Modern Workspaces: Getting Started With a Hybrid Workspace

Workplace transformation is not something that can be accomplished in a matter of months or even a year. Rather, it’s a continuous journey of evolution and learning that aligns your workplace with your company’s larger objectives. If your company is just starting out on this journey, you’ve certainly realized that it’s impossible to modernize your entire portfolio at once. That’s why, among all the buzz about the modern workplace, the term “hybrid workspace” is beginning to emerge.

What is a hybrid workspace? Let’s start with what it’s not: an end in and of itself. Hybrid represents an iterative process of moving from traditional to agile, modern environments that support the changing nature of work.


What are the goals behind workplace transformation?

Why is your company looking to begin modernizing your office portfolio with hybrid workspace? Chances are, the stats about wasted space in corporate offices and the staggering amount of money you can save by optimizing space got your attention initially.

However, most companies quickly realize that moving toward hybrid workspace has even bigger benefits. While cost savings in the tens of millions (or more) are often realized by moving to this new environment, smart organizations are re-investing a portion of that savings back into the workplace. They are adding features that support employees, which leads to productivity improvements that drive better top line results.

Learn more: Agile Working Benefits: Moving Beyond the Dollars

Enabling collaboration

First and foremost, workplace must help to transform the way companies operate. Today’s knowledge economy demands unprecedented levels of productivity and innovation for companies to stay competitive. Markets are being disrupted by new players with better ideas, and even the most well-established firms must up their game to maintain their position.

The fact is, innovation rarely comes from a solitary worker in an enclosed cubicle. Collaboration is the fuel that drives more and better ideas, which requires a significant cultural shift from your workforce. Teamwork needs to become the new standard operating procedure.

The biggest benefit of the modern workplace is creating environments that encourage people to work together. The hybrid workplace begins to break down barriers between teams by removing the physical barriers. Designs include open spaces like atriums, shared workspaces in common areas, staircases with seating, and even outdoor workspace. The design of the modern office encourages movement by locating desirable amenities in diverse locations, as well as making access easier with features like staircases. These modern spaces facilitate “casual collisions” throughout the workday to promote teamwork and increase collaboration. The physical environment mirrors and supports the cultural changes happening in the organization.

What does that look like? Watch these videos to see examples of workplaces that encourage collaboration:

Minter Ellison Workplace, Sydney
World’s Greenest Office Building Is Dutch: The Edge

Attracting and retaining talent

“The war for talent” is one just about every company is battling. Those that are winning are doing so with a powerful weapon: modern workplaces. According to CBRE, talent now trumps cost as the top consideration in workplace strategy.

Learn more: 3 Workplace Strategies for Attracting Top Talent

Even companies without a fully agile portfolio can attract and retain talent with hybrid workspaces. Workers from all generations are looking for physical spaces that offer attractive design, natural light, greenery, comfortable furnishings for different work styles, and the latest technology, as well as amenities like cafes, gyms and wellness features. An inviting, modern workplace becomes one more tick in the competition for talent. You’re no longer competing with other firms for top candidates based on salary alone, since you can offer a welcoming, efficient and effective workplace where people want to collaborate with others and accomplish their work. Your modern workplace can provide value that others can’t match.

Here are some of the types of environments that are attracting top talent for progressive companies:

The LEGO Group shares plans for new office building in Billund, Denmark
Salesforce Video Wall

Hybrid workspace: planning your journey from traditional to modern workspace

With a global portfolio and a workforce in the tens of thousands at least, change takes time. And it’s not only the physical transformation of space, but the strategic planning and change management that are required to ensure you achieve the desired outcomes.

That’s where the hybrid workspace comes into play: smart companies are transforming space in stages and using each project as a learning experience that feeds the next transformation.

With so many other companies on this journey, it might be tempting to plan your transformation around what other successful companies have done. The problem with this strategy is that every company is different. Even looking at what another company in your own industry is doing will not guarantee that the same strategy will work for you. This is an essential lesson we’ve learned firsthand supporting clients who are leading the way in implementing modern workplaces.

Instead, you need to discover the workplace strategy that will best benefit your business and your people. How do you do that? With thorough research and reliable data about what your people need and how they work best.

Read more about how to do that: Activity-Based Workplace Design: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

How can companies get started implementing the hybrid workspace?

While it is possible to transform your workplace a few floors at a time, the best results will come from starting with one building. That’s because it’s very difficult to achieve the cultural changes that are needed on a smaller scale. Your workforce needs to be immersed in the experience to truly embrace the new way of working.

That being said, while you’re in the process of planning and building your hybrid workspace, you can build excitement and help teams adjust to the new work style by setting up smaller pilots or “experience centers.” These could be a floor or two redesigned for non-assigned seating and activity-based working, where impacted teams can take turns working for a month or so prior to the big move to the new building.

Here are a couple of tips to help you get started planning your first workplace transformation.

Choose your location carefully

A new, modern workplace is exciting for your workforce, and many who are not slated to work there will be curious about the new space. There’s sometimes a risk of unassigned workers flocking to the new building, which can affect the working conditions and the outcome if you have 20% more people using the space than you planned for. So, for your first hybrid workspace it’s smart to avoid choosing a building that’s one of several in the same complex or even in the same neighborhood. Instead, choose a location that’s not too close to your other facilities.

Make it a learning experience

Remember that your hybrid workspace is just the first step to a fully agile, modern workplace portfolio. Your first efforts need to be chosen carefully so you can learn from the experience and apply that intelligence to future projects. So, make sure that the teams you choose to locate in the new space are a good representation of your organization. It won’t help you plan future spaces if you choose a homogenous group that is very different from the rest of your organization.

Also, remember that not every worker and every job function is well suited to working in an agile, collaborative space. For example, customer service or call center workers who spend most of their time on the phone may not have much to gain from the new setting. When choosing teams to work in the new hybrid workspace, be mindful of their daily tasks and work style and choose those will benefit most from working collaboratively.

In an upcoming blog, we’ll address the issue of understanding the needs of your workforce in order to design the right environments for each team. Don’t miss it!

In the meantime, read this guide for more tips for developing your hybrid workspace: Best Practices for the Modern Workplace.


