Navigate your return
to office armed with sensor data

XY Sense is here to simplify your return to office by delivering the real-time data and reporting you need to make smarter decisions about workplace safety and the transition to hybrid workplace settings. 

With accurate utilization data for capacity reporting, cleaning and occupancy planning, your return-to-office planning just got a whole lot simpler. 

How can XY Sense support your return-to-office planning?

Live occupancy data Real-time social distancing monitoring and alerts
Live occupancy data

Real-time social distancing monitoring and alerts

Understand occupancy readings to within 1ft every two seconds with XY Sense’s powerful Area Sensor. 

Monitor and act on social distancing breaches in real-time with customized alerts available to remind team members to stay distant and safe. 

Live availability views

Smarter neighborhood configurations and seating

Avoid overcrowding and “dead zones” in both traditional and hybrid workplaces with XY Sense’s smart seating views.

With space booking integrations available, XY Sense can automatically book surrounding desks for optimized team collaboration and neighborhoods. Safe, engaging spaces. Optimized overheads.

Live availability views Smarter socially-distanced seating
Floor three cleaning map
Safer spaces. Optimized overheads.

Targeted cleaning
based on heat maps

Monitor daily floor traffic, meeting room utilization and space usage down to the desk level, allowing forensic cleaning and sanitizing of only what has been used. With precise heat maps of all workplace areas, 

Eliminate human resources and policy challenges with data-driven workplace strategies that ensure a safe return. XY Sense enables smarter, targeted cleaning to cut costs and eliminate employee concerns. Data-driven space planning.

Data-driven space planning

Measure ‘new
utilization normal’

Make informed decisions about post-COVID office space planning and workplace redesigns. 

With XY Sense Sensors collecting valuable data, long-term corporate real estate decisions will be based on an accurate assessment of the needs of your team members.

Get the inside scoop on meeting trends Meeting room insights

XY Sense Use Cases

The occupancy sensor Powered by the latest developments in machine learning
Our product

It all starts with our
advanced sensor

Powered by the latest developments in machine learning, XY Sense delivers the ultimate privacy-preserving sensor for workplace teams. Featuring enormous sensor coverage, live data feeds, advanced AI capabilities and cost-effective install options, XY Sense helps workplace teams maximize ROI from a sensor investment.

Download our Return
to Office Solution Brief

Other solutions

Request a demo to
see XY Sense in action

Return-to-Office Planning FAQs

Have questions about return-to-office planning and the best approach to developing a successful strategy and action plan for your company’s return to office? Explore the FAQs below to learn more. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic forced many companies to send their employees home for months or years. As the dangers of COVID have lessened, many companies believe that their organizations can be more effective if employees spend at least some of their work time in the office environment. 

Return-to-office planning refers to preparing and implementing strategies to bring employees back to a physical office or workplace after an extended period of remote work. This type of planning involves assessing risks, considering health and safety protocols, understanding employee and manager preferences and needs, determining schedules, and addressing logistical challenges. 

It should also involve developing communication strategies to keep employees informed about changes and ensuring that the workplace environment is conducive to productivity and collaboration. Return-to-office planning can be complex, and it often involves input from a range of stakeholders, including employees, management, and public health experts.

Get a more in-depth look at return-to-office planning by downloading XY Sense’s Roadmap for back-to-the-office

The key components of a return-to-office plan can vary depending on the organization’s size, industry, and specific needs. However, some standard components of a return-to-office program include the following:


  • Remote work policies: Many organizations are choosing to implement hybrid work models that allow for a mix of in-person and remote work to accommodate employees’ needs and preferences. For the latest insights on the return-to-office movement, explore our Workplace Utilization Index, which includes in-depth analysis on this topic.
  • Workforce scheduling: A return-to-office plan may involve staggered work hours, shifts, and different in-office days by team to reduce the number of employees present at any given time, allowing for more social distancing.
  • Workplace design plan: Return-to-office plans often reflect goals that alter how people work and the resources required to accommodate these changes. For example, a company implementing a hybrid work plan may need less office space than before or more collaboration areas to support team and one-on-one meetings. Designs must also reflect any regulations and best practices surrounding health and safety. Some companies are also trying to make their offices more inspiring, engaging, and pleasant places to spend time. By doing so, they hope to creeate a better work “vibe” — which is essential to getting the best work from teams. 
  • Technology infrastructure plans: Employers should ensure that their technology infrastructure can support remote work and virtual collaboration, as well as any necessary security measures to support the new work rules. 
  • Health and safety protocols: These may include mask-wearing when necessary, frequent cleaning and disinfection of common areas, social distancing guidelines, and temperature checks.
  • Communication strategies: Employers should have clear and transparent communication plans to keep employees informed of any changes in policies or procedures related to the return to the office. This may include regular updates through email, company-wide meetings, or other communication channels. Effectively launching your new policy is critical here, as a great roll-out helps drive short-term and long-term employee receptivity and compliance.
  • Contingency plans: A return-to-office plan should include contingency plans in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as a future disease outbreak or new public health guidelines.

