Calculating the ROI from occupancy sensors in your workplace 

On this page, we’ll explore the key ways occupancy sensors generate value for workplace teams and the key factors to consider when calculating the ROI from occupancy sensors. 

Benefits of occupancy sensors

your footprint

Remove guesswork and right-size your workplace portfolio. When strategy is based on precise data, costs can be reduced without impacting workplace experience.

workplace strategy

Transition from fixed to flexible working with confidence. Allocate space for teams based on verifiable utilization data and take an agile approach to workplace decision making.

COVIDSafe offices

Guide the return to office armed with data. By monitoring room and floor occupancy, office capacity limits and targeted cleaning are covered.

Supercharge workplace experience

Every workplace and team is unique and so are their space needs. Easily identify and resolve office friction points and provide new, real-time space views to boost workplace experience.

First, let’s talk about the cost of occupancy sensors.

Cost of occupancy sensors per month

XY Sense costs* approximately US$0.05 per sq.ft, per month to run.

*Based on an average 16,000 sq.ft (5 floor) office prior to discounts for whole building or multi-location deployments being applied.

How does that stack up?

How much do workplace sensors cost per employee?

It’s equivalent to less than 1% of monthly office space costs per employee in a major city like San Francisco. 

Average annual cost to rent office is $13,032 per employee (for 200 sq.ft)

Source: The Square Foot.

Of course, not all office locations are as expensive as San Francisco, Sydney or Singapore. That’s why it’s a good idea to benchmark your own monthly workplace operating expenses and then divide by the average monthly cost per sq.ft for occupancy sensors (in the case of XY Sense, that’s US$0.50 per sq.ft).

Calculating ROI from Occupancy Sensors

The value which occupancy sensors generate for a business can far outweigh this investment however.

Explore five different ROI use cases below.

The purpose of a workplace is to provide an environment where team members can maximize their productivity. However, we know that the physical experience of some office environments can actually have the opposite effect. 

  • Difficulty findings desks near team members (or a desk in general!)

  • Months’ long wait for meeting rooms. 

  • Disruptive phone calls and noise in open plan desk banks.

  • A lack of collaboration zones with whiteboards. 

  • That one corner of the office without WIFI or that’s too hot or too cold. 

All of these experiences add up to a workplace that is full of friction and which actually impedes people getting their job done. 

XY Sense helps workplace teams to identify and resolve friction points in office spaces such as “We never have enough meeting rooms” by providing detailed data analysis on the hot and cold zones in your office as well as whether supply is meeting demand for specific space types, for example; “10% of desks never used but small meeting rooms at 150% capacity”.

By accessing this data and personalized space recommendations on the XY Sense platform, workplace teams can better engage employees and reconfigure spaces to improve workplace productivity. 


By gathering data on meeting frequency and average occpuancy, XY Sense can identify for example that; 

  • There is current demand for 13 small meeting rooms but only 6 are available.

  • Large conference rooms are most heavily utilized for 1 person phone calls. 

  • As a result, one of the companies large conference rooms is converted into 4 small meeting rooms.

This increases available small meeting rooms to 10, increasing the productivity of the floor’s meeting rooms by 66%.

If meeting rooms make up 40% or 1280 sq.ft of the typical 3200 sq.ft office floor, we can apply JLL’s 3-30-300 rule to calculate the ROI of the 66% increase in this zone’s productivity.

Single floor investment for XY Sense: $19,200

Potential productivity gain from meeting rooms: $281k

ROI: 6.8%

A recent Gallup study out of the US has found that highly engaged teams realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. 

However, only 13% of the global workforce is highly engaged and highly satisfied with their workplace.

Steelcase has also found that a correlation exists between engagement and workplace satisfaction, which indicates that changing the work environment can be an important tool for organizations to deploy as part of a strategy to improve engagement.

In addition to improving the physical productivity of a space, real time occupancy sensors like XY Sense can also generate value by providing a mechanism for workplace teams to benchmark and continuously improve workplace experience. 

  • Monitor occupancy and utilization by floor and team neighbourhood; Understand how your return to office program is really tracking! 

