The 8 Superpowers You Need for Office Space Management

It’s amazing the kind of super powers people expect from corporate space planners when it comes to office space management. Here are some examples:

  • TELEPATHY so you’ll know if that space champion is telling the truth when they say they have no vacant space.
  • INVISIBILITY to catch sneaky teams leaving coats and coffee cups on vacant desks in an effort to fool you into thinking their space is fully occupied.
  • OMNISCIENCE about who’s moving around without going through official channels.
  • OMNIPRESENCE so you can be anywhere and everywhere simultaneously, capturing occupancy data in dozens of buildings and countless floors of office space.
  • TELESCOPIC VISION to look across multiple floors of a building to find vacant pockets of space.
  • PRECOGNITION so you can predict how your company’s need for space will change over time.
  • TELEKINETIC POWER so you can move a bunch of desks three floors down overnight.
  • PROBABILITY MANIPULATION so you can cause unlikely things to happen (such as 20 vacancies to suddenly materialize when you need them) and likely things to NOT happen (requests for a bunch of new seats right after you consolidated space).

You can probably think of a few more! Bet you never considered putting “superhero” in your job description or on your resume, but in many ways you are.

The point is, office space management is a tough job, and you can’t do it alone. Or to be more accurate, you could do a much better job if you had some help from the people who are actually using the space you’re managing.

Here’s some advice about how to get it.

Get Help With Office Space Management by Knowing How to Sell It

Your business units probably don’t know it yet, but it’s actually in their best interest to take ownership of their occupancy data and to keep it accurate. If you want help from them with collecting data for office space management, it’s your job to demonstrate what’s in it for them.

1. Get your timing right

Like getting so many other things we want, knowing when to ask can significantly increase the likelihood of success. (Case in point: how likely are you to donate to a charity that calls you at 8 am on a Sunday?)

For example, when a building has a major restack coming up, there’s a built-in incentive for business units to give you the occupancy information you need: to make sure everyone in the group is accounted for in the relocation plan. So this is your opportunity to collect not only who sits where, but other information you’ll need for the move: equipment, phones, storage needs and more.

Surprisingly, though, immediately after a move has been completed can also be a good time to ask for the data you need for office space management. This is when you can get people to confirm that your data is correct. Position the request as a way to catch small changes that happened during the move process, so your baseline is correct moving forward. This is a great opportunity for the business units to take advantage of your validated data, so they’ll have their house in order with updated floor plans and who-sits-where readily available.

Related article: 8 Tips for Optimizing Churn Management

2. Aim for top-down buy in

Knowing WHO to ask can be just as important as knowing WHEN to ask. Seek an audience with those who stand to gain the most from what you’re trying to accomplish with your office space management plans: the financial community. Explain the big-picture story about how you use the data you’re collecting, how it drives workplace strategy and ultimately impacts broader company goals. Don’t forget to mention exactly how much cost savings can be realized with the successful completion of your office space management plans.

While it’s always important to talk about cost, remember that company leaders have more than the bottom line on their minds. They are often tasked with moving the corporate culture in a new direction to secure the future of the business, and they’re trying to figure out how to make that happen. Let those leaders know how your office space management initiatives can co-locate teams for better collaboration and provide new types of work spaces that support innovation.

Related article: What Does the Agile Work Environment Look Like?

3. Avoid “set and forget” for property costs

When you’re approaching business unit leaders, be sure to point out the financial incentive of potentially reducing chargeback costs for their space. Collecting and providing the data you need for office space management gives business units the ability to avoid being charged for space they don’t have or no longer need. Encourage them to keep you up to date with more frequent reconciliation as their space usage changes.

4. Make it easy

You need to make it as easy as humanly (even super-humanly!) possible for your business units to keep their occupancy information updated.

Once you have a process established and a baseline of data, all the business units should have to do is confirm the accuracy of your information regularly, ideally once a month. If you keep going back to them time and time again asking for the same raw data, you lose their trust and willingness to participate. If it’s time consuming and cumbersome to enter data in your system, they will never do it reliably. And forget about manual methods of providing data.

Instead, it’s essential to provide an office space management tool that makes things easy for them AND shows off how much useful information you really have. When you have a smart system that’s integrated with your company’s HR data, you’ll automatically have the information about new hires and terminations. When the business units see that, you gain a whole lot of credibility since you can show that you know much more about them than they realized.

5. Give something back

Like any other negotiation, you’ve got to give something for everything you get. When you’re using the right office space management technology, you have a lot to offer the business units in return for their help.

Reports are a great way to gain cooperation. Create reports with floor plans and occupancy overlays that are useful to the business units and include their data, then make them readily available to save them the trouble of producing reports manually.

