How Workplaces Lose Money with Wrong-Sized Meeting Rooms 

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Ari Kepnes
Ari Kepnes
Ari Kepnes leads Market Research for Density to provide companies with the tools and data to understand how physical space is used. He focuses on understanding the planning and operation of work environments that benefit employees.

In the latest report from Density, more than 10,000 hours of meeting room data were analyzed—generated by their sensor platform—to explore how wrong-sized meeting rooms cost workplaces millions of dollars every year.

Do you know how big your average meeting is? It’s smaller than you might think. According to more than 10,000 hours of usage data tracking in Density’s Mid-Year 2019 Workplace Utilization Index, meeting rooms were routinely used by just one person. Of the 60 meeting rooms analyzed over a six-month data-set, rooms were occupied by a single person 36 percent of the time.

This could be a consequence of workers’ inability to find private areas for video calls and focused work within open-office layouts. With no private offices to turn to, individual employees seem to be monopolizing meeting rooms that were designed for groups.

Generated by Density’s people count sensor platform, the report demonstrates the importance of tracking space utilization as a means to improve meeting room allocation. The findings reveal mismatches between the way meeting rooms are designed and how they’re actually used: 

  • Meetings with between two and four people represented 40 percent of all meetings.
  • Large meetings were rare: 85 percent of meetings had fewer than seven attendees, and only six percent of meetings included more than 10 people.
  • Even the meetings with the most attendees typically only utilized 45 percent of the room’s capacity.

Density Meeting Group

Considering how expensive meeting rooms are—a boardroom table and videoconferencing solution can each cost more than $10,000—it may seem logical to shrink the size and number of conference rooms. But it’s not that simple. 

Determining the right size and types of meeting rooms requires ongoing measurement of how people in your own organization use space. Until recently, it’s never been possible to measure exactly how every room in a building is used. But new advances in sensor technology now enable us to understand how every room in a building is used without collecting any personally identifiable information or otherwise raising privacy concerns. 

In this report, Density offers new approaches for using utilization data to balance space efficiency with the ways your employees meet. Among other findings, readers will discover how utilization data rewrites the rules of meeting room standards to incorporate design elements like modular “flex spaces,” movable furniture, and phone booths. 


Make sure to download the Workplace Utilization Index: Mid-Year 2019!

The Density Workplace Utilization Index: Mid-Year 2019 analyzes more than 10,000 hours of meeting room data across select Density customers. Density is a sensor platform that accurately and anonymously measures how people use space in real time.

This article was written in partnership with Density. 

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