From data to design: Effective space planning with Envoy workplace data

Jun 17, 2024
Equipped with the right data, you can take the guesswork out of space planning to create the most efficient and user-friendly work environment for your employees.
Euna Kim
Content Marketing Manager
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Moving to a new office space or redesigning your existing layout is a complex process that involves a lot of detailed planning. The right data and tools can make all the difference during the space planning stage, giving you the clarity to make strategic improvements to your space. 

To take the guesswork out of space planning, use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to help you make the most of your workplace. This helps maximize efficiency and create the ideal environment for your employees. In this article, we’ll share some of the key data points that can drive your decision-making and how to use Envoy analytics to make this process easier.

Using data to drive workplace layout decisions

Leveraging data to inform decisions about your space planning is crucial, ensuring that every choice is backed by insights into your employees’ needs, space utilization, and future growth potential. Data is the key to making decisions that create spaces built for productivity and collaboration. 

Qualitative workplace data

On the qualitative side, you can ask different departments about their needs and what works best for them. 

Types of workspaces 

Employee surveys and focus groups can inform the types of workspaces that are most important to your workforce. For example, your sales team might need quick access to single-person phone booths for days with heavy sales calls; marketing might need bigger conference rooms with A/V equipment or white boards for collaborative brainstorming meetings. Recruiting will likely require meeting rooms with privacy screens to limit distractions during interviews. 

Seating arrangements

You’ll also want to consider different departments’ seating arrangement needs. For a busy sales team who’s traveling to and from client sites, the ability to book desks within an open sales neighborhood can ensure that this space doesn’t sit empty. For an admin team, it might make less sense to have a neighborhood dedicated to these team members and instead seat them next to the department or project team they directly support.

Amenities and services

Employee feedback can also help you identify the types of amenities your employees care about most. Whether it’s catered lunches and a fully-stocked snack kitchen, ergonomic workstations, or improved tech setups, these amenities can improve employee productivity and morale to keep them coming onsite to your workplace.

Quantitative workplace data

While an employee survey can provide valuable insights, objective numbers can back up your list of requirements and enable you to make decisions about your space with confidence. Looking at a holistic perspective of your current occupancy and space utilization data lets you see how people are actually using your spaces. 

Here are a five types of workplace data you can use for space planning:

1. Employee attendance trends

Space planning with employee attendance data

Employee attendance data is invaluable for space planning, showing you trends in your workplace utilization and peak occupancy times. Envoy’s attendance analytics dashboard lets you see which days of the work week have the highest onsite attendance, which departments are onsite the most often, and whether or not your employees are complying to your onsite attendance policy.

Space planning with employee attendance by day of week

By analyzing this data, you can optimize the allocation of resources and staffing, ensuring that you’re prepared for high-traffic days. This can also inform any changes to your onsite attendance policy—if space is tight on certain days, you can work with your department heads to determine a staggered onsite schedule for different teams to minimize overcrowding.

Passive collection of employee attendance data through integrations with access control systems or Wi-Fi access points is ideal for collecting employee attendance data accurately and effortlessly. These systems automatically log entry times when your employees access the building or office Wi-Fi network, giving you real-time insights into occupancy without any extra work for employees. This seamless data collection lets you maintain a great experience for your employees, while providing your admins a comprehensive understanding of office attendance trends, allowing for more precise and responsive space planning. 

Related article: How 3 companies boost workplace security and efficiency with Envoy integrations

2. Visitor traffic data

If your workplace has a steady flow of visitors, whether they’re clients, interviewees, or guests of employees, visitor data is also an important aspect of your workplace occupancy data. Especially if your organization hosts client events, board meetings, or other social events, you may see a large volume of people in your space on certain days or times of the year.

Space planning with visitor analytics

You might identify trends in your visitor traffic—perhaps Mondays and Tuesdays are the most popular days for interviews, meaning they may not be the best for internal events if you have limited space.

Space planning with busiest times heat map

Visitor traffic is important to see alongside your employee attendance so you can see a holistic view of your workplace occupancy and plan accordingly for staffing needs as well as demand for catering and other resources.

3. Meeting room usage

Meeting room utilization is another set of metrics that varies widely across companies and can drastically impact your employees’ productivity. Understanding how these collaborative spaces are used can inform your space planning and any changes you need to make to your layout.

Space planning with meeting room bookings by day
Space planning with meeting room usage heat map

You can look at which days and times typically have the most room bookings. If the rooms used for interviews are a limited resource, it might make sense to work with your recruiting team to stagger interviews for different departments across different days.

Space planning with most used meeting room capacities

Looking at which room capacities and room amenities (e.g. A/V equipment and white boards) are most commonly booked can help you identify which types you need more of in your new space.

4. Desk booking data

Space planning with desk usage by floor
Space planning with neighborhood utilization data

If your organization uses hot desking, this data can give you additional insights into how your space is being used. Are certain neighborhoods consistently booked up? It might be time to add more workstations to accommodate the higher influx of people using that space.

5. Headcount growth projections

Accounting for growth is an important step in the space planning process—having a clear understanding of how much each department expects to grow within the next few years (or span of your office lease) will also determine how you’ll want to lay out your new space. Leaving a minimum of 10 to 15% of extra space gives you some wiggle room for growth and accommodates for traveling employees, ensuring you don’t run out of space immediately after your move.

Setting benchmarks for your data

Without benchmarks or goal ranges, not every workplace occupancy metric is all that useful. Some goal ranges are more obvious than others—for example, if your workplace utilization rate is around 60-70%, that means your space still has additional room for growth. If your occupancy rate is above 75% and the company’s growing fast, you’ll likely need additional space or a new policy to stagger onsite attendance for different departments. If it’s way under with no plans for additional headcount, it might be worth considering downsizing your space by subleasing floors or moving to another location.

Space planning with workplace utilization data

For meeting rooms, a 40-60% utilization rate is a good benchmark for determining if these spaces are utilized well. If your most popular meeting room is booked for six hours out of an eight-hour workday, the utilization rate is 75%. This tells you that utilization is on the higher side, and you might need to consider adding more similar meeting spaces (in terms of capacity and amenities) if that trend continues. 

If you’re looking for high-level benchmarks across your industry and company size, you can take a look at Envoy’s Pulse Report for a quick snapshot into current trends. This report aggregates data from more than 31 million workplace entries around the globe to give you a peek into workplace utilization trends at organizations similar to your own. 

Want to see if Envoy can help your organization use workplace data to inform your space planning? Contact us to set some time with an Envoy platform expert to learn more.

This article is the first article of a two-part series. Keep an eye out for part two on using Envoy’s interactive workplace maps for space planning. 

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AUTHOR BIO
Content Marketing Manager

Euna is a content marketer and storyteller at Envoy. She writes about using data to increase workplace efficiency and improving the way we work together. Outside of the office, you'll usually find Euna traveling to new places, cozying up with a good book, or testing out a new recipe.

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