detectors, beacons, employee wearables, camera-based sensors, thermal sensors and Wi-Fi access points offer a wide variety of options for capturing occupancy and utilization trends. These devices can detect the number of people present, the dwell times, the team an employee belongs to and density of those spaces. When you analyze this data, you can spot a pattern in space usage. That gives a space planner data-based insights to aid in decisions for office space management in the future.

For example, the trend over the last few years has been to decrease the square footage per person. Yet, when you understand your current space density, you can make better decisions on what “optimal” truly looks like. You’ll know if you should remove larger corner offices and increase the use of smaller workstations. Or perhaps the “right space” means adopting flexible seating to allow employees to choose where they sit in the office. Doing this manually, however, is time consuming and prone to error. This is where an intelligent RE and FM solution comes into play.

Making sense of the data

Through the smart application of data, IoT and AI, intelligent real estate and facilities management solutions like IBM TRIRIGA and TRIRIGA Building Insights help you unlock key information and insights, giving greater visibility into space management and facility utilization.

These solutions bring together the real-time occupancy insights of buildings and spaces by connecting various data sources to a single platform. Key performance indicators are surfaced and provide the information you need on an organizations utilization rate, vacancy rate and usage behaviors. This includes duration and dwell time to help determine whether your current spaces are efficient – and meeting both business and employee needs.

With patterns and trends, space planners have the key information they need. That means they can quickly identify whether their spaces are over- or under-utilized, and where the space opportunity exists in their portfolio. This information gives them the knowledge to influence strategy, identify opportunities for expansion or consolidation, and answer questions like:

  • What action should I take with an expiring lease?
  • How can I best reconfigure floor plans based on current usage?
  • What improvements can I make in desk sharing ratios to truly maximize available spaces?

Interested in learning more?

For more information, sign up for our webinar. In 20 minutes, you’ll learn what your buildings are saying and how you can make your space more productive, efficient and valuable.

About  TRIRIGA and TRIRIGA Building Insights

Space matters. It is at the heart of your real estate strategy, helps you deliver the right workplace experience, and can drive up to 20% savings when used efficiently. Through the smart application of data, IoT and AI, TRIRIGA can help you unlock key information and insights, giving greater visibility into space and facility utilization, occupant experience, capital projects, and lease administration and accounting. With TRIRIGA – backed by data security that only IBM can provide – you can get the most out of your real estate investments regardless of size, scale and configuration.

Learn why it’s the choice for 4 out of the Fortune 5.