A Data-Driven Approach to Tackling Space Utilization

Anna Lui
November 7, 2019

Whether they have one corporate campus or a sprawling real estate portfolio across multiple cities, companies share a common challenge: their employees insist that there are not enough conference rooms, private spaces, parking spaces, bathrooms, vending machines—you name it, it seems like there’s never enough.

Yet, astute real estate leaders know that nearly 50% of office space may go unused at any time. There may be plenty of meeting rooms, but it seems as if every time employees look for one, they come up short: rooms are already reserved, too far away, or too small— leaving both employees (AND their employers) frustrated by the time wasted on finding the right space.

So how can companies improve this experience for employees and make better use of existing real estate assets?

For nearly a decade, Comfy has worked with Fortune 500 clients to seamlessly connect their employees to the people, places, and things they need to do their best work.  Comfy’s SaaS workplace platform is well-known in the market for improving the employee experience, but what you may not know is how our industry-leading app helps generate rich data to fuel enterprise-grade analytics on space utilization. When combined with data from sensors and other workplace systems, our analytics help real estate executives create intelligent, connected places that are fit-for-purpose.

Our clients rely on the diagnostic powers of Comfy Insights, our open reporting analytics dashboard, to get a distilled, intuitive view into workplace data and to identify utilization trends and outliers. By aggregating standard reporting available from individual sensor vendors, Comfy Insights provides a view into the performance of individual rooms and desks across your entire real estate portfolio, across all buildings and all sensor providers.

Here are some quick examples of how our clients use Comfy Insights to enable smarter, more informed real estate decisions.

Use Case #1: Facilitate the transition to an unassigned seating strategy

One of the “original” Silicon Valley tech companies was transitioning to unassigned seating in a new building, and was nervous about employee push-back after previous failed attempts. With the Comfy app, employees were empowered to easily see and reserve available desks. A year later, workplace satisfaction is significantly higher and they are able to fit 800 more employees in the building than previously.

Use Case #2: Right-size conference rooms

Using analytics from Comfy Insights, this same client discovered that their new, expensive large conference rooms were underutilized compared to the more popular smaller conference rooms. After seeing the trend over the course of six months, they modified the larger rooms to create multiple smaller conference rooms, and utilization went up.

Use Case #3: Identify which spaces are most and least popular, and investigate why

A Fortune 500 company used Comfy Insights to view the most and least popular rooms with a click of a button. They were also able to see that the peak utilization times changed throughout the day. This led to the discovery that there was an intense afternoon glare on one side of the building, causing employees to avoid a recently revamped, expensive workspace. After the client made adjustments to compensate for the glare, employees flocked to the space.

Use Case #4: Make informed real estate portfolio management decisions (e.g. when to sell underutilized space)

A client based in a high-priced U.S. city was trying to decide whether to retrofit an aging building or sell it. Based on data in Comfy Insights, they were able to make an informed decision based on actual employee need and usage and confidently recommend consolidating and redirecting resources. The end result: $30 million avoided in retrofits and $50 million gained in profit from selling underutilized space.

We’re continuously enhancing our analytics to best meet the needs of our clients. In the next few months, we’ll be building in additional filtering capabilities to help real estate leaders better identify utilization patterns and behavior across teams, neighborhoods, and more. Stay tuned!

Interested in learning how Comfy can help you drive space utilization across your portfolio? Contact us today!

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