Why Wayfinding Apps Are a Key Part of Workforce Enablement

“Workforce enablement” is a broad term that can encompass many different strategies, policies and tools. At the core, it’s all about making it as easy and frictionless as possible for employees to do their jobs.

Away from work, we use our phones and digital assistants like Alexa to accomplish a huge number of tasks. We use apps to arrange for groceries to be delivered with just a few taps, get a weather report and play our favorite music with simple commands, or adjust the lighting or temperature with a swipe.

At work, we want things to be just as seamless. Companies that want engaged, productive employees are making workforce enablement a priority. Wayfinding apps, along with other tools and systems, go a long way when enabling your workforce.

Workforce Enablement Starts with Leadership

Many examples of workforce enablement in action involve technology: software, tools, and apps that make it simpler to accomplish tasks. This can include intuitive chat/video conferencing software to help remote teams collaborate, HR apps that let you update your employee info or request time off, reservation systems to quickly book conference rooms, and more.

But, for that technology to work, it needs to be backed up by an organizational philosophy dedicated to supporting workers.

How does your office layout and design empower your workforce? Find out here.

Your leadership team needs to be committed to providing employees with the right tools, assets, and educational opportunities that help them do their jobs with as little frustration as possible. An example of a workforce enablement tool that’s gaining popularity is the wayfinding app.

Wayfinding Apps Boost Efficiency

Wayfinding apps are meant to help workers navigate their workspace—either helping them find colleagues, specific desks or rooms, or other resources in the building. Depending on the app, they may be used on a computer, a mobile device or a kiosk.

The goal of wayfinding apps is to save time when people are looking for someone to collaborate with or a place to work. Searching the office for your colleague’s desk, a meeting room, another workstation or the cafeteria might be a great way to satisfy your activity tracker, but it’s not an efficient way to work together. With an app that indicates your colleague has checked into workstation 8 on the 5th floor, you can find her quickly and discuss your upcoming presentation, saving time and energy.

Learn more: 10 ways to optimize your workplace.

What about the complaint shared by just about every office worker: “I can’t find an open conference room”? Wayfinding apps, on either a desktop or mobile device, can show you which conference rooms are available at any given time. Locator, Serraview’s wayfinding app even allows you to search by certain criteria, like the room size or equipment available. There’s also a “just in time booking” function that lets you immediately reserve a room when you need one.

Wayfinding apps are especially helpful when an employee works in hybrid or activity-based work (ABW) offices or is visiting another office location. When an employee arrives each day, she can use the wayfinding app on her phone to locate an open workstation. She can select one based on her tasks for the day: near the conference room she’ll be using for an afternoon meeting, in a designated quiet zone so she can focus on putting together a report or slide deck without distractions, or next to the colleague she’s collaborating with. Or she can easily search for one of the few standing desks located throughout the office to see if it is available.

Wayfinding apps are an important way to enable your workforce, making their workdays easier and less frustrating. In 2017, an Office Worker Survey found that four in 10 workers spend up to an hour a week looking for workstations, conference rooms, or colleagues. We’ll let you do the math: 40% of your workforce spending an hour a week looking for something translates to how many hours lost? Wayfinding apps can reduce those hours to mere minutes—and you’re saving the less-easily-calculated costs of frustrated, harried workers.

Serraview’s wayfinding app comes in two versions: Locator Pro and Elite. Request a demo today and find out which one will best serve your needs.


How CRE Teams Can Measure & Facilitate Employee Interaction

In recent years, corporations like IBM and Yahoo have reversed flexible or virtual work policies and started mandating that employees come into the office on a regular basis (if not all the time). They made these moves because leadership recognized the importance and value of face-to-face employee interactions, especially unplanned, spontaneous conversations (“water cooler moments”).

How does the physical workplace influence corporate culture?

The thinking goes that, if everyone is in the office all (or at least most) of the time, someone in the finance department could randomly bump into a marketer in the cafeteria, strike up a conversation, and together, they would come up with a brilliant idea for a new project or business initiative.

Sounds great, right? But measuring “interaction” and “collaboration” to prove a need for new workplace policies or initiatives can feel like herding cats. Luckily, with new tools and technology, we’re getting closer. Here are a couple questions you can ask about employee interaction in your workplace:

How Are Employees Interacting with the Space and Each Other?

