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What is Occupancy and Utilization?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Occupancy and utilization are two terms every facility manager needs to get familiar with. Not only are the terms themselves important to distinguish, the implications they have portend a significant amount of workplace decision-making. What is occupancy and utilization in the context of the workplace? Individually, they’re two crucial metrics for workplace governance. Together, they’re ingredients in the formula for workplace efficiency.

Here’s a look at occupancy and utilization in the context of the workplace, and the roles they play in engineering productivity, agility, and efficiency.

What is space occupancy?

Space occupancy is the measure of total employees in a workplace at a given time. It’s usually represented against the total capacity, to show occupancy rate. You can also measure space occupancy within the context of square footage, which is most common when facility managers seek to understand utilization.

Generally, space occupancy is a measure of people. It’s one side of the relationship between workspaces and how they’re used.

What is space utilization?

Space utilization is the other side of the workplace equation and represents a measure of usage. It’s represented as the rate at which employees use a particular space. Utilization can be a static measure, as well as a dynamic one. For example, you can measure the utilization of a space right now or over a period of months, weeks, days, or even hours.

Utilization provides insight into efficiency—how well a company is able to capitalize on the cost of the space it’s paying for.

How do you calculate occupancy and utilization?

Both occupancy and utilization have their own formula. It’s important to understand and calculate them both, to benchmark both sides of the workplace equation. Here’s how to calculate them:

  • The formula for space occupancy is occupied square footage divided by unoccupied square footage. If you occupy 20,000 square feet of space out of an available 22,000 square feet, your space occupancy rate is 90%.
  • The formula for space utilization is occupancy divided by capacity. If there are 34 people in a building that supports 50, the space utilization rate is 68%. This also applies at the workspace level, and can become a fluctuating measure in agile offices.

These figures serve important purposes in everything from KPI tracking to data-driven decision-making about the workplace. Each metric applies to different aspects of space management, but more often than not, facility managers will use them in conjunction with one another for a more holistic measure of space efficiency.

How do occupancy and utilization work together?

Occupancy and utilization go hand-in-hand. Occupancy represents the people within a workplace; utilization represents their interaction with those surroundings. Together, it paints a clear picture of a workplace in motion.

Say, for example, your occupancy rate for a particular floor of a building is at 85%. Now, imagine that space utilization on that floor is only 39%. What does that tell you? For starters, it likely signs that people assigned to that floor aren’t working on it. Or, it could signal that there are too many workspaces—or not enough of the type those employees need. On the surface, it’s clear there’s a problem, and further investigation is likely to yield insights.

Now, consider a more complex example. You’ve adopted a flex work arrangement. Occupancy is down to 40% and you’re thinking of downsizing the office. Space utilization rates show 80% for individual workstations, 20% for conference rooms, and 50% for breakout spaces. Using this data, you decide to consolidate facilities to eliminate half of the conference rooms, reduce the number of breakout spaces, and increase the number of hotel workstations in a smaller workspace. Occupancy rises to 60% and utilization balances out among the different workspaces.

There are endless examples of how occupancy and space utilization inform each other. As facility managers delve deeper into these figures, they’ll learn more about how to manipulate them in the context of tangible improvements to the workplace.

How to incorporate these variables into space management

The importance of occupancy and utilization in space management is unparalleled. These two metrics serve as the foundation for setting the parameters of available physical space. Moreover, they inform workplace managers of their options for how to make the most of space in regards to demand for certain types of spaces. In some cases, it’s as simple as realizing the need for more space. In other situations, it means having the ability to make desking decisions based on utilization rates.

Occupancy and utilization are important metrics in their own right, as well as together. They’re easy to track and monitor, and extremely insightful. Facility managers should abide by the trends and patterns they produce, and shape the workplace according to the data. The result is a workplace that’s efficient, accommodating, and comfortable for everyone in it.

