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What is an occupancy rate and why should you measure office occupancy?

  • Managing Occupancy
what is an occupancy rate?

What is an occupancy rate?

An occupancy rate is the ratio of used space to the total amount of space that is available. You can calculate it by dividing the total number of rooms or space occupied by the total number of rooms or space available. However, this calculation may not always be as simple as it sounds. Because there are many aspects to keep in mind. Elements such as operating hours, amount of employees, and types of workspaces are important to keep in consideration. For example, meeting rooms show lower rates of occupancy than workstations; however, these spaces are used for different tasks, which can explain such a discrepancy.

The largest investments organisations make are usually related to the workforce (employment) and office space. Measuring the impact of a large investment such as changes in office space is of high importance. Yet, it is becoming more difficult to measure occupancy rates because of the increased flexibility and mobility of employees.

Why should you measure office occupancy?

There are several reasons to measure office occupancy; the most common reasons include understanding work patterns, cost reduction and determining space requirements. Understanding workspace patterns will allow managers to realise two things. First, which parts of the offices are being used. Second, which of those occupied spaces could be used more efficiently. Knowing and understanding the occupancy rates of the office can lead managers to make more educated decisions about their real estate and workspaces in the office, which can result in cost savings. More detailed information about office occupancy can contribute to a better distribution of ventilation, lighting, heating and air-conditioning, ultimately allowing for more comfortable and productive employees.

Additionally, occupations within different sectors may have a variety of occupancy rates. Considering the position of a sales executive, for example, who is most likely working remotely and often visiting clients. Versus the position of an IT employee, usually working from a fixed desk within the office. The occupancy rate within their workplaces will vary greatly due to their different working patterns. Therefore, having a better understanding of working patterns within different sectors can allow managers to make better estimations in workplace allocation. Such understanding can allow employees and managers to have better planning for daily tasks and meetings.

How do you measure workplace occupancy?

There are two types of measurements: direct measures and indirect measures. Direct measures, such as length, weight, area and volume are based on the property itself. Indirect measurements, such as GDP or energy consumption, rely on a formula to calculate them instead of measuring physically the space.

There are two ways to calculate the occupancy rate in the workplace:

1) Occupancy ratio = Occupied seats/(Total number of seats)

2) Occupancy rate = (Occupied seats)/(Total number of seats) x 100%

The occupancy rate is the most commonly used indicator to measure workplace occupancy. It is defined as a ratio of the number of occupied seats to the total number of seats in a room. The occupancy ratio is a measurement of the number of people who occupy a given space. It is an important metric for workspace and facility managers, to determine if more space is needed in the future.

Some people may prefer one way over the other, but it all depends on several factors. What you are trying to measure, the type of organisation and the workplace model in place, for instance.

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