Another option is to use the data the business units provide to power wayfinding tools that are useful to everyone. Would they benefit from having a mobile app at their fingertips that can help them find a meeting room or a co-worker’s location in seconds? Let them know that this is only possible with the accurate and reliable data they provide.

Get More Help By Implementing the Right Office Space Management Tools

Using the right technology can help as much and even much more than gaining the assistance of your business teams for office space management. You don’t even have to tell anyone that this technology is the source of many of your super powers!

If you’re in the process of trying to evaluate software for office space management, check out this free resource that can help you ensure that you’re covering all the important bases: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


Property Team: How To Drive Space Utilization Planning Conversations

The need for space utilization planning is no secret to corporate space planners. You know you should be taking steps to proactively manage the use of your property. Taking control and optimizing your space would not only save your company millions, but do wonders for your career prospects as well. Imagine gaining the respect of your business peers and executive leaders when you can drive strategic change throughout your company.

Space Utilization Planning: How’s That Going?

How can your property team be proactive when you’re drowning in spreadsheets and floor plans, and just trying to stay afloat dealing with the constant barrage of space requests from the business? Like many property teams out there, you’re probably so overworked that you are forced to operate in react mode.

Even if you had the time to do space utilization planning, getting the data you need to make decisions is another major hurdle. To come up with scenarios that make more efficient use of your workplace, you need accurate data about who sits where as it stands now. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of time to collect all that information manually, but by the time you’re done people have moved around and the data is already out of date.

Without that data, you are driving blind when trying to do space utilization planning, and you can’t prove to the business what you know from observation: that your space is under-utilized. So you are forced to give in time and time again to those endless demands for more space. So how can you demonstrate the true occupancy story and drive those space utilization planning conversations with your business units?

First Things First: Win Friends and Influence People

You need data to prove your case for space utilization planning. How are you going to get that data without walking the halls with a clipboard and adding to your stacks of spreadsheets?

Here’s a surprisingly effective way to get started: by making friends with the people who know your space the best and making them into your space champions.

Every floor or business team has an executive assistant, personal assistant or other staff member who already knows everyone and where they sit. There’s a good chance this person already has a list or a floor plan on their desk showing where everyone sits. These people should be your new best friends as they can be a wealth of information. They can also be your eyes and ears on the ground to give you a heads up about the upcoming needs of the business. Best of all, they’ll be instrumental in helping you drive any changes that you’re planning.

However, this advice comes with a warning: if you don’t make friends with these people, they’re likely to be your biggest roadblocks for future space utilization planning initiatives. If they don’t trust you to offer value to the business, they won’t cooperate with your requests and your plans. Even worse, they will horde space that could be better utilized.

The question is, how can you get these potential space champions on your side and providing you with the data you need for space utilization planning? The answer lies in providing tools that make it easy and offer them value.

How Technology Can Help Your Space Utilization Planning Efforts

Workplace management tools

As you’re probably well aware, keeping track of people manually is a losing battle. Workplace management software can improve the situation in a hurry. Products with modern, cloud-based technology can be up and running in a few months.

Yet here is what you might not know: you’ll get the most space utilization planning benefits from choosing a software tool that allows your business teams to update and validate their own data. Here’s why:

1. They understand the benefits. Those space champions begin to be motivated to work with you when you give them access to their own data: up-to-date floor plans, staff lists integrated with your corporate directory, the ability to print their own reports and manage their own space requests.
2. You gain an undisputed source of truth. There are no more arguments about data accuracy. Now when you have a conversation with the business about their space usage, they can’t question your data since they validated it themselves.

Utilization tracking technology

After you’ve built your network of space champions, the next step is to look to utilization measurement technologies to augment your data and show where you have the opportunity to do better space utilization planning.

Some examples of utilization measurement technology include badge swipe, network tracking and sensor systems. Armed with the data these systems provide, you can now have a conversation with your business unit not only about their vacancy rates, but also their underutilization of the desks they have assigned to their staff.

Related articles:
What’s New In Smart Building Technology: Occupancy Sensors
The New Workplace Space Utilization Metrics You Need To Know About

Space Utilization Planning Tips That Help You Gain Trust and Drive Change

Once you’ve got the enabling technology in place, here’s how to prioritize your efforts to make the most impact with your space utilization planning.