With usage sensors throughout your building, you can capture real-time, valid data on how different spaces are used. You can find out how and where people are congregating—in conference rooms, collaborative spaces, soft seating, cafes, etc.

Before making any changes, you need baseline data. Look at metrics like conference room bookings vs. actual use and which teams schedule meetings together most often. Or, if you have a flexible or agile workspace, you can identify which teams choose to co-locate together frequently.

Are Spaces Under- or Over-Used?

With space utilization data, you can evaluate all the spaces in your workplace that are meant for meetings or collaborative work: conference rooms, soft seating, cafes, break rooms, etc. How can you create more of the most popular spaces to further facilitate employee interaction? Maybe there are unused nooks that can be turned into soft seating.

For the under-used areas, you might examine why employees aren’t using them. The answer could be something simple: for example, the never-booked conference room has a broken projector and the service request slipped through the cracks. You might also find that one floor has three large conference rooms and would be better served with four smaller rooms and a collaborative space instead.

What metrics demonstrate the importance of space planning?

How and What to Measure

Companies generally want to facilitate employee interaction because they believe it will lead to better productivity and performance. It’s challenging to measure that in knowledge workers, but there are a number of metrics and data points you can look at, such as:

  • Number or percentage of projects that come in on time and under budget
  • Customer ratings
  • Reviews on sites like GlassDoor
  • Absenteeism
  • Turnover
  • Job candidate referrals from employees
  • Safety incidents or workers’ comp claims

Once you determine the metrics that make the most sense for your company, establish baselines before any initiative designed to facilitate interaction (along with, of course, baseline utilization data).

After launching your employee interaction initiative, look at the utilization data and productivity metrics together. First, are you seeing evidence of increased interaction and collaboration? Then in one sense, the initiative is successful. But are you also seeing improvement in the productivity metrics? For example, is there a team that consistently completes projects ahead of schedule that regularly uses certain collaborative spaces or soft seating? Keep in mind it may take time for these trends to develop.

As the technology that tracks space utilization and employee interaction advances further, you’ll be able to get even more data and actionable insights.

How can you turn your workplace into a strong business asset? Learn tips on how innovative companies are promoting and encouraging employee interaction and collaboration.


How Smart Buildings and IoT Are Impacting CRE

Nearly everywhere we go—every conference, every client meeting, every networking event—people are talking about smart buildings and the Internet of Things (IoT). But for all the buzz, many CRE leaders still have a lot of questions about IoT technology: Is it really worth it? How can it help with space planning and optimization? What data will be useful, and what is just noise? What are the implications for privacy and security?

At Serraview, we talk a lot about IoT, and we’re excited about the possibilities it offers—after all, a huge strength of our platform is its ability to incorporate utilization data from a variety of IoT technologies so CRE leaders have accurate, real-time data about how space is used in their buildings. Read on to learn about the opportunities smart buildings and IoT provide and what to consider when bringing IoT technology into your workplace.

What Can Smart Buildings and IoT Do?

Improve Employee Experience

Smart buildings use technology to collect data and automate processes so they can better adapt to occupants’ needs. By providing data on how your employees use the workspace, smart buildings and IoT can make it possible for CRE teams to remove the roadblocks to productivity.

For example, a common issue for employees in any large office building or corporate campus is finding a suitable conference room when they need one. Companies are starting to solve this with sensors and beacons that detect room occupancy and activity. The next step is to make this data available to employees in a way that makes it easier to find conference rooms—for example, wayfinding apps or software can show, in real time, which rooms are free.

Serraview’s platform pulls in data from sensors or other IoT technologies, along with data from Microsoft Exchange or Google Calendar. This way, you can see rooms that are booked (someone reserved a room under their name for a certain time) as well as occupancy, which might show that booked rooms are actually not in use (or rooms that are in use without being reserved).

Armed with this data, you can implement new booking policies and systems to make it easier for employees to find a room, saving heaps of frustration and time wasted wandering hallways or rescheduling meetings. You can also use this data to better manage company resources—for example, if a large, in-demand room is typically only used by two or three people, it could be converted into two smaller rooms.

IoT technologies in the workplace also provide the data that help you make other decisions about your space and building amenities: get accurate data about fitness center usage, add or move soft seating according to employee preferences, or co-locate groups differently based on work patterns.

Discover other ways smart buildings and IoT can enhance your employees’ experience.