Digital Wayfinding: Employee Experience Tools for Hybrid Workspace

As large organizations shift to modern, agile workplaces featuring non-assigned seating, there are many changes for employees. One of the biggest changes is giving up their desks and figuring out where they will work each day. With improving employee experience being one of the goals of the workplace transformation, the last thing you want is people having to walk the halls to find a desk every day. That’s the obvious reason why companies implementing agile working need a digital wayfinding system.

However, today’s digital wayfinding tools can do much more than help mobile workers find a seat. They can help to enable collaboration, boost productivity, optimize workspace, and serve as a secret weapon for the CRE team to monitor and improve employee experience.

Employee experience is critical in the hybrid workplace

Implementing agile workplaces is on the radar for most large organizations, but a full transformation can take years to accomplish. Many companies are making the move in stages, with some areas of the business going agile while others stay in traditional spaces (sometimes even within the same building). These so-called “hybrid” workplaces serve to reduce property costs while allowing the organization make a gradual cultural shift to a more modern way of working.

However, hybrid workplaces do present unique challenges for the corporate real estate team and the employees alike. For one thing, the new space may be visible and accessible even to those who are still assigned to the traditional space. That’s an opportunity to showcase the benefits and smooth the way for future projects. It also means there’s a lot riding on the outcome.

Here’s a resource that’s packed with tips to guide CRE teams in implementing modern workspaces that produce results: Best Practices for the Modern Workplace

Read on to learn some surprising ways that a digital wayfinding tool improves outcomes both for workers and for the CRE team.

3 ways digital wayfinding tools improve employee experience in a hybrid space

Digital wayfinding saves time and frustration for workers, boosting their productivity and making it easier for them to collaborate.

1. Finding a spot to work

Moving to an agile workspace can be challenging for workers who are accustomed to having an assigned desk. Here’s a common scenario when people have to use typical desk booking system:

  • People have to take the time to book a desk every single day. Adding yet another task to already busy people will not help champion the cause of the flexible workspace.
  • People forget to book a desk, so they just wander around until they find a seat.
  • Typical desk booking systems become inaccurate. Spaces that appear to be reserved are empty, and those that appear free are taken. So people still have to resort to wandering around the building looking for a seat.

This is not the kind of employee experience you had in mind for your modern workplace, is it? Here’s how that experience works with a digital wayfinding tool powered by real-time utilization data:

  • When people arrive, they glance at the kiosk in the elevator lobby, which shows currently empty seats highlighted on a floor plan. (Employees can also see this information by opening the digital wayfinding app on their phones or tablets).
  • They walk over and sit down. The floor plan automatically updates to show this seat as occupied, so no one else will attempt to sit there.

What could be easier? Not only are employees happier, they’re also not wasting time every day trying to find a space to work.


2. Finding a meeting room

Locating the right meeting space can be frustrating for everyone, especially for a meeting not planned in advance. Just like the desk booking system, room reservation systems have annoying limitations:

  • People book rooms for recurring meetings that are discontinued, but they never cancel the reservation. The room shows as booked when no one is using it.
  • Large conference rooms are taken by small groups of people, leaving the large groups scrambling to find a space.
  • Reservation systems may not provide information about tech equipment available in the room.

As a result, it can be difficult for groups to find an available room. The problem is compounded when they need video conferencing or other tech equipment in the room. Again, they are forced to walk the floors looking for a space to meet.

How does the process work with a digital wayfinding system?

Using a mobile app, locate a room with the needed capacity, equipment and amenities. The heatmap confirms that the room is currently unoccupied. Head on over for an impromptu collaboration session, or reserve the room for later if needed.

3. Finding a person in an agile space

When people no longer have an assigned seat, employees can be challenged to find one another in an agile workspace. That situation can be an impediment to collaboration, the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

A digital wayfinding system powered by real-time network presence data helps everyone in the hybrid work space to locate one another. Here’s how it works:

  • Using the same kiosks or mobile app, search for a person.
  • See their current location, and walk over or locate an available desk nearby.

Even people working in the traditional space, or visitors who don’t know their way around the building, can use the digital wayfinding system to find their co-workers in the agile space.

Watch this video to see digital wayfinding in action: How Can Wayfinding Technology Shape Employee Experience?

Digital wayfinding: the benefits for CRE

Accommodating the needs of everyone in a hybrid workplace (with both traditional and agile spaces) can be tricky for CRE. Consider the following scenarios.

Optimizing meeting room space

In most traditional workplaces, conference room availability is not optimized for the needs of the teams using the space. You’ll typically find large rooms being booked for groups of 2 or 3 people, while other groups struggle to find space. In an agile space powered by utilization tracking and digital wayfinding, CRE has the data to optimize the space and improve employee experience at the same time.

For example, utilization data can reveal the optimal sizes for conference rooms, allowing CRE to reconfigure the space to provide more, smaller rooms to accommodate more meetings. That gives employees the freedom to have the impromptu collaborative work sessions that are proven to drive innovation.

Learn more: Workplace Transformation Strategy: Is Yours Based on Data or Perception?

When the agile workplace goes viral

When you unveil a new, modern workspace, the news travels fast. As agile workers discover all the benefits of the new space, they will be talking about it to all their co-workers. People still working in neighboring traditional spaces will visit out of curiosity. Some will even decide to use the meeting rooms and even begin working there regularly, even though they may not be assigned to the new area.

That can lead to overcrowding in the new space, and a potential problem for the CRE team. A digital wayfinding system that’s powered by network presence data can tell you how many unauthorized workers are using the agile space. That data can then provide the ammunition to gain approval for expanding the agile space to accommodate all the workers who want to use it, as well as expanding the company’s workplace transformation efforts overall.

Learn more: 9 Steps to Implementing Change in the Workplace: Agile Spaces

See how wayfinding can help you. Request a demo today.


PointGrab Partners with Serraview, Taking Aim at $43b Smart Office Market

Integrated into Serraview’s workplace management and optimization software, PointGrab’s CogniPoint smart sensor platform provides building-intelligence data in real-time

NEW YORK and HOD HASHARON, Israel, March 30, 2017 – PointGrab, developer of the CogniPoint(TM) edge-analytics smart sensing solution, today announced a partnership with Serraview, a leading provider of workplace management and optimization software. By integrating CogniPoint into Serraview’s cloud-based space planning software, the companies will help organizations transform their workplaces by delivering real-time space utilization intelligence, resulting in less wasted space, increased employee productivity and better talent attraction.