Keep reading: Space Management and Planning Software Buyers Guide

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

It’s Time to Reconsider the Best Use of Your Workspace

By Fred Kraus
Senior Director of Product Management, Archibus
SpaceIQ

For years, workplace trends have been shifting away from the traditional 9-to-5 work model and toward more flexible styles. Up until early 2020, telecommuting and remote work were considered perks in many companies, an emerging trend for some, or a rare work option for others. COVID-19 changed things forever, with lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders driving many traditionally office-based employees to work from their homes indefinitely.

This has set a precedent for how workplaces will operate for years to come. Looking ahead, companies are contending with how to embrace variable work setups and what the best use of their workplaces should be to position them for long-term success.

Preparing for hybrid work setups and agile workspaces

Employers of all sizes are contending with if and when they can bring their workforce back to the office and how they can do it successfully. In early February, Spotify announced it will offer employees the option to work from home or anywhere – permanently. Other organizations are planning for returns to the workplace in phases. Microsoft, for example, is in the midst of a six-stage strategy for a return to its headquarters. Meanwhile, organizations such as Citadel and JPMorgan Chase have started to reopen offices to essential and non-essential employees.

The range is wide as far as plans for returning to the workplace go. The reality is that most companies will not be 100% virtual or 100% in-office as long-term work strategies take shape. Instead, the focus likely will be hybrid, agile structures that allow for both in-office work and remote setups. To do so, businesses must reevaluate their current workplaces, determine how it functions in support of employee productivity, and whether a change in lease agreements, designs, and other considerations is warranted for the space moving forward.

Meeting employees’ new expectations

Employers need to focus on optimizing spaces to meet employee needs and keep productivity and engagement high. These are expectations that are far different from those your staff may have had more than a year ago.

Employees working from home since early 2020 continue to contend with the dichotomy of remote work: the flexibility and freedom it can bring and the challenges and isolation that often comes with it. When welcoming them back to work, you should prepare for specific expectations your employees will bring with them:

  • A workspace that allows them to collaborate and rebuild relationships with coworkers.
  • A quiet, distraction-free space where they can concentrate on work that requires considerable focus.
  • An environment that mitigates their risk of illness and upholds all health and safety precautions.
  • A space built with hybrid work setups in mind, where employees can seamlessly go between the office and home without productivity downtime.

The spaces we’ve become accustomed to before the pandemic are not the same ones that will drive optimal output going forward. Businesses that offer employees the flexibility to move freely between spaces for both collaboration and individual work are poised to have an engaged and productive workforce.

Creating workplaces that withstand change

Companies may find that they have unused space or the ways they used space before the pandemic can no longer be used in the same manner. With careful planning, your future workplace will be defined by how agile it can be in response to employee needs and expectations, as well as future crises and business disruptions.

Even though you can’t predict when problems arise, they are inevitable, and you should have plans to address them. COVID-19 is just one example; business disruptions can come in many forms — natural disasters, a sudden mass exodus on the Sales team, or losing a major investor. When an unforeseen circumstance happens down the road, will the work environment you’ve created be able to withstand volatility?

Defining the workplace’s role moving forward will help companies make smarter decisions about their spaces and how to manage them. Reevaluating purpose and making changes are also great ways to make workplaces more conducive to flexibility and efficiency than they had been before. But agile workplaces aren’t for everyone. Some employees find the lack of privacy and noise associated with collaboration spaces to be distracting. Flexible workspaces may be used more for collaboration, while heads-down work is done remotely.

For some companies, decisions will be relatively small-scale, such as whether to repurpose a few unused desks and meeting rooms. For others, it might mean more complex choices, such as revisiting leases to determine whether they are an expense that still makes sense for the size of the business.

