Finding the financials: calculating cost benefits of smart workplace

Uncertain over investing in smart office technology? A new report by Spacewell sets out the financial arguments and provides a step-by-step guide to figuring out your own potential cost savings

With so many options on the market and with so much financial uncertainty, purchasing new workplace tech can be daunting. In a world of tight budgeting and cost analysis, it can be challenging to know where to invest.

A new report from technology company Spacewell, ‘The ROI of Smart Workplace Investments: Understanding the Potential Gains from Optimizing Space Performance & Employee Experience’, aims to cut through the fog of uncertainty by making the business case for investing in smart technologies in the workplace.

The report sets out how smart technologies have become a more cost-effective investment as sensors have increased in capability while dropping in price. Taking a two-pronged approach, the report suggests that there are two core areas where smart tech can bring about savings: firstly in enabling the optimisation of office space; and secondly in increasing staff retention through elevating the workplace experience.

Office optimisation

The report highlights the room that most companies have to optimise their space, suggesting that actual levels of occupancy across all office spaces sits somewhere between 49 per cent and 68 per cent.

With an average benchmark for space usage sitting at about 70 per cent and maximum occupancy sitting at 95 per cent, these stats suggest that most companies still have some way to go before they are using their space effectively and that money is being left on the table by companies not making moves towards achieving these targets.

Research suggests that 80 per cent of companies are using badge swipe data to collect information on occupancy and that visual observation is still utilised by many organisations to gain information about utilisation.

These approaches may have their place but they lack the specificity that sensor data can provide over a period of time, meaning that companies could lose out on creating revenue when it comes to considering downsizing or leasing out space to another organisation.

Experience elevation

With the rise of hybrid and agile working, the role of the office has shifted and employees are looking for support when it comes to finding the right spaces to work from. The report cites that over 60 per cent of employers surveyed in the US felt that flexible choice of workspaces increased productivity by 20 per cent or more and that one in five employees felt that their productivity was impacted by their ability to access their preferred type of seating.

Providing the right range of spaces therefore is critical – it not only impacts the workplace experience for the employee but can help boost revenue by increasing productivity.

‘How desks and spaces are organised impacts team dynamics’

Research has also indicated that how space is set up impacts communication, with the likelihood of communicating with a colleague becoming very unlikely at just 50 metres. How desks and spaces are organised impacts team dynamics and affects communication, either running the risk of team members feeling isolated or, more positively, building relationships.

The report also cites research that suggests that the cost of hiring a new team member after someone has left the company is around 90 to 200 per cent of an employee’s annual salary, meaning that cost-wise, companies can’t afford to have employees feeling isolated.

To find out how smart technology can boost employee experience further and to do your own calculations around space optimisation, read the full report by Spacewell here.

Spacewell is a Corporate Member of WORKTECH Academy.
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