How to unlock more office space with smart solutions

October 26th, 2018

Lack of meeting rooms is a common problem at large offices. Here’s how smart solutions can improve the situation by boosting the availability and increase utilization.

From the perspective of a meeting room in a medium-sized office, here’s what a normal day can look like. Fully booked, like most other days. This is what you, and all the other employee would see in the calendar.

normal-day-browser

However, the calendar view doesn’t always mirror the reality. As an example, here’s the actual turnout for that specific day:

normal-day-outcome-browser

Now depending on what office you work in, this might seem more or less plausible, but research have shown that the average occupancy of meeting rooms is below 50%. According to our clients in larger offices, turnouts like this is pretty common.

Here’s the core of the problem: as circumstances in the real world change, the reservations in the calendar are more or less solid. In the cases described above, for one reason or another the room becomes “available”, but the original reservation in the calendar system hinders actual use of the room. The room is empty but it’s not really available in the fullest sense of the word.

You could say that the space is locked. It doesn’t matter if the room is occupied or not, since it’s still reserved, it will still appear as in use to others.

normal-day-locked-space-browser

Out of the 8 office hours, the room was originally booked for the entire day but when we take into account how many hours it was actually used we get a clearer picture.

At the end of the day, the true occupancy rate was a mere 56%. What’s more, the remaining 44% of the day, the meeting room wasn’t just unused. Since the reservations remained in place, it was near impossible for anyone else to use it.

Unlocking space

There are several ways that Senion at Work can help unlock space in your office. Two of the most common ways are releasing rooms when the user isn’t in the room anymore, and releasing the room ahead of the meeting. Let’s take a look at each.

A lot of times when a meeting ends earlier than expected, people often hurry away to the next thing, and the remaining room reservation is probably the last thing on their mind.

release-room-push-notification

With Senion at Work, if the owner of the reservation has left the room and stayed out of the room for a short while, he or she gets a friendly reminder to their smartphone. From the push notification, the user can easily with a tap on their phone release the room, making it available for others to use.

Another way of unlocking space and increasing the overall availability is the smart meeting reminder. Senion at Work sends the organizer a reminder 15 minutes before the meeting takes place. From the push notification, the user can either get wayfinding to the meeting or release the room reservation.

meeting-reminder-push-notification

This feature is great for recurring meetings that occasionally get postponed, or other meetings that won’t take place. With a tap on the smartphone, the room can be made available to others in time.

With Senion at Work, it would have been possible to unlock all those hours that were previously locked. The earlier these slots can be unlocked the better. The possibility for someone else to use the room increases when a space is unlocked well ahead of time.

impact-on-room-availability

While slightly better than not releasing the room at all, releasing rooms after the meeting should have started is still sub-optimal.

It’s important to keep in mind that the end-goal of all this is not only to free up the space. Improved utilization is the goal. Unlocking the space is the first step of a one-two punch, where the second step is to make actual use of the now-unlocked space.

To accomplish this, we’ve developed Senion at Work to make it as easy as possible to find and book rooms on the go. The quickest way is from the smartphone lock screen. By just swiping right, users can effortlessly see a list of the nearest available rooms, and complete a booking in seconds.

With the space unlocked, and effortless, location-based booking at hand, the holes in the room calendar can now be filled with meetings that wouldn’t have been possible the original scenario.

new-meetings-browser

To summarize, a vast number of meeting rooms are simultaneously overbooked and underused. What you see in the calendar rarely reflects the reality. By unlocking space with smart workplace technology like Senion at Work, the room calendar will more closely resemble the real world. In addition to increased availability, Senion at Work equips all employees with several easy ways to find and reserve nearby available spaces, making it quicker and easier to get hold of a meeting room. The end result is better room availability for employees and increased utilization of the office resources.


Looking to improve the utilization of your real estate? In our latest whitepaper we take an in-depth look at some of the drivers of low utilization and what can be done to improve.