This blog is part of our ‘Sensors 101’ series for workplace teams.
Occupancy sensors are motion-detecting devices – most often used indoors – that can be deployed for a variety of purposes. These devices are designed to detect the presence of humans as well as other use cases. The technology used may be ultrasonic, microwave, infrared or otherwise.
Historically, a more traditional occupancy sensor may have been used to automatically switch the lights on or off, or to control a room’s temperature or the ventilation system. However, in this context we are exploring occupancy sensors for workplace teams. These types of sensors – workplace occupancy sensors – are far more complex than basic automation light switches and they provide a wealth of valuable data about office activity.
Much like the abilities of a workplace occupancy sensor, the reasons why an office might need them are vast. Some workplaces need to monitor foot traffic to ensure their large real estate is being used appropriately. Others may need sensors to improve their office’s safety and security – because when you know where your people are, you can alert them about emergencies and direct them to the nearest exit.
In recent years, occupancy sensors have increasingly been deployed to inform space planning and workplace design. By understanding high-traffic areas in an office and analyzing the supply versus demand of certain space types (meeting rooms and project zones, for instance), workplace leaders can redesign or repurpose office space to reduce friction and increase productivity.
Today, many commercial real estate (CRE) managers and business leaders are adopting workplace occupancy sensors because of the value they can bring to a post-COVID world. With many organizations transitioning to flexible or hybrid working models, there are major decisions to be made about ‘how much space’ a hybrid team needs and how workplace fit-outs may need to adapt to the needs of the post-pandemic workforce.
Going completely remote or rapidly downsizing office space without a data-driven business case is not the preferred solution for most organizations. That’s where occupancy sensors come in – they can provide live data streams about what is happening in the office in real-time, giving decision-makers the key insights to create the ideal workspace for their teams.