It’s a new data-driven era for corporate real estate and workspace occupancy management — do you have your plan in place?

February 7, 2023
As companies get their offices back to “normal”, it’s clear that employee demand for Hybrid and Flex Work conditions is here to stay. Newly available Smart Building solutions enable stakeholders to leverage previously unseen building performance data to adapt to the new reality.
This is the third article of our four-part series on revolutionary new strategies and technology in corporate real estate for achieving true Operational Efficiency. In case you missed them, check out parts one and two.

The Three Pillars of Operational Efficiency

Understanding where your offices and buildings are incurring unnecessary costs in terms of energy and other utility consumption can lead to 10-30% in energy savings.

Understanding how to significantly improve the ability to leverage excess building space and equipment, also reducing costs, especially during non-working hours.

Understanding how factors such as air quality, cleanliness, direct sunlight and other building and workspace factors contribute to employee psychology and overall productivity.

By now, we’re all well aware of the tectonic shift from “9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday” at the office to a whole new era of personalized Hybrid and Flex employee work experiences. Post-pandemic, employees want to stay flexible in how and where they work and companies are grappling with how to make the office more appealing, more closely tend to the needs of individual roles, as well as better manage the costs of under and over-utilized workspaces.

There’s only one way to do this: implement data-driven workspace management strategies with smart building technologies.

However, only a small minority of buildings have deployed the right tools for extracting data to actually understand Occupancy issues and know how much and what kind of spaces are required as well as gain useful insights to improve the workspace environment.

With Smart Building solutions, you can leverage building performance data to strike the right Occupancy balance. You don’t want to have too few employees in the office at a given time so as to avoid wasteful energy consumption, nor have too many leading to overall discomfort and dissatisfaction — further exacerbating the problem of workers not wanting to come in.

There are also missed opportunities to drive new revenue with Flex Space management. For example, renting out underutilized spaces to other companies or hosting events. In fact, workers themselves are increasingly organizing after-hour or community events within office spaces and employers can more creatively cater to these trends to such an extent that the workplace becomes somewhere we want to be as opposed to somewhere we have to be. With the right insights, you can leverage the entire office building into a more dynamic, profitable operation.

At EDGE Next, we strive to reveal actionable building insights to real estate stakeholders, such as CFOs, portfolio and facility management, enabling them to:

  • Reduce real estate costs per FTE by optimizing occupancy levels
  • Increase rental incomes and services from Flex Space
  • Open up the space to employees for social causes, community engagement or for team activities

What’s more is that all this can be achieved quickly and inexpensively within any legacy system or building, old or new. By deploying Smart Building solutions, you are empowering yourself to transform your office building into a healthier, more sustainable and profitable operation.

Actionable insights enable balanced building performance

Adapting to new flex work environments and demands while improving Operational Efficiency requires knowing what kind and how much space is required while understanding a variety of activities occurring within.

To get a better overview of what can be achieved, it’s helpful to break down Occupancy into three main areas:

The goal here is to gain a precise overview on space availability and utilization — even at the desk level — in real time. Within our platform dashboard you can clearly see room occupancy and space usage percentages by time (hourly, daily, weekly, etc.). With this level of insight, you can take a variety of initiatives:

  • Balance your spaces for Hybrid and Flex Work by viewing utilization rates of open seating, phone booths, conference rooms, etc.
  • Better distribute employees and direct maintenance and cleaning services.
  • Better allocate space by understanding the needs of different roles and responsibilities.
  • Be more quickly alerted to potential lease terminations due to drop of tenant demand.
  • Collect data from existing offices to make sure new spaces are optimized for your employee personas.

Also appearing on the dashboard are a wide variety of data points illustrating sources of energy consumption and by various measurements.

View separately or cumulatively consumption by lights, heating, cooling, screens, plug loads, etc. on an hourly basis.
Correlate usage of the above by how much is consumed during business and non-business hours.
Reduce costs by lowering base energy consumption accordingly.