The integration of CogniPoint into Serraview’s smart office environments solution allows organizations to collect data crucial to tracking and understanding how their employees work best, such as occupants’ presence, count and position in the workspace. By utilizing advanced deep learning neural networks technology, CogniPoint delivers the actionable analytics necessary to optimize space management, energy savings and business intelligence.

“With the growth of mobile workforces, physical office spaces are frequently going unused. Organizations need to better understand how occupants are using work spaces so they can optimize space utilization and improve occupants’ overall productivity,” said Itamar Roth, Chief Business Officer, PointGrab. “Integrating our CogniPoint sensing technology with Serraview’s space management software expands PointGrab’s footprint in facility management and enables customers to access a complete space utilization solution.”

Serraview’s smart office environment solution fosters a collaborative environment in a connected workplace. Timely and accurate utilization analysis aggregated from multiple data sources helps organizations make the best use of smart office environments and their entire workplace portfolio. Serraview’s intelligent wayfinding services remove the anxiety around non-assigned seating, helping employees easily find the right workspace and each other.

“Tracking and understanding space utilization allows organizations to create the most effective and efficient flexible workplace designs that meet the needs of each business team,” said Stephen Macnee, CEO, Serraview. “Adding PointGrab’s CogniPoint technology to Serraview’s space management solution will give our customers the actionable utilization data needed to create agile work environments that enable collaboration and support business goals.”

According to research published by analysts at MarketsandMarkets, the smart-office / smart-workplace market “holds a great potential across the building automation industry,” and is expected to be worth $43.31 Billion by 2020, with compound annual growth of 10.70%. MarketsandMarkets says, “Smart office products help in promoting efficient use of available resources and also ensure sustainability through use of ecofriendly processes.”

About Serraview
Serraview, a leading provider of workplace management software, works with some of the largest and most progressive companies in the world to deliver the workplace of the future. Serraview provides cloud-based tools that drive optimized corporate real estate portfolio utilization, more efficient relocations, and enable smarter, more productive agile work environments. Serraview clients get reliable data and reporting that supports accountability, better strategic decisions and huge bottom line savings. For more information about Serraview and the best way to optimize your company’s workspace, visit

About PointGrab
PointGrab is a leading machine learning and computer vision company that provides smart sensing solution to the building automation industry. The company applies its superior deep-learning technology to the building automation ecosystem, where opportunities to gather data are abundant, but efficient, real-time analytics are lacking. The company is fast growing and supported by world leading engineering company ABB, the global leader in lighting, Philips Lighting, and sector expert EcoMachines Ventures of London, and applies a joint development and market approach with global leading lighting and engineering companies.

Media Contacts
Jenna Beaucage, PointGrab
508-475-0025 x124
[email protected]

Ian Morley, Serraview
+1 646 575 9852
[email protected]


Sensor Data: What It Reveals About Workforce & Workplace

Given the amount of wasted space to be found in the average corporate office (HBR says office usage peaks at 42%), it’s not surprising that so many organizations are looking to make better use of space to reduce property expenses. However, optimizing the workplace is no longer only about cutting costs: it’s increasingly about improving employee experience. Today’s workplace must act as an enabler that supports the workforce in producing their best work and creating innovative solutions.

In many parts of the world, the question in 2017 is not whether to implement modern workplace design, but how to get it right. CRE teams are challenged with providing work environments that meet the needs of a diverse worker population. How can you get the information you need to optimize space utilization AND provide the right mix of space types for each team? Many progressive companies are turning to sensor data to provide that intelligence and drive effective workplace transformation decisions.

What information can sensor data provide for optimizing space and improving employee experience?

Making the best use of space requires answering three key questions:

  • How much space do we have?
  • How well do we use it?
  • How much space is being used by each group or business unit at any particular time?

According to Rob Wright, Managing Director of sensor technology provider INOVU, “I’ve been involved with workplace strategy for 30 years, and the same questions are still being asked by real estate teams. Today, sensor data can provide the answers at a very granular level.”

For decades, companies have tried to gather this information manually. Chances are, you’re familiar with the shortcomings of these methods. (Read this to learn more: Why Bed Checks for Commercial Space Planning Are So Yesterday).

Sensors do it better; in fact, sensor data provides one of the most efficient intelligence sources for driving workplace transformation strategy. Here’s why:

Continuous data collection: Sensor data shows trends over time that are missed with short-term manual data collection efforts. This long-term data is essential for capacity planning in an agile work environment.

Ironclad evidence: Sensor data proves attendance & space usage in a way that can’t be refuted easily by your business units. Even if you’ve got badge data to show who is in the building, sensors can prove that they are not at their desks all day, which is important to know for agile space planning.

Real time data availability: Sensor data can be collected and available in seconds to power wayfinding technology (more on that to come). 

Sensor technology for occupancy & utilization management

There are three types of sensors commonly used for collecting space utilization data in the workplace:

Motion (room) sensors use passive infrared technology (PIR) to detect movements within their field of view. Typically wall or ceiling-mounted, these sensors can detect usage of a room with accuracy as high as 90 to 95%. However when people sit still for long periods in a meeting the accuracy can be reduced, and these sensors can’t detect how many people are using the space.

Desk or occupancy sensors can detect the presence of a person in a specific spot, such as sitting at a desk. For the best accuracy, a PIR sensor on its own is not sufficient, as people may sit still for long periods resulting in false readings over time.

High volume count sensors are typically installed above the doors in large rooms or auditoriums and count the people entering and exiting the space (attendance). This sensor data can provide intelligence about usage vs. capacity levels for large meeting rooms. They can also count people using spaces as a tool for promoting modern workplace features (more on that to come). These sensors can be up to 98% accurate.

“Desk sensors are useful for tracking what we call ‘away status,’ when a particular seat is empty,” said Wright. “In an agile environment, this sensor data provides good insight into behavior for the workplace strategist for understanding how mobile workers are moving around the office.”