Energy and Operational Savings

IoT technologies integrate with building systems, like lighting and HVAC, to help both CRE teams and facilities managers run buildings more efficiently.

In particular, sensors that integrate with your lighting system can track room occupancy and activity. Based on the occupancy data, the sensors can automatically turn lights on and off. Having lights automatically turn on only when rooms or spaces are in use can translate to significant energy savings.

Sensors can also work with the building’s HVAC system to adjust the heating or cooling based on real-time occupancy data—another factor in the employee experience.

Factors to Consider


Of course, cost can be the biggest barrier to entry for many companies, especially those with large portfolios. Depending on the device or technology, there may be an initial purchase price, the installation cost, and a recurring fee to access the data.

However, depending on the technology, cost doesn’t have to be a huge factor. For example, if you’re already planning to replace your lighting system, installing lighting sensors is often a relatively small additional cost. Choosing technologies that integrate with systems you already have in place can also be more cost-effective.

Be sure to look at the lifetime cost of the device—not just the initial purchase and installation, but maintenance and ongoing costs like subscriptions to access the data. Consider the value of the data you’ll receive from the device. Will it be useful and make an impact when you’re making decisions about future leases and other initiatives?

What other decisions can be made with good sensor data?

Installation and Implementation

IoT technologies can be deployed in many different ways. Consider how much control you have over the nuts and bolts of your building when evaluating devices. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating your installation options:

  • Are you using a network already in place?
  • Do they need to be hardwired and installed?
  • Can you place them on a desk?
  • How are they powered: batteries, solar, Ethernet cables, etc.?
  • If they use batteries, how often do they need to be replaced?
  • If they are sensors or beacons, how many do you need to deliver the data?
  • How precise do you want your data to be—do you need visibility for each individual desk or just each floor?
  • How frequently does the software need to be updated?

If you’re planning a retrofit or new build, you may have a lot more options. But even if you don’t have that freedom, there are still plenty of IoT technologies that can be deployed without complicated installations.

Also, there’s little point in installing a utilization sensor or beacon if you don’t also have a platform or system, like Serraview, to collect, integrate, and analyze the data.

The business applications for smart buildings and IoT in the workplace are only going to grow. It may seem overwhelming, but now is the time to start looking at how IoT technology can provide greater efficiencies and experiences at your company. We predict that IoT will be an integral part of corporate real estate in the future.

Learn how Serraview integrates with IoT devices and other systems to help you make evidence-based decisions about your space—request a demo today.


Build a Better Business Case: 5 Tips to Set Yourself Up for Success

Luckily, now we have access to more and better data—but numbers alone won’t get your business case approved. Whether you’re looking at taking on a new lease, consolidating employees, moving to a new office, or transitioning from a fixed workplace to an agile or hybrid one, here’s what you should know about building a strong business case.

1. Know Your Audience

First, does your company have a standard template or guideline for building a business case? Make sure you have them and are comfortable with the format.

Second, the odds are the executives at your company won’t be impressed with subjective factors or soft dollars. What may seem like common sense recommendations won’t hold much water if you can’t tie them to a projected dollar amount based on facts.

Hard dollars are still what drives approval. You want to be able to state your case with hard numbers and evidence-based data backing it up. For example, an argument like, “Moving to a new campus will pay for itself in three years due to lower real estate costs,” (with clear cost comparisons) is more likely to get buy-in than simply stating, “A new campus with better outdoor space will create a more positive work environment.”

This isn’t to say you should never include soft dollars in your strategic business cases. They shouldn’t be a key driver, but should be considered additive to your ROI. Instead, you could say, for example, “We expect the new campus will make commuting easier for most employees, resulting in decreased lateness and absenteeism rates.” After the move, you can compare the data (absenteeism rates at the old and new campuses) and gather evidence that proves your hypothesis. In the future, you’ll have the data to tie “ease of transportation” or other subjective factors to hard dollars. In the future, you can use this data when calculating total cost of ownership/occupancy (TCO) and, for example, justify subsidizing mass transit for employees who could require a longer commute.

2. Consider the Big Picture

Look beyond just the dollars that could be saved in real estate costs. What is the potential impact on employees? For example – you move to a new campus and the commute is significantly worse for some employees, so approximately 10% of your staff choose to leave the company. Check with HR to ascertain the cost of replacing that portion of your workforce. How will that affect the projected three-year timeline for the move to pay for itself?