  1. Train your space champions on your new workplace management system right away. Be sure to explain your process so they understand that you now have the ability to rapidly provide them with new space when needed. When they trust your ability to do this, they are much more likely to hand back space that’s not needed right now.
  2. Further encourage business units to give up space they don’t need by showing them the cost (or even the notional cost) of their vacant space. Especially in a chargeback situation, this information can be a powerful motivator to consolidate and cooperate with your space utilization planning initiatives.
  3. Implement a formal process for your space champions to spend 5 minutes at the start of each month updating their occupancy information. To make it easy for them, create visual reports showing who sits where on a floor plan.
  4. Start your space utilization planning with the low-hanging fruit. Produce a “top 10 offender” report that highlights business units who are sitting on large amounts of vacancy or under-utilized space, and focus your efforts on optimizing these areas.
  5. Finding small pockets of available space is a help, but you can do more with that space by restacking your floor(s) to consolidate all that vacancy into one contiguous area.
  6. Engage with your CFO or Financial Controller community early and often. They are ultimately the audience who will be most interested in your space utilization planning efforts as a way to save on property costs and reduce wasted spend. They also have the ability to provide the executive support you need and put the necessary weight behind your initiative.

Related article: 10 Steps That Drive Better Space Efficiency in the Workplace

To accomplish your space utilization planning goals, it’s essential to choose workplace management software that’s aligned with your needs.

Find out the most important points that you must not neglect in your evaluation process with this practical guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


Office Relocation Checklist for Successfully Executing Your Move

If you’ve been following our blog over the past couple of weeks, you’ve already learned many useful strategies for planning your office relocation:

At this point, all you need is the following office relocation checklist to make sure everything happens with as little impact as possible on the business, and making sure people are supported for every type of issue that might come up during and after the move.

Your Office Relocation Checklist For Move Day

Use this office relocation checklist as a guide for the important tasks and actions you should have in place on move day.


  • Open a Relocation Operation Center (ROC) as a central point of contact for questions and problems that may come up either during the move or in the days and weeks to come. Don’t forget to let everyone know how where your support team is located and how to contact them.
  • Make sure everyone knows your lead project manager or move coordinator who has overall responsibility for executing the move and handling any unexpected issues.
  • If people are without computer access for a little while on move day, they may not be able to find the information about who to contact with a question or concern. That’s why you need delivery reps at the move site, walking around and checking on progress, answering questions and handling problems. It’s helpful to assign delivery reps to a specific business unit, team or group of people.
  • Share this office relocation checklist and all contact information with everyone who has execution responsibility on move day.


  • Even for small moves, you will avoid frustration and downtime for your employees (and even for your own team) by implementing some level of checking on the move delivery before people arrive for work. You can identify issues and take proactive steps to fix things even before the problems get reported. You might even get lucky and be able to fix some problems before employees ever know anything went wrong. For minor churn, inspections can be made and signed off by the delivery team.
  • For major moves, you’ll want the lead PM or Move Add Change Coordinator (MAC) to personally inspect the execution of the move before employees begin to arrive. He or she has the best understanding of the requirements, schedule and dependencies, and is in the best position to identify and prioritize any critical issues that might be found.


It’s unlikely that you won’t experience any unexpected issues on move day; things are going to happen that you could not anticipate. Facilities problems may be discovered if the previous occupants didn’t tell you that something was broken. Network or equipment issues may arise and people will be unable to work. Items may be mislabeled and delivered to the wrong place. Or new hires are arriving that were not accounted for in the occupancy planning stage. There’s always going to be something! The trick is to be ready for the unexpected and have a plan for fixing it with minimal business disruption.

  • The best strategy for dealing with the problems that arise on move day is to focus on returning your employees to business as usual as quickly as possible. That is your mantra on move day! Make sure everyone on the team knows it.
  • With that strategy in mind, you’ll be able to guide the actions of your team in solving problems. For example: if a pod of desks has no power, temporarily move the occupants to a vacant space while you deal with the power issue so they can continue to work. Minimizing business disruptions is the name of the game.
  • On move day, postpone dealing with issues that are non-business critical. Once everyone is in place, prioritize your issues and tackle them strategically.

Your Post-Move Office Relocation Checklist

The good news is, the hardest part is over and most of the work is done! If you did a thorough job of planning, you probably don’t have too many problems to fix. Here’s your office relocation checklist for handling what comes up post-move and closing out your project.


  • Keep using those comms: make sure everyone knows who to contact if they are experiencing any problems
  • Triage issues in order of priority and business impact and assign to the appropriate party for resolution. Remember to mitigate business interruption in any way you can!
  • Track all support issues and record the resolutions. This information can come in handy when you’re planning your next move.
  • Manage employee expectations and stay on top of all logged issues to be sure everything is resolved with a reasonable timeframe.


  • Now is the time to make sure all occupancy changes are updated in your workplace management system.
  • Especially when the move has gone very smoothly, it’s a great time to enlist your business champions to take ownership of their data. When they take over regularly validating their information, everyone gains an accurate book of record for occupancy information.