  • Understand paths of movement and behavioural trends around dwell times 

  • Analyze your most popular spaces across teams and floors

  • Compare occupancy benchmarks across teams to understand the role of office collaboration in team performance 

XY Sense’s real time accuracy and smart integrations with space booking tools also enables real time way finding displays so that workers can quickly and easily find an available desk, room or collaboration area to work from. There’s no check-in required and no-shows for bookings can be rapidly detected and spaces returned to available status.  

With powerful occupancy sensor data in hand, workplace teams, HR and people professionals can better understand the space needs of their workforce and create more enjoyable and engaging workplace experiences. 


There’s no silver bullet here unfortunately. Generally, we work with our clients to benchmark their own workplace satisfaction and engagement. We then analyze occupancy and utilization across a specified time period (say 12 months), looking at whether ratio, space configuration or usability changes brought about as a result of sensor findings lead to increased utilization from a sensor reading perspective and higher self reported satisfaction scores from people using the space. 

Growing teams and shifting business priorities always seem to require space! 

But how do you know if you’re utilizing your space as effectively as you could be? 

XY Sense can provide rich, granular occupancy data and advanced analytics solutions to help you benchmark your actual utilization on a given floor and day, down to an individual desk or project space. This data fuels speciality dashboards on predictive utilization and team neighborhood balancing so that you understand when floors and team zones will actually reach capacity. 

By taking a data-driven approach to space and occupancy planning, businesses can focus on increasing the efficiency and utilization of existing real estate before taking on additional space and leases. 


A global technology company has an office in London supporting 70 employees across a typical 16,000 sq.ft/ 5 floors. They are considering leasing another floor as they are anticipating team growth and fear they will run out of desks.

Applying the 3-30-300 rule, we estimate that monthly workplace operating costs per floor is $88,800. 

XY Sense data reveals that the existing space actually has the capacity to fit an additional 10 team members without impacting productivity. This provides data-driven surety that the business can maintain their current footprint for at least another 12 months and defer adding an additional floor.

Location investment for XY Sense: $96,000

Cost saving from deferring additional floor for 12 months: $1,065,600 

ROI: 10% 

Note: Similarly when considering a sub-leasing strategy, XY Sense data can support revenue generating real estate business cases

Applying the same data-driven logic to whole of company portfolio planning can significantly de-risk the process when making long term (and high stakes) decisions about the leasing or acquisition of commercial real estate space. Rather than relying on a point in time observational study or a consulting opinion, you can draw on your company’s own verifiable utilization data to inform your decision making process. 

XY Sense not only helps you increase the efficiency of your current space but plan strategically to save in the future. 


Would you invest the equivalent of 0.4% your average monthly workplace operating expense to de-risk a multi-million dollar leasing or acquisition decision in 12 months time? 

When considering the ROI of a real time area occupancy sensor like XY Sense, another aspect to consider is your long term workplace infrastructure strategy. 

Right now companies around the world are adapting to the new requirements of the post-pandemic workplace. Employees are embracing new hybrid and flexible ways of working and the traditional office has to adapt. 

The office of the future is a connected one which runs on real time data, think about it; live occupancy monitoring for safety, smart integrations with air conditionings and BMS, video conferencing as default, social collaboration zones instead of desks, smart booking systems… the list goes on. 

An advanced sensor solution such as XY Sense, which delivers real time occupancy data across 1,000ft of office space with positional accuracy to 1ft every 2 seconds, represents an investment in the real time data layer of your workplace itself.

XY Sense is consistently releasing new features and integrations with workplace technology systems, our remote ‘over the air’ algorithm release capability means that sensors will only increase in their accuracy and utility over time, delivering more and greater benefits for workplace teams. This is particularly important when you compare the ROI of a an advanced computer vision solution like XY Sense to outmoded PIR, Wifi or lighting based solutions.  



In June 2021, JLL Managing Director of Market Research, Christian Beaudoin, commented;

“Many companies are spending an average of about $40 per square foot to upgrade the technology in their space”…

If you’re spending an equivalent amount, it’s worth considering whether a $0.50 per sq.ft investment in the real time physical data layer of your workplace is a worthwhile investment in the future functionality of your space.


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