This refers to all the factors within workspaces that can have negative or positive effects on employee wellbeing and productivity, which will directly affect the desire to come into the office or work from home. When in the office, displays can be installed throughout spaces to help employees find the ideal place for their current need/task through a smart scheduling system. Our dashboard displays:

  • Lighting
  • Temperature
  • Ventilation
  • Etc.

How EDGE Next collects building occupancy data

In the second part of our series on how to achieve energy savings with EDGE Next, we went into some depth on how the platform works. It bears repeating that our Smart Building solution overall is easy to execute, inexpensive and yields quick results.

To recap:

First, we create a Digital Twin of your spaces that virtually represents structure, floors, rooms, etc. Next, we install and connect a network of IoT sensors and devices to your existing systems that immediately starts sending messages to the backend of the EDGE Next data platform. The platform is integrated into the company’s existing BMS with no additional upgrades, automations, capital adjustments, workflow changes or teams.

From here, the collected and correlated data is visualized on the frontend through an intuitive, customer (and even employee) facing dashboard, which provides the overviews described above and can generate additional reports on actionable insights.

Certain insights can even be displayed on screens mounted throughout the offices, corridors and conference rooms. This empowers not only C-suite, portfolio or facility managers within their own role in transforming their office building, but even each individual employee.

Operational Efficiency and Net Zero — the responsible and profitable strategy

Occupancy is just one area where corporate stakeholders must focus if their companies are to navigate the rough waters of current work and real estate trends. Companies must also tackle their overall office energy usage as well as understand and improve their spaces for maximum employee comfort.

Furthermore, starting on your path to Operational Efficiency is also a major step to achieving Net Zero. Imagine if the vast majority of the industry and world at large were committed to deploying Smart Building solutions in order to transform their buildings into healthy and sustainable spaces.

This would be a major collective achievement in overcoming both societies’ business and environmental challenges at once.

Stay tuned for the next article in our series. We’ll be deep diving into how companies can get even more actionable insights through data within the three pillars of Energy, Occupancy and Wellbeing.
The EDGE Next Mission
For over 25 years, our parent company EDGE, a leader in sustainable real estate development, whose portfolio and Net Zero initiative are dedicated to putting people and the planet first by building a zero carbon world, have understood the need and opportunity to deliver the right technologies to the right areas. Thus, EDGE Next’s Smart Building Solution was born.We believe that every relevant stakeholder at the top of executive management — CFOs, portfolio managers, facility managers, HR, etc. — has the power to act. Once we realize how our building spaces are performing, we can trigger initiatives that improve all aspects under the banner of “Operational Efficiency” — for the sake of our companies, global business and humanity itself.

To facilitate such a new and innovative process, we have given extensive thought into how customers can both understand and onboard the technology as easily, clearly and seamlessly as possible. We strive to help our stakeholders realize that there are absolutely zero reasons to not try our platform. This is why we integrate our Smart solution into your BMS with no long-term commitment, ready to start immediately to see results. We’re confident that once you see the quick results, a whole new world of building and office management opportunities will reveal itself.

More stories

Learning, Connecting, and Getting Inspired

EDGE Next Women Attend Women in Tech Summit MEET: Priya, our Director of Product who has worked in tech for 18 years Martyna, a Data Scientist who has worked in tech for nearly four years Jiaojiao, a Senior Cloud Engineer who has worked in tech almost two years Priya,...

A Healthy Building Is a Smart Building

Environment Makes All the Difference The potential of our office spaces begins with biological fundamentals–basic human needs like air, noise, light, and temperature. It’s essential, in an office environment, to get the basics right. Throughout the years, studies by...

EDGE commits to Net Zero for all future developments

Edge has become one of the first property developers in Europe to set out its roadmap for the eradication of all carbon emissions. Edge has announced that, starting today, all its newly announced developments will be Net Zero carbon – with the ultimate goal being to...