Glossary – Corporate Real Estate Terms

Glossary

A repository of acronyms, jargon and useful words for product and customer teams

A

Abandoned Meeting

A meeting room reservation that is no longer needed when nobody shows up to the meeting room. Room reservations can become abandoned when meetings are canceled or when the location for the meeting changes, and no one updates the calendar invite.

Synonyms: No-show meeting, Ghost meeting

Absenteeism

This type of employee doesn’t come into the workplace even when they’re expected to be physically present. Absenteeism is often caused by the dread associated with the stress-inducing distractions throughout an open workplace layout.

Activity-based work (ABW)

Refers to the entire philosophy of creating a flexible environment for employees in an workplace setting which recognizes that certain activities require specific settings and gives employees the freedom to choose when, where, and how they work.

The practice of providing employees with a choice of workplace settings for a variety of tasks and activities throughout the workday.

Assigned Seating

Employees are assigned a permanent seat with no expiration date in mind.

Desk allocation is 1-to-1 with one workspace for every employee. Employees have the option to add personality to their desks and use them as a home base.

Audio Visual (AV) Technology

AV technology is typically used in a workplace in many different ways. AV tech can be used for video/phone conferencing technology, a sound system or displays used through the workplace.

AV is a commonly used acronym to refer to ‘audio/visual’ technology.

B

Battery Powered Beam Counter

A Battery Powered Beam Counter is a break-beam counter that is powered by battery.

Being powered by battery versus being plugged into mains power provides numerous advantages. The biggest advantage is the flexibility of where a counter can be used. Battery powered beam counters are very useful for outdoor environments. Batteries typically last around 1 year.

Benching

Desk layout often used in open workplaces. Employees share one long desk and have minimal barriers between individual workspaces.

Biophilia

Type of design that aims to include natural accents to account for humans’ innate tendency to seek connections with nature. Plants, soft seating and natural light are key elements used in biophilic workplace design.

Boardroom

Typically the largest conference room in a workplace designated for board or executive level meetings.

Brainstorm Room

Space designed to spark creativity and collaboration. Often designed with more casual furniture to put occupants at ease. Can be used for team-wide meet-ups for a project or brainstorm as well as smaller get-togethers for sprints that require more board space or other resources. Sometimes referred to as “project room” or “war room.”

C

Change Management

Refers to tactics used to help smoothly transition a group of employees from a current situation to a new one.

For example, when transitioning from a closed plan workplace to a flexible, activity-based working environment, you can use change management tactics like clearly outlined guidelines for behavior and use of workplace resources to make the transition run smoothly.

Closed office/ closed plan office (CO/ CPO)

CO/ CPO refers to a traditional floor plan which divides the workplace into smaller spaces such as cubicles and enclosed private offices, with less room for collaborative space.

Acronyms commonly used to refer to a CO ‘closed office’ or a CPO ‘closed plan office’.

Collision Point

An area in the workplace where social collisions occur organically. Areas can include lounges, cafes or lobbies. Designers include areas like these in workplace design to help spark spontaneous collaboration and networking.

D

Desk Hoteling

Advanced reservation; People pre-schedule workstations vs. spontaneous reservation, often longer-term (days, weeks, months)

With the right policies, hoteling feels similar to hot-desking. We’d expect to find setups with rules that align with the spirit of traditional hot-desking, e.g. “You can check in the night before.”

Basically a seat assignment, but with an end date in mind.

Desk Sensors

Desk Sensors measure whether a workstation is being occupied or not. Data is as simple as, ‘yes, this workstation is occupied’ or, ‘no, this workstation is not occupied.’ Data is captured at regular intervals, allowing Space Planners and Managers to identify occupancy trends across a day, week or other time-interval.

Desk Sensors can be battery powered, Powered over Ethernet (PoE) or plugged direct to mains power. Desk sensor technology capturing workstation occupancy is usually Passive Infrared (PIR).

Digital Workspace

Collaborative, cloud based tools where teams can work together remotely and/or asynchronously. Examples include Slack, video conferencing, Google Docs, etc.

E

Elastic Workspace

Traditionally the workspace has been seen as the physical space within four walls which doesn’t extend beyond that. With an elastic workspace, that’s no longer the case. A company can have a workspace smaller than their requirements in square feet. When they need a space outside of their four walls, they can get it on-demand with the help of space providers like Convene. As a result, a company can fluctuate in size, getting bigger and coming back down to size as needed (hence “elastic”).

Event Occupancy

Event Occupancy measures the amount of people attending a specific event.

An event may span a floor, multiple floors, buildings or spaces. Target Event Occupancy may also refer to the planned amount of people who can attend an event. This metric is often used during event planning.

