3 Ways to Increase Your Workspace's ROI with Smart Building Technology

Covid-19 made most of the office buildings around us stand tall and empty for months. New social distancing regulations forced us to be more conscious of our personal and public space. There are many speculations about the future and possible transformation of our workspace but even if opinions vary, numbers are showing that office space is not going anywhere.

We know office spaces will remain a part of our lives in the foreseeable future. We must, in the shadow of the world’s economic crisis, make our office spaces and corporate real estate more efficient and increase workspace ROI with smart building technology. However, we must first shift focus to employee wellbeing. Employee wellbeing is key in enabling business continuity and is a major factor in bringing back our employees to the office. Smart building operations can help you do that easily. Let’s dive in.

How Hotdesk utilization look in a smart building

Surprisingly, it appears that most large companies don’t have accurate data regarding the utilization of their workspaces. They have very limited ideas about the way employees use desks, meeting rooms, and public areas. Did you know that a whopping 65% of global organizations rely on “observing” workspace occupancy? Observation, in that aspect, is as effective as hope.

Data-oriented companies aim for real-time occupancy data in order to reach smart decisions and stand behind them wholeheartedly. This simply can’t be achieved through rough observations and tedious spreadsheets.  Data-backed decisions will provide both companies and employees an easy way to improve efficiency and satisfaction.

Let’s see if this scenario is familiar

Let’s say you’re a building manager tasked with providing data on building occupancy. You have to go floor by floor, open space by open space, meeting room by meeting room in order to provide accurate data. On top of that, you have to observe each one of these spaces at least 8 hours a day. That is, of course, impossible to do. So what do you do instead?

You reach the first floor and scan it. You know that on this floor there are 100 hot desks. You count 70 occupied desks. You look at your watch and note that at 9:30 am, 70 desks are occupied on the first floor. Just as you turn back to the elevator to get ready to hit the next floor, you see from the corner of your eye 5 employees getting up and heading to the elevator. Now, what do you do?

Does this change your count? Do you know how long those desks will remain empty? Are these 5 employees just grabbing coffee and coming back? Do you stay and observe or do you continue on your journey to the rest of the office spaces and observe them? The answer to these questions will always be met with frustration because you simply can’t observe multiple spaces at the same time. This is why CCTV was created and implemented as a security measure in many places around the world. Logging occupancy based on a few glances a day won’t give you real insights. Office space is dynamic for most companies and employees.

So what can we do?  

This is 2021. Today, smart building management software is monitoring and logging events that are happenings in real-time. By installing seamless sensors and transforming your building into a smart building, you are likely to discover that as much as 50% of your building resources are unused even on peak attendance.

Even in organizations where hot-desking and flexible workspace is implemented, employees report spending up to 10 minutes a day looking for a free desk. Try multiplying this number by a week,  a month, and a year. Think about how much productivity time was lost on looking for a desk. Think about the frustration employees are feeling while they are searching for an empty seat and we haven’t even mentioned the meeting room usage, no-show, etc.

Effective utilization and hot desk distribution without data simply cannot be productive or efficient. A smart building management system like PointGrab can make this process a lot more efficient by collecting real-time data that lets us find these leaks quickly. Smart building solutions allow employees to easily find and book their desk upon entering the building, making this daunting task of finding a free desk a walk in the park. Employees can monitor the empty desks at multiple points in their journey and save time and frustration. Employees can also choose the most suitable seat for them that will enable them to be truly creative and efficient.

How can smart building work for you?

We can all agree that cleanliness in the workspace is important, especially during a pandemic. It affects employee mindsets immensely. We are all very familiar with the sheet on the back of the bathroom door indicating the last time the cleaning team has been around, and we know when everything was cleaned. Unfortunately, those sheets don’t provide any real-time solutions for bathroom-related events that require immediate attention. We all depend on the one good samaritan that will alert the cleaning team about a cleaning event, or we simply must wait for the next scheduled cleaning.

Either way, we remain inefficient in this regard too. Since we’re focusing on ROI and employee wellbeing, it’s important to mention that cleaning costs and efficiency in commercial buildings are all but optimized.

The solution?

Automate distribution of the cleaning resources based on real-time data. All events are being monitored through smart sensors. Don’t worry, the smart sensors are positioned outside of the restroom and their purpose is to monitor usage. By monitoring space usage, we don’t simply need to check a piece of paper on the back of the door to ensure high standards of cleanliness. Now, we can alert teams based on events that require their attention. Notifications are being sent directly and automatically to the cleaning teams, depending on actual usage of the facilities rather than on constant hours. They get the call and know exactly where they are needed. The smart sensors monitor and manage for you. That sheet on the back of the door is about to be old news.

Meeting rooms in a smart building

On top of occupancy management tools for desks and collaboration areas, many commercial buildings are misusing their meeting rooms spaces. Our smart building analytics, backed by actual employee surveys, shows that many booked meeting rooms stand empty and employees are forced to waste production time (and some more frustration) searching for meeting rooms. This is on top of the time it takes to find a free desk. In a typical site, up to 50% of meeting rooms are unused at any given time, whereas 24% of the time, there is only one person in a meeting room. What can you do about it? What can be learned and done? How do we optimize the usage of our commercial real estate? Well, now when you have data that is accurate, real-time, and available, a lot can be done. Smart sensors can make these searches and waste of resources obsolete.

Imagine the impact on your productivity when your employees don’t need to search for meeting rooms anymore. The process becomes more efficient and productive simply by automatically releasing no show meeting rooms.

Smart building management systems also help us save a substantial amount of money on energy. Yes, by tracking unused office spaces we can automatically turn on and off climate controls in certain areas.  Sensors pick up on the presence of people in the room and climate control is activated. Otherwise, the power is off and the electricity meter is no longer running. With automated climate control alone, commercial buildings can save thousands of dollars on electricity every month and year, all the while focusing on the wellbeing of the employees, the planet, and shareholders.


Smart buildings provide for a better, cleaner, and safer environment for all its visitors. It reduces employee wondering and frustration and helps maintain our wellbeing. We spend more time in our workspaces then anywhere else throughout our adult life. We can all agree that we would benefit from the implementation of smart building solutions for mental and monetary efficiency and overall positive ROI.

Company Blog

Facility managers have their hands full managing an entire office building so its understandable that mistakes can be made. Each facility manager has their own method of monitoring and managing the property. However, it seems that something as important as using data to measure office space usage is neglected.

read more

Covid-19 made most of the office buildings around us stand tall and empty for months. New social distancing regulations forced us to be more conscious of our personal and public space. There are many speculations about the future and possible transformation of our workspace but even if opinions vary, numbers are showing that office space is not going anywhere.

read more
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