What if your space planning tool has no business portal and is not practical for your champions to use? It might be time to think about a better workplace management system. This feature is only one critical component that you might be missing. Find out more with this reference guide to 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


  • Upon completion of your move, solicit feedback from all parties on move planning, execution and delivery.
    Specifically ask about how well you met expectations and how you might improve things for the next move.
  • Update your entire team on the issues that were experienced with the move project and how they were resolved. Record what you learned and close out the project.
  • Everyone worked hard to complete the move, so congratulate everyone and thank them for their participation.
  • Breathe a sigh of relief and get started on whatever is next!

We hope this office relocation checklist has proven insightful and informative, and guides you to make your next relocation a smooth and seamless transition for your business. Check our blog again next week for even more tips for optimizing churn management.

Download 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


Office Relocation Planning: Keeping Your Move On Track – Part 2

It’s no secret that proper office relocation planning can make the difference between a seamless transition and a big, expensive disruption for your business. Not to mention all that egg on your face when things don’t go as expected due to lack of preparation. Yet getting a handle on what that planning should entail may seem like an overwhelming prospect. Where do you start, and how can you be sure you have covered all the bases?

Over the next several weeks, we’re publishing a series of blog posts on office relocation planning that you can use as a guidebook for your next move.

Last week, we discussed the initial planning phase of your relocation project, when you’ll make the critical office relocation planning decisions, enlist the help of stakeholders, gather the essential data to drive your plan, and create the right plan to accomplish your goal. If you missed last week’s article, see Office Relocation Planning: The Key To Keeping Your Move On Track, Part 1.

This week, we’ll help you prepare for the pre-implementation phase of your office relocation planning and your move project. At this point, you’ll be gathering and training your team, fine tuning the details of your delivery plan, engaging outside vendors and communicating information to all involved parties.

Office Relocation Planning: The Pre-Implementation Phase

At this stage, you’ve made a firm decision about WHAT you need to accomplish and you are refining the plans for HOW to meet your relocation goals. Now, it’s time to put the team and the office relocation planning tasks in motion that will lead to a problem-free experience on move day.

Engage and train your team. To begin implementing your plan, it’s time to gather all your office relocation planning stakeholders including Property, IT, Facilities, Movers, Security, Concierge and lines of business. You need to get everyone up to speed on the details of the plan and train them on their specific roles and responsibilities.

Kick-off plans and processes for sub-teams. Each functional area will need to begin working on their own assigned processes in preparation for move day. For example, IT will need to complete audits, make system changes, and prepare new facilities.

Implement a move lock-down. At some point in advance of move day, it’s in everyone’s best interest to implement a freeze on any other smaller moves. That allows you to be sure that your data about who-sits-where as well as any vacancies is accurate on move day. Without drawing a line in the sand, you’re taking a risk of moving someone into an occupied space, or failing to account for a team. However, it can be hard to enforce this move ban, so make sure you know about any changes that do happen so you can document any changes to your office relocation planning documents.

Continue to validate data. Keep the lines of communication open with your business champions during the pre-implementation phase of office relocation planning so you do find out about any shifting teams, new hires, or layoffs that occur in advance of move day. Make sure to keep your workplace management system updated with real-time data. Best of all: provide access to your system so your champions can update and validate their own data.

If you are in the process of trying to decide on a workplace management system, you probably realize that it’s tough to compare the wide range of available options on the market. Which are the truly essential features and functions that you must have? (HINT: one of them is a business unit portal that allows your LOBs to easily validate their own data.) To find out, take a look at this helpful guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.

Engage third party service providers. Hiring movers? Buying new computer equipment? Using outside IT consultants, workplace strategy consultants or service providers for installing telephony or other technology? Engage these third-party providers early and make sure they are aware of and committed to your schedule.

Get final approvals. If your office relocation planning and budgets had preliminary approvals from senior management up to this point, now is the time to lock down all details and get those final approvals in place.

Finalize your runsheet. For a very large office relocation planning project that involves several move phases, it’s especially important to document all move dependencies and the logical sequence of events. You’ll also want to include all assigned tasks and deadlines in your runsheet: the WHO does WHAT and WHEN.

Document plans for exceptions. Make sure you know about and plan for any contingencies, such as no moves on a floor until after close of business, or the opposite: no access to a site after hours. When you have restrictions you’ll need to create alternate plans to avoid delays on move day.

Communicate, communicate, communicate! This is one of the most important aspects of your office relocation planning. You can’t give people too much information: it goes a long way to smoothing the process as well as those anxieties your business teams will have about moving. Now is the time to execute your comm plan and send out those emails to all involved parties detailing what’s going to happen, when and why.

