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Glossary – Observation Study

On this page, you can find all the definitions of the terms and words that we use when conducting an Observation Study.

Observation Study


Used as designed

The function this type of space is designed for; is it regarded to be used for individual work/ collaboration/ miscellaneous/ educational/ study?


The total number of seats in a space (eg. if there are 10 rooms with 4 seats in each room, the total capacity is 40 seats).


A space that is planned for but not installed or without any equipment or installation yet, or a set desk but currently not occupied as a team has yet to move there.

Active occupancy

Percentage of occupied spaces where the users are physically present. Therefore excluding the activity “signs of life”.

Space occupancy

The average of how often a space is being occupied versus the total amount of times it could have been occupied (eg. 100 workstations, and only 20 are occupied each day, the occupancy is 20%).

Space utilisation

The average of how many people are using an actively occupied space versus the total number of seats in the space (eg. if there is a room with 10 seats in total but only 5 seats are taken, then the utilisation rate is 50%).

Building utilisation

The average of how many people are occupying seats inside the building versus the total number of seats present inside the building (eg. if there are 20 workstations out of which 10 are occupied, and there is 1 room with a total capacity of 10 where 2 are occupied. We have a building utilisation of 40%, whereas the space utilisation of the meeting room would be 20%).

Average peak occupancy

This is the sum of the peak occupancy of each day measured, divided by the total number of days measured. It provides a more representative peak as this on average is reached daily. (eg. if there is a peak occupancy of 90% on Monday and 80% on Tuesday, then the peak occupancy is 85%).

Average peak utilisation

This is the sum of the peak utilisation of each day divided by the total number of days measured. It provides a more representative peak as this on average is reached daily. (eg. if there is a peak on Monday of 60% and a peak on Tuesday of 70%, the average peak utilisation is 65%).

Grouped activities

Next to providing insights based on all individual activities observed, we also categorise them as pre-defined groups to allow for easy comparisons between projects and benchmarking. These groups are a match to the used as designed metric; Individual work / Collaboration work / Miscellaneous / Educational / Study.

Individual spaces

Fixed desk

Normal allocated workstation.

Focus booth

Small (semi) enclosed area for individual concentration work. Supplied with a desk.

Focus desk

Cubicle / workstation with a desk screen, meant for individual focus work.

Hot desk

Unassigned, normal/fixed workstation.

Office desk

Workstation inside an enclosed office.

Phone booth

Small (semi) enclosed area used for individual calling, sometimes supplied with landline phone.

Specialised desk

Project desk, Lap desk, desk connected to specialised equipment.

Standing desk

Height adjustable workstation.

Touchdown desk

Flexible workstation, different furniture (e.g. high table), mostly provided with sockets.

Group spaces


Semi-enclosed sofa/seating, used for meetings, breaks or individual work.

Breakout area

Seating, used for breaks, informal meetings or work.


Cafe/Restaurant used during breaks/lunch.

Conference room

Larger meeting rooms, often provided with white boards/projector, different furniture settings.

Consulting table

Meeting table, used for meetings or work.

Meeting facility

A space that is designed for formal or informal meetings.

Meeting pod

A fully enclosed meeting area.

Meeting room

A room with a meeting table, used for meetings or work with multiple people.


Tea point / Kitchen.

Print room

A room with a printing area.

Project table

Drawing tables or tables used for meetings/creative work.

Quiet room

Small room for multiple people (Max 4), used for meetings or personal work/calls. Usually informal furniture.

Training room

Rooms with multiple PC’s for training purposes (theatre layout).

Waiting area

Chairs at the reception, used for waiting clients/visitors.

Education spaces


A large room (>150 seats) meant for common lessons or meetings, with an elevation/stage or chairs placed on a slope and technical equipment.


A room where lessons are given by a teacher, usually in a 2-by-2 setup.

Education specific practice room

A workplace for students where they can learn to carry out work in practice

Group project space

A smaller closed room, equipped for group work.


A single room where sports activities are performed.

Lecture room

A larger education room, often with an ascending floor, fixed furniture and technical equipment.

Media library

A space with computers and/or a library. Often it is also decorated as a study area.

Other practice room

A practice room that is suitable to learn practical skills, with or without a teacher and that does not belong to another category.

Sports hall

A hall consisting of several areas for indoor sports.

Study cell

A (soundproof) room where students can concentrate on work, usually suitable for <5 students.

Study landscape

An environment where different learning activities can take place, openly and flexibly.

Touch and go

A fixed computer with a network connection for short use.


Computer work

Individual, immobile based computer work. Either on PC or docked laptop.

Individual calling

Individual calling through electronic means (telephone, headset).


Collaboration (social interactions, discussions, presentations, meetings).


Other, personal and/or private usage (relaxing, thinking, typing on phone, eating).

Mobile computer work

Individual, mobile based work (laptop, tablets).

Not occupied

Unoccupied, no signs of life.


Focus work (reading, writing, paperwork).

Signs of life

In use but unoccupied, multiple signs of life.

Video conference

Virtual collaboration through electronic means.

Collaboration work

One or more small groups of students are working together. This can be with or without a teacher present.


Students are taking their exam individually, the classroom is set up for exams.


The teacher teaches a class to all the students in the room.


Eating and/or drinking, relaxing, texting, listening to music, watching movies, etc. No teacher is present.

Self study

Students are working on their own, without the help of a teacher, with the help of books, laptops, etc.

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