What Methods Exist for Tracking Actual Space Utilization
Managing a business’ spatial assets has become more than just knowing where and when office spaces are being occupied. Metrics, such as the amount of people in attendance, the times when the space is being used and the manner in which it is being utilized were once considered enough information for managers to work with. But, with expanded technologies and offices being built or renovated with these technologies in mind, FM teams are able to track and gather data which is exponentially more specific. No longer is usage simply being tracked by assigned location or task, but on actual usage, even down to individual power consumption by the second. Keep in mind, maintaining an office space is one of the biggest expenses for many organizations. By being able to examine all cost factors in micro-managerial terms, companies are able to find savings in numerous areas and, when compiled, result in greater reductions in the bottom line. Is your company truly examining the cost of space usage and, if not, exploring how you can get started? Here are some accurate ways to track the actual space utilization within your facilities, along with the pros and cons of each method.
1) Tracking Sensors
Tracking sensors can be placed in desks, chairs, etc. so that facilities management software can detect exactly when a space is occupied.
Tracking sensors are sensors that are placed at seats, desks, or other furnishings within your facility that detect and report when the space is being used. This is convenient and failsafe, but it is the most expensive option on our list. Sensors work even when the occupant forgets to log their entry or intentionally don't indicate that they are using the space. Tracking sensors integrate nicely with IWMS software like iOffice’s Space Management Software.
Beacons allow users to check into an area via their mobile devices. While modern and convenient, beacons are not 100% accurate, as some workers forget or refuse to check in.
Beacons are similar to tracking sensors in that they are placed within a given space; but instead of automatically tracking and reporting space use, they require that people occupying the space check in via a mobile app. This is more modern and convenient than sign-in sheets. Like tracking sensors, beacons are easily integrated with iOffice’s IWMS, but are less expensive. Unfortunately, because they rely on the employee to check in, beacons are not 100% accurate like tracking sensors are.
3) Badge Check In and Check Out
Many companies are already utilizing employee badges for security purposes, but don't realize that these badges can be integrated with their IWMS software to be used for tracking actual space utilization as well. The embedded codes in the security badges can track when an employee enters and leaves an area. This makes it a simple matter to determine when spaces are in use, such as when employees gather in a conference room or hot swap desks. With that information, you can plan for cleaning services, dispatch someone to restock an area with supplies, determine what equipment is needed, and plan for future spaces to meet the growing needs of the workplace. iOffice can work with your security systems team to gather real-time data in a number of ways to fit your needs; or we can batch the information to provide real utilization data, with little cost.
4) Room Reservation Tracking
Finally, Room Reservation Tracking software is a great option. The software allows workers to sign themselves into a room or other space, or reserve for a future date. For instance, new hires can sign into training rooms, which benefits both your FM team and the HR department. The Facilities team gains an understanding as to when and how a space is being used, while HR knows who has attended the required training sessions. If you have implemented an innovative space management strategy such as flexspacing, your workforce can use this tool to reserve a space or check in and out of a shared workspace. This offers management a bird’s eye view into how space is being used, so you can determine if this is a good use of office space or if employees would benefit from a different type of space, like a huddle room or more desks.
The goal of advanced space management is to be able to understand real occupancy by space, type, and employee title. This makes it possible for companies to plan for the future and ensure the right space is provided for the task at hand, while creating a productive environment for all employees. And, by having a strong foundation of data and information about your space, the decisions for the future are proactive and educated, not reactionary and shortsighted.