Download the XY Sense Return-to-Office Solution Brief.

A return-to-office planning initiative should involve a cross-functional team representing various departments and levels within the organization. The team may include representatives from real estate/workplace, human resources, facilities management, IT, legal, finance, and other relevant departments. 

Additionally, the executive team must participate in return-to-office planning. They play a critical role in setting the direction and vision for the organization, and their involvement can help ensure that the return-to-office plan aligns with the overall business strategy, goals, and values. Additionally, executive leadership can provide the necessary resources and support to implement the return-to-office plan successfully. Their involvement can also help communicate the importance of the program to employees and stakeholders and reinforce the organization’s commitment to their health and well-being. 

It’s also important to involve employees and managers from different levels and locations to ensure that diverse perspectives are considered. Companies may also involve external experts such as public health officials, consultants, or legal advisors to provide guidance and support. Effective communication and collaboration between all stakeholders are crucial for success!

Download our Workplace Analytics Solution Brief now


It can be helpful to undertake return-to-office planning in the following seven steps.

Step One: Define the purpose and principles of the initiative

The first step of return-to-office planning is to define the purpose and principles of the initiative. By setting clear goals and objectives for the return-to-office plan and outlining the guiding principles that will govern decision-making throughout the process, project leads can ensure that all stakeholders are aligned on the vision and objectives for the initiative.

Step Two: Collect employee and manager perspectives

The next step is to gather input from employees and managers. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, or other forms of feedback. This step is critical to understanding the concerns and preferences of employees and ensuring that their needs are taken into account. Companies that don’t involve employees in planning often experience significant blowback from disgruntled individuals and teams. 

Step Three: Analyze current office utilization

Before formulating a back-to-the-office policy and plan, it’s essential to analyze current office utilization. This involves assessing how the office is currently being used, including the number of employees working in the office, the layout of the workspace, utilization rates for various resources, and health and safety protocols. 

Step Four: Formulate your back-to-the-office policy and plan

Based on the insights gathered from employees and managers and the analysis of current office utilization, the next step is to formulate a back-to-the-office policy and plan. This should include setting clear guidelines and procedures for returning to the office, such as scheduling, capacity limits, health and safety protocols, and remote work policies. In this process, ambiguity is the enemy; clear guidelines make for better policy and better employee guidance later on. 

Step Five: Deploy enhanced workplace measurement and analytics

Deploying enhanced workplace measurement and analytics is important to monitor compliance and assess the plan’s effectiveness. This may involve implementing new tools and technologies to track employee attendance, monitor workplace occupancy, and measure productivity and collaboration. Occupancy sensors and analytics make for precise measurement and rich insights you can use to identify issues, boost compliance, and develop a more inviting and productive work environment. Both entry sensors, which provide overall office occupancy counts, and area sensors, which measure utilization of specific office areas and resources, can play important roles.

Step Six: Implement new policies and practices

The next step is implementing new policies and practices to support the return to the office. This may include adapting the existing workplace to meet new needs, announcing the new way of working, training employees on new protocols, updating workplace signage and communication materials, and implementing new technology solutions. 

Step Seven: Conduct ongoing analysis and workplace optimization

Finally, it’s important to conduct ongoing analysis and workplace optimization to ensure that the back-to-the-office plan meets its goals and objectives. An occupancy analytics platform powered by data from entry sensors and area sensors provides invaluable insights. This may involve regularly gathering employee feedback, monitoring workplace data and analytics, and making necessary adjustments to optimize productivity, collaboration, and employee well-being.

Read our post on how to architect a more successful return-to-office

A return-to-office plan is one of your company’s most important initiatives. The following tips will help to ensure that the policies and procedures are transparent, fair, and effective:

Make policy requirements clear and specific: Clear and specific policies are essential to ensure that all employees understand what is expected of them when returning to the office. Ambiguity in guidelines can lead to confusion and create employee stress. frustration, and anxiety. It also raises the opportunity for people to flout policies out of feigned ignorance.

Apply policies consistently: Consistency is important to ensure fairness and avoid the perception of favoritism or discrimination. All employees should be held to the same standards and expectations when returning to the office. If a few exceptions are necessary – like an essential employee living far from an office location – they must be clearly explained. 

Give people advanced warning: Providing employees with advanced notice of return-to-office plans can help alleviate anxiety and give them the time needed to make necessary arrangements such as childcare, transportation, or personal matters. Childcare has been an especially contentious issue for many companies. Make sure employees have time to find a solution that fits their needs. 

