Here are 5 key practical steps you need in the early stages of occupancy studies and workplace transformation projects, focussing on physical, data and strategic considerations.
Step 1: Defining your goals
Having a clear and visible route to success is central to any workplace project, and defining your strategic goals early on in the process provides a consistent point of reference for any changes made down the line.
Louis Lhoest of Veldhoen & Co describes these as ‘Guiding Principles’ which should be referred to at every stage of planning and implementation to ensure that change is being made in a meaningful way.
In order to define your Guiding Principles, it is vital that you consider what tangible results you are hoping to achieve, and what areas to focus on in order to facilitate this.
Below are some initial and key areas of thought
Trust & accountability: in flexible work environments control is maintained by adopting a top down ethos of trust, support and accountability. Adopting this mentality as the starting point in your thinking allows resilient solutions to flourish.
Facilitation & content: do we need new skills? Do we need new people, content or forms of communication in order to succeed?
Workplace analytics: adaptability requires an in-depth understanding of what is happening in the here and now, without this you’ll be reacting too late or to incomplete information.
Step 2: What do you need to measure?
Asking this question ahead of deployment is key to success. Once you have a clear understanding of the changes you want to make and have identified the key areas of focus it is a simple process to narrow down the focus of data collection to key metrics tailored to your use case.
The tempting alternative is to gather data from every source, placing occupancy sensors on every asset on the proviso of capturing an all encompassing understanding of your workplace. In practice this is usually unnecessary and leads to an overload of information which is not pertinent to the challenges at hand.
Here are some key metrics to analyse:
Average utilisation rates of desk, meeting rooms or shared spaces
Identify peak vs. off peak utilisation rates
Determine the person to desk ratio
Utilisation comparison between buildings, floors, departments or teams
Using data enables more accurate planning and by making it available to occupants, you enable them to both change their behaviour and shift conversations from ‘how many desks do you need’ to ‘how can you use your space more productively’.
Step 3: Knowing the technology
Now, with a clear understanding of the data required to effect change, it is time to find and plan the appropriate technology to gather information.
Each workplace is different, and as such it is vital that occupancy solutions are able to incorporate various sensor types and technologies. Our solutions uses LoRawan technology to connect a variety of sensors to its data networks, primarily deploying:
Desk PIRs: Detecting heat and motion, these battery powered sensors are placed underneath one person assets to show when they’re in use throughout the day.
Meeting room presence: For smaller meeting rooms which are less likely to be under occupied and repurposed these sensors provide information on how often they’re in use.
Meeting room counters: Larger rooms present a bigger opportunity for optimisation, and these sensors provide an accurate count of room occupancy throughout the day enabling you to gauge how effectively they’re utilised.
Footfall counters: Placed in doorways and thoroughfares, these sensors monitor the flow of individuals throughout a space, enabling teams to see how spaces are used throughout the day.
Environmental sensors: Monitoring CO2, Temperature and Humidity levels, these sensors enable teams to optimise the indoor health of spaces, keeping air quality at the appropriate level for both safety and productivity.
Step 4: Site Assessment
The physical layout of your spaces will impact the technology which can be deployed, as it is important to ensure that any challenging features are identified early to avoid messy reshuffles later.
Here are the key assessment checks you need:
Site specific risks - Gateway and sensor placement for signal quality and established connection to cloud
Prepare risk – Staging to verify design
Maintenance risk – Detecting sensors that are not transmitting data
Network connectivity - From gateway to cloud during deployment – setting up staging, maintenance – keeping the data flowing
Scoping process – Identify and ensure impact on key KPIs
Step 5: What further tools are needed?
As the workplace and surrounding strategy changes and becomes more complex, the time and resources required to manage it will become increasingly large. Organisations need to consider what tools will facilitate new ways of working before making the change to ensure a smooth transition period.
For many organisations moving away from traditional office setups to flexible and hybrid environments this entails the introduction of booking tools, which serve as a centralised point of access to the workplace, removing the danger of employees clashing and competing over limited spaces.
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