We recently introduced a structured hybrid work policy at OfficeRnD after a long time of an unstructured, fully flexible work model. It’s been very well received by all teams despite the global resentment of return-to-office (RTO).
However, it raised a big question and some concerns regarding if we have enough space. In our HQ location, we have a 44% desks to employees ratio. Our hybrid work policy requires everyone to be in the office for 40% of their workdays. So, is it enough? Or, is it not? Is it too much space?
The math behind our hybrid work calculator is telling us that it should be enough. In theory, that’s true but is it in practice?
The best way to answer this question in practice is by introducing a high-quality occupancy tracking system!
A well-implemented occupancy tracking system can yield manifold benefits, from optimizing space usage, boosting cost efficiency, and enhancing employee engagement, to improving health and safety standards and offering valuable insights into employee behavior.
With the right set of tools, organizations can create a smarter, data-driven workplace that effectively balances operational efficiency and employee needs.
Finding the right office occupancy is important for improving the overall workplace employee experience. No one feels good in half-empty offices or in super-crowded offices.
In order to find the best technologies to track office occupancy, of course, I asked Chat-GPT. As you can imagine, the smart pal knows a lot about everything and offered a pretty good high-level overview of the top 10 technologies and tools for tracking workplace occupancy.
I also asked it to provide a high-level comparison of Cost, Accuracy, Ease of Use, Privacy Concerns, Integration Scalability, Maintenance & Support, Reliability, and Data Security. You can find the complete table below.
I believe it’s a good start to learn more about the different ways to track occupancy and start learning more about the topic.
IoT sensors are intelligent devices that can be strategically installed around an office to detect factors like movement, heat, and light – all indicative of occupancy.
Companies like Enlighted and VergeSense provide IoT sensors that can generate extensive data, offering insights that can streamline operations and improve workspace design. With seamless integration into existing systems and scalability, these sensors are suitable for businesses of all sizes.
Access control systems, like those offered by Kisi, Salto, or Openpath, manage and control access to a building or specific areas within it. Smart badges, like those from HID Global, are often a critical component of these systems.
The badges, equipped with technologies like barcodes or RFID, interact with the system to permit or deny access, simultaneously providing real-time occupancy data.
These systems’ reliability, scalability, and integration with existing systems make them ideal for managing workspace access while tracking occupancy.
Wi-Fi tracking systems, such as those offered by Cisco Meraki, IronWifi, and others, leverage existing Wi-Fi networks to track occupancy based on the location of connected devices.
While accuracy might not be as high as other technologies, the ease of integration, scalability, and cost-effectiveness make Wi-Fi tracking a viable solution for many organizations.
Companies like Lutron and Philips Hue offer smart lighting systems, a two-fold solution that contributes to energy efficiency while serving as occupancy trackers.
These systems detect human presence and adjust lighting levels accordingly, offering a user-friendly, reliable occupancy tracking solution that also reduces energy consumption.
Security cameras equipped with AI, like those from Hikvision or Avigilon, offer accurate, real-time occupancy data. These systems count people and track their movements, providing a comprehensive understanding of office occupancy.
Despite the higher cost and potential privacy concerns, camera analytics can drive significant improvements in space utilization and operational efficiency.
Heat mapping technology, like that offered by RetailNext, visualizes high-traffic areas in the office. This technology aids in optimizing space usage and designing efficient workspace layouts.
Although heat mapping provides moderate accuracy, when combined with other technologies, it can offer valuable insights into space utilization.
Desk booking systems, like OfficeRnD Hybrid or Condeco, paired with mobile apps, offer a user-friendly way to manage office space. These systems provide anticipated occupancy data, allowing employees to reserve desks or workspaces conveniently.
They also promote flexible working environments and help optimize workspace usage.
Ultrasonic sensors, often used in conjunction with other technologies, detect movement and occupancy in a workspace. They offer high accuracy and reliability, contributing to a more efficient and optimized workspace. The integration and ease of use of these sensors may vary based on the specific product.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tracking, like solutions from Impinj or Zebra Technologies, uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to objects.
In the context of occupancy tracking, RFID can monitor the movement of employees within a workspace, providing real-time data on office usage and enhancing security.
Computer vision, utilized by companies like OpenCV, AnyVision, or Placemeter, involves training machines to understand the visual world. By analyzing footage from security cameras, computer vision algorithms can count people, track their movements, and even identify specific behaviors.
Although complex to implement, computer vision provides highly accurate occupancy data and rich behavioral insights.
Here’s a comparative look at these technologies:
|Technology||Cost||Accuracy||Ease of Use||Privacy Concerns||Integration||Scalability||Maintenance & Support||Reliability||Data Security|
|Access Control Systems & Smart Badges||High||High||Medium||Medium||High||High||High||High||High|
|Desk Booking Systems & Mobile Apps||Low||Low||High||Low||High||High||High||High||High|
Remember, these ratings are approximate and can vary greatly based on the specific products or services chosen.
For example, an expensive, high-end IoT sensor system might offer excellent accuracy and scalability, but a cheaper IoT solution might not perform as well. Always do your research and consider your specific needs and circumstances when choosing a technology.
In conclusion, each of these technologies offers unique benefits and potential challenges. The choice of technology will depend on factors like the size of your office, your budget, the level of accuracy you need, and the importance of privacy and data security.
By leveraging these advanced tools, organizations can create a more efficient, comfortable, and productive workplace environment. Remember, when implementing these technologies, it’s always important to maintain a balance between data collection for operational efficiency and respecting employee privacy rights. Your due diligence is key to making the right choice for your organization.
Discover how hybrid work can enhance your Christmas experience.
We join forces with Everything Coworking to bring a game-changing educational resource. Read on.
These are the most common hybrid work challenges. Learn how to overcome them.
Is hybrid better than remote or vice-versa? Let's find out!
Discover the 5 best desk booking software and choose the right one for you.
See how on-demand booking platforms are revolutionizing flexible workspaces.