Why space management data matters in hybrid office design

What is hybrid office design?

Hybrid office design refers to a workspace that combines elements of both traditional office spaces and remote work environments. It allows employees to have the flexibility to work from both the office and home, promoting collaboration and productivity while accommodating individual preferences and needs.

The workplace shift has stabilized, with business leaders and real estate owners trying to navigate the surplus of real estate burning a hole in their portfolios’ pockets.  

There’s nuance to the discussion around what to do with this space, as conversations in some significant cities push for this space to become housing units and address the housing crisis. 

Work and the office are both pivoting to how to support hybrid setups best. Employees want the office to be a place where they can socialize and collaborate with colleagues. The corporate HQ and office roles have changed, and so have the space and data practices that steer decisions on corporate real estate. However, a successful approach requires more than just setting up a physical office for people doing the exact same work they could be doing at home or in a coffee shop. Companies are now turning to intentionally designed office layouts that meet a variety of employee needs, fulfill organizational goals, and bring back the desirable elements of in-person work, minimizing office noise and distractions, including remote work.

Here are four ways you can make your office space ready for whatever your hybrid office looks like using the available data.  

Invest in Workplace Management Solutions 

Sensors, IWMS, booking tools, and space management are all areas that will collect data on the office that will be used to fuel workplace optimization and better decisions

IWMS as a SaaS offering means an agile, ready-to-use solution for hybrid work. Starting with SaaS integration that addresses the areas unique to your business is the best (and most affordable) approach, as you can tailor what capabilities you need most. 

Tools like Archibus include booking tools and space management that are quick to use to collect data for reporting. 

Bringing in a booking tool alongside space management and sensors ensures that every corner of the office is covered, and you get insights into how everything works. If your teams use meeting rooms more than individual desks, you’ll see how many and how often and can adjust hybrid office design accordingly. 

Understand Workstation Occupancy vs. Utilization Data 

Occupancy is different from Utilization – but both are important when gauging how employees use the workplace. Both data types are collected with sensor technologies, emerging as a hybrid work staple to collect data and optimize modern workspaces. 

Occupancy rates measure the presence of people in the workplace. Knowing how many people are in the office provides a foundation so that executives can see if anyone is there. 

Utilization data reflects the actual usage of rooms, spaces, or desks that, when combined with occupancy data, gives a full-scope look at how the workplace is being used.  

Utilization and occupancy data from the office reflected heat maps of floor plans from desk booking tools. Knowing how many people are in the building and how many are using the space and resources shows the future of your workplace. 

Use Hybrid Office Data to Make a Change in Layout

Take the data from these solutions to make long-term forecasts and decisions on workplace investments. Additional resources or technologies for collaboration if it reflects employees’ frequent group workstations or meeting rooms with specific tools. 

There’s also the question of leasing, furniture and other resources resulting from decisions driven by the data. Too much space is something that business owners are finding at the top of their list, with repurposing and making use of the space being the first response. Space management data is the cornerstone of these efforts, highlighting with heat maps in tools like Archibus what employees may need more of.

Taking data on the workplace and using it in hybrid office design for better return on investment, but also to create an environment that works for employees.  

Using available information to make impactful changes that benefit employees creates a foundation that matters in the modern workplace. Employees need a place to socialize and collaborate with peers; recognizing this and empowering it with data-driven decisions will ripple effect throughout the organization at all levels. 

Realize that Hybrid Office Design is an Infinite Game. 

Workplace optimization and management of space is the start of the infinite game of workplace management. Data on space performance and workplace behaviour lays the foundation for improvements downstream, but upgrades and efficiency work in other areas. Hybrid offices have to be flexible, and short term leases mean that adjustments driven by demand might be necessary when finding what works.

Starting with the workplace, tracking space use and using that to offer employees the best work environment possible also means that occupancy and utilization drop or space use doesn’t justify a long-term lease with surplus space. 

Short-term leases for long term impacts

Short-term leases are becoming the norm for smaller tenants. Even in this case, space and workplace data will continue to play a role. This data adds context to other areas like facilities and asset management. Here, sustainability and energy use are often directly correlated to office space use and can be applied to lower these metrics.  

Changes in broader portfolio management strategy are especially true for long-term leases and more extensive workplace portfolios. Knowing how the workplace impacts more significant portfolio emissions or asset & facilities costs can be the foundational data to make cost-saving adjustments. Understanding underutilized areas and when to look into lowering energy use for that area.  

All of the areas of the workplace mentioned above continue to shift and evolve as our needs do. As this occurs, management strategies and approaches will too, and so will the need for the right technology to accompany them.

Optimizing costs and operations for better performance while committing to a better workplace for employees are goals without a defined finish line: efficiency upgrades and work based on the data collected from an IWMS or workplace management tool like Archibus. 

Our Role 

Space and workplace data will continue to lay the foundation for workplace management as employee needs and asset management shift. One of the main areas Horizant clients look to address is space management and workplace management, including the implementation of desk booking software to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed. SaaS and enterprise offerings make managing these areas and creating workflows efficient and actionable. Archibus houses them on one platform under one solution, making data sharing and reporting hassle-free.

To see how your business can make the most of space management, contact us for a free consultation with a member of our team.