There are four strategies to consider when evaluating space use:

Repurposing

Assume that employees’ work habits have changed to some extent since they were last in the office. This is a great time to rework office space in a way that’s safe and supports productivity. Companies that have extra room can find opportunities to square footage through desk-sharing concepts:

  • Redistribute desks and seats to meet safety protocols
  • Alter workspaces into areas or pods where people can create their best work
  • Turn an open-concept office into a diverse hoteling area
  • Transform individual offices into pods for small group collaboration
  • Rethink conference rooms as reservable “conversation rooms”

Remember that any workspace repurposing needs to align with health and safety protocols and should be executed with employees’ space preferences in mind.

Subleasing

Subleasing in commercial real estate is currently booming as a result of the pandemic. In July 2020, subleasing was up approximately 12%, according to a CBRE report. Since then, and in some larger U.S. cities, in particular, subleasing has soared. The prospect of shorter lease terms (standard is typically six-to-nine months versus typical multi-year lease contracts) is attractive to those still contending with the continuing uncertainty stemming from COVID-19.

Subleasing office space also offers an opportunity to help smaller companies to appeal to employees who are returning to work. Great workspaces often come with hefty price tags that are far out of the reach of many businesses. But the cost efficiencies of subleasing can put attractive office spaces within their reach. Most importantly, a space with cutting-edge technology or an office in a great part of town provides a “wow factor” for employees and makes coming to work something they look forward to.

Buying

While many companies lease space, now may be a time when they’re in a position to consider purchasing commercial real estate. Property ownership offers the benefit of an asset on the balance sheet and accompanying tax advantages. But consider location, industry, and other factors before signing a long-term mortgage. A decision this large-scale requires real estate managers to take a close look at company data. It needs to make sense not only for the current needs of the business but must reflect long-term planning and budgeting.

Although there are signs of recovery, the pandemic stifled industries such as hospitality and retail with widespread hotel, restaurant, and retail store closures. It’s also spurred demand for industrial space to support areas such as distribution and storage. Keeping in mind that there are opportunities and drawbacks across sectors and industries, the demand for space that’s conducive to social distancing and worker safety is here to stay.

Downsizing or selling

For the few companies planning to have a 100% remote workforce or that have significantly downsized, a physical workspace may no longer be essential to daily operations. Removing the overhead costs associated with office space, especially if you don’t foresee using it even after the pandemic is over, could be a smart financial decision.

Leveraging technology during the decision-making process

Before making any decisions about real estate, companies should consider their budgets, growth models, business forecasts (think 5-10 years out), and other long-term decisions and scenarios. Technology is crucial for managing every aspect of a back-to-work plan and provides insights for decision-makers when evaluating next steps for the workspace.

Space planning platforms such as those offered by SpaceIQ take all factors into account and allow HR, Facilities, IT, and company leaders to visualize the current space (both occupied and unoccupied) at a high level, decide which option is best for the business both now and in the future, and manage every aspect of a back-to-work plan once decisions have been made.

Planning for resilience

If workspace planning wasn’t part of your strategy planning before, it needs to be now. To stay competitive, the workplace must be a purposeful, engaging environment where employees want to work, collaborate, and be productive. Tap into data insights to help you uncover opportunities, take the appropriate next steps, and build resilience for the long term.

Keep reading: Planning Your Workplace with Office Space Software

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Blog

How to Maximize Space Utilization

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Space utilization is one of many metrics facility managers use to gauge the efficiency of the workplace. High utilization is typically associated with efficiency; low utilization indicates inefficiency. There’s a constant push and pull in dynamic workspaces to achieve optimal utilization. Facility managers are always asking themselves how to maximize space utilization.

Thankfully, there’s an abundance of software out there designed to help facilitate maximum space utilization. Some platforms, like a CAFM platform, set the stage of understanding utilization rates based on space and occupancy. Others, like IWMS and digital twins, provide the context for how employees use the workspace. Together, they paint a picture of utilization and opportunities to maximize it.

What is space utilization?