Sensor technology is advancing rapidly: according to Wright, INOVU is developing a new and innovative technology for detecting the presence of a person in a seat or in an enclosed space. As the technology matures, devices are offering better accuracy, lower maintenance and easier deployment (in many cases, FM and IT staff can install the devices themselves).

Using sensor data in the modern workplace

Here are some specific applications for using sensor data to improve both space optimization and employee experience in the workplace.

Meeting room utilization and availability

This is an all-too-common scenario in traditional corporate offices: people can’t find an available conference room through the booking system, but wandering around the office reveals that many large rooms are being used by groups of only 2 or 3 people. Or worse, rooms are booked but nobody is using them at all.

This is where sensor data is extremely useful. Room sensors can tell you in real time if a room is booked but not actually occupied. And desk sensors in every seat can reveal the right mix of conference room sizes to maximize utilization. For example, instead of 3 rooms designed for 10, you can better meet employee needs by breaking up two of those rooms into smaller rooms designed for 6. You can also detect rooms that are under-utilized and find out why. The room might be uncomfortably hot, or missing essential technology that employees need for collaborating.

Real-time workpoint availability

In an agile workplace, employees need an easy and reliable way to find a space to work. The last thing they want to do is reserve a seat with an inaccurate desk booking system, then walk across the building to find the seat occupied. Or, work somewhere they don’t want to be when their space of choice is actually available. Real time, accurate sensor data from desk-level sensors is essential for powering wayfinding tools that improve employee experience with shared seating. Employees can view a heatmap on a kiosk or mobile app showing seats currently available.

Watch this video to find out how modern wayfinding tools work: How Can Wayfinding Technology Shape Employee Experience?.

Usage of wellness features such as staircases

INOVU has worked with innovative companies using sensor data to promote wellness initiatives such as encouraging use of staircases. “We have used high level people counters on the stairs to track how many were traveling between different floors, recording use by day of week, weekly average, and current day. Then we displayed those stats by the staircases and in reception to motivate people to use the stairs instead of the lifts. ‘Let’s beat our Tuesday record!’ Or invite a competition between workers on different floors. It’s a great way to promote a wellness program.”

Reduce maintenance expenses

The cost of space itself is not the only expense that you can reduce using sensor data. There’s also the cost of maintenance. When sensor data tells you a space has not been used, then you can reduce the cleaning schedule. Likewise, employee experience improves when you clean heavily used areas more frequently. You can even better control catering costs when you can see exactly how many people are in a meeting room.

Improve indoor air quality

One idea you might not have considered is going beyond occupancy sensor data to improve employee experience using sensors that detect problems with indoor air quality. When an open-plan office space gets crowded with people, carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air can rise to dangerous levels that make people feel tired and sluggish, potentially impeding work output and causing health complaints.

“With today’s sealed buildings and green initiatives, FM staff may turn ventilation system off at night to save energy,” said Wright. “In one pilot, we found CO2 levels climbing dramatically (up to 4x recommended limits) in a very short period as people came into the office, even with only 50% occupancy. This was a real eye opener for us, because while people are concerned about air quality outside, it’s turning out to be much worse in office spaces. That’s bad for people and bad for productivity.”

Recent research led by a Harvard environmental health expert reported a 15% decline in performance with moderate CO2 levels, and a 50% decline at CO2 levels of 1,400 ppm. In Wright’s example, sensors were detecting levels in excess of 2,000 ppm.

The sensor data provided by CO2 sensors can help FM staff to monitor the issue and adjust the HVAC to keep air quality safe in the building.


Sensor data analytics for the modern workplace

When you’re collecting sensor data from multiple sources and tracking it across many floors and buildings, how do you easily bring all that intelligence together and make it useful? That’s where Serraview’s modern workplace management system comes into play, combining the power of sensor data with:

  • Heatmaps, dashboards & analytics to visualize intelligence at any level of granularity
  • Space planning tools designed to manage agile workspaces and neighborhoods
  • Scenario planning to facilitate workplace transformation strategy

Book a demo to see for yourself how it works.


Evidence-Based Decision Making for Corporate Real Estate

If your CRE organization is planning a workplace transformation initiative, you’re facing a great many important decisions ahead. To develop modern work spaces that work for your people and also reduce property costs at the same time, you must make the right calls about your workplace design.

If you’ve been reading Serraview’s blogs as well as the advice of many other workplace experts, you already know that there is no “one size fits all” model for the modern workplace. So how can you develop spaces that will be effective for boosting productivity, attracting talent and encouraging collaboration in your organization?

Here’s our advice for creating workplaces that optimize space and improve employee experience: base your decisions on the best evidence. Today we’ll discuss how the practice of evidence-based decision making can be applied to improve outcomes for workplace transformation.

Learn more: Activity Based Workplace Design: Why One Size Does Not Fit All

What is evidence based decision making?

The Center for Evidence-Based Management CEBMa defines evidence-based decision making as the practice of “making decisions through the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of the best available evidence from multiple sources.” It’s an idea that emerged from the medical industry and the practice is increasingly being applied to corporate management.

You may be surprised at how few decisions in business are based on trustworthy evidence. Far more often, decisions are based on beliefs, conventional (but unproven) practices, anecdotal experience, and what others are doing (even when the situations are significantly different).

When results are critical, experts recommend turning to more reliable evidence. According to a Harvard Business Review report on evidence based decision making, “when managers act on better logic and evidence, their companies will trump the competition.”

But what exactly is reliable evidence when it comes to workplace transformation?

Using evidence-based decision making for workplace transformation

CEBMa has defined 6 basic steps in the evidence-based decision making process. Here we explain how following these steps can guide your workplace decisions to produce better results for your organization. With so much riding on the outcome of your workplace transformation, you can’t afford to get it wrong.


STEP 1: ASK the right questions

Let’s say you want to transform one floor of traditional office space with assigned seating into several agile neighborhoods, incorporating activity-based work areas. According to evidence-based decision making guidelines, it helps to begin the process by breaking down your workplace design decisions into a series of answerable questions, such as:

  • How many workpoints does this neighborhood need to meet utilization targets?
  • What’s the appropriate mix of space types for the people who will use this area?

