13 Scary Space Management Statistics

by James McDonald on October 31, 2019

What’s scarier than the latest It sequel? Poor space management. As the second largest of your company’s expenses, real estate plays a big role in not only the profitability but also longevity of your organization. And if you don’t manage your office space properly, it can be costly in more than one way.

In the spirit of Halloween, we wanted to share some startling space management statistics and explain how to avoid becoming a real estate horror story.

13 Scary Space Management Statistics

  1. Only about 60% of available office space is used during a typical workday.
  2. Only 13% of organizations report their workplace is utilized more than 80% of the time.
  3. Private offices are vacant for over 75% of the workday.
  4. The average company has 30-50% more space than it actually needs.
  5. Eighty-nine percent of corporate real estate executives are dissatisfied with their company’s approach to space management.
  6. Because employees move throughout the office during the day, using manual counting to track workspace utilization means a company will observe less than 1.7% of the actual total activity for that space.
  7. Dedicated workstations are consistently vacant 50-60% of the day.
  8. The average annualized cost of a single workstation is approximately $18,000.
  9. Even though nearly 75% of all meetings are attended by two to four people, more than half of all meeting rooms are designed to accommodate six or more people.
  10. In conference rooms designed to accommodate six to 12 people, on average, only two to four seats are occupied.
  11. Assuming a utilization rate of 25% (the average for most organizations), one empty meeting room can cost your company $11,781 per year.
  12. Relying on manual spot-checks for conference room utilization tracking can result in employers overestimating utilization by 75-135%.
  13. Over two-thirds of employees left their previous role because the workplace didn’t support their needs as a professional.

3 Tricks to Improve Space Management

Poor space utilization can be a nightmare for any company’s bottom line, but it doesn’t have to be your reality.

Here are three tricks smart workplace leaders use to improve in this area:

1. Invest In Space Management Software

As the old saying goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure.

Space management software gives you the data and insights you need to make smart decisions about your real estate portfolio. It allows you to see space utilization by building, floor and even department so you can quickly identify the biggest culprits of wasted space. You can create dashboards to monitor regularly or create reports that help you justify making changes, such as converting a private office into a small conference room.

2. Adopt An Agile Work Environment

As more employees work remotely or move around the office throughout the day, the traditional model of assigned seats is becoming antiquated. Not only that; it perpetuates wasted space. Most organizations today still have assigned seating, but more than half say they plan to phase in unassigned seating in the near future, according to the most recent CBRE survey.

An agile work environment has tremendous potential to improve space utilization.

Consider what happened when Sodexo moved into a new office and simultaneously adopted activity-based working(ABW). The new office was 1,300 square feet smaller and had fewer desks. However, it gained a greater number of work spaces when it eliminated its traditional model of assigned desks in favor of reservation-based seating. The office went from a ratio of one employee per desk to 1.7 employees per desk—a significant improvement.

3. Implement Occupancy Sensors

Space management software is the foundation for any effective space strategy. However, as more organizations adopt an agile work environment in place of assigned seats, measuring real-time space utilization becomes more challenging.

With occupancy sensors placed outside conference rooms, high-traffic areas or even individual work stations, you can get a more accurate picture of how your workplace is actually being used. You can identify the average utilization of a single unassigned desk, for instance, or determine how often a conference room is occupied during a typical week.

While being proactive about space management will certainly reduce your real estate costs, it has another significant benefit—improving the workplace experience. When employees have enough quiet spaces and collaborative spaces to work comfortably, they are happier and more productive. And that’s a treat for everyone.


Five Biggest Areas of Corporate Spending Waste, Accenture

What is Space Utilization? Measure How Your Real Estate is Utilized, Density

Telecommuting Trend Data, Global Workplace Analytics

Measure What Matters, Herman Miller

HOK Forward: Workplace Research and Trends 2018, HOK

2018 Occupancy Benchmarking Guide, JLL

The Impact of Office Space on Employee Productivity and Implications for Occupancy Costs, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

Office Space Utilization: Manual Counting or Occupancy Sensors?, Work Design Magazine


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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