Space utilization meaning stems from interactions with the physical workplace. Specifically, it’s the measure of how well you’re using the workplace for the means of productive operations. A workspace that’s always occupied by a diligent worker has high utilization. A desk that sits unused most days has a poor utilization rate. It comes down to a question: how often do employees use the space in a productive capacity?

How to calculate utilization

Behind its surface definition there’s actually a fair amount of math in understanding space utilization. On a macro scale, utilization is the building’s occupancy divided by its capacity—the result is a broad measure of utilization at the building level. For example, if your building accommodates 500 and you staff 420, your utilization rate is 84%. It’s a measure useful for something like stack planning.

Digging deeper, utilization metrics distill all the way down to the workspace or seat level. Especially in flex environments and agile offices without assigned seating, it’s particularly important to gauge utilization at this level. Here again, the math is simple: you divide the number of hours the space is occupied by the total number of hours it’s available. If Workstation 201 is available 12 hours per day and it’s occupied six hours a day, the utilization rate is 50%.

It’s also important to note that utilization can be a moving target. Workstation 201 might sit occupied for six hours today, 10 hours tomorrow, and 10 hours the day after. Its aggregate average is just over eight and a half hours, for an average utilization rate of about 72%.

No matter how you measure it, utilization rate comes down to a measure of usage against total availability. As such, it’s a great metric for understanding if the costs associated with your workplace are worth it.

How to maximize space utilization

Maximizing space utilization comes down to understanding utilization rates and the drivers behind them. If employees only use a space at a rate of 20%, what factors prevent or dissuade them from using it more? Why does Room A have a much higher utilization rate than Room B, despite their proximity and relativity to each other? Utilization trends tell the story of space usage—it’s up to facility managers to interpret and address discrepancies.

  • Understand the utilization rates associated with a space
  • Benchmark them against other metrics to qualify utilization
  • Investigate low utilization rates to understand them better
  • Make targeted changes to increase the appeal or utility of space
  • Track changes in utilization to gauge employee responsiveness
  • Continue to track utilization and make changes based on demand

Maximizing space utilization is a continuous and iterative process. It comes down to providing employees with the types of spaces they need, and making it easy to access and use those areas.

To make changes, you need data

By now, you’ve realized that utilization metrics rely heavily on workplace data. If you don’t know anything about occupancy rates, you can’t calculate utilization. This is where the IoT and space utilization software come into play.

Sensor data from an office IoT can provide real-time occupancy data to generate important insights. From seat sensors to floor sensors and beyond, streaming data provides real-time, valuable insights into when and how people interact with the space around them. Fed into a digital twin of the workplace, this data paints a contextual picture of utilization.

Space utilization software supports integrations that provide context for occupancy and workplace goings-on. For example, a room booking system tied into the software can provide relevant data about conference room reservations: which rooms, when, how long, and other important metrics that enable utilization insights at macro and specific levels.

Efforts to maximize workplace utilization need data behind them. Without understanding and contextualizing space, any changes or improvements to it aren’t quantifiable or qualifiable—they’re just a shot in the dark.

Utilization is a priority for businesses

Maximizing space utilization is a clear and present priority for businesses because it means one thing: justifying the cost of the workplace. Facilities and their affiliated costs represent the bulk of a business’ overhead (outside of salaries). It’s vital to make sure those costs are offset by productivity and that the workplace more than pays for itself.

Establishing high utilization rates within the building and at the workspace level represents a diligent approach to operations management. It equates to giving workers the space they need and enabling them to be productive within it. High utilization shows continued demand for specific workspace types, which means better efficiency from employees on the balance sheet and from the workplace itself.

Keep reading: How to Choose Space Management Software

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Blog

Digital Twin for Space Optimization

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

There’s no shortage of software out there to support facility managers as they seek to maximize the potential of the workplace. IWMS and CAFM platforms come to mind first, because they offer the broadest level of support. But even these systems aren’t a silver bullet for optimizing workspaces and floor plans—they merely aid in putting ideas into motion. Today, the most powerful insights come from a digital twin for space optimization.

