Even before the pandemic struck, the internet of things (IoT) was driving new efficiencies in workplaces across all industries. Now, with hybrid workplace models becoming the rule rather than the exception, decision-makers need solutions that can deliver real-time insights into how staff and clients are using the work space.
Occupancy sensors are an effective tool in providing exactly this, but they are so much more than just a people counter. Here are 10 different ways you can leverage the intelligence of occupancy sensors in your workplace.
1. Understand location attendance
It’s a simple metric but one that is extremely valuable for organisations that are welcoming staff back into the office after an extended absence. Workplace sensors can accurately detect when individuals enter or leave a space, floor or building giving you clear data that’s relevant to capacity limits, attendance figures and more.
At a company level, occupancy sensors can help you understand broad workplace occupancy and attendance trends so that you can understand how your return to office strategy is really progressing and identify your ‘new normal’ when it comes to an average occupancy benchmark at a specific office location.
2. Monitor desk utilisation
The vast majority of staff don’t spend every waking minute at their desk. They move to meeting rooms when required, spend time at co-workers’ desks for collaborative purposes, and they may even hot-desk – spending every day at a different desk, room or floor. Occupancy sensors provide clarity over how many desks are being used, peak usage times and days, as well as whether certain floors or team neighbourhoods are at risk of being over capacity.
Detailed desk utilisation insights from occupancy sensors help you to reduce friction and improve workplace experience by ensuring that desks can be allocated to teams or zones where they are most in demand. Under-utilised desk space can also be repurposed if occupancy sensor data indicates that other space configurations are in more demand.
3. Analyse meeting room usage
In the age of COVID, businesses need to stay on top of social distancing regulations – but you can’t be everywhere all the time, which is why occupancy sensors can do the heavy lifting for you. Monitor how your meeting rooms are being used, set up alerts for capacity limits and ensure the safety of your staff is always top-of-mind.
4. Identify ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ zones
Whether your workplace is limited to a small section of floorspace or you manage multiple floors in a busy building, there will always be popular spaces. Knowing which zones are hot and cold can help you make the workplace more functional and even indicate where you may be able to reduce your overheads and downsize, if appropriate.
5. Allocate space intelligently
To boost productivity and reduce the chances of staff becoming distracted in loud, open-plan spaces, you can use occupancy sensors to allocate particular rooms or areas for team projects. Moreover, if there are maintenance issues in a certain area, then your sensors can automatically notify the appropriate manager so a team member can be deployed where they need to be.
6. Accurately forecast future space requirements
Even though many organisations are embracing a hybrid workplace, that doesn’t mean you can expect your workspace to remain static – or continue to reduce in size. On the contrary, growth may compel you to expand your real estate presence in your current location, or even lease an additional floor or office elsewhere. Workplace sensors can provide valuable occupancy analytics to determine how much space you need now, as well as to predict space requirements into the future as your team grows.
7. Improve the workplace experience
Smart workplace design is about more than the initial layout you approve for your office. Instead, it should be seen as a living, breathing entity that changes over time according to your staff’s needs, their movement habits and the overall size of your team. Failure to be adaptable can create roadblocks – both physical and mental – for your people, whereas leveraging real-time analytics from workplace sensors can help you take an agile approach to your own workplace design to best suit the unique needs of your team and company.
8. Live presence detection and wayfinding
Occupancy sensors inform smarter building spaces by giving staff clearer directions about how an area is being used. Live presence detection (also known as real time occupancy data) allows you to know exactly when a desk is occupied or there’s a meeting in progress. This is also helpful for employees to find an unoccupied desk for social distancing purposes (through wayfinding).
9. Gain insight into your return-to-work strategy
While a handful of organisations had already seen the writing on the wall, many businesses were caught out by the sudden need to shift to fully remote work at the start of 2020. In order to avoid the same situation happening again, you likely invested considerable time into rolling out a return-to-work strategy. But is it actually working? With occupancy sensors, you can see the unfiltered results of your efforts, helping you understand how your return-to-office strategy is actually tracking and allowing you to see if there are any gaps or issues you didn’t plan for. With this data at hand, you can tweak your strategy, A/B potential solutions, and then review whether the changes are working every few months.
10. Inform lease planning and real estate downsizing
If you find that you are not adequately utilising your real estate – even after everyone has returned to work – then it may be in your best interests to reconsider your leasing options, or even downsize to a smaller workspace. Occupancy sensors can give you clear-cut workplace analytics about how much space is being used and when, so you can determine how to make your real estate footprint more efficient. Importantly, be leveraging verifiable occupancy sensor data you can de-risk this process by relinquishing the right amount of space. Having clear historical reporting at hand to share with stakeholders can also assist in your internal communications and transition process.
With such a wide variety of use cases, the real-time insights provided by occupancy sensors like XY Sense can influence key decisions around your workplace. Whether you want to enforce social-distancing regulations, downsize your real estate or use occupancy analytics to inform better workplace decisions, we can help.