STEP 2: ACQUIRE evidence

To guide your evidence-based decision making, you need information about how many people from the impacted teams are in the office each day as well as how they use space. Possible sources include:

External benchmarks and “best practices.” What have others done and what were the results?

Stakeholders. Survey impacted teams and meet with managers to ask about space needs and average attendance figures.

Pilot programs. Before making big changes, conduct smaller trials to test plans and seating ratios. You can also measure differences in turnover rates, productivity levels and satisfaction for the impacted teams versus the overall employee population.

Utilization tracking technologies. Technology solutions can provide the most reliable evidence for your workplace transformation, collecting data about everything from team attendance levels to the size of groups using conference rooms. For example, your existing badge security data can provide attendance averages for various groups. Sensors can measure utilization of conference rooms and breakout areas. Network presence technology can track mobile workers as they move throughout an activity-based workspace.

Utilization tracking technology is a complex subject. Learn more from our comprehensive guide: Managing Workplace Utilization.

Read on to learn how to weigh these information sources in terms of reliability for evidence-based decision making.

STEP 3: APPRAISE your sources of information

Not all sources of evidence are going to be equally trustworthy for helping you make the right workplace design decisions. For example, while it’s great for relationships to understand the values and concerns of your business teams, the information they give you may not be completely accurate. They are likely to overestimate attendance, and may misrepresent their usage in an effort to hold onto the space they have.

Likewise, benchmarking data and success stories from other companies are great ways to learn about new ideas, but what others do may not be appropriate for your business. You can’t be sure you’ll see the same results.

According to CEBMa, for evidence-based decision making to be effective, you need to focus on the “best available evidence.” For workplace transformation, that means conducting pilot programs and implementing utilization tracking technology that provides actionable data that proves how your people are using space.

Learn more: Workplace Transformation Strategy: Is Your Based on Data or Perception?

STEP 4: AGGREGATE the data

If you have any experience with utilization tracking technologies, you know that each type has its strengths and limitations and you will likely need several sources to gather all the data you need. That means you’ll need a way to aggregate your data and make it actionable.

That’s why companies with effective modern workspaces are deploying workplace management technology designed to integrate utilization data from multiple sources. Applying evidence-based decision making to your workplace transformation decisions is easy when you can visualize your best evidence displayed as heatmaps on your space plans.

STEP 5: APPLY your intelligence

Armed with intelligence from reliable sources about how your teams are using space, you’re in the best possible position for successful evidence-based decision making about workplace design. For example, you can optimize a building by moving to flexible workspace with the correct seating ratios. And create the best employee experience for each team because you have an accurate understanding of the space mix that supports the way they work.

One important caveat, though: a change management plan is essential to the success of your roll-out. Learn more about how to do that: 9 Steps to Implementing Change in the Workplace: Agile Spaces.

STEP 6: ASSESS the outcome

Workplace transformation is rarely a one-time event. Rather, it’s an ongoing process that starts with small areas and expands through the organization. Also, you must be constantly monitoring the results and so you can make adjustments as things change.

With each transformation project, you’ll gain valuable insights about your people and how they work most effectively. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate the outcomes of each project. This means not only surveying impacted teams and tracking changes in satisfaction, engagement, and retention levels, but also monitoring ongoing usage of space with utilization technology. Doing so validates your evidence-based decision making and helps you gain the best possible evidence for your next project.

Download Best Practices for the Modern Workplace today.


Serraview and Beco Partner to Enable Dynamic Corporate Office Space Planning

SUMMARY: Serraview, a leading workplace management solutions provider, announces a partnership with Beco, a spatial analytics solutions provider. 

NEW YORK, NY and Boston, MA—March 16, 2017— Serraview, a leading third-generation workplace management solutions provider, announced a partnership with Beco, a spatial analytics solutions provider, to enable dynamic corporate office space planning and enhanced employee experience. Companies can reduce costs by optimizing their property portfolio while providing productivity tools for the workforce.

“Our vision at Beco is to make architecture transparent, revealing use patterns and dynamics in real time,” said Tom Zampini, CEO. “We have created an entirely new data stream, one that will allow users to understand and optimize building operations, reduce costs, and increase quality of life for occupants at the same time.”

The Serraview/Beco integration provides tools for corporations to capture space utilization data, visualize it, and act upon it. The process starts with Beco Beacons, the world’s first light-powered, battery-free iBeacon sensor that can be deployed in minutes and uses existing light fixtures as an unlimited power source. Once deployed, Beco captures building occupancy data at a single person, single room resolution that is live streamed into Serraview’s workplace management information and displayed on interactive floor plans, allowing employees to find free conference rooms in real-time. Workers can easily find a meeting room or a colleague in seconds using a kiosk, projected floor plan, or a smartphone app. This technology provides a modern employee experience and supports an agile work environment.

In an effort to reduce real estate expense, organizations are increasingly moving away from dedicated desks and implementing agile environments with unassigned work space. This technology integration helps facilities staff optimize those environments by visualizing how employees are actually using space. The system drives corporate office space planning decisions that make spaces more productive and collaborative, validates the effectiveness of spaces, and informs future space fit-outs.

“The Beco partnership is an exciting addition to Serraview’s Universal Utilization Platform that pulls together multiple sources of utilization data,” said Ian Morley, Serraview’s Head of Product Strategy. “Our pilot implementations have shown that Beco can provide useful insights into how efficiently conference rooms are being utilized, helping companies to right-size their meeting spaces. For example, learning that rooms designed for 12 are often used by groups of 2 or 3 can drive a decision to reconfigure the space into multiple smaller rooms.”

The beauty of the systems’ integration is its ease of implementation: just clip the Beco Beacon to an overhead light fixture, activate, and start viewing actionable intelligence in Serraview’s flexible and user-friendly tools.

About Serraview
Serraview is a leading provider of Workplace Management and Optimization software, working with some of the largest and most progressive companies in the world to deliver the workplace of the future. We provide cloud-based tools that drive optimized corporate real estate portfolio utilization, more efficient relocations, and enable smarter, more productive shared work environments. Our clients get reliable data and reporting that support effective communication, accountability, better strategic decisions and huge bottom line savings.

