Over the past two decades, clipboard reports have been the foundation for desk occupancy studies. In a typical study, 12 undergraduates walk a 5km route through an office workspace to document desk and conference room occupancy. The path takes about an hour to complete and once they finish the start around the path again.
One of the primary benefits of the desk occupancy sensors is that companies can make improvements in how space is used and the potential for reducing costs and energy usage. By capturing and centralizing utilisation information, and doing so in a timely, automatic, non- intrusive manner, analytic programs can find places for improvement.
- Staffing cost – Manual surveys are expensive, and the biggest expense in such studies is labor. The staff cost is not just for gathering the information, but additional resources are needed to do the reporting on the data.
- On-going staff training expense – Because of the high turnover rate of these surveyors with clipboards, companies spend a surprisingly high amount of ongoing training and hiring activities. Often this is a very large hidden expense.
- Errors – Walking a long tedious route gets boring, surveyors make mistakes, and the quality of the study suffers.
- Sampling rates – Because of the large staff cost, manual surveys are usually constrained to about a week. Sensors enable you to get a better picture of what is going on as you are measuring for a longer period of time i.e. minimum of 8 weeks or permanently. Also, rather than sampling what is going on every hour, you can now sample every 5-10 minutes. The rule of thumb is, you’ve got to sample at twice the event frequency to have confidence in what you’re doing. If you’re doing an hourly survey, you’re really only capturing events that last 90 minutes to 2 hours with any kind of accuracy. On a 10 minute sample, you’re catching stuff that’s 20 minutes, half an hour long. On a 5 minute sample, you’re probably catching events that are 10-15 minutes long.
- Reporting – The whole point of the study. With manual surveys, whether using pencil and paper or software, staff still need to generate reports. With OpenSensors, the sensors’ data becomes a feed and the reporting and dashboards are ready made and don’t require on-going work to be generated. The whole operation becomes less of a manual process of moving data around; we link with CAFM systems and any other facilities management systems. The process becomes API driven and enables multiple stakeholders to analyse the data.
- Security – Sensors are less disruptive than having people constantly walking through the office.
Utilisation studies can help you manage desk sharing ratio and unit mix for your flexible working office. Workspace occupancy sensors are replacing manual surveys for a timely, automatic, non- intrusive way to manage wasted desk space and save cost and energy usage.