The Leader Magazine

SEP 2016

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SEPTEMBER 2016 49 With more organizations moving from dedicated seating to free- address, agile, or mobile-type spaces, one thing has become clear: there is address, agile, or mobile-type spaces, one thing has become clear: there is e address, agile, or mobile-type spaces, one thing has become clear: there is is no one-size-fi ts-all ratio that will apply to every organization. Utilization data no one-size-fi ts-all ratio that will apply to every organization. Utilization data no one-size-fi ts-all ratio that will apply to every organization. Utilization data no one-size-fi ts-all ratio that will apply to every organization. Utilization data no one-size-fi ts-all ratio that will apply to every organization. Utilization data data have long been viewed as the critical metrics for understanding space usage. age. have long been viewed as the critical metrics for understanding space usage. Results from a Gensler research study show that 83 percent of corporate te Results from a Gensler research study show that 83 percent of corporate real estate (CRE) executives rank space utilization as the most important real estate (CRE) executives rank space utilization as the most important real estate (CRE) executives rank space utilization as the most important nt real estate (CRE) executives rank space utilization as the most important metric for making effective workplace decisions. Utilization refers to how metric for making effective workplace decisions. Utilization refers to how metric for making effective workplace decisions. Utilization refers to how metric for making effective workplace decisions. Utilization refers to how ow metric for making effective workplace decisions. Utilization refers to how often spaces are in use over a given period of time. If every square foot of often spaces are in use over a given period of time. If every square foot of often spaces are in use over a given period of time. If every square foot of of unused space is costing an organization money, then knowing how much unused space is costing an organization money, then knowing how much ch unused space is costing an organization money, then knowing how much you're using – or not using – can create big opportunities for savings. But cost alone should not overshadow the value that the right space can provide occupants. While tracking the frequency of space usage can be can provide occupants. While tracking the frequency of space usage can be n can provide occupants. While tracking the frequency of space usage can be be helpful, it doesn't provide a complete data set for decision making. After a helpful, it doesn't provide a complete data set for decision making. After a helpful, it doesn't provide a complete data set for decision making. After a helpful, it doesn't provide a complete data set for decision making. After a helpful, it doesn't provide a complete data set for decision making. After a r helpful, it doesn't provide a complete data set for decision making. After a a utilization study is complete, the next question that typically is asked is how utilization study is complete, the next question that typically is asked is how utilization study is complete, the next question that typically is asked is how utilization study is complete, the next question that typically is asked is how how utilization study is complete, the next question that typically is asked is how the space is used, i.e., what activities are taking place in the space? the space is used, i.e., what activities are taking place in the space? Understanding activity – how space is used – can help inform a work- Understanding activity – how space is used – can help inform a work- rk- Understanding activity – how space is used – can help inform a work- place strategy that optimizes space without necessarily changing the amount place strategy that optimizes space without necessarily changing the amount ount place strategy that optimizes space without necessarily changing the amount of space available. Activity data answer questions such as: Is the space being t of space available. Activity data answer questions such as: Is the space being of space available. Activity data answer questions such as: Is the space being being of space available. Activity data answer questions such as: Is the space being used as it is designed or intended? Are people working on their computers r used as it is designed or intended? Are people working on their computers used as it is designed or intended? Are people working on their computers used as it is designed or intended? Are people working on their computers ters engaged in focused work? Are they on the phone? Are they eating at d engaged in focused work? Are they on the phone? Are they eating at engaged in focused work? Are they on the phone? Are they eating at engaged in focused work? Are they on the phone? Are they eating at at their desk? In essence, a workplace strategy aligns work patterns their desk? In essence, a workplace strategy aligns work patterns their desk? In essence, a workplace strategy aligns work patterns rns their desk? In essence, a workplace strategy aligns work patterns with an environment to enable performance and manage cost. r with an environment to enable performance and manage cost. ost. with an environment to enable performance and manage cost. These strategies often involve conversations around the cost a These strategies often involve conversations around the cost These strategies often involve conversations around the cost cost These strategies often involve conversations around the cost of space versus the value of space. e of space versus the value of space. When the focus is on cost, conversations tend to be be about density, square footage, energy consumption, u about density, square footage, energy consumption, about density, square footage, energy consumption, about density, square footage, energy consumption, n, about density, square footage, energy consumption, and occupancy costs. When the focus is on value, , and occupancy costs. When the focus is on value, conversations lean towards effi ciency, productivity, o conversations lean towards effi ciency, productivity, ity, conversations lean towards effi ciency, productivity, retention, and satisfaction – considerations that t retention, and satisfaction – considerations that are more human than tactical. The key in building ding are more human than tactical. The key in building a case for change is to understand the kind a case for change is to understand the kind of conversation taking place about space and to of conversation taking place about space and to to of conversation taking place about space and to consider what's most compelling to the C-suite. consider what's most compelling to the C-suite. consider what's most compelling to the C-suite. e. consider what's most compelling to the C-suite. Capturing utilization and activity data In recent years there has been a fl ood of new w In recent years there has been a fl ood of new technology solutions and techniques for capturing h technology solutions and techniques for capturing technology solutions and techniques for capturing g technology solutions and techniques for capturing data about when and how space is used: sensors on n data about when and how space is used: sensors on walls, desks, or in chairs; surveyors with clipboard or walls, desks, or in chairs; surveyors with clipboard or d walls, desks, or in chairs; surveyors with clipboard or walls, desks, or in chairs; surveyors with clipboard or walls, desks, or in chairs; surveyors with clipboard or r walls, desks, or in chairs; surveyors with clipboard or iPads ® ; self-report ; self-reporting; reservation systems and badge data; and more. To ; self-reporting; reservation systems and badge data; and more. To further enhance a further enhance a data set, these solutions can be combined in a multitude of ways. Before you of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection start of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection researching of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection sensors of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection and of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection other of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection data of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection collection of ways. Before you start researching sensors and other data-collection methods, take the time to defi ne the goals for the study. This will help identify the type(s) of data to collect: utilization data, activity data, and/or participant feedback. Of the many sensing and tracking solutions available, all can be categorized into three buckets: observation, passive, and interactive methods. Understanding the three different methods helps to narrow the fi eld when looking for a solution to meet a study's objectives. observation-based data collection True to its name, observation-based data collection relies on surveyors to record their observations of a space – what's happening and when. Studies can be conducted with a pen and paper or with interactive applications. The observation method is a very reliable way to capture both activity and utilization data. The studies are fast, adaptable and fl exible. They are unique among the three methods because they allow for both objective and subjec- tive data to be captured. For example, using the iPad app, Observe, a surveyor walks a space on a set schedule, guided by an interactive fl oor plan. Each space is associated with pre-assigned questions about the utilization and activities occurring in each space, such as working, talking on the phone, eating, socializing, or reading – activities that are diffi cult to capture purely with a hardware approach. A challenge with the observation method is that it can be perceived as invasive by employees. However, the presence of a surveyor also allows concerns to be addressed directly and immediately, through scripted responses to frequently asked questions. In-person observers also provide an opportunity to reiterate the organization's commitment to improving its workspace. interactive data collection Interactive data collection relies on participants engaging in activities such as taking a survey, logging into tracking software, or using a reservation system correctly. It involves a conscious interaction with technology or a data collection method. The transparency of this approach gives participants a sense of comfort and control over the process. Image copyright Gensler

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