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Optimizing Occupancy Studies in the Workplace Through Strategic Planning

In today's dynamic work environment, understanding how office spaces are utilized can significantly enhance operational efficiency and employee satisfaction. Planning an occupancy study with a strategic approach, considering varying seasonal impacts, is crucial for obtaining accurate and actionable data. This blog explores the importance of timing in occupancy studies across low, mid, and high seasons, and discusses the benefits of integrating sensor technology for continuous monitoring.

Vincent le Noble

Founder and CEO Vincent le Noble writes about his vision and experience in the wonderful world of work.

Observation Studies

Understanding Seasonal Variations in Occupancy Studies

1. Low Season: Navigating Through Quiet Periods

The low season in occupancy studies typically aligns with major public holidays such as Labor Day or Independence Day. During these times, offices are less populated, which might skew the data if the goal is to understand typical usage patterns. This period, however, can be advantageous for preparing and calibrating your measurement tools and strategies for the busier months. It’s an ideal time to test new technologies or methodologies with minimal disruption to the study or the staff.

First half of the year


2. Mid Season: The Ideal Time for Data Collection

Mid season is arguably the best time to conduct thorough occupancy studies. This period is characterized by regular working weeks without major holidays or unusual disruptions. Data collected during these weeks often reflects the most standard and repeatable patterns of space usage in an office. This baseline is invaluable for planning office layouts, scheduling maintenance, and managing resources efficiently.

3. High Season: Handling Peak Demand

The high season occurs when companies anticipate a spike in office attendance, such as the beginning of a new year or right after a school holiday. During these periods, understanding occupancy becomes crucial as companies prepare for full-capacity operations. However, the high demand for occupancy studies during these times can strain resources, making it essential to book and plan these studies well in advance. High season data helps in assessing whether the office infrastructure can handle peak occupancy and in identifying areas that are underutilized or overburdened.

Second half WOS disper

Strategic Planning for Occupancy Studies

Effective occupancy studies require more than just choosing the right time of the year; they need a strategic approach:

  • Advance Planning: Schedule occupancy studies well ahead of time, especially for high seasons, to ensure availability of measurement resources and tools.
  • Diverse Data Collection: Combine data from different seasons to create a comprehensive view of space utilization throughout the year.
  • Adjustment and Calibration: Use the quieter low seasons to refine measurement techniques and technologies to be ready for accurate data collection in mid and high seasons.

Incorporating Sensor Technology for Continuous Measurement

While traditional occupancy studies provide snapshots of office usage, adding sensor technology to meeting rooms and desks offers continuous, real-time data. Here are some advantages:

  • Continuous Data Collection: Sensors work around the clock, offering a more detailed and continuous stream of occupancy data than periodic studies.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: Real-time data helps quickly identify patterns and anomalies, allowing for immediate adjustments in space management.
  • Cost Efficiency: Over time, the initial investment in sensor technology can be offset by the cost savings from more efficient space use and maintenance.

However, sensor technology has its limitations. It does not capture the nature of activities performed, missing out on insights into how effectively different areas are being used for individual versus collaborative work. To address this, sensors can be complemented with periodic surveys or observational studies to gain deeper understanding of space utilization dynamics.


Planning your occupancy study strategically across different seasons enhances the quality of data collected, making it a powerful tool for optimizing office space. Integrating advanced sensor technology can further refine this process, providing continuous, actionable insights that help adapt workspaces to evolving business and employee needs. By understanding and implementing these strategies, organizations can significantly improve their operational efficiency and create a more adaptable and enjoyable working environment.

This comprehensive approach ensures that occupancy studies are not just a routine check but a cornerstone of strategic facility management.

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