Menu

CEB Blogs

Topics

Real Estate

An End to Rows About the Office AirCon Could Make Firms More Efficient

New technology that gives employees a 'personal thermostat' can also help corporate real estate teams make sure everyone's workspace is used more efficiently

Office buildings are famous for heated arguments over the thermostat. There’s a high chance that those sitting nearby want the office warmer or cooler than you do. In fact, nearly 50% of employees are dissatisfied with temperature at their desk, according to CEB data.

But now, technology may have an answer. The Wall Street Journal reports (tiered paywall) that the Agnelli Foundation’s headquarters in Turin, Italy and Deloitte’s headquarters in Amsterdam have thousands of sensors throughout each building; these track workers’ presence and signal the climate control system to create a thermal bubble that adjusts to the user’s preset temperature preferences.

Once an employee leaves the space, it returns to an energy-saving mode, reducing energy costs. Apps have also been created that display heat maps of the office building so that workers can work in spaces where the temperature, light, and sound are to their liking; others have been created that allow workers to order a gust of warm or cold air.

Make the Most of Your Office Space and Keep Employees Happy

But these sensors don’t just provide a more comfortable environment; they also offer new ways for corporate real estate (CRE) teams to track who’s using work space when and for what, and then strive to use what they have more efficiently. The majority of CRE teams still use labor- and time-intensive methods to measure “space utilization.” For example, 60% of participants in an annual CEB survey of the topic said that they still used walkthroughs to measure assigned space utilization while 58% used the same technique for unassigned space (see chart 1).

In contrast, only 19% used sensors to track assigned space usage, and 18% used sensors to track unassigned space usage (see chart 2). However, by tracking employee movement in real-time using sensors in smartphones or badges, CRE can collect more accurate information without ever leaving a desk.

More employees may be comfortable with their employer having access to their data if they see it as a way to personalize their space, and recent CEB research shows that employees may even be more comfortable with badge tracking and other hands-off methods than might be expected. In return for this information, CRE gains better quality data and can devote more resources and energy to creating workspaces that meet the demands of a modern workforce.


Chart 1: Methods used for measuring the use of unassigned space  Percentage of repsondents; n=48  Source: Utilization Spot Benchmarking

Note: Percentages will sum to more than 100% because this was a multi-select question.

* = “Other” includes Triaga, Work Styles Program Enrollment metrics tracked in SAP, FM SYSTEMS, space plans

 

Chart 2: Methods used for measuring the use of assigned space  Percentage of repsondents; n=48  Source: Utilization Spot Benchmarking

Note: Percentages will sum to more than 100% because this was a multi-select question.

* = “Other” includes Triaga – seat assignments, IWMS tool, assigned private offices/unassigned Work Styles Program Enrollment metrics tracked in SAP, FM SYSTEMS


 

More On…

  • Workplace Impact Assessment

    Take CEB's workplace impact assessment and learn how you can increase employees' satisfaction at your company. Employees who are satisfied with their physical workplace are 16% more productive and 18% more likely to stay at their company.

Leave a Reply

*

 

Recommended For You

Real Estate: Four New Employee Workplace Priorities

Many companies are rejigging their workplaces to reflect a rapidly changing work environment, but employees...

Close