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Are flexible offices being used more efficiently?

24 march 2016

For years, the CfPB has measured occupancy rates with its own tool; the Space Utilization Monitor (SUM). This has resulted in a large database  with utilization data from over 22,000 workplaces and meeting spaces. 73 different utilization studies from the database were selected for an analysis, that specifically looked at the average, lowest and peak occupation of workstations (including temporary absence  or occupation with personal stuff). These results can be used as a benchmark by organizations that use SUM.

Figure 1: The average occupancy, temporary absence, lowest and peak occupation of workplaces
in 24 combi-flex offices, 11 combi-fixed offices and 38 traditional cellular offices.

The results (Figure 1) show that the average workplace occupation in offices with an activity based workplace use is higher (57%) than in offices with fixed workplaces (42% to 48%). But the temporary unoccupied workplaces (workplaces kept occupied only by things such as a jacket, bag or cup of coffee) in offices with a flexible workspace usage were higher than in offices with fixed workstations. This lessens the impact different people have on the actual occupation somewhat.

The CfPB also put together indicators for government organizations and educational institutions so that they can compare their results with similar organizations. On average, the workplace occupation of government offices is  higher than those in university environments. An explanation for this result may be that employees in university environments  are more mobile to work in other locations like classrooms and practice rooms. In both branches flexible workplace concepts are being introduced on a large scale.

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Sandra Brunia

Sandra Brunia

Researcher│MSc Culture, Organization and Management