The global real estate dilemma
Office space is an area companies are trying to simultaneously achieve savings and improve workplace efficiency. Increasingly companies are evolving to an approach called activity-based working or agile working; replacing assigned desks with floor spaces designed to suit different types of work activity, to foster greater individual productivity as well as better team collaborations.
An employee spends on average 18 minutes per day looking for conference rooms or other locations to work. In addition, the average annual cost for a single workstation in London is over $22,000*, therefore sub-optimal utilisation carries a high cost.
In 2016 a leading global risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company, embarked on a new programme to enhance their workplace experience; bringing their colleagues together and shifting to a truly agile workplace whilst reducing their real estate footprint cost across the globe.
While the cost reduction impact of these new environments is positive, fully utilising those spaces can be a challenge. The existing kiosk booking system gave the users the opportunity to book workspaces but did not show a true representation of whether that space was actually being used, either at all or for the duration of the booking. This process also took up valuable time for users, having to search, book, maintain and locate a workspace.
Establishing a collaborative partnership
Freespace were approached with a request to leverage technology and workplace usage data to evaluate their current real estate and evolve the workforce location strategy.
The simplicity of the Freespace solution enabled the rapid deployment of 2,500 sensors and 40 signage screens into the headquarters in London. The battery operated sensors were installed at every workstation and meeting area to detect human presence. The live data is streamed to floor screens around the offices to show workspace availability to the users and to an online portal for analysis of the environment. The floor screens quickly gained engagement from users, enabling them to identify the right workspace to suit their activities at the time of need. The sensors continuously release spaces that are not in use based on an agreed duration.
Using analytics to support the Global Change Management Programme
After the primary deployment demonstrated the value in adopting Freespace, the company went on to scale the solution across 80 additional sites, with a total of 27,000 sensors and 225 signage screens.
Using Freespace to gathered data from each site over a 6-month period enabled them to understand the working landscape and provide precise data to verify the proposed shift to a fully agile workplace.
Analysis of the data in 2016 revealed a surplus of approximately 7000 desks worldwide. This initiated the transformation of their workplace to improve the ratio of desks to colleagues by an impressive 24%.
“The Freespace team were very flexible and collaborative to help define and deliver upon our vision for real estate analytics”
The dedication and flexible approach of the Freespace team to understand the real estate strategy and develop a unique automated reporting solution was a strong deciding factor when choosing to introduce Freespace into its workplace.
The results of implementing Freespace
The company have publicly reported a 20% reduction in real estate portfolio costs and $100m saving since implementing Freespace to support their global workplace transformation.
Freespace provided them with the confidence to reduce their office space by 25% per colleague and increase sharing ratio to 23% for each individual workstation.
The Change Management Programme has garnered an increase in end-user workplace satisfaction, with an average score of 75% satisfied for each site that has implemented Freespace.
The efficient delivery of the Freespace data to create an accurate workplace assessment has enabled the Real Estate team to maintain an open dialogue with their management team regarding ongoing workplace developments – therefore creating the ultimate agile environment.
$100 millionreal estate savings
“End user satisfaction of the environment has increased and we have been able to reinvest the savings. These investments have enabled the provision of new and varying types of space to support the different types of activities.”
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