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Space Utilization, Corporate Real Estate Strategy, data - 6 min read

4 Common pitfalls to avoid when optimizing space utilization

Christina Franken July 17, 2019

Today’s office buildings are inefficient. Deploying Smart Building technology is full of potential and contains many promises. What can easily be overlooked though, is that some of the smartest and most sustainable buildings out there are still very inefficient and not sustainable at all if they are highly underutilized. Even at peak seasons and times, upward of 30 percent of seats in office buildings remain empty the majority of the time. This is a great example of a large hidden opportunity that can be a key driver and business case to start and fund your smart building journey.

With the unparalleled opportunities new technologies bring, there are 4 key things to take into consideration to avoid costly and ineffective space utilization strategies. We’ve listed them here.


1. Collecting data without defining its business objective

Get your goals clear. As the need for data-driven corporate real estate management grows, the possibilities for collecting data have ignited. It’s important to realize that spending money on technology or solutions without a clear strategy or benefit is not necessary. Define clear business objectives for space utilization initiatives, and align them so they contribute to corporate strategy. What technology or solution should be used will logically follow in lockstep. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the options available. Having clear goals is the best guidance in your decision making process.

2. Underestimating the importance of aligning internal stakeholders

The entire process of buying (cloud-based) technology to optimize space utilization might be new to some of your internal stakeholders. Therefore it is important to ensure they understand what you are trying to achieve. For this reason, a very important early step, which is often forgotten, is to align internal stakeholders on Smart Building initiatives. IT, Security and Legal/Privacy should be informed proactively early on. By doing this, issues, potential delays and disappointments down the line will be avoided.

3. Failing to understand what data is needed

When investigating Smart Building technologies it can be tempting to toss lots of potentially interesting features around the room, due to the seemingly unlimited and exciting possibilities. Often those ideas result in features that are related to tracking patterns of people, or finding a specific colleague or friend. It comes as no surprise that those ideas arise without a good understanding of how opt-in/opt-out policies work, and knowing if and how one can relate occupancy analytics with HR data. Many of these features could be considered as highly intrusive as they involve personal data and might conflict with regulations. This means that once Legal and Information Security teams get involved, there is a risk that these features are immediately swept off the table. This could jeopardize an entire Smart Building initiative, which is why it’s so important to have a constant focus on your business case, and understanding what data you need early in the process.

4. Failing to take future technology enhancements into account

IoT is a rapidly evolving domain and its impact on businesses is evident. With the large scale of investments and developments going on in the Smart Building industry, there is no doubt that technology will advance in the coming years. Therefore, future proofing your Smart Building initiative is instrumental. It is difficult to predict what future offices will look like. Hence, selecting a technology agnostic approach allows you to enrich your Smart Building initiative with virtually any possible future data source. This provides the flexibility needed to adapt to changing needs. One thing is certain; change is the only constant. Your long term Smart Building vision is only smart if it is prepared for the future.


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Christina Franken

I'm the Product Manager for Lone Rooftop's Smart Building tool suite helping companies worldwide to make data-driven decisions about utilizing their building portfolios.