How can CRE leaders slash expenditures?

In the early stages of building the business case, when you’re still gathering data and exploring possible scenarios, it’s a good idea to check in with the executive team. Make sure that what you’re planning is aligned with the company’s long-term plans (which may have changed since you last looked at your five-year strategic plan). For example, you may be looking at a scenario that moves a division to a different office, only to find out that there are plans to sell that division in the next 18 months.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like most things, the best way to get better at something is to practice it—so get in the practice of putting together mini-business cases for all your plans and initiatives, even if a proper business case isn’t required.

When you work on a move for five people in one department, come in with a well-defined plan that sets objectives and expectations. And then review the business case to ensure you met your goals.

An added bonus to this practice is elevating the work that CRE does within the company. Think of it as a way to “advertise” the CRE skill sets, and then, when it’s time to plan something on a larger scale, not only will you feel more prepared, the executive team and other staff members will have confidence that your team will handle it in a strategic, professional manner.

4. Use Valid, Evidence-Based Data

This is where tools like Serraview make all the difference for CRE. When you bring in data from activities like badge entry swipes and conference room usage, plus validated data from each business group about allocations, you can actually put hard dollars to items that were only estimated in previous business cases.

Find out which space utilization metrics will help you build the strongest case possible.

Look for data in industry benchmarks and documented research. “We’ll have more collaborative space” isn’t as strong as “Records show that companies similar to ours that increase collaborative space see revenues increase.” This can also make your soft dollar items stronger.

5. Remember Change Management

This is something that CRE teams often overlook or underestimate when building their business cases. Moving, whether it’s across the floor or to another building, can have an emotional effect on many employees. Don’t just assume that “millennials want an agile workplace” and neglect how you’ll “sell” any kind of move to the staff. It’s important to have a strong change management plan in place to anticipate and mitigate any negative effects the change can have on teams.

Some space management and planning software will let you see estimates on the cost of moving each employee. This is a great start, but you should also talk to other teams that would be facilitating the move—like HR and IT—to get a full picture of the associated costs.

Building business cases don’t have to be onerous for CRE teams. Use these tips the next time you’re putting one together—large or small—and see for yourself.

Building a business case for a hybrid or activity-based workplace? Check out our guide on how to transition to activity-based working.


Melissa Morgan Elected to OSCRE Board of Directors

Serraview executive brings deep expertise in the field of corporate real estate.

New York, NY, March 27, 2019  Serraview, a cloud-based provider of space optimization and workforce enablement software is pleased to announce that Melissa Morgan, Global Head of Marketing was elected to the board of directors of OSCRE International. OSCRE is the leading international consortium for the development of real estate information standards.

“Drawing from the diverse experience of our board members, OSCRE is incredibly well positioned to continue to expand our programs to meet the changing needs of the industry. Our focus on data governance and digital competency education programs, a new reference data model, the vision and leadership of the Council of 100, and emerging technology initiatives provide a variety of options for building the skills needed to meet the challenges of an increasingly digital environment,” said Lisa Stanley, CEO of OSCRE International.

Prior to Serraview, Ms. Morgan spent 30 years leading corporate real estate. She has led national and international projects and programs in workplace strategy, portfolio management, capital business case development, finance, change management and continuous improvement quality initiatives. She has been instrumental in streamlining and improving processes, enhancing productivity, and implementing strategic solutions for Fortune 1000 organizations.

“I’m honored to serve on the board of OSCRE. It’s a compelling opportunity to help shape the future of real estate technology and standards,” Ms. Morgan said.

Read the press release.


OSCRE International is a member-based collaboration of organizations and individuals focused on designing the digital future of real estate with a vision and commitment to assist in building high performance organizations, bringing digital information together from multiple sources and platforms. It’s an approach that covers the entire lifecycle of an asset or investment that improves data quality, transparency and data governance. Learn more about OSCRE International by visiting or emailing [email protected].

Discover how Serraview’s workplace optimization solutions can improve your organization – request a demo today.


CRE, HR & IT: The Partnership to Win the Talent Acquisition and Retention Game

When these three departments collaborate, they can be a powerful force for achieving company objectives. Once the leadership team and board of directors set a company-wide strategic plan, CRE, HR, and IT should work together to achieve the talent acquisition and retention objectives.