[email protected]
+1 (800) 903 3716

About Beco
Beco leverages existing lighting and mobile devices to provide real-time, hyper-localized data on how people use and interact in physical spaces. Our light-powered beacons and cloud-based analytics solution enables enterprise systems with location intelligence to power on-demand retail and smart buildings. More information is available at

[email protected]

Unleash your workplace potential. Request a demo today.


Workplace Transformation Strategy: Is Yours Based on Data or Perception?

It’s no secret that organizations with large portfolios of office space need to rethink how they’re using their space. Yours is probably like many CRE teams: pressured to make workplaces work better for the modern business and the mobile workforce. It’s a tall order, and there’s no magic formula for workplace transformation guaranteed to work for every company and every situation.

Are you struggling to create workplaces that get teams to collaborate, attract and retain talent, and enable the company to produce and innovate? Read on to learn why you may not be seeing the results you expected, and how to get your workplace transformation on the right track.

What’s wrong with your workplace transformation design?

This is a common scenario we see with companies just beginning to move toward modern workplaces: their first attempts at workplace transformation only go so far, and are sometimes disappointing.

Does this sound familiar? You get approval for a pilot program based on all the modern workplace benefits you’ve heard about. You begin to put together a workplace transformation strategy by doing observation studies. You might even go to the trouble of asking the impacted teams what they want in the new space. You purchase white boards and other enablement technology, put in lots of comfortable space for collaboration, and make sure to include those phone booths everyone wants for privacy.

After the workplace transformation is complete, your CFO wanders through the space and comes to you in dismay. Where is everybody? Why does the space still look underutilized? Why is nobody using the technology and furniture we spent so much money on? Why is the business still asking for extra space?

If you have found yourself in this situation, you are probably facing two problems:

  • How can you prove what’s working?
  • How do you fix what isn’t?

Learn more by watching this video: 5 Tips for Companies Moving to Agile Office Space


The problem: workplace decisions based on perception

When you began your workplace transformation project, you thought you were doing the right things: getting expert designers involved (either your own, or outside firms) to do observation, and asking employees about what they need. The problem is, both of those strategies can provide you with misinformation instead of reliable data.

Manual observation studies typically involve people walking around with clipboards, taking notes about the spaces that they see being used. The problem is, those observers can’t be everywhere at the same time. They can only record what they see. And the studies are only conducted for a period of days or a few weeks at the most, so they can’t capture changing conditions over longer periods. The issues are the same as using manual methods to record occupancy. (Read more about that here: Why Bed Checks for Commercial Space Planning Are So Yesterday.)

Asking your teams what they want is a great way to get them on your side. However, taking that information as gospel without verifying it often leads to poor decisions. Remember that teams being asked to move to a new way of working will be anxious about giving up their assigned space. In an effort to hold onto what they have, it’s likely they will ask for more space than they are actually using or overestimate how many people are in the office each day.

When you base your workplace transformation on these sources of misleading information, it’s no wonder that the results don’t work out as well as you hoped.

Here’s another problem: even though your new space may not be humming with collaborative activity all the time, you know that utilization has improved. But you have no way to prove that to the casual observer who walks through at the wrong moment.

So, how can you show your superiors what’s working better today? And get the reliable information you need to improve your workplace transformation strategy moving forward?

The solution: data-driven workplace transformation

The answer lies in turning to technology to gather reliable data about how your space is being used.

There’s a wide variety of different utilization tracking technologies on the market. Here are some examples of the kind of data you can collect and how you can use that information to prove what’s happening in your space, and also to plan more efficient and effective workplaces.

Badge data

Many companies begin by leveraging the badge scan data they already collect as employees enter the building. That data doesn’t provide details about where people are, but you do know who is in the building and what part of the business they work in. Using that information, you can produce average attendance by business unit or team to help you in calculating more accurate seat ratios for agile neighborhoods.

You’ll probably find that you underestimated those ratios in your initial workplace transformation attempts. Now you can adjust and take back the underutilized space. The result? A more active space that leads to more collaboration.

Badge data is also useful for building your business case for your next workplace transformation project. The data can show who is spending time in the office and help you estimate cost savings based on wasted space.

Learn more: Workplace Redesign: Building a Business Case

Because badge data can’t tell you specifically where people are, it won’t be able to help you plan the right mix of space types based on actual utilization. That’s where sensors can be useful.

Occupancy sensors

Sensors help you pinpoint where people are in your space, as well as how many are using different types of spaces over the course of a day, a week, or a month. That data can be very useful for learning things like:

  • Are meeting spaces optimized? You might find that a room designed for 12 is most often used for groups of 3 or 4, while others have trouble finding an open room. Using that info, you might decide to reconfigure the space into several smaller conference rooms.
  • Are people using collaboration spaces? In the scenario described earlier, walking through the space at a slow time gave a false impression about use of space and technology. Occupancy sensors can prove how often (and in some cases how many) people are using various areas in your workplace.

IMPORTANT: There is a wide range of sensor technologies available, and they don’t all provide the same level of granularity. For example, lighting sensors usually only tell you if someone is in the room, whereas desk level sensors pinpoint location down to a seat level. (We’ll explain more about sensor technology in an upcoming blog). Sensor data is anonymous, so you won’t know who is using the space. There’s also a capital investment you’ll need to make to install and maintain the sensors.

Network sensors

Network presence technology (such as Serraview Live) uses software to track where people are spending time in the office. As long as they are using their laptop, you can track their location in real time and over periods of time. There’s no hardware to install or maintain, and you’ll know who is where as well as how many people are using space and which spaces are available.

That data is extremely useful for another purpose: powering workforce enablement tools such as wayfinding technology. Using a kiosk or a mobile app, employees can easily find work spaces, meeting rooms, and colleagues in an agile work environment.

The downside is that people may not always bring their laptops to meetings in a conference room, so you may need to supplement this technology with room sensors in meeting rooms.

Because each utilization tracking technology has its strengths and limitations, most organizations deploy a mix to gather all the data needed to plan workplace transformation and manage effective and efficient space. That means you’ll also need a way to aggregate all the data from multiple sources and make it useful for making decisions.