Consider how you can offer workers other forms of flexibility: While returning to the office may be deemed necessary for some roles, organizations should consider offering flexible work arrangements such as hybrid models or staggered schedules to accommodate employees’ needs and preferences. Such policies can also help even out office utilization across days of the week. Companies that require all employees to return to office on the same days each week will likely have excess demand for resources like workstations and conference rooms on some days and other periods when their facilities sit empty. That’s not to say such a policy is wrong – every company must decide the best ways of working for itself. But having different teams stagger in-office days across the week, for example, can enable a company to reduce its real estate footprint and costs and make team collaboration more productive.

Ensure your policies can be accommodated in your current workplaces: Policies and procedures should be realistic and feasible, taking into account the physical constraints and limitations of the current workplace environment. Organizations should ensure that their policies and procedures can be implemented in a practical and effective manner. With proactive planning and the right data, companies can make a return-to-office initiative a win-win for creating a more productive workplace and real estate savings.

Recognize that policies may need temporary relaxation: Policies and procedures may need to be temporarily relaxed in response to unforeseen circumstances or changing public health guidelines. Organizations should be prepared to adapt and modify policies as necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of employees.

Ensure you don’t break promises made to specific remote employees: Organizations should avoid making promises or commitments to specific remote employees that they cannot keep. If a promise was made, the organization should find a way to honor it to maintain trust and goodwill with the employee.

Read our page on occupancy planning.

Occupancy sensors and analytics provide valuable insights into how office spaces are being used and how to optimize them for safety, efficiency, and productivity. By tracking how many people are in a given space at any given time, occupancy sensors can help organizations identify areas that are being overused or underused. This information can be used to redesign office layouts, modify work schedules, or implement policies promoting social distancing and reducing infection risk. 

Occupancy sensors come in two main types, entry sensors, and area sensors. Entry sensors provide data on entry, exit, and overall counts of people using an office. Area sensors measure the utilization of specific office areas and resources.

Analytics can also measure how well different policies and procedures work, such as hybrid in-office days rules compliance, cleaning protocols, or ventilation system plans. This data can be used to make data-driven decisions that ensure the safety and well-being of employees while optimizing office space usage and reducing costs. Overall, occupancy sensors and analytics are critical tools for return-to-office planning, as they provide valuable insights for creating a safe and productive work environment for employees.

Read our post on 10 ways to use occupancy sensors in the workplace.

Computer vision occupancy sensors are more valuable for return-to-office planning than other sensors. First, computer vision sensors provide more accurate 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. For example, XY Sense Area Sensors use advanced, privacy-and-security-compliant computer vision technology and leverage advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to detect and track the movement of people and objects with high precision. This enables them to see 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.

Second, computer vision sensors can cover larger areas than other sensors, meaning fewer sensors are needed to cover a given space. This can help reduce installation and maintenance costs. For example, XY Sense Area Sensors have a coverage range of 1,000 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.

Third, computer vision sensors can provide occupancy insights while preserving privacy and security. For example, XY Sense offers robust security and privacy protection through multiple means, including leveraging computer vision with “edge processing,” which helps ensure that no images or other information that could potentially contain proprietary company information or employee personally identifiable information (PII) are stored or transmitted from sensors. This offers an unsurpassed combination of privacy and security protection. 

Get the complete picture of occupancy sensor tech here.

To minimize employee dissatisfaction with a return-to-office plan, companies should consider the following strategies:

  • Involve employees in the planning process: By involving employees in the planning process, companies can ensure that their voices and concerns are heard and that the return-to-office plan is responsive to their needs.
  • Communicate openly and transparently: Companies should outline the rationale for the return-to-office plan and the measures being taken to ensure employee safety and well-being. It is also valuable to explain the goals and principles under which it was developed.
  • Provide flexibility: Companies should provide flexibility where possible to accommodate employees’ needs and preferences.
  • Address employee concerns: Companies should be prepared to address employee concerns and complaints about the return-to-office plan and take steps to address them where possible.
  • Offer resources and support: Employee satisfaction and retention rates rise when businesses implement ways to help employees adjust to the return-to-office plan, such as counseling services for those experiencing anxiety or stress.

When employees do complain, companies should respond with empathy and understanding. They should listen carefully to employees’ concerns, acknowledge their feelings, and offer support and resources where possible. Companies need to take complaints seriously and work to address them, while also communicating openly and transparently about the reasons behind the return-to-office plan and the measures being taken to ensure employee safety and well-being. 

By taking a proactive and responsive approach to employee concerns, companies can build trust and engagement among their workforce and minimize dissatisfaction with the return-to-office plan.

Download our back-to-the-office eguide.