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Uncovering Space Shortages: Metrics for your Workplace Strategy

April 16th, 2024 | 6 min. read

Uncovering Space Shortages: Metrics for your Workplace Strategy
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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In the ever-evolving workplace, adaptation isn’t just an advantage; it’s a necessity. As organizations transition towards more flexible and collaborative environments, the traditional metrics for evaluating workplace success must undergo a transformation of their own. 

Today, the efficacy of a workplace strategy isn't solely gauged by efficiency metrics or cost-effectiveness. Instead, it hinges on a fundamental understanding of what truly empowers employees: providing them with the space they need to collaborate, thrive, and drive productivity.

We frequently talk about space availability, and for good reasons. There’s such an intricate interplay between the availability of space and employee satisfaction. Therefore, the key to unlocking an efficient workplace lies in the ability to gauge space availability and identify shortages. 

The purpose of this blog is twofold: to shed light on the pivotal role of metrics in shaping workplace strategy and to explore the core indicators that illuminate space shortages within organizational settings. By dissecting these metrics, organizations can gain invaluable insights into space utilization trends, enabling informed decision-making to mitigate shortages and enhance overall space availability

Understanding Space Shortages

Space shortages occur when there’s an imbalance between the supply and demand of space in the office. They happen when the capacity of your workplace is reached, leaving employees without access to the types of workspaces they want such as meeting rooms, collaboration spaces, or desks. 

Core Metrics for Evaluating Space Availability

 When optimizing space availability, it’s important to understand the core metrics. These metrics serve as the compass guiding organizations towards efficient space utilization, ensuring that the physical environment aligns seamlessly with the evolving needs of employees.

These metrics are: 

  1. Capacity Usage: The number of people in a space over time divided by its user-defined capacity. This carefully crafted metric represents an office's performance and efficiency.
  2. Utilization Rate: The proportion of time that a space is occupied compared to its total availability within a given timeframe. This metric is instrumental in determining how efficiently spaces are utilized throughout the day.
  3. Active Time Usage: 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. It provides insight into when and how often spaces are being used regardless of crowd size, informing the management of space availability and identification of most and least used spaces.
  4. Space to Person Ratio: The total area of space divided by the number of occupants. This metric quantifies the relationship between the available space and the number of individuals utilizing it, profoundly influencing workspace design and allocation decisions, ensuring that the environment fosters collaboration and productivity while avoiding overcrowding.

Identifying Space Shortages With Data

Data is your most powerful ally when identifying and addressing space shortages. The Occupancy Intelligence Platform provides the historical data you need to capture what’s happening in every workspace. By analyzing historical occupancy and utilization data, you gain a true understanding of how spaces are actually used so you can identify if, when and where shortages occur.

In tandem with historical data analysis, conducting comprehensive space audits is also a useful tool for identifying space shortages. This will help you see which spaces are actually being
used, and which spaces aren’t.

If you find that capacity usage is low overall, it’s a sign that there’s room to rethink your space mix and their designs to create a more productive environment for your teams. 

If you find that capacity usage or active time usage is low within specific space types, or groups of spaces, it’s an indication there’s room to reevaluate the design of these spaces, focusing on the frequency, location, and mix in your workplace.

Gathering employee feedback is also important. Feedback can enrich your understanding of the space dynamics within your workplace. However, it’s vital to pair feedback with data analysis. This is key for making the distinction between an actual space shortage and a perceived one. 

Strategies for Addressing Space Shortages

Once you know your employees are experiencing space shortages, it’s time to address them. Here are some actions you can take to reduce space shortages.

Space Optimization Techniques

Employing space optimization techniques will help you maximize the utility of existing space through thoughtful design and utilization practices. These include:

  • Redesigning layouts for better space utilization: Reevaluate spatial configurations and tailor them to align with your employees’ objectives and preferences. This may include reconfiguring floor plans, repurposing underutilized areas into more popular space types, and reallocating resources based on usage patterns.
  • Incorporating multifunctional furniture and storage solutions: Integrating multifunctional furniture and storage solutions can also allow you to maximize space utilization without compromising on functionality or aesthetics. From modular workstations that can adapt to different tasks to innovative storage solutions that optimize vertical space, versatile furnishings can enable workplace leaders to make the most of limited square footage while maintaining flexibility and adaptability.

Space Booking Automation 

Implementing space booking automation streamlines the process of reserving and managing workspace resources, making it frictionless for employees to access and utilize available spaces. Integrating with a digital booking platform can also alleviate space shortages by freeing up space when meetings are ghosted. 

VergeSense integrates with several leading space booking platforms, making employee experience more frictionless and automating key reservation actions that improve workplace efficiency overall. Not only does automated space booking make your employees’ lives easier, your office will be larger with more space available for ad hoc collaboration and focus work.

Real-life Example: VergeSense customer uses the Occupancy Intelligence Platform to optimize office layout and introduce more collaborative spaces. Here’s what they achieved using space usage data:

  • Strategic Space Allocation: The customer confidently denied employees’ requests for more space, leveraging occupancy data to validate that they had sufficient conference rooms, even during peak capacity periods. 
  • Significant Cost Savings: The customer saved a staggering $1.5M in potential buildout costs. By leveraging occupancy insights, they were able to identify underutilized areas and strategically reallocate resources, ensuring optimal space utilization without the need for costly expansions or renovations.
  • Proactive Space Management: The customer developed a scientific system for proactively monitoring space usage and evaluating space requests. VergeSense's Usage Maps provided invaluable insights into how different groups utilized space, empowering the customer to make confident decisions regarding space allocation, amenities, and policy changes.

Conclusion

This blog has emphasized the transformative potential of utilizing metrics to inform confident decisions regarding workspace design, allocation, and optimization. 

To recap:

  • Metrics such as capacity usage, utilization rate, active time usage, and space-to-person ratio serve as invaluable tools for gauging space availability and identifying shortages.
  • Occupancy data insights, coupled with space audits and employee feedback, offer a comprehensive understanding of space dynamics and help in making informed decisions.
  • Space optimization techniques, including redesigning layouts and incorporating multifunctional furniture, can maximize space utilization and alleviate shortages.
  • Implementing space booking automation streamlines reservation processes, making it easier for employees to access available spaces and reducing ghosted meetings.

It’s vital that workplace leaders remain vigilant in their pursuit of optimizing space utilization and enhancing employee experience. By prioritizing data-backed decision-making and proactive space management, organizations can create dynamic and engaging workspaces that empower employees to thrive.

Want to learn more about defining capacity? Read our blog Space Availability 101: Space Shortages for more insights on how to build a productive workplace using occupancy data.