illustration of different types of spaces in the office

Choosing Office Space Enhancements Using Data

As every corporate real estate leader knows, your building may not be as optimally designed or utilized as you would like it to be and not as fully occupied as it was a few years ago. There are numerous causes for the growing emptiness: reductions in force, decades of overbuilding, and perhaps most of all, the growing preference for remote or hybrid working paradigms.

Forbes Advisor reports that at the end of 2023, 12.7% of full-time employees worked entirely from home, with an additional 28.2% employing a hybrid model, with some days in the office and some at home. These statistics vary somewhat depending on the source, but there’s no question that the way companies and employees view the office has irrevocably changed.

In many organizations, the availability and degree of remote work depend on the worker’s duties. Clearly, some roles are more conducive to allowing a remote or hybrid approach, while others require in-person presence.

According to the same Forbes report, 16% of companies have no brick-and-mortar location and work in an entirely distributed manner. Some businesses struggle to bring workers back to the office, while others have accepted remote or hybrid models as the “new normal.”

Regardless of how the trend plays out, many companies (and their real estate assets) have new-found capacity. For example, if you have space designed to accommodate the daily needs of 500 people, but now an average of 250 workers report to the facility each day, you have a lot of empty seats, quiet break rooms, and unused conference space.

Why do anything with that space? Examining your current space usage and investing in the office can help the company reduce operations expenses, improve employee satisfaction, and even get people back into the office. See how a technology company (and AVUITY client) did exactly that in this case study.

What are the best investments for my office?


If you are going to invest in your space, naturally, you want to ensure that you get a positive return on your investment.  Some options can return financial results (such as downsizing your space). In contrast, others can increase your employees’ comfort and satisfaction.

Some attractive upgrades include:

  • Lighting upgrades improve the appeal of a space and offer an opportunity for energy efficiency and cost reductions. Good lighting is essential for your occupants’ productivity but can also contribute significantly to energy consumption and cost.
  • Other energy-efficient improvements can also save money and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Adding amenities such as fitness centers, lactation rooms, wellness spaces, and collaboration areas all increase the employees’ enjoyment of the space and may help increase in-person work.
  • Aside from collaboration areas and conference rooms, other layout changes may include workstation type, workstation count, and break areas.
  • Technology improvements, such as videoconferencing equipment and simpler access to necessary data, are also ways to welcome employees and improve their individual and combined efficiency. Occupants should be able to easily move from one location to another without changing equipment or signing in and out of devices.
  • Seating options provide ergonomic choices for employees, including lounge areas, height-adjustable desks, and flexible group spaces.

How can you choose the best way to enhance your office?


Before you consider options, gathering data that can help you make wise decisions and gain support for your proposals is strategic. Valid data tells you how, when, and why your employees come to the facility so you can avoid investing in enhancements that will not help you achieve your goals for the space.

Consider the difference between planning and performance metrics that may illuminate unexpected information about building usage. Planning metrics delineate the intended use of space, encompassing design and people density, indicating the number of seats and headcount per rentable or usable square foot. These ratios remain constant regardless of the office’s occupancy. On the other hand, performance metrics, which involve tracking and assessing actual utilization, reveal the number of individuals who actively use the space.

An excellent way to obtain robust performance data is through sensor technology. AVUITY offers a range of products to make understanding your space easier than ever before. Accurate workspace data can guide you to the best use of your space and inform decisions on leasing, footprint, amenities, and more.

For example, you may not know how many employees enter your building daily, how long they stay, and how they use the space they can access. The days are gone when almost every employee would work in the office for most of a standard workday, enabling you to predict how many seats, offices, break areas, and conference rooms you need.

Badge data will tell you part of the story, but it’s always incomplete. First, some workers piggyback on entry when a door is opened. More importantly, badge data doesn’t tell you where and how they spend their time. In contrast, workplace sensors give you all the data you need, including occupancy numbers, usage, and environmental factors like temperature and air quality.

What information can I get from sensors?

An occupancy sensor is a compact device designed to identify human presence in a given area. Basic sensors measure the occupancy status of a particular room or space. Still, more sophisticated devices like VuAI can not only detect the presence of individuals but also quantify their number and duration of stay and offer additional insights into room activity, including lighting levels, temperature, and humidity.

Workstation and conference room information are two examples of helpful data that resonate with many real estate managers. Whether or not your space still provides a designated workspace for every worker, you may need to know how often each space is occupied. A worker may enter the facility (which you can learn from badge data), but rather than working at their designated space, they prefer to work in the privacy of a conference room. In this circumstance, the conference room isn’t available for groups, and that workstation is underutilized.

Similarly, you may have conference spaces in a range of occupancy limits. A booking system will indicate when the room has been reserved but not whether it is actually used, how many people gathered, and whether they were comfortable. This information may support the reconfiguration of individual and group spaces.

Sensor systems like those from AVUITY can also connect with your building management systems, changing temperature levels to improve comfort and save money. Other options allow coordinated search and reservation systems for conference rooms, enabling you to optimize available space and wayfinding assistance to help guide them to their destinations.

To succeed in the new paradigm of hybrid working, your building must be welcoming and make it simple for people to be productive. Sensors can provide powerful data to inform your office investments.



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