Digital twins offer an abundance of context for workplace data. Rather than coordinating a floor plan based solely on space or occupancy, digital twins provide facility managers with dynamic data about the space. Sure, the room capacity is 40 people, but did you know that seat sensor data shows the average occupancy rate at just 25 people? It’s these kinds of insights that make digital twin technology instrumental in optimizing workspace design, layout, and function.

Here’s a look at why digital twins are becoming an integral part of workplace planning and how they optimize the efforts of facility managers.

Digital twins add contextual data

Digital twins are as dynamic as the physical spaces and assets they represent. This opens up a whole new segment of contextual information for facility managers. For example, floor sensors in conference rooms can add context to room reservation metrics provided by your booking system:

Booking data shows Conference Room 402 at a utilization rate of 60%, with an average room reservation time of one hour. While this is great information, it’s static. Floor sensor data aggregated by the digital twin might show that, despite an average one-hour booking time, employees typically only remain in the room for 45 minutes. There’s a period of roughly 15 minutes of dead space, when the room shows occupied but there’s no one in it. The real utilization rate is closer to 45%.

In this example, context from the digital twin can help the facility manager optimize the room booking process. Instead of 30-minute booking increments, employees can now book in 15-minute increments. The expectation is that utilization will rise.

How to turn IoT data into action

There’s an abundance of smart sensors in workplaces today. Many of them are always-on, constantly streaming data. A digital twin is instrumental in harnessing and aggregating this data, to make it actionable. This is especially important as the network of devices grows and becomes more robust. Consider the impact of IoT automation through a digital twin:

Conference Room 402 has A/V capabilities, which make it the de-facto space for presentations. Employees often complain about not being able to reserve the room because it’s in such high demand. Floor sensor data puts occupancy at roughly 80% each day. However, the light sensor only registers 50%, which means only half of occupants turn off the lights to present. The facility manager adds a question to the room reservation system: “Do you need to present anything?” If the answer is no, the booking system excludes Conference Room 402, to leave it more accessible to those who need A/V capabilities.

In this example, IoT data comes together to paint an even broader picture of space utilization. It allows facility managers to intervene in a tactful way, instead of jumping to conclusions—such as investing in additional expensive A/V equipment.

Space optimization with digital twin technology

Space optimization is the key to getting more out of leased space. With digital twins to provide context for data points, it becomes possible to optimize in strategic ways, with the goal of enabling better interaction with space. Based on digital twin data, FMs might choose to:

  • Expand or consolidate the total amount of office space
  • Adopt a new desking arrangement or booking system
  • Grant or restrict access to certain spaces by certain groups
  • Change the floor plan for a particular space

It all comes down to what the data shows and the context a digital twin provides. In many cases, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to improving space utilization. The benefit of a digital twin is that facility managers can sandbox their ideas to see what works, what doesn’t, and what the best outcome is for optimizing space.

Digital twins can support IWMS, CAFM

At this point, every facility manager needs to use cloud-based space planning software to orchestrate their workplace—the benefits are too great not to. But we’re moving into a new digital age where digital twins can provide even more context and support to these systems when it comes to space optimization. Where IWMS and CAFM provide tools for spatial management, digital twins provide the context for how employees use that space.

Space management software, a growing IoT, and a well-managed digital twin are the trifecta of technologies for space optimization. Bringing them together unlocks powerful opportunities for any business when it comes to managing and making the most of space.

Keep reading: How to Use Digital Twin Software

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Blog

Digital Twin for Operations Management Improvements

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Digital twins have become a prevalent part of many companies’ digital architecture. Often, they’re a natural tie-in to IoT networks and business clouds, alongside any number of other applications depending on the industry. And while many businesses are still figuring out how to use them, digital twin for operations management are rising in popularity. There’s plentiful opportunity in using them to enhance operations from a data-driven standpoint.