Here’s what they will want and need to know:

  • What to expect throughout the process
  • Instructions for packing
  • How to find their new space
  • What to do on move day
  • How to get help if a problem arises
  • How to use features of a new agile work environment, such as wayfinding systems

Related article: 10 Keys to Success With the Agile Work Environment

What’s Next: All Systems Go for Move Day

At the completion of your pre-implementation office relocation planning activities, you’ll be as ready as you can possibly be for move day. Or are you? Join us again next week when we’ll publish an office relocation checklist that details everything you need to know and do to deliver a successful outcome on move day and beyond.

And that’s not all: stay tuned in the coming weeks for a useful list of tips and guidelines for optimizing your churn management process.

Download 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


Office Relocation Planning: Keeping Your Move On Track – Part 1

Planning is the key to a successful move outcome. How many times have you heard those words of wisdom? Yet it’s much easier said than done. How exactly do you go about planning for a successful move?

Over the next several weeks, we’ll address relocation topics here on our blog that will give you the practical information you need to achieve a flawless move, or as close to flawless as possible!

  • Today we’ll address the initial office relocation planning phase and exactly what you need to know and do to get move strategy right.
  • Next week, we’ll work through the pre-implementation phase where you’ll begin to take action on your plan and prepare everything for move day.
  • Next we’ll provide a checklist of to-dos for move day and post-move.
  • Following that, we’ll provide some helpful advice for optimizing your churn management.

Office Relocation Planning Starts With Strategy

For most companies, office relocation planning really begins with your strategic plan for the year. That’s when you’ll decide where you are going with your portfolio: are you consolidating or adding new space? What leases are coming up for expiry? Where do you have large vacancies and opportunities to move groups? With those big-picture issues identified, you’ll decide what you want to accomplish for the year and create a series of smaller move projects, each to be delivered over a period of about 6 to 12 weeks (depending on the size).

PLANNING and COMMUNICATION: The keys to a successful move

Before we get into the details of office relocation planning, here are some general words of advice:

  • Start planning early and prepare for every aspect of your move, documenting the details of your plan and updating whenever something changes.
  • It’s just about inevitable that things WILL change during your office relocation planning, so keep your ear to the ground so you’re aware of what’s going on and can adjust your plans.
  • Proactively communicate with everyone concerned so they know what’s happening, when it will take place, how it will affect them and what they need to do.

Office Relocation Planning: THE PLANNING PHASE

The planning phase generally begins about 6 to 12 weeks before the move, and is when you’ll make key office relocation planning decisions about what you want to accomplish, gather important data to drive your plan, and create a plan to accomplish your goal. Here are the important steps:

Define and commit to a goal, such as exiting a building that no longer suits your needs or building a new flexible workspace.

Gather your baseline building data, including your current block and stack, who sits where, and any vacancy that exists today. This information will help to drive your office relocation planning to meet your goal.

Create relocation scenarios and assess the feasibility to make a decision. There may be more than one way to meet your goal, and you’ll need to decide on the best scenario. And it’s critically important to take the needs of your lines of business into account at this stage of your office relocation planning. Make sure what you decide aligns with their plans and goals.

Nominate business sponsors, stakeholders and champions. Office relocation planning is a big job, and to get it right you’ll need the support of representatives from all involved groups. The sponsor is a leader that you’re planning the move for, such as your Head of Property. Stakeholders represent each of your delivery teams, such as IT, Facilities and any affected business units. Champions are the people who provide you with information and handle tasks related to the relocation on behalf of their business unit.

Document non-standard requirements. Are there any business units, teams or individuals who have special requirements or restrictions you need to know about for your office relocation planning? For example, you may need to plan for moving special equipment like trading desks, IT test labs, voice recording facilities, HR interview rooms, or providing special needs access. Take that information into account from the beginning to avoid delays later.

Validate your data to drive your delivery plan. Now is the time to confirm your baseline building data and gather any missing details about who sits where and what vacancies actually exist. At this point, make sure you find out about any plans your business units may have for adding or reducing staff as well. This data will impact your relocation plan, so it’s important to have accurate information now.

If you’ve got a large relocation project in the works, now is the time to implement a workplace management system if you don’t already have an automated tool that will help you with collecting and validating all that data.

Here’s a great resource to get you started: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


Using Business Intelligence Analytics to Drive Better CRE Decisions

When you’re responsible for difficult decisions associated with corporate space planning, don’t you wish you had a crystal ball that could tell you what will be happening in your business in the next 10 to 20 years? You need to be able to accurately predict the future to make right decisions about your portfolio: whether to renew leases, consolidate space or move into new space.

