To kick off Condeco Sense’s one year anniversary, we spoke with Andrew Howells, our head of workspace consultancy. Andy, who came to Condeco as a former client, has led the development and launch of Condeco Sense.
Having implemented Condeco’s desk booking solution at Barclays, Andy realized that helping companies maximize their workspace was his new full-time passion. He has helped a number of clients get a clear view of their workspace utilization needs and designed custom portfolio optimization strategies to maximize that workspace, becoming the go-to expert on Condeco Sense and for all things workspace utilization.
A year after the official launch, we’re excited to hear what he and the team have learned after 80 studies, how Condeco Sense has evolved, and about major trends he has identified in the workplace.
Condeco Software: Condeco Sense has officially been on the market for one year, but the product has been evolving since the very first beta test in 2013. Paint us a picture of the evolution of Condeco Sense.
Andrew Howells: Over the past 2 years, the Condeco Sense product has been actively improved upon, taking into consideration client requests and needs. Since its inception, things like sensitivity accuracy, battery life and reporting alerts as well as the on-line dashboard have seen vast improvements.
Enhancements to Condeco Sense have mainly been driven by a desire for data accuracy. Alerts were implemented so that our support team knows immediately when data inaccuracies may arise due to tampering or ineffective sensors; an issue which is now at a minimal.
CS: That sounds like an important issue to tackle. To what extent can you tell the accuracy?
AH: Now, a Condeco Sense study with 1,000 sensors will produce 22 million lines of data in one month. And, every line of data tells us whether the device has been tampered with, how much battery life is left, and of course what the utilization of that space is.
Generally speaking, improvements we make start with the client and we have their needs in mind. In fact, Sense was developed out of a need we foresaw when discussing flexible workspace and implementing desk booking software. Companies needed an accurate way of understanding utilization to then make decisions on transforming the office to an agile work environment.
CS: Sounds like over the last two years, Condeco has continually aimed for improvement and ultimately client success. Through this process, what else have you learned?
AH: The product is only as good as the data it collects. If sensors go out, are tampered with, or are misplaced the study will report inaccurate data. That’s why Condeco support has become a stronger function. With a support team of over 20 people, Condeco is equipped to handle all support requests in a timely manner.
We originally brought this product to market as a temporary study to replace the highly inaccurate ‘walk-through’ studies companies employed. However, more and more clients are seeing value in continually capturing utilization data to inform all workspace design, expansion and reduction decisions. Additionally, a sensor study enables companies to carry out global occupancy evaluations, whereas the traditional ‘walk-throughs’ have been on a small, local scale.
CS: After a year of data collection, do you see any interesting trends across the 13 different countries where studies have been deployed?
AH: It’s clear that many companies are struggling to get average desk utilization rates above 40% and quite often have 33% of their space laying completely empty every single day. Its only when you measure your workspace can you truly understand the size of the opportunity that exists within the space you have.
Even though broad utilization trends have been identified through Condeco Sense, it’s important to remember that how companies use their space is inherently unique. The understanding of this helps companies greatly improve workspace utilization and ultimately employee productivity.
Industry standards are not always accurate and companies can come to us to prove that. Rules of thumb like, “Companies should allow for a private place to go for every 5-7 people” don’t apply to every business. Every company is unique.
CS: Who is Andrew Howells?
AH: My consultancy role at Condeco is to develop and promote workplace utilization technologies to identify the true utilization of a companies’ workspace. Over the past 12 months I have helped a number of companies get a clear view of how all the major components of the workspace are being used and then plan a portfolio optimization strategy to create the right type and amount of space they need to make them more effective and efficient