Where we are today…

The pandemic has changed the way we occupy space, and there is no right or wrong answer on how occupancy management programs should look. Every company is different, and the pendulum is constantly swinging.

This report highlights hundreds of metrics and trends, but there are three key takeaways we are seeing today:

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1. Hybrid working is here to stay.
It is likely that many employees will not be going back into the office five days a week even after the pandemic ebbs. During the largest work-from-home pilot ever, some employees have shown that they can be as productive working outside the traditional office— some even more. The growth of hybrid work programs and policies are on the rise and will demand more dynamic space and workplace models. Hybrid work will also change how organizations support employees where they work best and provide the technology applications that support all the new ways of working.
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2. Utilization tracking has started replacing typical methods of space data management.
Utilization data is a must have for organizations. The continued rapid growth, adoption of technology and digitization will continue to inform and facilitate workplace and occupancy management programs going forward. Manual processes will give way to automated solutions. Long-term, the use of such applications as digital twins, 5G and the continued integration of artificial intelligence will only accelerate the trends that the pandemic launched into hyper speed.
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3. Limitless data is only useful with key insights.
Everyone wants data, but insights are what they really need. There are massive amounts of data, but if that data is not governed by consistent definitions and calculations, it can be deceiving. This report has provided occupancy data in a consumable manner to help guide future real estate and program decisions. However, collecting and sorting data is sometimes the easy part. Interpreting the data is the hard part. Interpreting the data and taking action is the hard part.

…and where we are headed

The future of occupancy management is multidimensional:

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Working with HR and the business, headcount forecasting and changes across a company will be integrated into CAFM and IWMS systems.
Trends in headcount changes will predict how well each business line forecasts its space needs, with direct feedback to decision makers, so they improve at forecasting in the future. This will mainly be done automatically using AI.
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Space forecasting will be automated and be shorter term—up to one month in advance but changing daily.
Flex space partnerships will be used on demand, reducing the need for current real estate scale.
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Space data management will be automated using 3D building information modeling (BIM) and a digital twin.
All physical space changes will be completed through one platform, reducing duplicate efforts and making change processes more efficient. Space data management teams and platforms will transform, as generative design will be implemented within the 3D BIM to provide automated space planning options using data to drive the planning and Space chargeback will be driven by the occupancy data, requiring no processing of data or reports.
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Occupancy and utilization data will be available to a zone, room and desk level.
This data will be live and changing daily. Employee work styles will be profiled according to their preference for space when they join the company and throughout their employment. Their actual occupancy patterns will be measured against their choices, and their profile adjusted accordingly.
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All the data will be stored and processed through a consistent data platform using automation.
Data quality will be corrected automatically or with automated messaging to responsible parties.
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Reporting will be predictive and proactive, with responsible parties automatically notified
if there is a space change required due to the pattern recognition within the decision engine.
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The methods, calculations, business cases and decisions used by planners will be automated
through artificial intelligence decision engines, and occupancy planners and analysts will not be required to complete these tasks.
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Occupants will be scheduled into space using just-in-time allocation according to their patterns.
Utilization levels will be mostly flat across the week through smart scheduling.