Yet how can you predict the future when you don’t have a good handle on the present? When you lack accurate data about your current space utilization, you struggle with every decision from everyday business requests for more space to the really tough calls like whether or not to renew a building lease. And each time you get it wrong, the consequences are costly: like being stuck in a 10 year lease for a space that you don’t need. Or having to keep moving teams around because you had the wrong information about their needs. With each mistake you make because of bad data, not only are you wasting money, but you’re shining a light on your own deficiencies and hurting your reputation with your lines of business and executive team.

6 Ways Business Intelligence Analytics Can Help You Make Better Space Planning Decisions

Believe it or not, you can actually have that crystal ball with business intelligence analytics. With an accurate and reliable view of how to your space is utilized today, you can perform fact-based analysis to help you plan and drive the right decisions at every level. Here’s how.

1. Visualize your data. Business intelligence analytics is about more than collecting reams of data. It’s about accessing that data in a way that’s useful for making decisions. For example, data about which space is occupied by each business unit is much more useful in a visual block and stack tool than in a spreadsheet. When you can visualize that data, you can easily identify ways to create synergies by co-locating teams that could benefit from working together. You can also easily see where there is available space in a building and how you can consolidate to best take advantage of it.

2. Identify opportunities. To make more efficient use of space, business intelligence analytics help you spot opportunities: to take back unused space, and also to create synergies and increase collaboration by co-locating teams that could benefit from working together. You can also identify buildings that could successfully transition to an agile working environment where workers share space instead of having assigned seating. Data enables you to predict the ratios of people-to-seats that will work for each team.

Related article: 10 Keys to Success With the Agile Work Environment

3. Access actionable data. If your reports merely show you the amount of space each business unit occupies, that’s not actionable information. With the right tools providing business intelligence analytics, you can have information at your fingertips that you can immediately act upon to increase efficiency and decrease cost. For example, a floor plan with a heat map that shows you exactly which seats are unused. Or, an exception report showing the business units with the highest under-utilization of space.

4. Highlight trends over time. When making those big decisions about moves and leases, the best way to predict future needs is to look at trends. With the right business intelligence analytics, you can see how space usage changes over hours, days, months or years.

5. Track KPIs. Tracking KPIs related to your CRE goals not only helps keep you meet those goals, but helps you speak the same language as the rest of your business to give you more credibility. For example, let’s say you want to track real estate cost per person, or people-to-seats ratios for an agile work environment. The right business intelligence analytics tools can track customized KPI information and present that data in a way that’s easy to access and act upon.

6. Access relevant data. When you’re making a decision about the space for a particular region or line of business, you’ll want to be able to easily slice and dice your data to see only what’s relevant to the current decision. Make sure the tools you choose allow you to drill down to see the business intelligence analytics you need at any given time.

7. Collect forecasting data. With the right workplace management tools, you can collect headcount forecasts at a granular level from each business unit, and overlay that on top of your current utilization of space. There’s that crystal ball you wished for!

Related article: 10 Steps that Drive Better Space Efficiency In the Workplace

Collecting the Right Data for Business Intelligence Analytics

There are two essential CRE data components you’ll need to drive the business intelligence analytics you need to improve your decision making.


The first step is to get a handle on who sits where, or occupancy data. No one has this information today: HR cannot tell you accurately who works for the company let alone where they sit (especially contractors). Here is what you’ll need to collect to drive your business intelligence analytics:

  • Floor plans
  • Personnel data (including both employees and contractors)
  • Organizational hierarchy and cost centers
  • Allocation of space to each cost center
  • Names-to-seats

You also need a way to keep your data current and validate its accuracy. Ideally, each team should be tasked with keeping their data up to date. This is where the right workplace management software can make a tremendous difference: look for a tool that provides a portal for business units to access and update their information.

TIP: Collecting data directly from the source and requiring validation eliminates those arguments about the need for more space from your business units, since everyone can see exactly what space they have and which desks are vacant.


Beyond tracking who-sits-where, to power useful business intelligence analytics you need to know how consistently those spaces are being used (or not used). How many desks are sitting empty every day while employees work off site? How many conference rooms with expensive video equipment are used primarily for small face to face meetings? Do those numbers change for different areas or different teams? These are important facts that can drive plans for moving to a free address environment or even plans for shared workspaces such as conference rooms.

There are quite a few technologies available for tracking space utilization, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses around precision, timeliness of data reporting, identifying users, cost and other factors. Best practice is to use a combination of technologies as appropriate for your needs, and use a software tool that combines and aggregates the data into useful business intelligence analytics.