Let’s look at how that happens:

HR: The Human Factor

The HR team should have an in-depth understanding of the job market so they can develop an appropriate talent acquisition strategy, plan recruitment efforts and create competitive salary/benefits packages and perks. They’re also focused on developing training programs and guidance on policies like flexible work hours or co-location that will help retain the current employee base.

CRE: The Space Factor

The CRE team is concerned with space planning, space utilization, and optimizing the company’s real estate portfolio. This may look like planning moves or relocations, changing co-locations or allocations, or improving the design and function of the physical workspace. They’re also looking for ways to physically demonstrate the company culture through workplace design.

What are millennials looking for in the workplace?

IT: The Tech Factor

The IT team focuses on provisioning employees and the environment with the right hardware and software so they can achieve company goals. Of course, they also handle maintenance and troubleshooting requests and ensure that company technology works so their people can work.

The Overlap: Where the Talent Acquisition and Retention Magic Happens

While each department has its own function and specialty, they should constantly be working together when it comes to winning and keeping top employees.

HR and CRE should collaborate to create a physical workspace that enhances a positive company culture. HR provides the insight into how employees work and what they need to do their jobs well and easily. CRE has the space utilization data to understand how the current workspace is or isn’t meeting those needs.

When evaluating potential moves or relocations, HR should provide CRE with data, like employee zip codes, so they can analyze how offices in different locations can impact commutes. For example, if the office is moved from a downtown location to one in the suburbs, HR can help estimate how many employees could be negatively impacted enough that they might quit. They can also provide data on the cost to acquire and train new employees, which will factor into CRE’s location analysis.

IT and CRE need to work together anytime there’s an move or relocation, footprint adjustment, or office redesign. While CRE will consider the layout and design, a well-designed space won’t help talent acquisition and retention if the Wi-Fi is spotty or slow. Since technology is so crucial to today’s workforce, it’s critical to understand the space requirements for cabling or Wi-Fi access. Moving from a traditional workplace setup, with cubicles and closed-door offices, to an open plan or activity-based workplace, will change the tech needs of your workforce: do they switch from desktops to laptops? Will they need new or different mobile devices? Will you add kiosks with wayfinding technology?

IT is also a key player when it comes to adopting IoT technologies. Here’s how those can help with space planning.

HR and IT can enhance the employee experience: how many workers are regularly frustrated by tech limitations? Either a service is down, slowing or preventing work entirely, or software doesn’t work as promised, forcing people to find workarounds or take extra steps to complete a task. With a full understanding of the tech your company provides, HR can provide appropriate training so employees can use that technology to its fullest potential.

These groups can also work together to provide digital signage or other displays for wayfinding or collaboration in soft seating areas.

Together, all three create an environment—physical, social, digital—that fosters a positive company culture and employee experience. As more data show how the employee experience and physical workplace help (or hinder) a company’s ability to reach its strategic goals, the CRE, HR, and IT teams will take on an even larger collaborative role in talent acquisition and retention.

Best Practices for the Modern Workplace: Learn how to transform your real estate portfolio into a business asset with strategies from the world’s most innovative companies. Download this whitepaper today.


Making the Move From Excel to Automation to Manage Space Utilization

Traditionally, a large part of a Corporate Real Estate (CRE) professional’s job was physically walking the floors of an office building and then manually entering the data she collected into a spreadsheet with dozens of formulas and macros. Over the course of weeks or months, she would turn these complex spreadsheets into a report showing how the company could consolidate and shrink their square footage by 20%.

It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

Now, with so many tools and software platforms available, it’s hard to believe that so many companies still do things the old way. Spreadsheets certainly have their place, but maybe not in space planning or workplace optimization.

Why it’s Time to Move from Spreadsheets to Automation

Let’s look at what automation offers:

Save Time

space planning and management tool, like Serraview, pulls in real-time space utilization data from a variety of sources. Instead of spending several weeks physically walking floors and conducting manual audits to see who’s sitting where, you can generate reports in minutes that perform space utilization calculations and show data in real time. You can also look at space usage trends throughout the day and go back weeks or even months to see trends over time.

Serraview’s internal CRM system allows CRE to share the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of the data with the business. Each business unit can independently validate their data, so the CRE team doesn’t need to physically walk each floor. This is huge for enabling the CRE team to work more efficiently and with better data. Plus it also helps to share accountability about the organization’s space management between CRE and the business.

