The three most important components that influence the employee’s experience and behavior are technology, culture, and physical space of the workplace. Tracking space utilization provides you valuable insights to plan and design a highly efficient and productive workplace.
What Is Space Utilization?
Space utilization refers to how often space is used, who uses it, and why it’s being used. In other words, space utilization is your workplace occupancy divided by its capacity. A well-managed workspace allows employees to focus and collaborate effectively with each other. On the other hand, an office with poor space utilization can make it difficult for employees to concentrate and work together. Therefore, making the right space utilization strategy is important for future growth and success.
Who Uses Space Utilization
Banks, BPOs, hospitals, airports, hotels, and other small to large firms use space utilization methods to optimize their existing space. Organizations may use different software and methods to identify underutilized space and make adjustments according to their needs.
Why Space Utilization Methods Are Used
Companies often overestimate the space occupancy of their facilities. Knowing how much space is actually being used in a workplace can help them reduce the cost. The space utilization analysis provides data that can be used to optimize the existing space and maintain efficiency. You can also outline peak occupancy and vacancy rate to improve office operations.
According to a 2018 space utilization benchmarking report by JLL, the majority of organizations have average space utilization rates of 60% – 70%. This means their 30% – 40% space is underutilized. Underutilized space means companies are overspending on office space. Apart from that, space utilization helps remove the physical barriers to promote the way your employees interact and collaborate.
How Metrics Help Measure Space Utilization
A basic method to determine the occupancy rate is the total available space divided by total occupied space. However, this method overlooks many factors of today’s evolving workplaces. These are the other useful metrics that tell the whole space utilization story.
Density – This is a more granular space utilization metric that shows when a group has outgrown its space. You can look at floors, departments, and business segments separately to determine the demand for space by a specific group or purpose.
Cost Per Head/Seat – Calculating cost per head/seat helps you understand the cost of housing employees within the available space. Cost per head is an essential metric to create a floor plan and control cost within a workplace.
Mobility – Accounting for workforce mobility is important if you have part-time workers, remote workers, and visitors as it gives the true measurement of space utilization.
Methods for Tracking Space Utilization
Depending on your data needs and existing technology, you can track space utilization in many ways. Here are the most common methods to collect real-time space utilization data:
Badge Data – Using ID badge systems can ensure workplace security and can be set up to track entry and exit, entry into secure areas, or entry into specific floors. You can use these data to identify space utilization trends.
BLE Beacons – Bluetooth low energy beacons can be placed at various points on the office floors to track the space utilization by employees and visitors. Insight and data can be useful to improve workplace space utilization.
PIR Sensors – Passive infrared sensors can be affixed to the seat or desk to detect body heat and determine if it is occupied or vacant. These data can be used to help employees find and book the seat in real-time.
Lightening Sensors – Designed to optimize energy consumption, lightening sensors can detect occupancy and send the signal to lightening systems. We can also use the occupancy pattern as space utilization data.
Wi-Fi Triangulation – Wi-Fi triangulation uses a wireless access point to track the exact position of the occupancy. For example, hospitals can keep track of medical equipment, employees to plan and utilize space in real-time.
No matter what type of organization space you want to improve, QuickFMS space utilization software is an ideal option. Our software offers advance reporting capabilities around space utilization metrics that enable intelligent space planning and make every space count by analyzing your workplace in real-time.
Amit Prasad is the founder and managing director of SatNav Technologies and has business interests in a wide range of IT products. SatNav Technologies is an IT products company focusing on cloud based map data products and a pioneer in GPS, FMS & LBS Technologies. The product suite includes SatTracx in-the-field location based solutions and A-mantra in-the-office facilities management solutions. QuickFMS from a-mantra is a cloud based facility management system which enhances organization’s efficiency.