To learn more, get your free copy of this informative guide: Measuring Workplace Utilization

Pulling Together Data to Create Useful Business Intelligence Analytics

For occupancy and utilization data to provide the insight you need to drive good decisions, you need workplace management software that creates useful business intelligence analytics. That means more than just reporting: visual and user-friendly space planning tools make it much faster and easier to make the best use of your data. Here are some features to look for:

Scenario planning. Your workplace team gains efficiency with a visual tool that shows the current state of your blocks and stacks and identifies opportunities to save space. Even better: one that lets you easily plan multiple move scenarios (with cost information) to see which works best.

Floor plan overlays. It’s infinitely more useful to see certain types of data overlaid on a floor plan to show the context, including team allocations, who sits where, tagging/keyword attributes (such as secure areas), UPS support, business criticality level (BCP context), shared equipment and conference room details.

Flexible dashboards. Look for the ability to customize dashboards to show business intelligence analytics the way you need to see them. For example, they should reflect your own terminology, adapt to your business rules, show only the attributes you want to see, or highlight specific KPIs you are tracking.

Custom report builder. Just as you need the ability to customize dashboards, you will also need to customize reports to your preferences. Many tools give you lots of reports but then you need to pay extra every time you want to customize them. A better option: look for an included report builder that lets you customize yourself without paying more for the business intelligence analytics you need.

Drill down capability. Business intelligence analytics aren’t very useful if they only show you high-level information. To make decisions, you’ll need to drill down and see information by geography or for any level of your organizational hierarchy.

Making the best use of business intelligence analytics involves more than just collecting data points. You need the right tools to help you understand and act on the data you gather. That’s where workplace management software can be so valuable. Yet the products on the market vary widely in terms of the functionality they offer, and it may seem like you’re comparing apples to oranges.

Find out how to determine which features are really important with this informative guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


What’s New in Smart Building Tech: Space Utilization Sensors

The corporate workplace is changing before our eyes. Gone are the days when every employee sat at their desk from 9:00am to 5:00pm. The workforce is increasingly mobile, and as a result, more and more office space sits unused every day.

With real estate being one of the top costs faced by employers, smart companies are turning to smart building technology to help them optimize the use of their workplaces.

Why Smart Building Technology is Essential for the Modern Workplace

When strategically planning for new spaces, ending leases, accommodating growth or consolidation as well as the never-ending requests for more space from business units, workplace teams must understand a vast array of information about their portfolio. That’s where smart building technology is essential: occupancy sensors are used to collect data about how space is actually being used in order to drive those tough decisions.

What’s more, forward thinking companies are no longer assuming that they need a desk for each worker, and are moving to free address work environments to consolidate space and provide a better employee experience. When moving to this new way of working, it’s critical to collect accurate data about how workspaces are utilized in order to plan the right amount of space assigned to each team or business unit. Occupancy sensors and other smart building technology help the workplace team to make fact-based decisions when looking at space requirements. Utilization data also drives wayfinding tools that employees need to locate colleagues and places to work in a free address environment.

Related article: What Does the Agile Work Environment Look Like

Smart Building Technology: Utilization Data Collection Sensors

Driven by the need for workplace utilization data, there are numerous smart building technology options on the market for collecting information about space usage. These are some of the most widely used types of occupancy sensors:

Lighting Sensors
Smart lighting is a popular smart building technology option because it helps reduce environmental impact and save money on power. The lights have motion sensors that detect occupancy and control the lights throughout the day. Often smart lighting solutions have a back end that can also collect utilization data.

Watch these videos to learn more about lighting sensors:

Space/Desk Sensors
Tracking utilization using occupancy sensors installed at each space (desk, room, breakout space, etc.) provides precise results at an anonymous level (without knowing who is using the space). A deeper understanding of how teams are working can be achieved by pairing the utilization data with allocation data.

Facial/People Recognition
Using specialized cameras that process images in real-time to count the number of people in a space (but do not record the images) it is possible to collect utilization information in certain cases. Some solutions can also do facial recognition to identify who is in the space, although these solutions often raise privacy and security concerns.

Low Energy Bluetooth (iBeacon)
Low energy Bluetooth solutions (such as iBeacon) use existing smart phone technology to provide much more accurate indoor positioning than traditional Wi-Fi. This smart building technology can capture utilization across a space and improve the reliability of location services information.

Making sense of these technologies and deciding what’s right for you can seem like an overwhelming task. To learn more about the pros and cons of different types of occupancy sensors as well as other smart building technology options for collecting utilization data, take a look at this helpful Guide to Measuring Workplace Utilization.

Occupancy Sensors: Important Features to Consider

When comparing different types and brands of occupancy sensors, look for these features to be sure you’ll be getting the most accurate and useful data for your requirements.

