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3 Tips to Optimizing Workplace Efficiency: Lessons from the Occupancy Intelligence Summit

June 21st, 2024 | 6 min. read

3 Tips to Optimizing Workplace Efficiency: Lessons from the Occupancy Intelligence Summit
VergeSense

VergeSense

VergeSense is the industry leader in providing enterprises with a true understanding of their occupancy and how their offices are actually being used.

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The power of data to create better workplaces has never been more evident. Data-driven insights can transform mundane office spaces into dynamic, efficient hubs of productivity. 

The Occupancy Intelligence Summit on May 8th provided a platform for VergeSense customers in the finance sector to share how they've leveraged occupancy intelligence to enhance their office environments. The event underscored the importance of these shared stories, enabling other leaders to glean valuable insights and strategies for their workplace redesigns.

A standout narrative came from Jason Finneran, Workplace Experience Specialist at Bread Financial, who detailed his company’s experience with neighborhood planning and space redesign using occupancy data. 

Here are three key takeaways from Finneran's presentation.

VergeSense Occupancy Intelligence Summit

1. Technology is Key

Several factors can drive the need for a workplace redesign, such as moving to a new office, facing space constraints, or adopting new workplace strategies. 

For Finneran and his team, a new hybrid work strategy drove the need for their workplace redesign. This is the reality for many companies, 37% of U.S. companies have adopted a structured hybrid model, a 20% jump from last year, and any shift in workplace strategy requires a close examination of office set up.

With a new hybrid strategy in place, becoming a tech-forward company was non-negotiable. Finneran and his team integrated new technology into the workplace, so they could better understand their team's needs, better accommodate their new working preferences, and create a more flexible work environment.

He incorporated the following tools and solutions:

  • VergeSense occupancy sensors for the most accurate space utilization data.
    The OfficeSpace integration for true occupancy insights within buildings and office spaces, including active and passive occupancy data. 
  • Outdoor WiFi to ensure seamless connectivity for employees whether they were inside or outside the office. 
  • Eliminated VPNs, simplifying remote work and making their overall tech infrastructure more accessible and user-friendly.

Takeaway: Technology is key when transitioning to a new workplace strategy. With the right tools you can better support your employees' hybrid working needs, enhance spaces, and better understand how the office is being used.

 

2. Decide with Data

Incorporating both qualitative and quantitative data is crucial for making informed and effective design decisions in the workplace. This comprehensive approach ensures that the redesign addresses the actual needs and behaviors of employees, leading to a more productive and satisfying work environment.

Finneran and his team relied on both types of data to make informed decisions. 

Qualitative Data: Surveys & Employee Feedback

After a brief employee experience survey, the qualitative data revealed critical insights, guiding the redesign with three core principles in mind:

  • Flexibility: Creating adaptable spaces that cater to employees’ various work styles. This included neighborhoods to ensure an optimal space mix, a variety of desk and meeting room types to suit diverse work preferences, and mobile tech options such as single-monitor stations and laptop stations.
  • Equity: Ensuring all employees have access to the same resources and opportunities. This included eliminating assigned offices to promote a more inclusive workplace, providing gender-neutral restrooms, standardizing desk sizes, and offering different types of workspaces to suit everyone’s preferences.
  • Community: Fostering a sense of belonging and collaboration among employees, both in-office and remote. This included creating enhanced coffee points, including a Starbucks, to encourage social interaction, designing a large auditorium space for company-wide meetings and events, and building lobby areas that also function as workspaces.

Quantitative Data: Sensor Analytics & Space Utilization

To complement the qualitative insights, Finneran used VergeSense sensors to collect quantitative data on how workspaces were actually utilized. This included analyzing space configurations and usage using the Space Usage Timeline. The results of this analysis led to several strategic additions to their office layout:

  • Single Dock Stations: Providing individual workstations that cater to both in-office employees and those who occasionally come in, promoting flexibility.
  • Privacy Pods: Creating quiet zones for focused work, addressing the need for spaces that support concentration and privacy.
  • Studio Build-Out: Developing areas specifically designed for collaborative work, such as team meetings and creative brainstorming sessions.

Finneran and his team also implemented a weekly bookable seat-type usage report, allowing him to track and respond to how different spaces are utilized over time.


Takeaway: Say goodbye to assumptions and hello to occupancy intelligence. Let qualitative and quantitative data be your guide, and utilize actual insights to make informed decisions.

3. Build Different Neighborhoods & Spaces

Catering to how different groups work is essential for designing creative and efficient workplaces. A common barrier to workplace productivity is supplying a space mix that doesn’t meet employees’ needs. 

With the principles of flexibility, equity, and community in mind, Finneran began building out neighborhoods and spaces tailored to employees' needs. Initially, these neighborhoods were developed based on several factors:

  • Team Leaders: Input from team leaders helped shape spaces that best supported their teams' workflows and needs.
  • Types of Work: Different types of work require different environments, so spaces were designed to accommodate tasks ranging from collaborative projects to focused, individual work.
  • Team Collaboration: Emphasis was placed on creating areas that fostered team interaction and collaboration.
  • Survey Ambassadors: Employees provided valuable feedback through surveys, ensuring the design reflected the broader needs and preferences of the workforce.

After the initial development and testing phase, Finneran used occupancy intelligence to measure the success of these neighborhoods and make adjustments based on:

  • Actual Space Usage: Data from VergeSense sensors provided insights into which spaces were used most frequently and effectively.
  • Days Teams Were in Office: Understanding the patterns of when different teams were in the office helped optimize space allocation and design.

By continuously refining his approach based on actual space utilization data, Finneran ensured that redesigned office spaces are not only functional but also align with employees' evolving needs. 

Takeaway: You need to diversify your space mix. Analyze usage data to determine what spaces employees need and find a new balance that promotes productivity. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Optimizing Intelligent Space Design with Occupancy Data

The story of Bread Financial's workplace transformation underscores the critical role that data plays in optimizing workplace efficiency. By leveraging both qualitative feedback from employee surveys and quantitative insights from VergeSense sensors, the workplace experience team was able to design a dynamic and responsive work environment tailored to their unique needs.


This data-driven approach resulted in several key benefits:

  • Increased Usage Across the Office: By understanding and responding to actual space usage patterns, Bread Financial created a more engaging and utilized workspace. 
  • Prevention of Space Shortages: Proactive monitoring and adjustments based on real-time data helped prevent space shortages and ensured that all employees had access to the resources they needed.


Incorporating data into every stage of the redesign process allowed Finneran to build a workplace that not only supports his organization’s hybrid work strategy but also fosters flexibility, equity, and community. As a result, they have set a powerful example of how intelligent space design, guided by occupancy intelligence, can lead to a more efficient and effective workplace.

To hear from more workplace experts and learn more about our latest AI-powered solution Workplace Assistant, watch the full Occupancy Intelligence Summit.