Open offices, fitted solutions

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The open office revolution has well and truly changed the way we work, offering many benefits to both staff and management. An agile, open environment promotes collaboration, enhances creativity, allows for varied working styles, and is excellent for creating community among staff.

But, like all revolutions, the path to success isn’t all smooth sailing.

One of the key issues facing an agile workspace is understanding actual desk occupancy. FloorSight and FloorSense were designed to provide these insights.

We spoke to AA Insurance’s Property and Facilities Manager Malama Caskie about her experience installing FloorSight to help manage the resourcing of their agile workspace.

With over 750 staff, knowing when desks are being used and by whom is crucial information for our business…

AA Insurance (AAI) has been offering general insurance to New Zealanders for over 25 years.The company has over 750 employees throughout New Zealand and was named New Zealand’s Best Large Workplace in the IBM Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey for 2011 and 2016.

Malama Caskie has been AAI’s Property and Facilities Manager for the last 12.5 years. Some of her many duties include the procurement of office furniture and developing practical and economical accommodation strategies.

As you can imagine, with almost 760 employees (over 450 in the central Auckland office and over 100 in the Hamiliton office) Malama has her hands full – especially catering to the needs of an increasingly agile workforce.

“AAI made the decision to move to an agile workplace in 2018, with the move to our new premises, AA Insurance House,” says Malama. “The office designs are predominantly open-plan shared workspaces with bookable meeting rooms, training rooms, and lots of informal collaboration spaces. Out of the 121 desks in Hamilton only 17 are fixed, and in the Auckland office only 30% of employees have fixed desks.

Malama was also finding it difficult to gain the real-time data she needed to make vital decisions about AAI’s accommodation strategy. Trying to monitor the space manually was extremely time- consuming and, more often than not, the information gathered did not paint an accurate picture.

Malama already had a great rapport with the staff at SmartSpace, so she decided to give the FloorSense and FloorSight systems a go.

“We decided to get both systems at once, mainly because that would give us the most accurate data,” she says. “With both systems installed, even if someone forgot to tag on to a desk, FloorSense would report when the desk was being used. This information was extremely important for me to accurately gauge capacity in the office.”

Installing FloorSight paid off in more ways than one…

Using FloorSight, Malama was able to ascertain that the Hamilton office had enough space to accommodate all staff and showed additional capacity. FloorSense and FloorSight gave her the information based on real time data and assists in planning team moves and AAI’s ongoing Business Continuity requirements.

“The FloorSight system practically paid for itself,” she says. “Understanding which areas were being utilised afterhours and on weekends meant that we could condense the Contact Centre staff to work in specific areas in our central Auckland office. Just being able to turn off the afterhours air-con in the unused areas saves us a significant amount of money in utility bills and operating costs.”

Being able to reserve a desk is a game-changer for staff happiness

Now, the employees at AAI no longer have to worry about being able to find a desk. “They love the fact they can reserve a desk via their mobile app half an hour before they arrive.” Malama says.

Employees also appreciate other features offered by the new system. “Those who need to focus on tasks without interruption can put a blue light on at the desk to indicate they would prefer not to be disturbed,” says Malama. “The staff also love that the system’s desk device doubles up as a wireless or USB phone charger.”

Another key feature of FloorSight is the ability to track down a co-worker at any given time without the hassle of going from floor to floor and desk to desk. In an office with over 450 employees who do not have specific desks, this has proven a real time-saver.

When asked whether she would recommend the FloorSight system to another business, Malama says: “Absolutely. If you are trying to work out the accommodation requirements of your staff, you can save yourself time and money by installing the FloorSight system. The data uncovered is invaluable in making smarter decisions about your agile workplace.”

If you would like to find out more about how FloorSight and FloorSense can help you manage your workspace, give us a call or visit our showroom.