The kind of work we do today is radically different than the work we did even 20 years ago, and much of today’s work relies on a solid foundation of data analysis. This change has had a definite impact on real estate optimization and how organizations look at their workspaces. Facility planners and managers are required more than ever to be able to justify usage and show the value of their organization’s spaces to financial leaders.


Starting in 2019, Financial Accounting Standards Board guidelines will require organizations leasing property for more than 12 months to recognize their leases as assets or liabilities. This change greatly affects organizations’ bottom lines, highlighting the importance for leaders to understand how their workspaces are used.

Additionally, a recent edition of CoreNet Global’s the LEADER suggested the necessity for corporate real estate to collaborate with IT and accounting departments to reexamine accounting and reporting for leases. Progressive organizations will look for solutions backed by data to determine actual space usage, as well as drive better reporting and decision-making regarding real estate space optimization.

Despite these changes, there are challenges preventing organizations from getting usable data. Utilization and occupancy data is often gathered manually or from anecdotal information, making it inaccurate, inconclusive, labor intensive and not scalable. Another complication is that most statistics assume that organizations have assigned one space to each individual employee, which doesn’t account for organizations embracing new ways of working, like work cafés or casual lounge spaces, or companies with mobile workplace strategies.


The changing ways people work directly affects how organizations support workers, and to address the growing needs for accurate workplace data and actionable insights, Steelcase is examining how big data can be used to better optimize the workplace.

Steelcase Workplace Advisor uses sensors that detect space usage, sending data to a cloud platform. The proprietary Workplace Advisor Dashboard combines this data with Steelcase’s human-centered understanding of the workplace, providing valuable insights on which spaces are being used and helping organizations make informed decisions about how to change those spaces to better support their people.

Having a system that accurately and easily reports space usage enables organizations to meet future real estate requirements and leadership expectations. It also ensures that workspaces are truly supporting an organization’s most important asset—its people.

Workplace Insights