8 ways workplace success depends on occupancy and utilization sensors

Is your goal to support a partially remote workforce, collect data to inform space design, and motivate remote employees to come to the office—all by leveraging your real estate?

If that’s the case, you’ll need real-time visibility into how your spaces are being used. Regardless of your space type, the way you think about available capacity must now account for much more than a static number of empty desks.

As you recalibrate your approach to managing corporate real estate (CRE), it’s time to consider utilization sensors that deliver anonymous, accurate, and dynamic occupancy info as a necessary addition to your tech stack.

Here are eight ways that occupancy and utilization sensors—powered by AI and object-detection models—will help you improve how your workplace functions as more people begin returning to the office.

1. Measuring how your people move through spaces


You’d be surprised what kind of valuable insights you can gather when you have a clearer picture of how your CRE is being leveraged. Consider the example of health solutions provider Fresenius. After installing over 300 wireless VergeSense sensors over the course of one weekend, the business began to gather persuasive data that illustrated how underutilized space was plaguing the Boston-based company.

Fresenius reviewed the data and opted to terminate the lease for one of the company’s two workplaces and consolidate its workforce into one location, saving $6 million in annual costs.

2. Capturing passive occupancy when measuring real-time utilization


It’s important to note that not all occupancy sensor technology provides the same level of detail. You’ll get the most accurate picture with technology that can detect passive occupancy. That way, people can take a break or grab a bite to eat without the sensors assuming the meeting ended early.

This level of detail also enhances the performance of room- and desk-booking solutions and makes available spaces more visible to employees and able to be used more efficiently.

3. Identifying where your people tend to congregate


Is there a particular amenity space that attracts groups of employees? Could large groups of people congregating in a certain area create a safety risk? Regardless of the reason why, you’ll want to know if people are routinely congregating in certain areas in the office.

Occupancy sensors make it easy to recognize these patterns and address them—potentially by making the space better and safer for people to gather.

4. Improving workplace design and portfolio decisions with real-time information


Live utilization data informs your workplace design strategies and guides decisions to acquire properties or downsize your portfolio with greater accuracy than spreadsheets or user surveys. And AI-driven models provide a clearer picture of how, when, and where people use the workplace than interviews or surveys can.

5. Analyzing how your people use (or don’t use) amenities


There’s an opportunity to reduce cost by identifying amenities that aren’t doing what they are designed to do. If your people aren’t engaging with certain features of the workplace, there’s a good chance that space could be repurposed.

6. Detecting “ghost meetings” and making unused space available


Even before the pandemic, spaces would go to waste when meetings get canceled but nobody is alerted that the area is now available. Live utilization data, fed directly into room- and desk-booking apps, solves this problem by updating the status of a space when inactivity is detected.

That means banishing wasteful “ghost meetings” for good.

7. Sending your people notifications when spaces overcrowd


Health and safety remain on a top-of-mind concern for employees. One way to create and maintain an environment that encourages social distancing is to leverage occupancy sensors. Notifications can be scheduled through a workplace experience tool to automatically inform workers if spaces become overcrowded and violate social-distancing policies.

8. Knowing when spaces need to be cleaned or reset


Timely, targeted cleaning schedules are another way you can use occupancy sensors to manage your real estate more efficiently. You no longer have to assign janitorial staff to wipe down meeting rooms that haven’t been used. Instead, heightened cleaning routines can be limited to only spaces that were occupied throughout the day.

Instant answers to questions about your space


We’re entering a new era of real estate—one that is more technology-enabled, more quantifiable, and more predictive that equips CRE teams with powerful tools to evaluate, monitor, plan their workplace. This directly benefits employees, as well, by giving them more safety, flexibility, and choice.

Need help choosing the right occupancy technology to support your CRE and workplace design goals? Have questions about VergeSense? Speak with an expert in the field that routinely deals with the same technology demands as your organization and learn how JLL Technologies helps your business navigate the future of the workplace.