Wired vs. Wireless
Wireless occupancy sensors are easier and less expensive to install, not to mention easier to move around when you reconfigure your space. However, keep in mind that wireless sensors require batteries for power, which need to be checked and replaced periodically.

Watch this video to learn more about wireless sensors: Condeco Workspace Occupancy Sensor

Real Time Data
Some occupancy sensors report data continuously in real time, which is important for wayfinding tools that need current occupancy information to allow employees to find available space. Other sensors report data only periodically, which is fine for ongoing analysis and reporting.

It’s important to understand the level of precision that a sensor can report on. Can it count the number of people in a conference room? What is the diameter of the beam? How does it react to people walking by? In order to judge the accuracy of the data, you need to know the answers to these questions. To find out, you can ask vendors for details. In some cases, vendors will allow you to test the product to see how well it meets your precision requirements.

Communication with the cloud
How occupancy sensors communicates data is another critically important feature in smart building technology. If a sensor requires access to your network to communicate with the cloud, that can be a security concern. Wireless sensors that use an independent 4G connection are a better option, and can be rolled out faster without the need for installing cables or as much IT involvement.

In order to use data from the sensors to power a business intelligence or wayfinding application, the sensor system must provide an API for integration with third-party software tools.

Battery life
If you’re going wireless, consider the battery life since this can affect the cost to maintain the technology. Look for at least 2 years of battery life.

Physical features
Don’t overlook the size and placement of the sensor, since these factors can affect data integrity. Will they be installed on ceilings, walls, or under desks? Are the sensors noticeable and placed in awkward positions that make employees feel uncomfortable? Could the sensor be blocked, tampered with or accidentally damaged?

HVAC integration
Some cutting-edge occupancy sensors also monitor temperature and air quality, and integrate with HVAC and other building automation systems. These smart building technology options can help you cut operations costs as well as optimize space utilization.

Get the Most Benefit from Sensors with Software Integration

Here’s an important caveat to keep in mind: different types of sensors as well as other technologies used to collect workplace utilization data (such as badge swipe and RFID tags) all have their strengths and weaknesses. There is no one technology that will capture all the data you need to get a true picture of space utilization. That’s why most companies choose to implement a combination of smart building technology options.

So how can you make the best use of all the data captured by both sensors and other smart building technology options? It may seem overwhelming to think of pulling together all that data so that it’s useful to both employees and workplace teams. The way to overcome this hurdle is to implement a workplace management software system that integrates data from multiple sources and makes it fast and easy to access.

Wayfinding systems for employees

In a free address environment, companies are using workplace management software powered by real-time utilization data to help employees find workspace and find their colleagues. Just-in-time data is displayed via digital signage and kiosks that show floor plans with available desks highlighted. Employees also have the ability to search for a person to find their location, or for available conference rooms. In some systems, employees can even use a mobile app to find space.

These systems not only make employees more productive, but they also help overcome the objections raised by employees about being “watched” by sensors. When people understand how the data is being used and see how they personally benefit, those objections go away in a hurry.

Data analytics dashboards for workplace teams

For the workplace team, data analytics dashboards bring together all the data collected by smart building technology in a way that’s easy to access and analyze. Workplace teams can rely on this accurate information to drive decisions about moves, acquisitions and consolidations, as well as finding hidden vacancies where business units are holding onto desks that have not been used for months.

Here are some of the features to look for:

  • Views that show how utilization rates change over time: month to month, day to day, and even hour to hour
  • Ability to drill down by geography, including region, building, floor and even heat maps showing an area on a floor
  • Ability to relate the data to an allocation system to understand how various teams are using their space (or not)
  • A customizable dashboard that allows you to easily access the information that’s important to you

Just like navigating all the smart building technology options, evaluating workplace management software can be a challenge, since the systems on the market differ so much in scope, design and usability.

Here’s a resource that can help when you focus on the most important areas for comparison: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


How Does Your Office Space Measure Up?

Today, property cost represents the second or third largest expense to every organization, so understanding precisely how workplaces are being used is essential to conducting smart business. An independent study released by Grosvenor this week shows how workplace density, location, and building size play a role in workplace management strategy. The study, powered by Serraview data, looks at several organizations and their real estate breakdown. For the first time, comparing workplace density from a standard set of data gives a clear picture of not only how things are, but what’s possible. With Serraview identified as a best-practice software, the data provides a benchmark for efficiency in the workplace that can be used by all organizations. To read the study and learn more, visit Grosvenor’s website at:

Grosvenor is a team of management consultants based in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne, Australia. The company works with clients across both the public and private sectors to deliver confidence and project success. For more information, visit Grosvenor at: