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Tony Booty
Tony Booty

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04 November 2019 Tony Booty

Sensors in the office provide valuable insights to managers, says Tony Booty.

Corporations frequently don’t understand how their real estate is used, which leads to big investment decisions being based on little more than guesswork. 

This is coming to light as flexible working and agile workspaces gather momentum. Major office-based businesses typically underuse 30 per cent of their space by staying tied to the one-person-one-desk traditional office layout. 

A study we carried out last year showed the value of all that grade A office space going to waste is a colossal £10 billion a year. This space could be used for new agile work areas, relinquished to save on real estate costs or free up capital. 

But most businesses have little or no data on how they are using their space, which makes it almost impossible to plan. So big real estate decisions, such as investing in more space or moving to new offices, are often based on guesswork or inaccurate information.

Desk and other occupancy sensors provide a better way. They monitor exactly how a floor space is being used so that FMs and real estate managers can gain greater understanding than is possible with paper surveys or tracking people’s movements in reception or through their phones. 

And next-generation sensors also allow managers to monitor temperature, light and air quality.

But many organisations are still not using them. Why? The technology is not yet on everyone’s radar, particularly in the C-suite. Managers may believe they don’t need it, especially when many consultants still promote paper surveys. Meanwhile, visions of smart buildings are confusing the market, causing some people to delay decisions about deploying real estate technology.

Offices must change. Rather than basing risky real estate decisions on gut feeling, it’s time that corporations found out exactly where they are now by using the technology that Is out there. That way, they’ll have the insights they need to be able to plan for the future.

Tony Booty is a director at flexible working technology specialist Abintra