Before we make a workplace change, whether it is moving to a new office or transforming the existing office, or some other workplace change, we tend to conduct a utilization analysis. We want to know how we are using the workspace, so that we can have a better idea of what we might need in the new workspace. How are we working? Where are we working? How much space do we need? What kind of space and workstations/collaboration areas do we need, and in what extent?
At our headquarters in Kista and for some of our clients, we for example use our Coor SmartUtilization solution with heat sensors for this, but we of course also combine the metering with interviews and questionnaires. We want to get a better understanding of also why we are using the workspace the way we are using it, how well the workplace corresponds to our needs (are we satisfied, does it enable us to work productively etc.), but also to get a better picture of what we might be needing in the future. We can also use more manual utilization measuring instead of using sensors depending on the case and still get quite a good picture of the utilization.
Yes, of course we need to conduct utilization analysis before the workplace change and there really is a huge potential in reducing square meters, increasing number of employees, increasing employee satisfaction and productivity, and all of this is enabled by objective and reliable facts. For example in our own utilization analysis regarding both our clients and ourselves, we tend to have overcapacity when it comes to work desks (35-45% utilization), but we also tend to have shortage of other types of work and collaboration spaces. For example, we tend to have shortage of meeting rooms – especially smaller rooms and rooms for phone calls. In addition, pause areas and other collaboration areas are typically in short supply.
But, what we tend to forget is that workplace is a process, and that things change continuously and that we therefore need to continuously monitor and adapt to the ever changing needs in order for the workplace to keep supporting the needs of the employees and the activities conducted in the workplace. However, in most cases we only conduct utilization analysis before a workplace change and we also just do it for a short period of time, so even immediately after the change, the workplace does not meet the needs, and then day by day it just gets worse, until we have another workplace change project after a couple of years. Why are we treating the workplace as a project instead of as a process? Why are we not continuously monitoring the utilization, satisfaction, perceived productivity and the needs, and then adapting and optimizing the workplace to the changing needs? Utilization analysis, and especially permanent sensors are an excellent basis to start following up the workplace in a better way and start adapting the workplace to the changing needs of the people and the activities conducted in the workplace. That is smart and would help us keep the workplace smart during the whole lifecycle, and not just in the beginning. It is good for the people, good for the business and good for the environment!
You can read more about our holistic workplace lifecycle approach here: www.smartoffice.coor.com
Kati Barklund works as Group Innovation Manager at Coor Service Management Group. Kati is also global ambassador for WE (Workplace Evolutionaries) and Board Member of IFMA Sweden.
Coor Service Management Group is Rapal's partner in the Nordic countries.