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Optimizing Office Space with Neighborhood Planning and Data-Driven Insights

May 29th, 2024 | 5 min. read

Optimizing Office Space with Neighborhood Planning and Data-Driven Insights


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 many companies transition to hybrid work policies, establishing a sense of community and belonging in the office has become more important than ever. Even companies with in-person schedules need to foster connections among their teams. New workplace policies have led to new employee behaviors, and a sea of desks is no longer the solution. 

Building neighborhoods in the workplace helps create a sense of community and ensures seamless collaboration amongst teams. Neighborhood planning is an intelligent way to make sure employees have what they need to be productive in the office based on their role, tasks, and responsibilities.

What is Neighborhood Planning? Neighborhood planning is the process of strategically organizing office space into distinct areas or “neighborhoods” that cater to the specific needs and work styles of different employees and teams.

Rather than being static, neighborhoods serve multiple purposes for the individual and groups of people assigned to them. They often include a mix of space types, such as desks, phone booths, and open collaboration space, to facilitate the diverse work needs of each team.

In a world where occupancy is increasingly dynamic, occupancy intelligence can guide enterprises in building effective neighborhoods. This approach helps optimize spaces, reduce costs, ensure sustainability, and improve employee experience. When seeking solutions, data often holds the key.

Optimizing Workplace Efficiency Through Neighborhood Planning

Understanding how different groups work is essential for creating effective and efficient workplaces. Yet many organizations find their current space mix doesn't align with their teams' diverse needs and workstyles.

Desks are the most frequently seen design element, but they aren’t the most popular space in the office. Desks might act as homebase, but collaboration spaces are where people spend their time. Collaboration spaces have a combined active time usage of 20.6%, while desks have an active time usage of 8.4%

Occupancy Intelligence Index Insights on Space Mix

Neighborhood planning involves understanding the work that groups and individuals are doing, and providing the right mix of space for them to accomplish this work. Workplace leaders need to understand the type of work each team does and the touchpoints they have with one another. Then, they can identify the right mix of spaces that each team will need to facilitate these interactions.

Using occupancy intelligence for neighborhood planning can provide insight into peak person count, and usage trends, so workplace leaders can better understand how space is used over time by both groups and individuals. This allows them to prevent space shortages, identify popular vs. unpopular space types and amenities, and improve underperforming areas. As a result leaders can easily:

  1. Identify the Right Space Mix: Understanding which spaces are most and least used helps determine the appropriate space mix within each neighborhood. For example, you may find an excess of open collaboration space but a need for more private focus areas. The solution could involve adding planters, dividers, and/or phone booths to create more private areas.

  2. Improve Efficiency: Space shortages lead to stress and chaos. Without adequate space or space types in each neighborhood, employees may become frustrated, hindering their productivity. Occupancy Intelligence provides leaders with insights into trends before space shortages occur, allowing for preventive measures.

  3. Optimize Real Estate Spending: Underutilized space represents wasted costs and resources. Being able to pinpoint why a space is underperforming in a neighborhood and make necessary adjustments can reduce spending and save resources.

  4. Enhanced Team Satisfaction and Productivity: When teams have exactly what they need to do great work, they are happier and more productive. This increases their likelihood of staying with the company and producing better results.

Right Sizing Neighborhoods with Data: A Customer Story

At our recent webinar, How to Use Occupancy Intelligence for Neighborhood Planning, VergeSense Customer Andrea Diieso, Director of Workplace Experience at Rapid7, shared her experience using occupancy intelligence and other data to right-size neighborhoods in multiple workplaces. 

Challenge: Rapid7 has 15 global locations, 7 of which utilize VergeSense sensors. As a hybrid flexible company, their occupancy is more dynamic than ever.

Diieso noticed many of their workspace neighborhoods were facing one of two problems: having too much space or having too little space.

  1. Having too much space: Spaces were underused and teams were spread out across the office, leading to disconnect and separation.
  2. Having too little space: Spaces were overpopulated, leading to space shortages, noise, and lack of private space.

Solution: Diieso and her team were determined to optimize their space usage. Utilizing badge data, VergeSense data, and employee feedback Diiseo and her team looked at average headcount, peak headcount, and peak average headcount for trends and insights. 

Based on their findings they were able to make data-driven decisions to improve workplace experience:

  1. Adjusting and consolidating space: In offices where they felt they had too much space, they created smaller neighborhoods, so they could keep teams together ensuring they can easily collaborate with each other and access shared amenities.
  2. Recreating popular spaces: In offices with insufficient space, they identified the most popular space type and recreated them. They also added new amenities to underused spaces to help encourage teams and individuals to utilize these areas.

Neighborhood Planning with VergeSense

Data guided Diiseo and her team through major workplace challenges, leading to minor improvements that increased space usage, productivity, and satisfaction. Occupancy intelligence allows workplace leaders to see how employees and teams are using spaces, so they can make smarter, more impactful decisions.

VergeSense can help workplace leaders like you evaluate and optimize your space to enhance your workplace. Interested in transforming your office with data-driven neighborhood planning? Contact us today to learn more about VergeSense’s innovative solutions and how they can benefit your organization.

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For more information on Rapid7’s customer story, watch the full recording of our webinar here.