Process More Data

More data is being collected in your workplace than ever before—data on office space utilization, yes, but also data on building systems and efficiency, air quality, lighting use, and more. There is simply no way mere humans can process and analyze this much data in an accurate and timely manner.

With an automated system, you can quickly make space utilization calculations and be able to see patterns and correlations more clearly. For example, you can see opportunities to save on utilities if you notice that your HVAC is set to turn the air on at 8:00 am, but the majority of your employees don’t come in until 9:00, so you can run the AC for one hour less each day.

Depending on the systems and devices you have in place, you can also look at the usage rates for conference rooms and soft seating. With this data, you can make more informed decisions about office layouts.

When it comes to IoT devices, how can you collect the most impactful data? Find out here.

Get More Accurate Analysis

When data collection and analysis are done automatically, you remove—or at least drastically reduce—the risk of human error. How many times have you had to start a space utilization calculation from scratch when you realize you had entered data into the wrong column of a spreadsheet, or weren’t using the latest file?

When the data is stored in a central, cloud-based system, it’s accessible to everyone who needs it, from the CRE team to individual business units who can validate their data. Plus, the data is always current, so you’re not working with assumed or old data.

What You Can Do with Automation

So you’re ready to ditch your spreadsheets and start using a better tool for space utilization calculations…now what?

Occupancy Reports

Using data gathered from automation tools like badge entry systems, desk sensors or check-in systems, you can instantly get statistics on:

  • Average occupancy
  • Conference room utilization
  • Times of peak utilization
  • …and more, all without doing walk-through space audits

Discover why many companies fail to optimize their buildings for peak utilization.

Scenario Planning

In Serraview, the color-coding functionality and drag-and-drop tool makes it simple to experiment with different layouts and allocations to optimize your space. You can use the occupancy reports to test different co-locations or ways to consolidate your space.

Because Serraview pulls in real-time data from other systems, when you start experimenting with different scenarios, you can also immediately see how it will impact key CRE metrics like square foot per person or cost per person.

Track and Manage Lease Options and Renewals

Serraview’s space planning tool also pulls in data on your lease options and renewals, including key dates for planning. Because generating occupancy reports and scenario plans will take less time, you don’t have to work so far ahead—which means when it comes time to decide if you need to release or add space, you’re make space utilization calculations using the most up-to-date, accurate data.

Plus, the Conflict Resolution tool tracks changes in the VBS (Visual Block & Stack) and alerts you when those changes could affect the scenario you’re planning. This means that when you finish your planning and have selected a scenario, you won’t end up with months-old data— you’ll be able to easily incorporate updated data for the actual execution of the plan.

Build Strong Business Cases

Ultimately, switching from spreadsheets to automation means you’re able to use evidence-based decisions to build stronger business cases. Space utilization calculations from data that’s been gathered automatically by IoT devices and other systems is usually more “bulletproof” in the eyes of the C-suite, compared to the data gathered from walk-throughs.

For example, with a space planning tool like Serraview, you can display occupancy data from the last six months showing that your building is 40% utilized and make the case for transitioning from fixed to flexible seating with a 2-1 desk ratio. You can show two scenario plans, one for average utilization and one for peak utilization, or have different options for co-locating different business groups. Most importantly, you can also bring in data on the fiscal impact of these changes.

Find out how easy it is to make the switch from spreadsheets to our space planning tool and transform your space utilization calculations—request a Serraview demo today.


Space Allocation vs. Space Utilization

Traditionally, CRE teams have been able to work with space allocation data, but that kind of information alone shouldn’t be relied upon to make space planning and space management decisions. Now, teams can also use space utilization data, which offers a wealth of possibilities, but can also be overwhelming. Let’s start by defining each term:

Space allocation describes the assignments or allocations of a workplace. For example, you might have 100 desks and 75 employees assigned to them, meaning you have 25% vacancy and 75% of your desks have been allocated.

Space utilization captures real-time data of how the space is actually being used. In the scenario above, you might have 75 employees, but 10 are part of the sales team and they travel 70% of the time, four work from home one or two days a week, and six more are working on long-term projects and spend at least 50% of their time at other campuses…and so on.

In short, space allocation describes the plan or expectation, while space utilization goes a step further to describe the reality of how a workplace, or even a workspace, gets used.

