7 steps to optimize your hybrid office with data

December 11, 2022

December 11, 2022

December 11, 2022

How data can help you to optimize office costs and improve workplace experience.

The world is currently facing many economic challenges. Businesses are feeling the financial pinch, and best practices are now a major consideration for budgets. Companies are increasingly announcing cost-saving employee layoffs, a difficult decision for any CFO and CEO. Thus, it’s essential to consider alternatives which will help your business and employees to thrive. Optimization of office costs is one of first factors to consider, especially in light of hybrid work trends.

As a recent study by Frauenhofer IAO reveals, over 60% of employees would prefer to work from home at least two days a week. According to McKinsey study on hybrid work, most companies are ready to accommodate these wishes, as 50% of employees will consider quitting a job if they aren’t given a hybrid work option. With 2-3 days per week spent working remotely, office utilization should be around 50%. But, as Berlin hybrid work SaaS specialist Yoffix  reports, real office utilization remains even lower - on average below 30%. 

Yoffix’s experts assess that an office optimization of ca. 50% is a realistic and easily achievable goal in the post-pandemic world for flexible offices with Shared Desks. For a company with 500 employees in Berlin, that could amount to savings of 60,000-80,000 EUR per month only on leasing costs, with direct bottom-line impact. Though some businesses have already radically downsized their office capacity, many are still hesitant in leveraging this low-hanging optimization potential.

As Nikolay Grachev, Founder & CEO of Yoffix reports, there are three common reasons given by executives for keeping their existing office set-up. Here are some typical quotes:

  1. "We have an amazing office where there are sufficient desks for all employees, so there is no reason for us to optimize our office capacity."

  2. "Although we have a large office space, we’re unable to make any changes because of our long-term rental contract."

  3. "We know there should be significant optimization potential as on some days our office is completely empty. But then there are some days when it is nearly full. So we lack real insights to optimize our space and we want to avoid the situation, when employees come to the office and have no place to sit."

Let’s address each point, starting with the latter one.

Utilization peaks are nothing new for many experienced office managers, but they became extreme due to hybrid work. So for example, some companies' offices are only getting full on Fridays, creating a less productive environment on that day but stay nearly empty during the rest of the week. 

Many companies started their “hybrid journey” by surveying their employees to find a workplace arrangement that works for them best. However, employees tend to come into the office less often than initially indicated, meaning office managers cannot rely on polls they did with regard to hybrid office attendance. Real data on office attendance is missing to make right decisions.

Even on a single day, office utilization may vary greatly, as some employees may only spend half a day on-site to socialize and attend meetings. So also here there is great potential to optimize office use.

It’s clear that a solution is needed. The key to effectively manage a hybrid office is data. You need data to assess office utilization, determine your office’s idea optimization, and also to create a productive and communicative work environment.

Here are 7 tips recommended by the Yoffix team on how to optimize your office, using data:

  1. Analyze office utilization on a daily and weekly basis so that you can accommodate for peaks within a week and determine the long-term trend.

  2. Ensure that your attendance data is accurate. You can do this by implementing easy check-ins in the office since office bookings might deviate significantly from real office attendance. There are different check-in options - the ones integrated in Microsoft Teams or Slack could be the most convenient and easy to implement solutions. 

  3. Many companies offer both flex and fix desks, the latter being allocated to specific employees or departments. It’s worthwhile to assess utilization of different workplace types to find out which system is most effective.  Rule of thumb: if fix desks utilization is below 60% transform them into flex desks.

  4. Meeting rooms are often the scarcest office resource especially crucial for hybrid offices where employees meet to collaborate. Monitor the use of your meeting rooms to optimize space and improve collaboration and teamwork.  

  5. Evaluate the workplace preferences of your employees to gain more insights on attendance patterns and trends. Calculating the average number of days spent in the office won't give you a complete picture. Monitor also the weekly attendance structure - e.g. is the share of employees who come 4-5 days a week to the office growing or decreasing? 

  6. Use heat maps for in-depth space analysis - to assess which parts of your office are used the most and the least. This could provide valuable insights both for space optimization and office redesign.

  7. Use daily insights on office use and attendance to plan and schedule team office days. This will help you to distribute office workload evenly across the week and bring employees together for more productive work and socializing on-site.

These tips will help you determine your office’s needs based on your current office use. You can ensure your data and insights are accurate using Yoffix’s Dashboard and Reporting features. With the data in place, you can easily optimize your office use & costs and provide the best workplace experience to your team. 

Yoffix Dashboard

Transparency on office use and attendance - key requirement of many Yoffix clients.

Sublet your unused office space

But, what if you’re locked into a long-term rental contract? Subletting is a great option that is often easier than one would think.

Philipp Hartje, CEO of the leading German office subletting platform ShareDnC, explains, “Individual office spaces up to 30 square meters are best suited for subletting, as this is where the demand is greatest and the supply is the scarcest… Complete or half floors with several hundred square meters are also in demand for subletting, especially in larger cities… In Berlin, we have just rented out half a floor of about 500 square meters and an entire floor of about 800 square meters.” 

Philipp Hartje, CEO of ShareDnC

How long does it take to sublet a space? According to Philipp for larger spaces (e.g. entire floors) you might need a few months for a successful subletting. 

Subletting your office is definitely worth it, as Philipp continues, “Most desks rented through ShareDnC platform are in the range of €200-300 per month, sometimes up to €350.”

Empty office is not an option!

The final argument listed above often relates to corporate headquarters. It’s common to hear, “We have an amazing office space and want to provide a desk to every employee at all times.” Despite the great intention, its implementation could easily fail, with utilization rates below 20-30%. Huge, empty offices don’t foster collaboration or teamwork. Instead, such zombie offices create distance between colleagues on-site.

As Nikolay Grachev observes, “After 12 months, we see companies coming back to us for Hybrid Workplace Management solutions, as they understand that maintaining large but empty offices with fix desks could harm the workplace atmosphere and waste resources”. 

Analyse your office use now, to save costs already next quarter

Flexible office with Desk Sharing concept offers great optimization potential to save costs and offer more flexible and comfortable workplace experience to employees.

The starting point for any office optimization project is to get transparency on current office use. Leverage best tools for management of hybrid offices to gather data on office use and attendance and create best hybrid office for your company. With data you can achieve both goals - downsize your office saving costs and turn your office to a collaboration hub for your hybrid teams. 

Consider POC for 1-2 months to test these platforms and assess how data can help you to optimize your office space and costs. Start collecting data on your office use tomorrow to achieve significant optimization results already in few months. Book your Demo-Call and discuss Free Trial and POC options now!


Read also:

Five tips for managing a successful hybrid team

Why hybrid work is the best solution for now!

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