Experiment Idea: Improving Experience Through Densification

Not sure where to start with solving your workplace occupancy issues? Try starting with an experiment.

Experiment Idea:  Improving Experience Through Densification
Photo by Arina Yusri / Unsplash

As a workplace strategist, a constant challenge of crafting connection the past several years has been superfluous space and low utilization leading to decreased interaction.  In this article we'll outline a data-driven process for developing and implementing a floor consolidation experiment to increase building utilization and improve your team's experience.

The Challenge of Low-Density Office Spaces

Many organizations are still grappling with underutilized office spaces as hybrid work has normalized for the majority of companies. A four-floor office building experiencing low occupancy presents both challenges and opportunities. Low occupancy can lead to increased operational costs, reduced collaboration, and a diminished sense of  connection. However, it also offers a chance to reimagine the workspace and optimize its use.

Developing a Hypothesis Based on Data

Before implementing any changes, it's crucial to gather and analyze relevant data:

  • Measure current utilization: Use occupancy sensors, badge swipe data, and / or manual headcounts to determine how many employees are using the space on average.
  • Analyze space usage patterns: Look at which areas are most frequently used, when peak occupancy occurs, and how different teams utilize the space.
  • Survey employees: Gather feedback on current workspace preferences, collaboration needs, and factors that would encourage more in-office work.
  • Review operational costs: Calculate the current cost per square foot and per employee for maintaining all four floors.

Based on this data, we can formulate a hypothesis. For example, we think that by consolidating from four floors to two, we can increase space utilization by 50%, reduce operational costs by 40%, and improve employee satisfaction through enhanced interaction opportunities, thus encouraging a more vibrant work environment.  One caveat here is that you're likely not going to save money on your lease as it will take longer than an experiment timeline to get rid of superfluous space under lease.  That kind of decision making requires further consideration post experiment.

Designing the Experiment

With our hypothesis in place, we can design an experiment to test it:

1. Select floors for consolidation: Choose the two floors that offer the best layout for the consolidated workspace based on current usage patterns and employee needs.  You wouldn't want to block off the floor with the best kitchen or bathrooms.

2. Rearrange the consolidated space using what you have: Create a mix of individual workstations, collaborative areas, and quiet zones to accommodate various work styles.  You've got four floors of furniture to work with!

3. Implement hot-desking or desk reservation systems: This can help manage the increased density and provide flexibility for employees.  Definitely get employee input on this piece!

4. Enhance amenities: Consider adding or upgrading features like coffee stations, lounge areas, or wellness rooms to make the consolidated space more attractive.

5. Develop a communication plan: Clearly explain the experiment's goals, duration, and expected benefits to all employees.  Be prepared to answer questions and listen to feedback!

6. Set a timeframe: Plan for a 3-6 month experiment period to gather meaningful data.

Implementing the Experiment

  • Prepare the consolidated floors: Reconfigure the selected floors according to the new layout before the official start date.
  • Shut down the unused floors: Close off the two unused floors, ensuring all necessary equipment and resources are moved to the consolidated space.
  • Monitor and collect data: Throughout the experiment, continuously gather data on space utilization, energy consumption, and employee feedback.
  • Provide support: Offer resources to help employees adapt to the new arrangement, such as training on hot-desking systems or guidance on effective use of collaborative spaces.

Measuring Success

To evaluate the experiment's success, compare pre- and post-consolidation data on:

  • Space utilization rates
  • Operational costs
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Collaboration frequency
  • Energy consumption

Potential Outcomes and Next Steps

If the experiment proves successful according to the measures you set, consider:

  • Making the consolidation permanent
  • Repurposing or subleasing the unused floors
  • Applying lessons learned to other office locations

If results are mixed, analyze what worked well and what didn't. You may need to adjust the layout, amenities, or policies before attempting another consolidation.


Experiments like this can effectively address low-density issues while potentially improving the overall workplace experience. By basing decisions on data and carefully designing the experiment, your team can gain valuable insight into optimizing your  space for the evolving needs of your team. Remember, the key to success lies in clear communication, employee involvement, and a willingness to adapt based on the results.  Happy experimenting!