The past few years have transformed the property management technology landscape. Employees have been forced to confront new ways of working, which have been challenging for most and led to unpredictable surges in demand for office space. As businesses re-evaluate their space usage with the shift to hybrid work and flexible workplaces, the C-suite is requesting more spatial data to make good workplace decisions. That is where the latest workplace sensor intelligence comes in.
Today, many employees are looking for flexibility and the ability to sometimes work from home, and sometimes come into an office for collaboration and socialization as part of a hybrid or flexible work model. Attendance in the office has fluctuated and is less predictable than it was pre-pandemic. Without the right tools to power a flexible office, employees will seek out organizations who have mastered their workplace management strategy in any environment.
Workplace sensors include computer vision sensors, infrared sensors, desk sensors, door-counting sensors, and motion sensors, or lighting-integrated sensors. Sensor technology is used in the workplace, often in conjunction with IoT systems, to securely and anonymously track employee behaviour and collect data, make building management more efficient, spaces smarter, and the employee experience more seamless.
Occupancy sensors show workplace strategists how much or how little each space in an office is used. Workplace sensors can gather occupancy data from individual desks up to entire buildings, and they can help reduce costs related to real estate and energy expenditures — which benefits the environment, too.
Improved employee experience
Companies operating with hybrid policies tend to also have policies around hoteling desks or hot-desking, which means desks no longer have specific owners and anyone can book and use any desk. This booking often happens the day before an employee comes in and is managed through an online desk-booking system.
However, getting to the office and finding that the desk they booked is not available, or finding that the office is much busier than they would feel comfortable with, can be stressful and counterproductive. This can also lead to employees not feeling the benefits of coming in and preferring to just stay home and miss the collaboration and socialization opportunities of the office.
That is why workplace occupancy sensors that integrate with your desk booking software can improve the employee experience — exactly what they see online is what they will see in person the next day, providing more opportunities for comfortable collaboration and productive office-based work.
Right-sized real estate portfolios leading to increased ROI
When considering right sizing an office or an entire real estate portfolio, there is a lot of work that must be done before, during, and after the process.
Workplace sensors allow employees to vote with their feet. Their behaviours and decisions to use certain spaces over others inform workplace design and right-sizing decisions, which are beneficial to ROI. For example, if workplace data reveals that employees in a satellite office use huddle spaces more, it would be valuable to invest in smaller, flexible spaces. Providing spaces that employees use can reduce overall square footage, improve employee performance and experience, and boost ROI. With strategic space management, companies can improve office utilization and reduce wasted space, affecting the bottom line.
Once you have a few months or a year of workplace utilization sensor data, it is easy to present the case for reducing the square footage of your real estate portfolio. Cutting down how much rent to pay, or selling some office space, will lead to short- and long-term reductions in real estate costs without reducing how productive your workforce is — therefore increasing your real estate ROI.
Sustainability and corporate social responsibility goals
Manual lighting and HVAC systems are no longer the best option for offices looking to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. These systems were not designed for today’s flexible workplaces. Office sensors that integrate with HVAC systems allow for a more accurate information flow— rather than running on pre-set schedules that lead to immense energy waste, the sensors signal when spaces are in use, which is the only time the HVAC systems will be prompted to start. This follows the same path for smart lighting and other amenities.
This is truly a win-win: your company saves money on unnecessary energy expenditures, and your carbon footprint is significantly reduced, allowing your company to maintain its ESG goals.