XY Sense launches Workplace Utilization Index

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Today, we’re excited to launch The XY Sense Workplace Utilization Index, a new quarterly report providing office utilization benchmarks and workplace occupancy trends for real estate and workplace teams. 

Melbourne, Australia, and New York, May 17, 2023: XY Sense, the actionable occupancy intelligence platform for corporate real estate teams, today released a report on global workplace utilization rates, showing office space was utilized an average of 29% of the time across the first quarter of 2023. Across the 17 tracked countries in the study, UK office occupancy and utilization rates are highest, at 62%, while US rates were lowest at 21%. Rates in APAC averaged 33%.  

The XY Sense Workplace Utilization Index is a new quarterly report aggregating data from 24,885 workspaces across the US, EMEA, and APAC. The data come from XY Sense’s vast network of privacy-preserving sensors installed in client workspaces, which passively monitor office areas to collect real-time insights on the number and location of workers present, as well as dwell times associated with specific floorplan features such as desks and meeting rooms. Data are updated every two seconds for maximum precision. 

Among the Index’s key findings was that the global return of workers to offices is gaining pace, with office utilization currently at three-year highs. However, even with recent gains, office utilization is currently sitting at half of pre-pandemic levels, signaling a fundamental shift in where and how the world works.

Significant occupancy and office utilization variances across the working week demonstrate the impact of new hybrid work policies, where employees split work time between the office and home. Globally, Tuesdays showed the highest average office utilization, at 36%, while Fridays showed just over half that rate, at 19%. In the US, Tuesday’s utilization of 27% was almost three times Friday’s 10% rate. 

“If your office is a dead zone on Monday and Friday, you’re not alone,” said Shivaun Ryan, XY Sense Head of Customer Success and Index author. “Our data shows this is a global phenomenon that raises new challenges for companies working to optimize their office space and control costs. How do you cater for surges in attendance and team meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays without incurring high ongoing costs for spaces that sit empty for most of the week? You can’t blindly cut workspace without disincentivizing workers from coming into offices. Striking the right balance relies on understanding a company’s unique space utilization profile.” 

The Index also showed that office design was adapting to meet the demands of new hybrid working styles, with an increase in the portion of office space dedicated to collaboration spaces and meeting rooms. 24% of total office space is now devoted to collaboration space types, up a third from pre-pandemic levels. Even with this expansion, collaboration spaces had 64% higher utilization than individual workstations or desks across the first quarter of 2023. This clearly indicates that employees are now using much of their in-office time meeting with their coworkers.

Workers also have clear preferences about where and how they collaborate with colleagues in the office. The Index shows that demand for enclosed space types such as meeting rooms and offices significantly outstrips ‘breakout spaces’ on open-plan floors. Meeting rooms were the most popular and utilized space type across quarter one 2023, with an average utilization of over 51% and average daily use of almost 3 hours. The demand for enclosed meeting spaces is perhaps unsurprising when you consider the need to balance virtual and in-person collaboration for all meeting participants. 

Alex Birch, co-founder and CEO of XY Sense, said, “Hybrid isn’t just the future of work. It’s here now. Our data provides the blueprint for how companies can adapt office spaces to meet the needs of this new reality. Getting the balance right is not just critical for maximizing employee productivity and company real estate expenses. It’s also essential for the future of the planet. Operational emissions from commercial buildings make up around a third of the world’s carbon emissions. It’s unsettling to think that most of those emissions are going towards heating and cooling buildings that aren’t meeting utilization thresholds.”

Many other insights are available in the report, which is available now at no cost. 

To learn more about the Workplace Utilization Index and to access the Q1 2023 report visit; www.xysense.com/workplace-utilization-index 


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