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Important space metrics to use to manage social distancing

October 17, 2020
Author
Jay Bid

COVID-19 forced you to shift your thinking from maximizing space for cost efficiency to decreasing office density for social distancing. This article details how to use space metrics to shape your return-to-work strategy.

Use historical Sq ft/person to devise and test your COVID19 response

Sq ft/person can hep you set, and monitor against, specific targets to de-densify your workspace.

The 4th floor in the example above indicates an actual measured density of  261 sq ft/person on average, and 65 sq ft/person at peak.  Equipped with this data and a knowledge of the particular floor's layout, our client might decide to target a minimum density of 300 sq ft/person on average and 150 sq ft/person at peak. This makes it easier for employees to maintain social distance.

Our client now has the data needed to structure and test different de-densification strategies for the 4th floor.  For example, seeing that the 2nd floor is significantly underutilized compared to the 4th floor may provide an opportunity to reassign teams from floor 4 to 2.  Alternatively, our client might try other options such as implementing staggered in-office schedules, or a phase-based return-to-office plan.

The data our client has access to provides continuous feedback on how the workplace team is performing against its goals. Communicating this data directly to employees will help build credibility and the peace of mind that the workplace team is focused on employees’ health and safety.

Apply this approach across different types of spaces   

This approach is not just helpful for office floors.  You can leverage sq ft/person at the building-level, or in general-use spaces (e.g. cafeterias to help inform and test COVID-19 response strategies).

Building-Level Sq Ft / Person

Set up building-level sq ft/person reporting with as few as 5-10 people-count sensors (i.e. enough to cover all ground-level building entrances).  These sensors will count all the individuals who enter and exit your building — including badge employees and one-time visitors.  Additionally, these people-count sensors can alert security teams when tailgating occurs and provide sq ft/person metrics that are more complete and robust than simply using badge data.

With these sensors in place, you can get a comprehensive, comparative view of your building and floor-level density metrics:

And go deeper on particular times and spaces of interest:

De-densifying general-use spaces will require maintaining occupancy caps relative to available space. Cutting-edge companies use Density's Safe Display, which shows real-time Sq Ft/Person, and a Go/No-Go signal to the next person who wants to enter.

This helps workspace managers limit occupancy, and shows those who use your space that safety is top-of-mind.

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