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Data-driven Workplace Optimisation: Two Techniques for Understanding How the Workplace is Being Used


Managing a modern workplace presents complex challenges. Hybrid work models, expanding workforces, and limited resources such as desk space, meeting rooms, and communal facilities strain organisations, necessitating effective strategies to optimise space utilisation. This blog post delves into how manual occupancy studies and technology-based solutions offer a data-driven approach to navigating these challenges, providing essential insights to support strategic decisions.

The Modern Workspace Challenge

Large organisations often grapple with balancing growing workforce needs against limited resources. This balancing act is further complicated by fluctuating employee attendance and constrained facilities. Facilities managers and site leaders must optimise space usage while also ensuring employee satisfaction and productivity.

Manual Occupancy Studies: A Tailored Approach

Manual Occupancy Studies provide a detailed, context-rich understanding of how workspaces are used, offering actionable insights into resource utilisation.

How It Works:

  • Direct Observations: Surveyors conduct on-site observations of desks, meeting rooms, and communal areas, recording how each space is utilised.

  • Contextual Understanding: These studies offer nuanced insights into workspace dynamics, capturing not just occupancy but also how and why spaces are being used.

  • Tailored Solutions: The data collected can be customised to address specific needs, from identifying peak usage times to uncovering underutilised spaces.


  • Quick and Cost-Effective: Manual studies offer a fast, affordable way to gather immediate data, providing a snapshot of current usage patterns.

  • Accurate and Contextual: Surveyors can observe and record not just whether a space is occupied, but how it’s being used, providing a deeper understanding of workplace dynamics.

  • Efficient Data Collection: Using custom-built applications and tablets for data entry, manual occupancy studies streamline the collection process, reducing manual data entry errors.

Technology-Based Solutions

Technology-based solutions offer continuous monitoring and analytics, providing a comprehensive view of workspace utilisation.

How It Works:

  • IoT Sensors: These sensors capture real-time data on workspace occupancy, providing immediate insights into how spaces are used.

  • Analytics Platforms: The collected data is analysed to uncover trends, such as daily and weekly usage patterns, supporting strategic planning.


  • Real-Time Insights: Sensors provide immediate data on how spaces are used, supporting dynamic decision-making.

  • Long-Term Monitoring: Continuous data collection provides a comprehensive view of usage patterns over time, supporting strategic planning.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: Technology-based solutions monitor all areas of the workplace, from desks to meeting rooms, offering a holistic understanding of resource utilisation.

Case Study: Cork Project

A large pharmaceutical company in Cork, with over 1,000 employees, faced challenges managing its dynamic, hybrid workforce and limited resources. A four-week manual occupancy study was conducted, focusing solely on desks.

The study revealed hidden capacity in certain areas, while also highlighting over- and under-utilisation across departments. This data formed the foundation for a broader Workplace Optimisation Study, facilitating a reallocation effort and informing future capital investment decisions.


In today's corporate landscape, managing large workforces and limited resources requires a strategic, evidence-based approach. Manual Occupancy Studies offer an immediate, context-rich way to gather insights into space utilisation, while technology-based solutions provide comprehensive, long-term monitoring.

The choice between these approaches depends on an organisation's specific needs, balancing immediate concerns with strategic, long-term goals. For many companies, combining both approaches provides the optimal solution, offering quick insights alongside comprehensive, ongoing data.


SiteIQ's Role

SiteIQ offers tailored solutions that blend manual studies with innovative technology, helping organisations unlock the hidden potential of their workspaces, improving efficiency, employee satisfaction, and sustainability.

Reach out to us using the details below, and let's start the conversation on how we can support your journey to a smarter, more efficient workplace.


(also trading as SiteIQ)

t: 021 234 8387

WhatsApp: +353 85 154 8875


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