Heatmaps: making sense of utilization data

You could employ a team of data analysts to pull together your utilization data and show you trends and actionable opportunities. Of course, then you’ll always be waiting for answers. Instead, deploy a workplace management solution designed to integrate utilization data from multiple sources (along with your space plans) and visualize it for smarter decision making.

Heatmaps provide you with a visual representation of how people are using space. You can drill down to the level of detail you need, and see real-time or data compiled over a specified time period. Heatmap data can show you hot and cold spots in your workplace, which can help you adjust your workplace transformation strategy to get the mix of space right for each team and each neighborhood.

If your workplace transformation isn’t producing great results, it’s time to take a hard look at your strategy. Is it based on perception or actionable data?

Here’s a resource that explains more about the different utilization tracking technologies: Managing Workplace Utilization.

Can traditional IWMS meet the requirements of the modern workplace? Learn more today.


Agile Workspace Design: Have you provided enough desks?

When you’re moving to an agile workspace design for the first time, there’s often a perception among employees that there won’t be enough desks for everyone. Watch this interview to learn proven strategies for effectively dealing with this issue.

Read more about agile workspace design and strategy here: Activity Based Workplace Design: Why One Size Does Not Fit All


Hi. Ian Morley, Serraview co-founder and Chief Evangelist.
Today I’m joined again by Serraview’s Global Head of Client Success, Jo-Anne Mann. Hey, Jo. Welcome back.

Great to be here.

Quick question for you today from one of our clients. So, a lot of clients are considering a move towards agile workspace design, but they’re wondering how, in your experience, you’ve dealt with the concern from some of your businesses that there won’t be enough free seats when they do move to agile working?

Yeah, that’s a great question. And I think it’s a concern in many organizations when you first start to roll out an agile workspace design. There’s a couple of things I advise people to remember.

One is to have the discussion openly… don’t shy away from it, number one.

But there is a perception around not enough desks with agile workspace design, because we take the ownership of an individual desk away from a person. So in a traditional workspace, you’ve always had that desk;
nobody else ever sits at it. With agile workspace design, other people will be sitting at that desk.

And so people think, naturally, because you’re not going to give a desk
to every single person, that there’s not going to be enough.

You should be doing a lot of research in your organization before you start agile working. So we did research in our organization that told us 50% of the time, not all people were present in the office.

So for varying reasons around annual vacations, personal time off, they have sick leave, they go to conferences or training courses, and travel between countries, interstate, between cities. Therefore you’re never, ever going to have a full workforce always there.

But there’s an inaccurate perception when people have never been through that transition to agile workspace design before.

So the key thing is to have data. If you’ve got really good data… and that’s where Serraview came in for our organization… around looking at utilization, we can prove to people that they’re not all present every day.

And typically in organizations, if you do that manually and walk around, you can see 50% of desks are not utilized. But people don’t believe perception or what you’ve observed, so I would always turn to a really
good data source.

So use a tool like Serraview that can actually show you that utilization. That will also help your organization sharing that business conversation, and actually taking people on that journey of “here’s the proof in the pudding,” if you like.

Learn more about utilization tracking technology here: Managing Workplace Utilization.

And so I imagine that a lot of that’s taking a very emotionally-charged
conversation potentially and changing it into a fact-based one.

Absolutely. Because there’s a lot of emotions. You know, as you start to implement change to an agile workspace design, people react in different ways.

But if you’ve got some factual data to back that up, that will prove to people that they can actually work in this different way and start being productive.

Sounds good. Thanks again.

Not at all!

If you do have any questions for Jo or anyone else at Serraview,
please do reach out to us over Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, using the hashtag #Askserreview. See you next time.



Workplace Redesign: Building a Business Case

How do you develop financial justification for workplace transformation?

Even though office space is such a large chunk of the budget for just about every large corporation, until a few years ago companies didn’t seem to expect much of a return on that investment in space. It was simply considered a necessary cost of doing business. Today that’s changing in a hurry. Workplaces need to become business enablers that improve employee experience, attract talent, and boost productivity to help companies compete in the knowledge economy.

That’s why every day we see more companies embarking on the journey to implementing modern workplaces that help them meet their business goals. That process often starts small with pilot programs and small projects impacting a floor or a few teams at a time. Positive results at this stage encourage CRE teams to push for more of a good thing. However, gaining approval for a workplace redesign on a larger scale typically requires proving the financial payback for the workplace transformation with a business case.

How do you quantify what your business can expect to gain as a result of the workplace redesign? Here at Serraview, we work with large, global companies in all stages of workplace transformation, and these are the strategies we see them using to establish a solid business case.

3 Steps to building your business case for workplace redesign

Step 1: Calculate COST SAVINGS

Reducing your current expenses is the first place to look for the cost justification you need for your workplace redesign plans.


It’s no secret that office space is a big-ticket item, so reducing space by optimizing your property portfolio is where you’ll find the biggest cost savings with workplace redesign. Modern workplaces reduce property costs by eliminating assigned seating and implementing agile shared spaces instead. Think about how much space you could take back that’s currently under-utilized by mobile workers. A traditional office is commonly only 40 percent occupied at any given time. With an agile working strategy, you can eliminate that all wasted space by consolidating and exiting leases or subletting extra space, increasing utilization to 90 percent or more.

If you know your approximate space usage, you can make a ballpark estimate about how much you stand to save. Here’s an example: if your space is 40 percent utilized each day, how many workpoints (or desks) are being used each day on average? If your target is 90 percent utilization, how many workpoints can you eliminate? Most companies spend between $10,000 and $15,000 per workpoint on space. If you can eliminate 1000 workpoints, you can potentially save $10 million to $15 million per year in space costs.

This is just a starting point; with modern space utilization technology and analytics you can gather actual utilization data for each business team and each area you plan to transform. Having hard evidence from sensors, heatmaps and usage analysis allows you to plan your workplace redesign correctly so you have enough space (and the right types of space) to support each business team. That maximizes your cost savings while also ensuring you’re providing the best employee experience.

