Occupancy monitoring is a term most people have heard of. It’s widely understood to be a technological enabler for counting how many people are using a space at any given time. Rapid evolution has allowed this enabler to become a critical data source to support decision making on building management, workspace optimisation, portfolio planning and departmental budgeting. But do we understand how much it actually impacts our working lives?
Empowering greater efficiency through greater insights
Occupancy monitoring is one property technology tool within the Government’s One Estate programme. One Estate sits within the Civil Service Interoperability Programme, and is an enabler of the Civil Service Reform. The programme exists to remove artificial barriers between departments and buildings to use common technologies and services that enable greater portfolio efficiencies and value for money, while improving productivity through smarter ways of working.
Property technology includes many platforms and solutions which, when used together effectively, provide a comprehensive data set for better-informed, strategic decision making at macro and micro levels. From portfolio planning, estate rationalisation, building management and budgeting to tenancy structures, workplace optimisation and space planning.
These data-backed decisions are enabling us to manage the Government’s office portfolio with greater insights. The data empowers us to make decisions and improvements that are creating a smaller, better and greener office portfolio while also empowering civil servants to be their best at work.
It’s all about the numbers
There is a misconception that occupancy monitoring is a company’s solution to people surveillance. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of being ‘monitored’ while at work, believing that their personally-identifiable data is being captured and reported on.
While it’s true that a person’s name is linked to their building access pass, our process removes personally-identifiable data from the data we analyse and report on. And when shared with our clients, this data allows departments to understand how their buildings and spaces are being used. It also enables them to optimise workspaces to support greater efficiency and productivity, while also identifying cost-saving opportunities.
We have established four levels of occupancy monitoring, all of which focus on the number of people using a space at any given time:
Level One – Perimeter
Perimeter level monitoring looks at the entire building as a single space to monitor the number of people within it at any given time. It enables us to ensure safe capacity is maintained, offering everyone sufficient space and distance.
Perimeter monitoring also enables us to identify usage trends such as the busiest days of the week, and times of the day. We can then flex our workplace services to ensure our customers are adequately supported. For example, with a trend showing a particular day as the busiest, it allows us to prepare by increasing reception and security staff.
Level Two – Floor
Similar to Perimeter monitoring, Floor level monitoring treats an entire floor, or floorplate, as a single space.
The data captured in Floor monitoring supports our clients with workplace planning by enabling them to optimise their workplaces and ensure comfort for their people. It also supports location planning when departments are looking to rationalise their property portfolios and save public spending.
Level Three – Zone
Zone level monitoring allows floors to be defined into separate spaces to create zones. Monitoring the number of people within a zone allows us to predict peaks and troughs in occupancy to schedule our maintenance and support services with minimal impact to our customers.
Level Four – Setting
Setting level monitoring focuses on a specific setting, such as a desk or meeting room. It monitors how often that setting is being used and at what capacity. The data from this allows us to manage, redesign or repurpose the setting to better suit our customers’ needs. For example, if a meeting room is underutilised 90% of the time, we can consider redesigning or repurposing it to better support less occupancy.
Ultimately, all four levels of monitoring allow us to focus on the numbers within the data to optimise workplaces and building performance. This ensures we are achieving the best value for our clients, and delivering the most effective and productive spaces for our customers. All while saving costs for the taxpayer.