The Benefits and Potential of Space Utilization Data

Now that CRE leaders can easily capture office space utilization data, they have the tools to solve problems that space allocation data alone couldn’t tackle.

Optimize the Entire Workplace

With good space utilization data on, for example, conference room usage, you’d be able to see that according to Outlook calendars, the conference rooms are booked 80% of the time, but actually in use only 30% of the time. Depending on the type of data you’re able to collect, you might also be able to see that large conference rooms are mostly used by groups of just 3-5 people. Instead of recommending the company build out more conference rooms, CRE leadership could do a number of things with this data:

  • Analyze the disparity in bookings and actual use (Are people not cancelling their reservations? Why?)
  • Change the structure of conference rooms (breaking up the large rooms into more smaller rooms)
  • Update or create additional spaces, like soft seating areas, cafes, or kitchens/break rooms, to accommodate meetings or collaborative work
  • Incorporate technology that improves the booking process or better manages the use of the space, such as sensors that automatically “cancel” the booking if they don’t register anyone in the room or check-in devices to verify the room is in use
  • Implement policies that discourage people or teams from booking rooms and not using them

Build Stronger Business Cases

Space utilization data also makes it possible to plan your workplace and ensure that your floor plans, layout, and design are meant to enable your employees and encourage productivity and collaboration.

Find out how to make your workplace “employee-centric.”

Because space utilization data is now collected through IoT devices, sensors, software, and other technology, it makes a stronger case when CRE leaders propose initiatives and plans about the space—they’re able to truly say that decisions and recommendations are backed by evidence. Getting everyone from department heads to the C-suite on board is easier when you have accurate, verifiable data.

Obstacles and Challenges

While adopting and using space utilization data can help you gain greater insights on your space and better inform decision making, there are a few things to consider before executing your plan.

Financial Considerations

There are often some significant upfront investments when it comes to new technology—whether you want building sensors, advanced entry badges, or other IoT devices or software. CRE leaders need to demonstrate that the data they collect and analyze will be accurate, valid, and valuable to the organization. Whether you implement new technology or leverage technology that you already have in place, you also need to consider its cost-effectiveness: what is the ROI of the data you’ll get?

Nevertheless, while there will be costs to purchase, install and maintain the technology, the potential savings in real estate costs might easily justify the investment.

How do you build a business case for redesigning your workplace?

(Lack of) Stability in Tech

We hear a lot about the success stories when it comes to Silicon Valley start-ups—but the reality is, the lifespan for the average new tech company is…not very long. According to industry estimates, only about 10% will last longer than five years.

One common scenario is when a company promises some incredible new technology that gets people excited. But for some reason—lack of money, the founders’ inexperience, or poor execution of the actual product development—the tech doesn’t deliver as promised.

The CRE and IT teams must do careful research and due diligence into technology companies before making significant investments and commitments if they want to see long-term value. Be sure to select a vendor that has proven experience and demonstrated ROI in your field.

Privacy Concerns and GDPR

We think it’s likely that more countries, including the US, may adopt the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the near future. This would limit the useful, valuable data that companies will be able to collect. CRE teams can still make a lot of decisions based on anonymized, aggregated data, but they may be hindered in their ability to increase productivity by co-locating certain teams or individuals, for example.

That said, we think more companies will rise to the challenge of developing tools that provide actionable data without capturing personally identifiable information (PII), or limiting its capture. Additionally, more employees may be willing to make that trade-off—allowing their employer to collect and use certain personal information—once they see how that data can be used for their best interests. With the value space utilization data promises for CRE, the use of it will only continue to grow.

Find out how Serraview provides actionable space utilization data and how you can use it to make stronger business decisions—request a demo today.


IWMS vs. Utilization Software

A good IWMS (integrated workplace management software) is a great tool, and adds a ton of value to almost any organization. But for today’s Corporate Real Estate (CRE) teams, who are dealing with the new demands of modern workplaces, even the best IWMS may not be able to completely meet their needs.

An IWMS is designed to support all five pillars of facilities management:

  • Real estate/property
  • Space management
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Capital planning and project management
  • Energy management

The key word is “integrated.” An IWMS brings all the data about your workplace, from asset tracking to maintenance upgrades to space planning, into one system so you can see how everything works together. Most of these systems perform these functions well.

