New workplace sensing technology has launched in South Africa that will allow businesses to accurately assess just how much of their workplaces they actually use, potentially saving companies millions of rands.
The technology, called Sensor, has already saved a major South Africa financial firm tens of millions of rands and was responsible for a major new building office redesign for a large IT company.
Linda Trim, Director at Giant Leap, workplace specialists that brought the new technology from Europe to South Africa, said that most companies have little or no idea about how their office space is used by their employees.
“For example typical office utilisation is only 39% which means businesses are paying way too much for real estate space they just don’t need. In our experience business think workplaces are used 60 to 70% of the time but it is often way less.
“Of course other offices may be too small but until now it was just an expensive best guess to figure it out.”
Sensor works by placing small sensors around the office which analyses peoples’ movement. It has no impact on existing IT infrastructure because it is a cloud based technology.
“Workspace occupancy sensing technology like Sensor helps you understand how your desks, meeting rooms and break out spaces are used in extraordinary detail. For example on average 40% of people don’t turn up to meetings so those meetings room are probably too big.”
On a day-by-day and hour-by-hour basis, the sensors gather data on office use.
Reports are easily accessible on any Internet-enabled device.
By identifying both increases and decreases in office space utilisation, it delivers valuable intelligence to help determine if a workplace is meeting demand – both now and in the future.
“It is important to note that the sensors cannot pick up sound nor are they designed to spy on people. They are purely used to make the most of office space,” said Trim.
Trim says a very large local financial institution was the first beneficiary of the new technology in South Africa.
“After doing an analysis for them, they realised they had far too much space so they decided to sublet what they didn’t need. We calculated that this would save them nearly R20-million over 10 years.”
Another company to benefit was a large IT company that was about to build an expensive new head office. “Our analysis showed they didn’t need all the spaces so they redrew the plans and built a smaller office saving millions.”
Trim says that analysing office space use is particularly important as work patterns are rapidly changing.
“Companies are offering more flexibility to their workforce. Workers now spend less time at their desks and more time moving between meetings, collaborative breakout spaces and video conferencing suites.
“Occupancy sensing helps businesses understand workers’ varying work patterns, respond quickly to their changing needs and adjust strategy to reduce real estate costs.”
Sensor can measure any type of workspaces, including dining areas and can give feedback in realtime.