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How to Measure and Enhance Office Effectiveness with Data

June 26th, 2024 | 7 min. read

How to Measure and Enhance Office Effectiveness with Data
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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As companies implement new workplace strategies, the traditional metrics for office success are no longer sufficient. A shift towards flexible, hybrid, or in-person work models demands a reevaluation of how we measure and enhance office effectiveness.

Gone are the days when the number of desks equaled the number of people in the office. Today's workplace strategies are more dynamic, reflecting the diverse needs and preferences of employees. In fact, in modern workplaces, desks often sit empty as employees opt for spaces better suited for collaboration. 

Evaluating the effectiveness of your office space in relation to these new strategies is crucial. It’s essential for cost management (underutilized spaces are a huge financial burden), and it’s vital for the employee experience.

This is where occupancy intelligence comes into play. By leveraging occupancy data to track how your workspace is used, you can make informed, data-driven decisions that positively impact your organization. Let’s take a look at how occupancy intelligence can transform workspaces, and how to use it to track the effectiveness of your new workplace strategy. 

Defining Effectiveness

An effective workplace is one that balances several key factors to create a space that is both efficient and supportive of employees' needs. Here’s how to define and measure workplace effectiveness:

  1. Maximizing Space: Effective workplaces make the most of their available space. This means ensuring that every square foot is used efficiently, avoiding under or overutilized areas, and identifying opportunities to repurpose or redesign spaces to serve current needs better. 
  2. Ensuring a High-Quality Employee Experience: This involves creating an environment where employees feel comfortable, motivated, and supported. Planning neighborhoods with the right space mix is crucial for the employee experience. Factors such as natural light, ergonomic furniture, and quiet areas for focus work also contribute to a positive experience.
  3. Promoting Flexibility: An effective office provides spaces that can adapt to different activities and work styles, from collaborative areas for team projects to quiet zones for individual work. This flexibility supports a diverse range of employee needs and preferences.
  4. Enabling Productivity: An effective workplace removes barriers to productivity by providing the right tools, technology, and environment for employees to do their best work. This includes reliable internet access, well-maintained equipment, and a space mix that facilitates concentration and collaboration.

To achieve workplace effectiveness, you must balance the cost of a space with the employee experience. Managing expenses is important, but cutting corners on the employee experience can hurt satisfaction and productivity. You want to provide a quality environment without overspending.

Occupancy intelligence enables you to achieve this balance. The Space Usage Timeline identifies when more than 80% of a particular space type is being used within a given location and space — down to the hour — allowing you to flag shortages. This data enables you to recognize when the employee experience is being compromised and make adjustments only when needed — spending money only when you have to and on exactly what you need. 

Conducting an Office Audit

Conducting an office audit is a crucial step in ensuring that your workplace strategy is practical and that your space design meets your team's needs. An audit provides a clear picture of how your spaces are actually being used, enabling you to make data-driven decisions to optimize your office environment.

Key Metrics for an Effective Office Audit

Capacity Usage

Capacity usage measures the number of people in a space over time relative to a space's user-defined capacity. This metric provides insights into your office's performance and efficiency.

  • Peak Capacity Usage: Tracks the highest number of occupants in a space during a given period.
  • Average Capacity Usage: Reflects the typical number of occupants over time.

Analyzing both peak and average capacity usage helps you understand how well your space is being utilized. For example, consistently low capacity usage indicates that there might be an opportunity to reconfigure or repurpose underutilized spaces.

Active Time Usage

Active time usage calculates the amount of time that a particular space, or multiple spaces, are actively used by at least one person, divided by the total available time for use. This metric provides insights into space availability and usage patterns.

  • Active Time Usage: Time when people use the space.
  • Passive Time Usage: Time when the space is occupied by objects (e.g., computers, backpacks) but not by people.

Understanding active versus passive time usage can help you identify which spaces are frequently used and which are not, allowing you to optimize the allocation and design of these areas.

Analyzing the Data

Once you have collected data on capacity and active time usage over a set period, you can gain valuable insights into how and when your space is being used. Here are some potential findings and their implications:

  • Low Overall Capacity Usage: If the overall capacity usage is low, consider rethinking the balance of space types and their designs. This could involve creating more attractive and useful environments that better meet the needs of your teams.
  • Low Usage in Specific Spaces: If capacity or active time usage is low for specific space types or within a group of spaces, it may be time to reevaluate the design of these areas. Focus on factors such as frequency of use, location, and the mix of different space types to improve their effectiveness.

Answering Questions with Occupancy Intelligence

At this stage, you should be able to form questions, create hypotheses, and begin experimenting with changes in your workplace. The insights gained from occupancy and usage metrics can highlight popular spaces, identify underutilized areas, and suggest where improvements are needed.

Workplace Assistant accelerates the decision-making process for workplace leaders providing fast, personalized recommendations and answers.. Powered by generative AI, users can receive analysis tailored to their specific needs within minutes—a process that traditionally takes weeks or months. 

It combines the capabilities of a real estate strategist, workplace experience, and occupancy analyst—all right at your fingertips, allowing you to capitalize on optimization opportunities quickly. Here are a few questions Workplace Assistant can help you answer:

  1. Can I consolidate four floors into three without impacting employee experience? By understanding the usage patterns and capacity of each floor, you can determine if consolidating space is feasible. This can reduce costs without compromising the quality of the work environment.
  2. Should I reconsider my lease on underutilized spaces? If certain areas are consistently underutilized, it might be worth reevaluating the need to renew leases for these spaces. This can lead to significant cost savings and more efficient use of your real estate portfolio.
  3. Are my meeting rooms underutilized? Rarely used meeting rooms might indicate a need to reconfigure them for other purposes. Alternatively, analyzing peak usage times can help reschedule meetings to make better use of available rooms.
  4. Are my neighborhoods big enough? Neighborhoods or designated areas for teams may need resizing based on actual usage data. This could involve expanding popular areas or repurposing less utilized zones to better meet the needs of your employees.

Optimizing for the Modern Workplace 

Transforming workspaces to enhance office effectiveness is an ongoing journey. It’s essentially reliant on your ability to find your workplace's 'breaking points' and solve them with a blend of data-driven insights and an understanding of your employees’ needs. 

Let’s recap your key takeaways: 

  • Defining Effectiveness: An effective workplace maximizes space, ensures a high-quality employee experience, promotes flexibility, and enables productivity. Balancing cost with employee experience is essential for achieving this effectiveness.
  • Conducting an Office Audit: Regular audits help you understand how your spaces are being used. By analyzing capacity and active time usage, you can identify underutilized areas and make informed decisions about space reconfiguration and optimization.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Once you have analyzed your data, you can form questions and hypotheses to experiment with improvements. Key questions might include whether you can consolidate floors, reconfigure underutilized spaces, or adjust the size of team neighborhoods.
  • Leveraging Workplace Assistant: VergeSense’s Workplace Assistant accelerates the decision-making process by providing personalized recommendations and rapid answers. This AI-powered tool helps you experiment and implement changes quickly, ensuring your workplace remains efficient and responsive to evolving needs.

Ready to transform your workplace? Learn more about how VergeSense’s Workplace Assistant can help you make data-driven improvements and enhance office effectiveness. Discover the power of occupancy intelligence and start optimizing your space today. Learn more about Workplace Assistant.