The client.

Independent publishing company, SAGE Publishing, founded in 1965, has occupied its Oliver’s Yard office in London’s Old Street since 2003. Up until recently, the publisher’s UK offices were quite typical of any business in this sector; with an allocated seating open-plan office, bookable meeting rooms, and private offices for senior staff. However, it took the decision to pilot a different way of working and undertook a project to adapt one floor to focus on activity-based working.

Industry: Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers.

Location: London.

Deployment Size: Over 250 individual spaces, 13,000 square foot floor.

Product: Sensors, Locker integration, room booking system integration, digital signage for wayfinding.

Solution: Activity-based working/Agile working.

The challenge.

This floor, the editorial department, now adopts unallocated seating and lockers for personal items, with multiple working environments. These include open plan working spaces, library spaces for quiet work, ‘jump spaces’, Skype pods, meeting rooms, a café, and more creative collaboration areas. This is all within the same 13,000 square foot floor space of the original department but reconfigured in recognition of the fact that everyone’s days are different, and people use the space in a number of ways.

Before undertaking the refurb, the former layout was benchmarked for occupancy, revealing only 40% utilization. Staff were also surveyed on what kind of working areas they thought they would find most useful.  With the new layout and processes in the pipeline, SAGE knew that many of its old approaches would no longer be suitable, such as using Outlook for room-booking, or physically ‘counting-heads’ to measure space utilization. While seeking a new room booking provider, SAGE combined this RFP to include occupancy measurement. Following a competitive pitch, NFS was selected as the room booking partner, while Freespace was selected to provide a workplace sensing solution.

The solution.

Freespace sensors were installed in over 250 individual spaces to measure the utilization of Sage Publishing’s new area to work. They found that some areas (in particular the meeting pods and jump spaces) were at times reaching 100% occupancy.

The insights provided by Freespace has helped to understand the exact nature of how space is used on the floor and will be used in the rollout of other floors.

Workspace monitoring.

Measuring space use across workspaces to provide utilization data.

Traditional workplace culture.

Supporting employees navigating workspaces, meeting rooms and locating colleagues.

Hybrid working.

Replacing assigned desks in favor of agile and activity-based working.

Lockers integration.

For personal items, with multiple working environments.

“What’s great about Freespace is that we can alter what data is visible as we go. Initially, for example, we were displaying whether meeting rooms were occupied or vacant but soon realized that displaying how many people were using the space was more useful. This was easily adjusted with no disruption. The overall implementation was seamless and impressive. Our network manager and engineer had all the information they needed from the start – all their technical questions were answered, and were very happy with the whole process.”

David Barnard
Global IT Manager at Sage Publishing

Our impact.

Before the redesign, employees were asked whether their workplace inspired them to ‘give their best work’ and less than a third agreed. Following the redesign and installation of Freespace, this more than doubled to 79%. What’s more, the percentage of employees who said they look forward to coming to work increased from 58% to 80%. While Freespace has initially been adopted to facilitate the change management of the agile working pilot, SAGE has found the wayfinding aspect of the solution to be of great benefit and hence widely popular.

“Being able to see, in real time, which spaces are available, with landmarks to orient users, is incredibly useful here and is improving people’s experience of the space. Workplace satisfaction scores have soared and we’ve seen a perceived increase in productivity of 20% since implementation. I would be more than happy to recommend Freespace to anyone looking for a dynamic occupancy solution.”

David Barnard
Global IT Manager at Sage Publishing