There are a growing number of major companies interested in changing their workplace and implementing activity based working (ABW), also called flexible or agile working.

The new workplace is being designed to improve communication and collaboration between people and teams by providing a range of workspaces that can suit varying tasks. Rather than assigning each occupant to a desk, workplaces are being configured to allow occupants to choose a setting that best suits a specific task. Lockers and storage facilities are typically allocated to each occupant and in some cases occupants are encouraged to base themselves within a ‘home zone’.

Technology and innovation play a driving role to improve connectivity and processes. Laptops, follow-me printing, WiFi, IP softphones all allow occupants to work in a mobile and flexible manner either independently or alongside colleagues.

By removing boundaries the potential exists to:

  • increase staff collaboration and productivity
  • improve flexibility in where and how an employee chooses to work
  • reduce operating costs, particularly real estate costs

Significant improvement in mobile, wireless and fixed line technology and related investments in fibre, bandwidth, server capacity, cloud computing and unified communications have seen workplaces become increasingly virtualised. Whilst the new workplace may encourage collaboration and increased productivity, the question that all organisations will want answered is “how well does it perform and how do we measure performance”.

How does the Workplace Perform

Whilst ABW environments may deliver operational advantages and cost savings the performance of the workplace needs to be monitored. In so doing there are a number of questions that every company needs answered.

Administration Questions

  • How is space utilised between work settings?
  • Who sat at a specific workspace?
    • How long was the workspace occupied for?
    • How often is an individual in the office?
  • How much is used and what is free?

Staff Questions

  • How do people find spaces?
    • Where is my zone / workspaces / locker?
    • Does my zone or floor have any available space?
    • What floors or zones currently have available the specific type of workspace I need today?
  • How people find where a colleague is sitting?
  • How many people in the building and which floor are they on?
  • How we infer people collaborating with each other?
    • How long are they collaborating?
    • What type of collaboration?

Management Questions

  • What is the occupancy % trend, when do we have too much space or are about to run out?
  • What are the most utilised or underutilised workspace types?
  • What is the average amount of time staff spend at a workspace or in the office?
  • How we implement cross charging and a space charge back model?

Achieving Real Time Space Reporting

Once the questions relating to performance have been identified, the next is question is what technologies are available to provide the specific needs for reporting in an ABW / non-allocated desk environment.

Guardian Global Systems specialises in bringing together diverse information sources within a client’s organisation such as Wi-Fi utilisation, VOIP phone usage, security barrier analysis, locker usage, network usage and RFID utilisation to produce meaningful analysis of space utilisation.