How to use occupancy analytics to maximize ROI from workplace investments

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Getting maximum ROI from real estate investments is job one for workplace teams. Since real estate is usually the second largest expense for most companies after wages and benefits, workplace leaders must ensure that every dollar spent on space and equipment is a wise investment. The current soft economy is increasing pressure on teams to maximize ROI and identify savings to help lower overall company costs. 

According to a recent survey from the International Workplace Group, 74% of CFOs plan to reduce office space as a cost-cutting measure, and 65% are targeting savings of at least 10%.

CFOs also recognize the value of an informed, human-centered workplace strategy. This PwC study revealed 81% are concerned about turnover and believe creating a thoughtfully planned workplace is essential. They recognize that a well-designed professional environment makes people join and stay at the company and want to be part of its in-person culture. 

Workplace leadership is fundamentally about walking this tightrope: finding the right mix of savings and productivity enhancements to get the best financial results for the company.

How to use analytics to measure and enhance workplace ROI

To balance cost optimization and employee engagement, workplace professionals must understand their unique workplace occupancy and utilization trends. A global JLL survey of 1000+ real estate leaders revealed that implementing and using occupancy sensors is a top priority for real estate teams.

  • 16% have already implemented occupancy and environmental sensors
  • 48% plan to have sensors implemented in 2023
  • 77% will have implemented sensors within three years 

Occupancy sensors and analytics platforms monitor how many people are in your workplace and what they are doing at all times. By using occupancy sensors to ‘measure before they act’ on major workplace decisions, companies can transform their offices into ideal environments that meet the needs of both employees and bottom lines. They can eliminate unnecessary space, prevent purchasing excessive resources, adjust the space type composition to meet team needs better, and increase real estate available when it yields positive ROI. 

Occupancy sensors provide the critical insights necessary for the four-phase ROI optimization process. The process begins with analysis, then moves to alignment and forecasting. 

1) Understand location: 

Sensors and analytics tools provide accurate counts of people in a workspace in real-time and over time. Real estate teams get a macro-level view of overall workplace utilization by reviewing and analyzing this data. This is a critical first step in ROI optimization. With precise occupancy data, workplace teams can confidently report office occupancy and make decisions based on accurate data. 

Go deep on desks and workpoints Desk utilization and capacity

2) Assess resource utilization: 

Macro counts of occupants provide valuable information, but many workplace decisions require insight into which resources employees utilize. The best workplace occupancy sensors can provide real-time and historical data on the utilization of workstations, conference rooms, collaboration areas, and more. Using this data, workplace leaders accurately understand the overall demand for resources like work points, conference rooms, and informal collaboration areas.

3) Align resources to ROI: 

Once the workplace team has the data to understand overall occupancy and resource utilization, it can make smarter decisions on resource allocation, space type validation, purchases, and more. Occupancy analytics data identifies where demand for resources exceeds supply and where resources are underutilized and can be reallocated. They can optimize work point counts and balance space allocated to the actual needs of each team. ROI alignment also helps teams decide whether the company should reduce or increase space and whether request space and equipment allocations are necessary. 

Goodbye crystal ball. Hello company-led modelling! Predictive utilization

4) Accurate future needs forecasting: 

Workplace management isn’t just about the now. Its leaders must also help the company prepare for the future by ensuring that the appropriate resources will be available. Armed with accurate occupancy insights, real estate teams can make more informed predictions of future needs, so they proactively plan, rightsize real estate footprint, and avoid unnecessary space and equipment purchases.

Choosing the Right Occupancy Analytics Platform

While each step above is critical to maximizing ROI, not all sensors and analytics platforms can provide the data breadth and accuracy you need. Sensor companies leverage various technologies in their sensors – the data they deliver ranges from narrow to comprehensive. 

To maximize ROI, companies need an occupancy analytics solution that delivers accurate occupancy counts, reliable information on resource utilization, and built-in analytics tools to process, visualize, and act on the data. 

XY Sense delivers better, more comprehensive data in all of these areas: 

  • Better technology: XY Sense Sensors use computer vision technology, the most accurate technology available. Computer vision occupancy sensors provide more precise and detailed information on people’s movements and location within a space. This can help companies better understand how their office space is used and identify areas for improvement. XY Sense Area Sensors leverage advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to detect and track the movement of people and objects with high precision. They detect and count people accurately, even in crowded or complex environments. Computer vision provides far better data on the number, location, and activity of each person in a workspace.
  • Broader range: XY Sense sensors cover larger areas than other sensors, so fewer sensors are needed to cover a given space. XY Sense Area Sensors have a coverage range of 1,024 feet (95 square meters) – about the space required for 20 workstations. By contrast, competitor infrared and other sensors typically have a range of about 1/2 that size. A wider range means companies need fewer sensors, which controls costs and delivers a more sustainable measurement solution.
  • Superior privacy and security:  XY Sense offers robust security and privacy protection through multiple means, including “edge processing,” which helps ensure that no images or other information that could potentially contain proprietary company information or employee personally identifiable information (PII) is stored or transmitted from sensors. 
  • Reduced installation and maintenance costs: Our installation method leverages daisy chain wiring instead of traditional hub and spoke models, reducing cabling and other materials requirements by 80%. That seemingly small difference turns out to be anything but. XY Sense’s daisy chain deployment recently drove $12M in savings for a global financial services company. Additionally, all software updates are delivered over the air instead of via manual physical processes. 

Learn more about our platform below:


To learn more about maximizing ROI and reducing real estate costs through workplace analytics, check out our latest whitepaper “Rightsize Right: A guide to reducing costs and improving workplace experience through occupancy analytics”. 

Or get in touch with the XY Sense team today. We’d love to discuss your challenges and how to help you deliver cost savings and an enhanced working environment.

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