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The Workplace Insights Standard – May 2022

Explanation:

  • Meeting rooms avg: average monthly occupancy of meeting rooms
  • Meeting rooms peak: peak occupancy of meeting rooms reached during the month 
  • Collaboration spaces avg: average monthly occupancy of collaboration spaces
  • Collaboration spaces peak: peak occupancy of collaboration spaces reached during the month
  • Desk avg: average monthly occupancy of desks (excl. individual offices)
  • Desk peak: peak occupancy of desks reached during the month (excl. individual offices)
  • Meeting rooms vs collaboration spaces: as defined per each customer setup. Generally speaking, meeting rooms are bookable as opposed to collaboration spaces which are open/first come first serve spaces.

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Interpretation:

There are clear patterns appearing in the early part of this year:

Meeting rooms and collaboration spaces are more used on average than desk spaces. 

This is a very important development for the office space in general. Traditionally, “the office” was built with the individual desk at its center. Overall footprint was defined based on needs in terms of desks. The reason: the individual desk was the space in which the individual worker was spending an overwhelming majority of the time in the office.

Hybrid working and the rise of “punctuated collaboration” as a reason to come to the office are upending this traditional logic. For instance, if pre-pandemic, an office worker was spending five days, 40 hours in the building, they may have spent 30 or more hours at their individual desk (according to research, the typical white collar employee spends an average of 8hrs in meetings per week – 1 hour average meeting duration * an average of 8 meetings per week). However, if that same employee only comes to the office twice during the week for a duration of 12 hours, and during these 12 hours, spends half of that time in meetings, the time spent on the individual desk has decreased from 30+ hours to just 6 hours.

If the average usage of meeting rooms and collaboration spaces continues to increase and does so at a faster rate than the desk spaces, there will be a clear reflection to have for workplace leaders regarding the distribution of space types in their buildings.

Peak utilization for meeting rooms and collaboration spaces is much higher than for desks

This data point is a *very* early confirmation of the above assumption regarding the probable need to re-balance space types. Peak utilization points to a moment (15-min period) in a given time frame (e.g. a week) for which the spaces in question had the highest usage. This isn’t indicative of how many people were in those spaces – i.e. it could have been 1 person using a 10 people room – but is indicative of the highest demand for meeting room spaces.

In April 2022, the difference in peaks between desks and meeting rooms (globally: 28 percentage points) and between desks and collaboration spaces (globally: 19 percentage points) allows for a simple observation: across corporate offices measured by Locatee, the risk of saturation is much higher for meeting rooms and collaboration spaces than it is for desks. 

Practically speaking, while the average utilization of meeting rooms doesn’t (yet) signify a trigger to add more meeting rooms, it may have a more intangible consequence of workers deciding against coming in the office due to a perceived lack of availability of popular/regularly requested space types.

Upended usage of the office space

Due to limited availability of data in certain geographic areas, we cannot create a comprehensive comparison of the current patterns with what we could observe before the pandemic. 

However, looking at the limited data for Europe, we can see that pre-pandemic the patterns were very different than today:

  • Desks were on average the most used space type
  • Desks had the highest peak occupancy together with meeting rooms
  • Collaboration spaces were the “lesser in demand” space type

Today, collaboration spaces have joined meeting rooms as the more in demand spaces, and desk space has seen a significant decrease in usage – looking at both average and peaks. 

The premium is placed on meeting rooms and collaboration spaces – the raison d’être of the office of Locatee’s customers becomes clear. What is yours?

 

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About the author

Raphael Morgulis

Raphael Morgulis

PR & Analyst Relations Manager

Raphaël is our PR/AR manager at Locatee. As a young child, he was fascinated with connecting the dots images where drawing lines between disconnected spots created a meaningful and beautiful image. He hasn't changed that much since, as he now tries to do the same with words for a living.

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