Because digital twin technology is relatively plug-and-play for many businesses, there’s no limit to the efficiency improvements possible. They’ve become a playground for facility managers, asset managers, and everyone else charged with keeping buildings productive, efficient, and operational.

Digital twins and the expanding IoT

Much of the opportunity for operational improvements digital twins present is possible due to the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital twin IoT configurations bridge the gap between the physical workplace and the digital one, and create data for tangible improvements. As the number of sensors and beacons in any given workplace rises, so do the number of data streams—and thus, so does the potential for insight.

All this data comes together in the digital twin to provide workplace managers with increasingly robust insights, such as:

  • Macro trends, like the number of hotel desks reserved month-over-month
  • Micro trends, like the length of time Camille reserved Desk 008 for on Wednesday
  • Automations and triggers, such as submitting a cleaning ticket between room reservations
  • Inefficiencies, such as viewing which desks suffer poor utilization and why
  • Asset information, such as the number of cycles the copier ran last month

The office IoT network aggregates these insights into the digital twin, where they become presentable information management can review. The result is actionable change to the physical workplace, using digital insights.

Continuous operational efficiency

Data is the key to better decision-making. IoT data about the physical workplace becomes a catalyst for understanding why and how people interact with their surroundings the way they do. With this understanding comes an opportunity to make meaningful, informed changes.

A digital twin operations management example worth considering involves space utilization. Seat sensor data at a workstation might show a paltry 22% utilization rate for the month. By comparison, similar desks show a 74% average utilization rate. Facility managers can take this data point and delve into the digital twin of their workplace to better understand it.

  • Where is this desk located in comparison to others like it?
  • What times of the day was it occupied most often? Which days?
  • How long per session was the desk occupied?
  • What amenities or features does the desk offer?
  • What is its maintenance record and are there service tickets logged?

Digital twins enable what manufacturers might call a “root cause analysis.” Facility managers can probe all potential catalysts behind an anomaly to understand what’s causing it. Then, using data, they form a thesis and take corrective action. This is the foundation for continuous workplace improvements and continuous operational efficiency.

In this example, the FM might discover any number of issues. The desk is too close to a disruptive thoroughfare. Or, it could be too small to work at comfortably. Maybe it’s damaged and needs service? Whatever the root cause, there’s an opportunity to fix it.

Data as the defining factor for workplaces

Digital twins represent an abundance of data, made accessible. As buildings grow smarter and more technologies generate digital insights about the physical workplace, facility managers have more opportunities to understand it. The more they understand it, the better they can govern it. The effects compound into everything from better workplace efficiency, to improved productivity, to cost control, and even improved company culture. At the center of it all is the digital twin, guiding data-backed decision-making as a source of truth.

Digital twins lay the foundation for operational improvements

While software like IWMS and CAFM have enabled facility managers to make amazing improvements to workplaces, true efficiency comes from understanding how people interact with their surroundings. That’s where digital twins come in. IoT data synced up to digital twins paints a robust picture of the effects of physical workplace changes. It’s not enough to switch up the desking concept or rearrange a space—you need to know how it affects the people within it.

Digital twins for operations management adds a whole new layer to data-driven facilities management. In the same way digital twins bridge the gap between the physical workplace and the digital one, they also bridge the gap between facilities and operations. With this key piece of the puzzle, companies can relentlessly pursue efficiency improvements, one data point or trend at a time.

Keep reading: How to Use Digital Twin Software

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Blog

Digital Twin for Asset Tracking

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Every investment a business makes in equipment or resources comes into inventory as an asset. Whether it’s a workstation computer, a multifunction photocopier, or a vehicle parked outside, it’s vital for businesses to track and maintain these assets for as long as they have them. It’s called life cycle maintenance, and it requires a robust system of accountability. It’s why many businesses have turned to digital twin for asset tracking.