Learn more:
Activity-Based Workplace Design: Why One Size Does Not Fit All Managing Workplace Utilization


With workplace redesign, eliminating unnecessary space also allows you to eliminate the operations costs associated with that space, including:

  • Energy costs for lighting, HVAC and plumbing
  • Cleaning
  • Facilities maintenance
  • Security


According to the Society for Human Resource Management, every time a business needs to replace an employee, the cost is between 6 and 9 months’ salary. And that’s for mid-level workers. For a top executive, the cost can be double their annual salary. That’s just one reason why companies are looking to the modern workplace to help retain talent.

What’s the current attrition rates for the teams in your traditional workspaces? Comparing those figures to attrition rates in modern spaces with a better employee experience can be eye-opening. How many people can you save from leaving the company with your workplace redesign and how much in recruitment costs when you don’t need to replace them?

Step 2: Calculate COST AVOIDANCE

In some parts of your property portfolio, you may find that you’re not in a position to eliminate space with your workplace redesign. That’s because certain parts of your business may be growing very quickly and adding to the workforce faster than you can provide adequate space. That’s good news for your business. And it doesn’t mean you should skip over that property in your plans for workplace redesign.

Avoiding leasing or purchasing new space can save you just as much money as eliminating space in other parts of the business. When your business is growing and changing rapidly, you often find yourself having to pay top dollar for more space in the right location to meet an immediate need.

By implementing modern, agile workspaces in locations like this, you can accommodate more people in less space, and build in the flexibility needed to accommodate growing teams and changing business structures with short notice.

How much space do you expect to add in growing regions? How much could you save by accommodating that growth in your existing space with a workplace redesign? Also don’t forget to account for the operations costs you’ll forego when you don’t need that new space.

Step 3: Project TOP-LINE GROWTH

This may be the toughest part of building a business case for workplace redesign, but one you should not leave out, since it addresses the essential goals of your business.

Ultimately your company is looking to grow and be more competitive by increasing productivity and innovation. A well designed knowledge-based workplace clearly improves productivity levels, which can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

Here’s a recommendation from Peter Affleck, formerly head of real estate for Suncorp, a banking and insurance company that’s well ahead of the pack in implementing modern workplaces.

“Bank the space and operational costs as a first start, but then be bold and focus the conversation on the real value-add: the revenue side. Without even considering the extent to which a smart workplace redesign could ignite revenue growth, productivity improvement alone will significantly bulge enterprise profits. Even a very small 3% productivity improvement will expand profits per employee by ~$4,500 in most financial services companies, and significantly higher in the IT giants such as Google and Amazon. It becomes a no-brainer!”

That means quantifying the productivity impact of the modern workplace, using metrics like these:

OUTPUT: Each group within your company measures the efficiency and effectiveness of its team members according to their job functions.

ABSENTEEISM: How much work time are employees missing due to illness, family obligations, “mental health” days and the like? Those figures have a measurable impact on productivity.

ABILITY TO ATTRACT TALENT: This is the other half of the talent equation: how much time and money are you spending trying to recruit new talent, and what’s the impact on productivity when you can’t find people with the skills you need?

If you already have some modern work spaces in your portfolio, look at the differences in the above metrics for your modern vs. traditional workplaces. What differences are you seeing in levels of output, absenteeism, and recruitment efforts? Those numbers can help you project expected gains in productivity following your workplace redesign.

Learn more: How Do You Measure Knowledge Worker Productivity?

Download Best Practices for the Modern Workplace today.


Accruent Announces Strategic Partnership with Serraview

Austin, Texas, February 28, 2017 – Accruent, the world’s leading provider of software and services that enable organizations to shape, drive, manage and control their physical assets, today announced its partnership with Serraview, a leading provider of space optimization software and workplace management technology.

Serraview offers cloud-based solutions that optimize corporate real estate portfolio utilization, increase efficiency in relocations, and facilitate smarter work environments for some of the largest and most progressive companies in the world. While Serraview’s software has all the features of a traditional space and occupancy planning software, what sets them apart is the concept of managing space based on real-time utilization.

In the transition from dedicated workstations for employees to shared spaces that workers use as needed, companies are able to reduce space costs by optimizing the use of their property portfolio. Serraview’s automated tools provide the ability to visualize and manage space, buildings, and people, including generating what-if scenarios, right-sizing team allocations based on occupancy levels, and pinpointing savings opportunities. Serraview also provides wayfinding technology that improves the employee experience in the workplace by helping employees find people and spaces in a large facility.

“With Accruent as a reseller, we’re teaming up with a best-of-breed solution provider, enabling us to fit into more market opportunities,” Stephen Macnee, CEO, Serraview. “This partnership also bolsters the ability to expand our partnerships with commercial real estate services providers.”

The combination of market-leading software from Accruent and Serraview enhances the competitive positioning for both companies and offers a solution for customers moving toward an agile or mobile workforce.

“Serraview has an innovative approach to space planning that’s designed to meet the needs of the agile work environment and drive workplace efficiency,” said John Borgerding, CEO of Accruent. “Accruent brings its breadth and scale to the partnership – two market leaders working together to provide mutual benefits to our customers.”

To learn more about the benefits of the Serraview solution, register for the March 8 webinar, Brave New World: How Agile Spaces Are Transforming Facilities Management.

About Accruent
Accruent provides software and services that enable organizations to shape, drive, manage and control their physical assets. Accruent’s solutions are at work in more than 5,800 leading organizations worldwide, including 40 of the top 100 retailers, 25 percent of the Fortune 500, 40 percent of leading universities, all 4 of the top U.S. wireless carriers, 55 percent of U.S. hospitals as well as leading service providers managing more than 15 billion square feet of property. Founded in 1995, Accruent is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations across the U.S. and in Canada, China, India, Israel, Germany and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit

About Serraview
Serraview, a leading provider of workplace management software, works with some of the largest and most progressive companies in the world to deliver the workplace of the future. Serraview provides cloud-based tools that drive optimized corporate real estate portfolio utilization, more efficient relocations, and enable smarter, more productive agile work environments. Serraview clients get reliable data and reporting that supports accountability, better strategic decisions and huge bottom line savings. For more information about Serraview and the best way to optimize your company’s workspace, visit

See Serraview in action. Request a demo today.