How much space do employees need? What is the ideal balance between remote and in-person work? How can we encourage workers to return to the office? Amid the rise of activity-based working, flexible hours, and remote meetings, companies worldwide are looking for ways to future-proof their workplaces. But the answer isn't as simple as reducing the amount of space in your real estate portfolio: data analytics are key to optimizing an office space.
Here we've identified five data-driven best practices designed to improve your spaces, reduce costs, and future-proof your workspaces.
1. Monitor occupancy
In the age of hybrid and remote working, businesses are struggling to monitor occupancy in the office while also trying to attract employees back into work. It's clear that any modern office needs to adopt a data-driven approach to remain competitive. Sensor-based occupancy data is crucial in helping real-estate managers anticipate the expected usage of their spaces in real-time.
Organizations can use data to monitor workplace performance to make accurate, tailored adjustments as needed. Tracking occupancy lets you understand who's visiting the office, when, and what spaces they're interacting with most. With these insights, you can make informed decisions on whether to add or reduce space, introduce new initiatives, or even close a building if low occupancy rates cost you more than expected. Anything is possible once you understand employees' occupancy habits—which are key to tailoring your building to match the needs of those who work there.
2. Identify trends
By gathering data, you can track the performance of your building and identify trends within your office to make improvements that reflect your organization's unique needs. Whether you're trying to understand why people aren't coming to the office as frequently or you're looking for patterns of unused meeting rooms, data is the starting point for all future progress.
Data can be examined in real-time for on-the-spot changes, but it is especially helpful in a long-term approach. By identifying trends, you can begin to implement larger, strategic changes—the performance of which can then be tracked over time.
3. Locate your least popular areas
Every office is bound to have a room or area that is rarely used. But companies can seldom identify exactly why these spaces are so underpopulated. That's where data comes in. Data analytics can, for example, show you which areas are used significantly less compared to other sites. With these insights, you can identify your office's "dead zones" and begin making improvements. You can also compare these dead zones to the more popular areas in your portfolio to determine what potential modifications can be made.
In this refinement process, data is key: allowing you to track the way your spaces are used over a long period of time, so that various advancements can be tested out to identify any core issues. Perhaps a lack of comfortable furniture or working AV equipment is preventing a meeting room from being adequately used. Data can track the effectiveness of different solutions, and then these learnings can be applied throughout the rest of your workspace.
4. Balance weekly occupancy
With the rising popularity of hybrid and remote working, many employees have the freedom to decide when to come into the office. This has a range of benefits—reduced costs, increased employee well-being—but also various consequences, chief of which is an unbalanced weekly occupancy. Employees visit the office 23% more on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays than on Mondays and Fridays. Though these preferences often differ from office to office, this uncertainty as to how many employees will be in on a given day can leave workplaces struggling to provide adequate catering amenities on peak days, while utility costs may go to waste during underpopulated days.
By monitoring occupancy data, businesses can understand when their workplaces are most popular and can make optimizations that reflect this knowledge. For instance, by identifying that an average of only 20% of employees come to the office on Mondays, an organization might make the cost-saving decision to close one of its floors on that day to reduce utilities and prevent the office from feeling overly empty. Data offers a key insight into employees' weekly habits, helping real estate managers better understand the potential of their facilities.
5. Right-size your spaces
In these uncertain times, it's essential to keep track of how your buildings are used. Every organization is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That's where the idea of right-sizing comes in: as opposed the eliminating space with downsizing, right-sizing is the process of assessing an office and using space planning, design, and facility management to plan for its ideal size in the future.
Occupancy data is key to right-sizing, as it allows you to uncover the unique opportunities that will improve your workplace while helping to reduce costs and unnecessary areas. After all, it's a waste of space if a floor, room, or area is unoccupied most of the week. For instance, if you have a building with 30% occupancy on every floor, you could effectively combine multiple floors into a "right-sized building" that reflects your unique capacity needs.
Manage your global real estate portfolio with data
It's impossible to predict what the future can bring, but real estate managers must act now to keep their portfolios agile and up-to-date with modern working standards. By harnessing some of the data-driven improvements we've detailed above, you'll be able to confidently benchmark capacity and occupancy across your different holdings while creating clear real estate strategies that optimize your spaces based on trends and employee needs.
By applying the power of occupancy data, real estate managers can reduce lease and utility costs by rightsizing their buildings. Data is vital in gathering insights about the office's most popular days and areas, insights that can then be used to improve a workplace's layout while promoting hybrid working practices that meet workers' preferences.
Data gives you the insights you need to better understand your real estate, and the confidence to make changes that create an optimized workplace experience. Interested in integrating data into your own portfolio? Mapiq's occupancy add-on is specifically designed to revitalize your real estate.