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The Low Risk, high reward workplace

Guide to running experiments in a low occupancy world

In times of uncertainty, utilizing experiments is a great way to move strategies forward while keeping risk low. This is especially helpful in a period of low workplace utilization, when many businesses need to produce a business case for what will have an impact prior to a full-scale rollout. 

This guide will walk you through the basic principles of experimentation, a series of recommended experiments for different workplace and real estate use cases, and will conclude with a template to run your own experiments.

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Why experiment?

An experiment is typically defined as a procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to test or establish a hypothesis. In workplace and real estate we can use experiments to create low fidelity (read low cost) prototypes of our new ways of operating to save our companies time and resources.

For example, if you have a portfolio with 200,000 square feet of space and you haven't made any changes to it since the pandemic, just jumping into a full renovation of all of your spaces without any hard data or information could lead to very negative outcomes.

However, if you ran an experiment with 10,000 square feet of your space, you could design, renovate, and get feedback on it quickly. Then you can take the feedback from that space to create the next scale of test.

Building on this you will create a system in which over time you will renovate all of your spaces, and possibly find you actually can consolidate a bit. However, you'll be spending more wisely, and building smarter by running experiments (read tests) first.


Benefits of experimentation

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User feedback on prototype can drive design of next phase

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Risk lowered

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Future budget accurately forecasted

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Overall build quality improvement

Get started. Pick your top use case to see recommended experiments.

In the following resources,  we'll run through some common use cases, potential experiments, and provide a framework for you to get started with experimenting on your workplace and portfolio.


How to create an experiment

The basic steps of designing an experiment are probably something you’re familiar with from science class. When designing an experiment you start with empathy and move through a typical process (see image to the right). 

While all these phases are important, it is critical to understand the needs of those you’re designing for (empathize) and to have measures in place for how you’ll know the test was successful or not (Test). The most vital thing is to just get started. We’ve put some information on the different phases and what they include below. As well as additional resources.

Design thinking


1. Empathize

2. Define

3. Ideate

4. Prototype

5. Test

The Low Risk, High Reward Workplace

Download a free template to design your experiments

Download a PDF version of this guide to walk you through experiment design and how to produce a business case. 

It includes a template to run your own experiment.


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About the expert

Fernanda Belo

Fernanda Belo is the Head of Workplace Strategy and Insights at VergeSense. She produces research and best practices to help businesses improve the ROI of their workplace.

For the last 10 years, Fernanda has driven multiple workplace transformations and strategies with Fortune 500 companies, bringing purposeful workplaces to life and technologies to support the constantly changing business needs.