Digital twins serve as a powerful tool in collecting and maintaining data relevant to assets. Integrations with support and maintenance systems, as well as historical upkeep information, paint a digital record of a physical asset. Not only does this aid in life cycle maintenance, it helps businesses better-understand their assets. Here’s a look at how digital twin technology supports better asset tracking.

A digital record of a physical asset

So long as it’s kept current, a digital twin can house the complete service record of an asset. This includes capital systems.

For example, consider the backup generator that powers your on-premise server room. It needs biannual maintenance to ensure functionality in the event of a power failure. Looking back through service records in the digital twin, you can see that it was last serviced five months ago—which means it’s due for service soon. Asset managers can schedule a service appointment with the appropriate vendor—or create an automation within the digital twin that does it for them.

Every successive maintenance item gets added to the log, alongside information about emergent problems, solutions, notes, recommendations, costs, and anything else noteworthy about the continued upkeep and reinvestment in an asset.

Maintenance integrations

Digital twins are highly integrative, and one of the perfect pairings is with a CMMS platform. The asset tracking capabilities of the digital twin, paired with the solutions-driven capabilities of a CMMS, create a continuum of care that emphasizes proper life cycle maintenance.

Consider a fleet vehicle. It needs routine service every 30k miles, as well as an oil change every 5k miles. There are also factory-recommended services and discretionary repairs to consider. Now, consider all these services within a CMMS that’s smart enough to create a ticket when they’re due and assign it to the right staff member or vendor. The digital twin can actively track the mileage of the vehicle and interface with the CMMS. When the vehicle hits 90k miles, the digital twin relays the information to the CMMS, which generates the ticket: “schedule 90k mileage service.”

Integrations beget automation, which is vital in asset tracking and maintenance. Digital twins decrease the level of oversight or effort that goes into managing the multitude of business assets and instead, puts exceptional maintenance on autopilot.

Live asset data and streaming insights

Assets are constantly in-use—it’s what makes them assets. This can make it difficult for managers and stakeholders to keep track of them. This is where IoT sensors come into play as vital tools in asset tracking and management.

IoT sensors provide an abundance of simple, yet vital information about assets—and they relay that information to digital twins. Think about something as simple as a video projector on a cart. Equipped with a sensor, it’s easy for asset managers to look at the digital twin to see where on a corporate campus that asset currently is. This data, over time, delivers a clear picture of that asset in action. Wednesday it was in Building A. Last week it was in Building C. Before that, it sat idle in Building D for two weeks. As the life of an asset becomes more transparent, the management capabilities surrounding it become more robust.

Improved decision-making power

Should you sell the photocopier that’s eight years old and buy a new model? That depends on what the digital twin data says. At a glance, asset managers can see the cost breakdown of the asset—purchase price, upkeep costs, ROI, current value, and more. They can also see its maintenance history and usage history. At a glance, the digital twin provides precise information for a more informed decision. You might find that the cost of a new photocopier will pay for itself in three years, which makes it a smart investment over your current model that’s racking up the maintenance costs.

The concept is simple: the more you know about an asset, the more informed you are when it comes to utilizing it (or replacing it). The IoT and digital twins are a powerful combination for illuminating asset information.

Asset tracking with digital twins

Digital twins empower businesses and stakeholders to see their assets in a new way. Beyond the physical form and function of an asset, digital twins provide insightful data about its place in the greater operational picture. What’s the current value of the 2019 Sprinter Van parked outside? When was the copy machine last serviced by the OEM? Where is the fourth floor A/V cart right now? Digital twins bring visibility to assets in a much broader sense of the word.

Combined with the IoT and automation, businesses have even more opportunities to make assets go further. From proactive and preventive maintenance to better decision-making about how to use them, asset tracking through a twin means more mindful management.

Whether it’s tracking usage or optimizing efficiency, digital twins provide much-needed insight for critical assets big and small.

