Intuition tells us that we are not occupying all of our workstations all of the time. Client meetings, site visits, meetings with consultants and vendors. We are a mobile workforce with many people out of the office for various lengths of time. Our space utilization study was an exercise to quantify this intuition and determine if there is an opportunity to share workspace.
Over the span of 5 days, a small team of volunteers conducted a survey to determine if and how each of the spaces in our office where being used. We conducted the survey once an hour between the hours of 8am and 6pm. The process was as insightful as the results. Our workstations are empty about half the time but we are often not far away. Designers are roamers. We love to collaborate and we move around a lot to make that collaboration happen. When we are not at our desks, we are often talking to colleagues at their desks, or in conference rooms. The open collaboration and breakout spaces are not highly utilized in our office. Kitchen and lobby areas are often empty.
My personal observations from conducting the survey mirror the results but conflicted with my pre-conceived notion of how our space was being used. My perception was that the tables and carts along the pin-up wall are often used but when I paid close attention, I found that they are empty most of the time. Our model shop is not as active as I thought it would be either. In conclusion, we collaborate a lot but seem to feel most comfortable just chatting at a team members desk or in a conference room.
Tom Grimble is our Director of Operations