The Challenge

Evolving with working style

In 2017 Freespace engaged with a large professional services organisation who have 24,000 employees and 900 partners across 21 UK offices.

In 2018 over 65% of their population, some 13,500 people were based in London across three buildings. The firm took a decision to implement a two-building strategy – reducing their London foot print from over a million square feet to 865,000 square feet. The two buildings were re-imagined to reflect the firms culture of ‘everyday flexibility’ providing their people with choice and flexibility in where and how they work. Cultural change and technology enablement we key drivers to the success of the transformation.

For many years, the employees used a booking tool ‘hotelling’ to select their workspace for the day, or even the week. As the style of working evolved, the firm realised that the booking tool created an unnecessary process that no longer represented the principles of their workplace.

The firm recognised they needed a new solution that could simplify how people find workspaces whilst providing invaluable insight into how their real estate is performing.

The Solution

Simple solutions for a simplified user experience

The Freespace solution comprises of over 9,000 discrete sensors fixed under workspaces to anonymously monitor utilisation. The data is live streamed to 85 signage screens positioned around the offices.

Freespace has simplified the experience by displaying a live floor map on signage screens with labelled areas so employees can easily choose the right workspace for their activity and see what is free in real-time. Workspace availability is automatically updated when a person occupies the space and releases after an agreed period of time of being vacant. The release time period can be tailored to the firms requirements.

The bespoke design incorporates accessibility features and user friendliness to ensure all employees can use Freespace to find a free space, anytime, from anywhere across the building.

Spatial Analysis

Empowering design with data

Freespace offered another level of insight into the utilisation of the workplace. Previous methods of data collection to determine the levels of occupancy had been effective, but Freespace takes that analysis one step further by providing occupancy information on each individual workspace. This has enabled the organisation to make better informed planning decisions and furniture choices based on evidence-based design.

“Freespace analytics informs and validates our day to day real estate, design and furniture decision making. The insight into the behaviour of our colleagues encouraged us to invest in a re-design of two floors only six months after last re-design”

New innovation to support an evolving workplace: Freespace Fire Loading solution

With their flexible approach, demand for their office space fluctuates from day to day. In early 2019, the firm wanted to understand how they could use the Freespace data to ensure the number of people on each individual floor did not exceed the Fire loading threshold. After an initial brief, the Freespace development team sought to design and produce a solution: Freespace Fire Loading.

Using the current sensors in place for occupancy management, the system takes a dynamic calculation of the total occupancy in a building, down to the individual floor level, ensuring total occupancy is within the building-specific fire loading regulations.

The data is displayed within the analytics platform, allowing live and historic reporting for audit purpose. Though the main benefit of this solution is the alerting functionality which highlights to operational team if a floor is approaching maximum capacity, enabling them to re-direct employees to other floors.

Fire Loading Analysis

The Benefit

Maximising the results across the UK portfolio

After the success of the London project the Change Management team have smoothly deployed Freespace into over 15 buildings across the UK. There are now over 16,000 sensors and over 120 signage screens deployed across the firms UK real estate portfolio.

Freespace enabled the firm to deliver the strategic intent of creating simplified workplaces providing choice and flexibility.

The use of Freespace analytics evidenced the business decision to merge the London population into two buildings and has promoted and supported the ongoing working practices and behaviours needed to realise £13million saving per year.

£13 millionsavings per year

“Freespace has helped us create the dynamic work environment we were striving for. Using the data we’re now able to identify trends and pro-actively manage our real estate. The indisputable data provides confidence to our plans, validates our decisions and helps us drive continuous improvement”

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