Keep reading: How to Use Digital Twin Software

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Blog

What is Space Utilization Principle?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Most facility managers track space utilization—often, through a variety of metrics. They rely on space utilization software to provide insight into how well they’re capitalizing on the square footage available to them. This, in turn, informs a broad range of critical decisions—everything from desking policies to lease administration. In short, space utilization is at the core of many policies and decisions that impact how a workplace looks and runs.

While it’s important to track and monitor space utilization, even more essential is familiarity with the space utilization principal. The goal isn’t to fill every square foot of space and maximize utilization every second of every day. Rather, it’s to create a balance between the cost of the space and its revenue potential based on an optimal level of utilization. Here’s what facility managers need to know about the space utilization principle.

What is space utilization principle?

The space utilization principle isn’t a law or rule—rather, it’s a guideline that’s flexible and adaptable to every workspace. The space utilization principle “encourages effective utilization of all the space available.” The operative word in that definition is effective. In simpler terms, the space utilization principle encourages facility managers to figure out the best way to purpose space, to attract frequent use by employees.

The space utilization principle has roots in materials handling, where it’s one of many principles for effective space governance alongside the likes of the layout principle and the system flow principle. The objective is to ensure the safe, efficient, effective flow of materials within a value stream. Commercial facility managers can rely on many of the same principles to govern the way employees interact with the workplace and assets within it.

What is space utilization vs. other metrics?

Space utilization metrics are some of the most prevalent and important KPIs to track in a workplace. They lend insight into how efficient a space is and to what degree employees use it. Alone, it’s a powerful benchmark; however, it’s best used in tandem with other metrics, including occupancy, adoption, and more targeted figures like peak rates.

Space utilization is the measure of how efficient a space is, based on how frequently employees use it. To better-contextualize this, it’s also important to have data for:

  • Occupancy, or the total number of people within a workplace
  • Availability, or the total number of workspaces within a workplace
  • Target ratio, or the ideal ratio of people to workspaces (occupancy to availability)
  • Actual ratio, or the current ratio of people to workspaces
  • Cost per square foot, or the value per square foot of space based on total lease cost
  • Peak rates, or the maximum rate of workspace utilization within a given window

There are dozens of other metrics to track, and each yield breadcrumbs of information against a backdrop of utilization. The more pieces of the puzzle facility managers have about their workplace, the clearer the picture of that utilization becomes. Each metric acts as a stepping stone toward the space utilization principle: using space more effectively.

How to measure space utilization

There are several ways to measure space utilization itself, depending on the context. The broadest measure is at the macro level: number of employees divided by total workplace capacity. For example, 125 employees in a space meant for 150 puts you at an 83% utilization rate.

Often, a more valuable measure of utilization focuses on a particular workspace or group of spaces. For example, you might measure the rate at which employees reserve standing desks and calculate utilization by occupied time divided by total available time. For example, if you have 10 standing desks available for 10 hours each day five days a week, that’s 500 hours. If collective occupancy over the course of the week is 420 hours, the utilization rate of standing desks is 84%.

It’s also important to consider peaks. If a hotel desk is occupied an average of four hours each day, but spikes to 10 hours on Thursdays, that’s the peak utilization rate during the week. Put time on a sliding scale and it’s possible to measure peak utilization by the month, week, day, or even hour. Each data point is important within the context of pushing toward more efficient space utilization.

Utilization needs to create harmony

The purpose of the space utilization principle is to create harmony in the workplace. It’s not about finding a way to reach 100% utilization—if you do, there’s no room for flexibility. Facility managers need to find the right coefficient for efficiency and utilization, to justify the cost of the workplace and enable the workforce within it.

Good space utilization will create flexibility and harmony in even the most active workplace. And while it’s important to collect and track utilization metrics in all their various forms, it’s most important to match them up against the space utilization principle to make sure you’re using that data in a proactive, positive way.

Keep reading: What is Space Utilization and How Can You Measure it?