9 Office Space Utilization Metrics People Ops & HR Teams Should Track in a Hybrid Workplace

In an office environment, you often measure employee engagement by tracking absenteeism rates within a given period of time. However, in a remote or hybrid work environment, HR leaders can’t rely on this metric because the majority of the workforce is absent most of the time—working from their home offices.

How can HR departments evaluate employee satisfaction, retention, engagement, and other relevant aspects of the employee experience for hybrid teams? How do they execute performance management strategies if they can’t understand what employee performance depends on in a hybrid workplace? Is a high employee turnover rate revealing how successful companies are at keeping remote workers connected?

We’re sharing the most important HR metrics related to workspace utilization your People Ops and HR professionals should track to build and effectively manage a high-performing hybrid workforce.

Cost per person (CPP)

Cost per person/seat is a metric used to determine how much money is being spent on office space. You can use it to balance the number of employees using the workspaces and the number and types of workstations in those workspaces (for example, hot desks vs. dedicated desks or offices).

Tracking this metric helps you optimize your spending and design your office space in the way it can best support your team’s needs and enable their performance.

Depending on what kind of office space you’re using, different factors can be included in calculating the cost per person. For instance, if you’re renting seats in a co-working space, you won’t include decoration costs.

Workspace utilization budget

Capacity vs occupancy

Your workspace capacity refers to the number of workers that can use the space at the same time. On the other hand, occupancy refers to the number of employees who are actually using the space at a specific time.

Tracking capacity and occupancy goes hand in hand and allows you to determine whether your team is fully using a specific workspace and if your workplace strategy is working.

For example, there may be 10 seats in a co-working space (capacity), but only six employees are using the seats at the moment (occupancy).

When you know these numbers and track occupancy trends, you can optimize spending and make sure the space is used efficiently.

Average peak utilization (APU)

The average peak utilization relies on the previous metric. You can understand it by tracking capacity vs occupancy over a specific period of time.

This helps you discover the times when your office space is mostly in use: at what time, on what day, what number of days, or for how long.

For example, you may find out that Mondays and Tuesdays are the most popular days, and your employees typically use the workspace in the afternoon and stay for four hours.

Trending spaces

Trending spaces is a metric that measures how much your employees visit a particular office or coworking space.

To determine which spaces are trending, you need to track APU and how often your spaces reach peak utilization. You can even track trending spaces in the same facility if, for example, you’re renting hot desks and conference rooms in the same coworking space.

Identifying trending spaces can also reveal a lot about your team in a specific location. For instance, your employees in San Francisco may meet more often than those in Berlin. You can dig deeper into people analytics and employee experience to learn more about those teams’ needs.

Trending spaces


Density refers to the number of employees per square foot in your office or flexible workspace. Tracking this metric can help you determine if you need a bigger space for a specific location or department or if the workspaces in a particular city are underutilized.

If you measure density, you can also identify what kind of workspaces your employees need; whether those are meeting rooms, hot desks, dedicated offices, creative spaces, or something else.

For example, if your product team has recently grown and now has 17 members, out of which at least 10 are on-site at any given time, a conference room suitable for 7 people won’t be enough—they’ll need a bigger meeting space.

Mobility ratio

The mobility ratio determines if your workspace can function optimally in case your entire team uses it at the same time.

Say you’re renting an office for up to 10 people in a city where you have 10 employees. Can they work under optimal conditions if they all show up at the office on the same day?

To properly track and calculate the mobility ratio, you need to know your workforce well. All employees need to be taken into account: those who work part-time and full-time for your company, as well as those who sometimes work from home and sometimes use the office.

You also need to know your capacity vs. occupancy and APU metrics to calculate the mobility ratio.

Immediate occupancy rate

Immediate occupancy rate measures the amount of time needed to occupy a desk, a private office, or a conference room after it has been abandoned by the previous user.

This metric is important for hybrid teams because it helps you determine how much buffer time you need to leave between two bookings to avoid overlaps and delays. Monitoring the immediate occupancy rate is crucial for hybrid teams to maintain a safe and efficient work environment.

There are different factors that can affect your measurements of the immediate occupancy rate. For example, the coworking space where you’re renting several desks or private offices may have its own policies (still affected by COVID-19) where the room or desk needs to be cleaned after one person has finished their work.

Open space performance

The open space performance metric is used to measure the effectiveness of open spaces in offices or flexible workspaces, such as lunch seats, collaboration spaces, or lounge areas.

By measuring this metric, hybrid teams can determine if they need to change the purpose, number, or layout of open spaces to better serve their needs. To assess the performance of open workspaces, you should consider factors such as:

  • Density (how many employees are there)
  • Sensitivity to noise (how much the employees are distracted by the noise around them)
  • Privacy levels (how much privacy the employees need to complete their work—for example, if they’re discussing sensitive company information in a meeting)
  • Type of work (what kind of tasks employees need to complete and whether it can be done in an open space)

Monitoring open space performance is crucial for hybrid teams to create an optimal work environment that promotes collaboration and creativity. It can help establish better connections among employees, but only if it’s not affecting the team’s productivity and focus.

Desk ratio (workstation per employee)

Workstation per employee, or desk ratio, which refers to the average number of workstations provided for each employee, is a crucial metric for determining office space efficiency. By tracking the desk ratio, organizations can determine if they need to add or reduce workstations to optimize space utilization.

This metric is especially important for hybrid teams looking to reduce their office size because they’ve adopted remote work in a certain measure.

Calculating the desk ratio is straightforward for fully in-office workplaces, where the number of workstations is divided by the number of employees. This calculation provides the minimum number of workstations required, although most workplaces need at least 20% more workstations than the calculated minimum.

However, this calculation method may not be useful for hybrid teams as many companies don’t have strict schedules for when their employees should be on-site and when they work from home.

To calculate the required number of workstations for hybrid teams, organizations need to know how many days their employees are in the workspace on average, so the desk ratio needs to rely on other flex space usage metrics. The data can be obtained from workplace management tools like Gable.

Workspace data

Why workspace utilization metrics matter

Before COVID, when we were all in-office workers, office space utilization wasn’t on the list of must-have metrics for human resources.

However, with the expansion of remote and hybrid work, HR KPIs have changed and now include space-related metrics that reveal a lot about the team’s needs. The role of flexible workspaces in team performance is undeniable because it can facilitate and encourage interpersonal relationships among employees and help them establish a more productive collaboration.

The ability to meet up with other team members can be particularly useful as a part of the onboarding experience for new hires, especially those who are only now entering the workforce and haven’t had an opportunity to build soft skills and socialize with coworkers.

Tracking workspace utilization metrics helps you determine how big the role of your flexible spaces is in your team’s overall experience and how it affects other key performance indicators that your HR team measures:

  • Employee engagement scores
  • Employee retention rate
  • Attrition
  • Employee productivity
  • Training effectiveness score
  • Cost of HR software, and more.

Bringing people and workplace teams together to make data-driven decisions about how and where your teams work

The bottom line is that the strategy to optimize your hybrid workforce’s collaboration, performance, and communication needs to include workspace-related HR data. These are real-time insights into how your employees work, how often they meet, and what tools they have at their disposal to connect, stay engaged, and meet and exceed performance expectations.

Creating HR reports based on these key HR metrics will help you improve your decision-making process because you’ll be able to rely on data and understand the optimal conditions in which your team can generate results.

Are you looking for new workspaces for your team to test? Gable can help—check out the locations we cover and learn how we help distributed teams easily book and manage flexible spaces to maximize the benefits of a hybrid workforce.

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Andrea Rajic