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  • Writer's pictureTomas Collins

Hidden Desk Capacity: How to Find It and Leverage It Using Under Desk Sensors

Updated: Feb 14

Busy Office

In the wake of shifting towards hybrid work models, the challenge of efficiently managing desk space has become increasingly pronounced for facilities managers and leaders of large organisations.

In reality, every workplace has hidden desk capacity - under-utilised desks, unused desks, misallocated desks; this untapped resource is becoming more important in the hybrid workplace.

Understanding the Importance of Desk Management

As organisations adapt to more flexible work arrangements, the task of ensuring that office space aligns with employee needs has grown more complex. The fluctuating demand for desks, driven by hybrid work schedules, presents a particular challenge: ensuring that there is enough space for everyone who chooses to work on-site without maintaining a surplus of unused desks.

This balance is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency and employee satisfaction in today's workplace.

Case Study: A Pharmaceutical Employer in Cork

A prominent pharmaceutical company in Cork, Ireland, with approximately 1,500 on-site employees and only 1,000 desks, provides a typical example of the desk management challenge. Despite introducing 50 hot desks (with our desk booking platform and desk sensors for analytics) to accommodate hybrid working arrangements, discrepancies in desk occupancy became evident. Demand for desks soared above 90% mid-week (in line with company policy requiring at least three days of on-site work) but plummeted to below 10% on Mondays and Fridays.

"People are crying out for desks. We know anecdotally that there are desks being under-utilised or not being used at all, but we can't identify them and we don't have the hard data to back it up." – Facilities Manager, pharmaceutical company, Cork, Ireland

Faced with persistent demands for more desks, the facilities manager highlighted the dilemma: "people are crying out for desks. We know anecdotally that there are desks being under-utilised or not being used at all, but we can't identify them and we don't have the hard data to back it up." In response, the company deployed TRUCount Desk sensors (by REDZone) in another building, aiming to gain a clear understanding of desk usage patterns.

Over several months, the sensors revealed not only the (expected) low occupancy on Mondays and Fridays, but also which desks were never used, which were underutilised, and how desk space allocation varied by department. This comprehensive analysis allowed the client to uncover significant hidden desk capacity, and to implement strategies to unlock this capacity. Significantly, it enabled the organisation to avoid costly and unnecessary investments in additional desk space - and to do it quickly.

Strategies for Optimising Desk Capacity

The insights gained from TRUCount Desk sensors equipped the organisation to make informed decisions about their workspace. By understanding the actual usage patterns, they introduced a range of strategies to unlock their hidden desk capacity;

  • identified and activated unused desks

  • repurposed underutilised desks

  • introduced more hot desks (with our desk booking system)

  • reallocated desk resources more effectively

All of these efforts were underpinned by real reliable data - and it is difficult to argue with hard data. This strategic approach not only reduced costs but also improved the overall work environment, making it more adaptable to employee needs.

floor plan with heatmap

The Role of Workplace Analytics Using Under Desk Sensors

TRUCount Desk sensors exemplify the power of workplace analytics in transforming office management. By offering detailed, GDPR-compliant insights into how desks are used, these tools empower managers to optimise their space efficiently. The data-driven approach facilitates a dynamic workspace that supports the evolving requirements of a hybrid workforce.

The journey to unlocking hidden desk capacity is pivotal for organisations striving to adapt their workspaces to the changing landscape of work. For those navigating the complexities of desk management in hybrid environments, the integration of workplace analytics presents a valuable solution. By leveraging technologies like TRUCount Desk sensors, organisations can ensure their office space is utilised to its full potential, fostering a flexible, efficient, and productive work environment.

Ready to try it?

Discover the untapped potential of your workspace with TRUCount Desk sensors and analytics from REDZone.

Contact REDZone to explore how you can transform your office management strategy, optimise hidden desk capacity, and propel your organisation forward in the era of hybrid work.

t: +35319630963

REDZone are at the forefront of workplace management using smart IoT technology in Ireland, we're supported by Enterprise Ireland and we've been recognised as on of the Top 100 Most Ambitious Companies in Ireland. We've also recently been featured in the Sunday Business Post.

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