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5 Space Utilization Metrics for a Better Workplace in 2024

March 28, 2024
5 min read
HubStar VP of Growth
5 Space Utilization Metrics for a Better Workplace in 2024

How much space do we actually need?

What types of spaces do we need?

What’s making employees decide to come into the office?

These questions have plagued workplace and real estate leaders since the end of lockdown.

And what makes them even more difficult to answer is the polarizing nature of discussions around hybrid work patterns and whether in-office or remote is best.

Turns out the answers lie in workplace data. Space utilization data, specifically.

Read on for why space utilization holds the key to building a better workplace this year and which space utilization metrics you should be measuring.

What is space utilization?

Space utilization is the measurement of how people are using a space. That could be by crowding it to its full capacity, not using it at all, and everything in between.

Office space utilization data paints a picture of how workspaces can be better used and managed. By measuring workspace utilization, companies can find opportunities to:

  • Cut costs by spending less on utilities in underutilized spaces and only investing in workspaces employees will actually use
  • Improve the workplace experience with better office design that aligns with work habits and preferences
  • Optimize real estate portfolios by making data-driven decisions with architectural design, office layout and resizing

Space utilization measures what’s actually happening in the office. It quantifies employee behaviour and provides granularity that other occupancy data sources like badge check-ins and employee surveys can’t.

On Demand Webinar Overcoming Occupancy Blind Spots

It’s tough to plan for the future without a thorough understanding of the present. That’s why measuring space utilization is the foundation of everything from a more productive office to millions in savings on corporate real estate.

But since space utilization is a means of analysis that’s descriptive, predictive and prescriptive, nailing down exactly which metrics to measure might seem like a lot to wrap your head around.

It doesn’t need to be that way.

Tracking these five key space utilization metrics will give you the certainty you need to improve your workplace experience and plan for the future.

1. Utilization Rate

What it is: The percentage of space in a building, floor or zone occupied by employees compared to the space’s total capacity. For example, if a floor has a 7% utilization rate on a Tuesday, employees aren’t using 93% of the floor on that day.

How to calculate space utilization rate:

Employees occupying the space / total capacity of that space = utilization rate

How to use utilization rate: Plan for future architectural design and office layout by creating a heatmap of office floor plans. Areas with high space utilization rate are likely to be the popular areas that motivate employees to come into the office. Areas with low space utilization rates likely aren’t giving employees the functionality they’re looking for and are creating waste.

Pro-tip: Overlay office floor plans with utilization rate to visualize employee behaviour for each area or zone. You could discover that employees are using the spaces in different ways than the intended ones.

2. Peak Utilization rate

What it is: The utilization rate of office spaces when they’re at their peak, or highest, occupancy.

How to use peak utilization rate: Determine whether spaces are overcrowded and creating a poor employee experience when they’re at their busiest, or if lower than expected occupancy is creating waste. Space planners can use this metric to ensure that the floor plans they create are properly accommodating employee demand.

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3. Weekly utilization patterns

What it is: Daily utilization rate over a standard working week that indicates weekly occupancy patterns. For most organizations using hybrid working, weekly utilization rate tends to peak on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and trough on Mondays and Fridays.

How to use weekly utilization rate: Understanding weekly occupancy patterns over the week helps workplace leaders:

  • Reduce costs by closing off underused floors and zones on trough days.
  • Optimize employee experience by making sure spaces aren’t overcrowded on peak days and a total ghost town on trough days.

What it is: The overall direction of occupancy long-term. While measuring weekly utilization patterns entails comparing daily rates with the objective of spotting recognizable, repeatable peaks and troughs, utilization trends track how employees are using the office space over weeks, months and years. Patterns repeat themselves, while trends show how behaviour is changing medium and long-term.

How to use utilization trends: This metric is the best way to track RTO (Return-to-Office) velocity, and figure out what’s impacting it.

It’s also a great way to answer the C-Suite’s most burning question that real estate and facilities leaders dread getting – are people coming back into the office?

Read more: 5 Reasons Employees Hate Coming into the Office and how to Fix Them

Utilization trends measure how appealing the office is to employees, and how changes in the workplace impact that. Plot utilization trends against policy changes (e.g. return to office mandates) to measure their impact on occupancy. This can inform how policy changes are communicated internally and clearly show what employees want out of the office, so they don’t feel they’re being lured back in with gimmicky short-term benefits like free lunches.

5. Predicted Utilization Rate

What it is: Expected occupancy based on current patterns and trends.

How to use predicted utilization rate: Use space utiliuzation analytics to forecast employee demand on workspaces in the short and long-term future.

In the short term, use predicted utilization rate to ensure spend on utilities, facilities services and even office furniture is proportional to employee occupancy.

For example, use predicted utilization rate to order food for the cafeteria for the week ahead and cut back on food waste and carbon emissions.

In the long-term, predicted utilization rate can inform repurposing of spaces, floor plans and real estate portfolio decisions like acquiring additional floors of even buildings.

Pro-tip – it’s best to err on the side of caution with impactful decisions, and budget for slightly more space than the data predicts you’ll need.

Where should the data for these space utilization metrics come from?

Most companies turn to badge swipes and occupancy sensor data to measure space utilization.

And while they’re useful and granular, relying solely on these for measuring how people are using the workplace creates decision making blind spots that can cost you in the long run.

Tune into this on-demand webinar for a deep dive into how these blind spots crop up and what workplace and how to overcome them.

On Demand Webinar Overcoming Occupancy Blind Spots


HubStar is a next-gen hybrid workplace platform that helps workplace innovators create a productive, connected workplace. Bring teams together in the right place at the right time while optimizing the spaces, facilities and policies they need to collaborate, do their best work and thrive.

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