For a company’s CRE team, their IWMS is invaluable when it comes to lease management, asset tracking, and the very basics of space planning and management. However, most IWMS systems are designed to be jacks-of-all-trades, not specialty masters. Especially for CRE, many systems lack the advanced space planning features and functions that are needed to meet today’s challenges.

As companies have realized that the workplace can play a big factor in their employees’ work experience, CRE teams are now tasked with creating modern workplaces that boost productivity, inspire employee engagement, and help attract and retain top talent. They need a robust tool that does more than just manage leases and perform basic space planning.

Enter…Utilization Software

On the surface, utilization software looks like a bonus add-on—something designed specifically to capture and understand space usage. Serraview takes this a step further: it combines traditional space planning and management capabilities with real-time space utilization data.

By combining allocation with real-time usage data and analyzing within the Serraview Workplace Optimization solution, CRE professional are able to glean greater insights about their space. Understanding these usage patterns is helping them to make evidenced-based decisions about their space planning, management and forecasting.

For example, you can use reports generated from Serraview to make better plans about how to handle peak utilization in your building – whether its the overall use of the buildings or understanding the specifics of your meeting room usage. If you discover, for example, that multiple departments schedule “all-hands” meetings every Thursday, you can use that data to talk to department heads about staggering those schedules. Or, you might determine that you don’t have enough collaborative spaces or the spaces that you have are under used or not used efficiently (e.g. large conference rooms are being used for 4-6 person meetings)

Another point in utilization software’s favor is its agility and flexibility. IWMS are huge platforms and setting one up in a company is a lengthy, thoughtful process—but a system like Serraview can be set up relatively quickly. Serraview specifically, is source-agnostic and can accept data input from almost anything: your current IWMS, entry badges, or IoT devices like sensors, beacons or even smart lighting systems.

Plays Well Together or Separately

In many cases, our clients use Serraview “on top of” their existing IWMS. Serraview takes in space management information provided by the IWMS, combines it with space usage data collected from various sources and then provides actionable reporting and insights.

Also, with real and veriafiable data, Serraview can help you visualize different scenarios when space planning or forecasting. With the analysis Serraview provides from your usage data, you can determine whether or not you can move from fixed to flexible seating, or downsize your current workspace when your lease options come up. And most important, you can see the immediate impacts of these changes, all within the system.

Why should CRE leaders pay attention to space planning?

Serraview and other utilization software can also be used to analyze data and make decisions related to the other five pillars—like adjusting your HVAC schedule to better reflect the times when most of your employees are in the workplace. If you can set your air conditioning to kick in one hour later because you see that most of your employees actually get to the office at 9:00, not 8:00, that can translate to significant savings in utilities costs.

While a tool like Serraview is designed to be synergistic with an IWMS (along with a variety of other platforms and systems), some clients find that they don’t actually need all the bells and whistles of an IWMS. In this case, utilization software can be used alone to manage your space, gather usage data and provide those actionable insights.

If you decide to implement Serraview as a standalone software, it’s a simple matter of redirecting the input feeds from the IWMS to Serraview, and ensuring that data like floor plans and employee information is uploaded directly to Serraview.

Learn how Serraview’s Workplace Optimization Solution can support your space utilization needs. Request a demo today.


Serraview Passes ISO Certification

We are pleased to announce that Serraview is now officially certified for ISO/IEC 27001:2013 information security standard.  After the successful completion of a series of audits during 2018, Serraview’s Information Security Management System has been certified by BSI. The ISO27001 is the most widely recognized information security standard used by organizations around the world to keep sensitive information secure.

The certification confirms that Serraview’s processes and controls follow best practices for information security.

Achieving the ISO 27001 certification is the result of significant effort and involvement from every Serraview team and department. Working out of Serraview’s New York and Melbourne offices, my team and I developed the relevant controls and safeguards to implement Serraview’s Information Security Management System and meet the audit requirements of the ISO27001 standard.

At Serraview we are constantly challenging ourselves to provide the highest security and privacy standards that meet or exceed the needs and expectations of our clients. We also always comply with national and international regulatory requirements, including GDPR and other privacy regulations.  Our security certification is an external recognition of Serraview’s commitment to providing our clients with the highest level of information security.

Serraview had previously joined the list of Privacy Shield certified companies.

Discover how Serraview’s space planning technology can improve your organization – request a demo today.