Are you overlooking the key to a more productive office?

June 28, 2017

We live in a world obsessed with maximizing productivity. From our personal lives to our businesses, we look to apps, automation, and analytics to make sure we’re using all the information at our disposal to be as efficient and effective as possible. But are we overlooking one of our greatest assets?

Physical space and the data captured from it can profoundly impact an organization. From helping anticipate maintenance needs, to preventing product loss, insights from physical space map directly back to finances.

Smart sensing for health and productivity

In office environments, space itself can influence employee health, satisfaction and effectiveness. According to Gartner Research, “office space is increasingly being used to drive cultural change, attract talent, drive innovation and improve productivity, requiring CIOs to adjust their approach to workspace.” While they’re tracking every aspect of their websites and social channels, organizations can’t afford to overlook monitoring their physical space.

Inefficient space usage is frustrating and expensive

Corporate facility management costs are rising. According to the NFC Index, the median cost per office workstation in 2015 was €8,959 ( £7,707) excluding VAT, with the median cost per full-time employee at €8,601(£7,399) excluding VAT. These costs increased by 2% from the previous year.

And while average facility costs have increased, the number of workstations has not. The average workplace doesn’t have as many desks as full-time employees, so it’s crucial that organizations make the most efficient use of their space.

The search for free desks and meeting rooms comes at a cost: according to Steelcase, “70% of employees report losing up to 15 minutes a day looking for a place to collaborate with colleagues, while 23% waste up to 30 minutes daily. In a study of 300,000 meetings at several sites, rooms were booked 92% of the time, yet 15% of reservations were not used.  This should give managers pause: their teams could be innovating– instead, they’re navigating the building looking for a place to sit down.”

A simple, easy to deploy sensor network can eliminate these challenges. By tracking room and desk occupancy, organizations can cut the time wasting and help their employees make the most of their office without the hassle. Observing trends in space utilization over time can also lead to better facilities investments. The GGZ, a 30MHz customer, saved €525,000 by eliminated unnecessary investments in desktop computers and avoiding expansion to a new floor in their building– all based on sensor data.

A sample 30MHz dashboard tracking room and workspace occupancy

The link between air quality and innovation

Besides optimizing occupancy and workspace usage, smart sensing can promote health and cognitive function. Not only are stuffy offices uncomfortable, they’re potentially stifling to productivity. According to the Yale Center for Environmental Communication, “New research suggests that carbon dioxide doesn’t just make us hot: it might also undercut our ability to think at full potential. Three recent studies of people breathing indoors have documented subtle declines in thinking ability when carbon dioxide increases to 1,000 ppm, more than two-and-a-half times as much as in today’s ambient air.” Real-time data on air quality can be easily captured with CO2 and NO2 sensors, tracking historical data and sending useful notifications when levels go beyond an optimum range.

To drive productivity, organizations need to keep employees comfortable, happy and innovative. This means optimizing the space in which they work. To achieve these goals, they need sensory data and they need it fast. Monitoring physical space empowers organizations to:

React quickly— Using real-time notifications when certain conditions are met or a threshold is approached (temperature rise or fall, CO2 levels), organizations can respond to and correct anomalies, ex: increased ventilation when CO2 levels rise.

Observe and act on trends-In-depth insights analyzing relationships between variables, and data on historical trends can help organizations benchmark and make data-driven investments in their facilities, ex: reducing unnecessary investments in workstations.

There’s no reason to wait with monitoring and optimizing office environments. Businesses don’t need to waste time with a lengthy IoT set-up when they can deploy a 30MHz Sensor Toolkit within a few minutes, start monitoring immediately, and scale with more sensors as needed.

What would you measure?

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Let us know how to reach you below, and we'll get in touch with what sensors are best for your business context.
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