How Technology & Data Can Shape Office Design
A key to good office design has always been to understand how people engage with the spaces they work in and how space can help better support employees as they work. After all, commercial real estate is expensive and nobody wants to be paying for space that isn’t being used or paying higher utility bills to heat and cool those underused spaces.
Finding an efficient office design can be a real challenge. In a report by JLL, 29% of survey respondents reported aiming for a 80%-89% utilization rate of their office space while 26% of respondents aimed for a 70%-79% utilization rate. However, actual realization rates tend to fall short of those goals, with an average utilization rate of 60% across all industries.
So how do you get the insights you need to make the most of your space? Until recently, this was a pretty analog process. You could directly ask employees for their thoughts about the office – which features they like, what could be improved, where they like to spend their time. Or you could simply observe how people use the office on a typical day. But this may be difficult in hybrid workplaces where office usage can vary from day to day.
But now, it’s getting easier for companies to quickly get accurate, meaningful insights. While employee feedback is still very valuable, over the past few years, there has been a trend toward data-driven workplace design. With things like room and workstation reservation systems, electronic key cards, and motion sensors becoming commonplace, companies are using information from those types of systems to inform decisions about workplace design so that they can use their resources more efficiently.
These technologies can be used to collect occupancy data, which lets companies get information like how many people come into the office on average and whether or not there are any notable trends about when people come in. For example, are there any particular days or times when the office tends to be busier than usual? Reservation systems and sensors can also be used to see where people are spending their time. Let’s say that you notice your conference rooms are consistently being booked throughout the day. Is there an area of your office that isn’t being used as much and could be reworked to add more collaborative spaces? Or if you notice that people seem to be avoiding the individual workstations in one section of the office, it could be worth asking people why that is. Perhaps there’s something that could be done to make that area more comfortable to work in.
Not only can this information be very valuable in helping companies use their existing space to its full advantage, it can also be important if they’re planning a move into a new space. With the growth of hybrid work, many companies are choosing to downsize their offices because their pre-COVID spaces are now simply bigger than they need. Occupancy data can help companies avoid the pitfalls that come with downsizing too much by helping companies get a better sense of how much space they currently need and which types of spaces are in high demand.
Need help designing a new office space? Premier Construction & Design is experienced in designing and building out workplaces for companies in a wide range of industries. Take a look at our portfolio and case studies to see some examples of projects we’ve worked on. When you’re ready to get started, contact us so that we can learn more about your project. We’d love to create a space for you tailored to your company’s needs.