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An intelligent hot-desking model harnessing the power of occupancy sensing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-786
Number of pages21
Issue number13/14
DateAccepted/In press - 20 Oct 2016
DatePublished (current) - 3 Oct 2017


In this paper we develop a model to harness the power of occupancy sensing in a commercial hot-desking environment utilising experimental data from an office in central London. Hot-desking is a method of office resource management that emerged in the 90s as a practice to reduce the real estate costs of professional practices, by abandoning traditional territorial working (i.e. where specific desks were allocated to specific employees). This was particularly desirable in high real estate cost areas such as New York, London or in high-staff, low-wage offices, or where underutilization of desk space due to remote/client site working was proved to be a significant overhead. However, the shortcoming is often in the suitability and appropriateness of allocated work environments. The Internet of Things could produce new data sets in the office at a resolution, speed and validity of which that they could be factored into desk-allocation, distributing seats based on appropriate noise levels, stay length, equipment requirements, previous presence, and proximity to others working on the same project, among many others.

In this paper we show that sensor data can be used to facilitate office resources management, in our case desk allocation in a hot-desking environment utilising activity based working (or allocating by ‘work theme’), with results that outweigh the costs of occupancy detection. Not only are we able to optimise desk utilisation based on quality occupancy data, but also demonstrate how overall
productivity increases, as individuals are allocated desks of their preference as much as possible among other enabling optimisations that can be applied. Moreover, we explore how an increase in occupancy data collection in the private
sector could have key advantages for the business as an organization and the city as a whole.

Additional information

Special Issue: Big Data for FM in the AEC sector

    Research areas

  • Office buildings, Office management, Productivity, Smart buildings, Intelligent buildings, Hotdesking

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Emerald at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 785 KB, PDF document


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