F

Flexible Employee or Flex-employee

Flexible Employees are employees who spend between 20 – 60% of the time at an assigned desk or anywhere from 1.5 – 5 hours each day. These employees are on the rise, especially with 80 – 90% of employees wanting the option to work remotely at least some of the time.

Flexible Space or Flex-space

Flexible Spaces are settings throughout the workplace designed to support particular employee activities and meet the needs of different styles of work.

Examples include long, high top tables for collaborative work, enclosed phone booths for focus work or private phone calls, and lounge area with couches for casual conversation.

Flexible Working or Flex-working

Flexible Working encompasses the concept of allowing employees flexibility in the workplace to do work with minimum constraints. Employees have the power to choose when, how and where they work. Flex spaces around the workplace are designed to meet the needs of those different styles of work and give freedom to employees to move throughout the workplace.

Agile/flexible work can include but isn’t limited to activity-based working principles, the elastic workplace, hot-desking, flex/huddle zones and more.

Can also be referred to as “agile working”

Floorplan

A floorplan is a detailed recording of the built environment. This will include the hard elements, including interior and external walls, windows and doorways. A floorplan can also include soft elements such as furniture.

Floorplans are viewable as images, pdf’s or through specialized software. Floorplans are created and edited through computer-assisted design (CAD) and computer-assisted facility management (CAFM) software.

Synonyms: Floor plate

Footfall Counter

A Footfall Counter is an electronic device that is used to measure footfall (i.e. the number of people entering and leaving a zone).

Footfall is captured through several technologies including break beam systems, thermal detection and video detection.

Footfall Reporting

Footfall Reporting is the data aggregation, analysis and reporting on footfall traffic through a common space (i.e. a lobby or a zone). Common measures include averages (i.e. an average number of people come through this space on a Tuesday afternoon) and peaks (i.e. Wednesday morning is the busiest time of the week and Friday afternoon is the quietest).

Free Address

Hot desking is often referred to as free address; workspaces without assigned seating; same-day desk reservations that require employees to keep the space clean for the next employee to reserve.

H

Hot Desking

On-demand, same-day reservable workstations, requiring people to check in and out. Sometimes also known as free address, flex-desking or hot-spot desking.

Does not allow booking in advance and reservations reset daily.

Huddle Rooms

A small meeting space designed to encourage people to meet quickly and easily. Best for groups of two to six people for either scheduled or impromptu time.

Can have equipment such as a small round table with seating and AV technology.

I

Integrated Workplace Management Software (IWMS)

Software that helps Facility Managers optimize the use of workplace resources, including the management of an organization’s Corporate Real Estate portfolio, infrastructure and facilities assets.

Information Technology (IT)

In the workplace, IT professionals are typically responsible for maintaining and improving employee experience around computers, networking and the hardware and software accompanying each.

IT is an acronym used to refer to the field of “information technology”.

K

Kiosk

A display typically placed in the entrance to an office, at elevator bays or in a lobby area that contains vital information about a workplace. A kiosk can display an office map with wayfinding directions or include a real-time schedule of events occurring in the office throughout the day.

L

Live Occupancy Counting

Live Occupancy Counting uses people counting technology to capture occupancy rates and display the data within 10 seconds of a person passing through a counting zone.

There are several occupancy capturing technologies in market: PIR sensors, camera based sensors, thermal sensors and beam-counters.

Live People Counting

Live people counting is the tracking of people as they enter or exit a space. Spaces include common space (a hallway or corridor, meeting space or a workstation).

Footfall and occupancy data is captured and fed back to the reporting portal. Mapping these patterns of movement helps Space Managers and Planners to identify trends.

M

Meeting Density

Meeting density is the percentage of meeting rooms hosting events at a given time. Monitoring traffic or meeting density in the workplace helps identify:

  • Scheduling bottlenecks throughout the week
  • Times of day when colleagues find it more difficult to find a meeting room
  • When resources are plentiful.

This data is calculated by taking the utilization data and breaking it down by the hour throughout the week.

Mobile Employee

Mobile employees are employees who spend less than 20% of their time or 1.5 hours each day at a workstation. This lower occupancy rate makes them top candidates for unassigned seating arrangements.

Remote and contract employees fit the role of the mobile employee since they work out of the office more often than not. Salespeople and consultants also often fit the mobile role, with a range of activities throughout the day that may not require a desk at all like meetings, calls and demos, and client visits.

N

Neighborhood

A neighborhood is an outlined space that is dedicated for a team, department or project within the workplace.

This space contains the specific variety of spaces and equipment that team needs to do their work effectively.

Neighborhoods are often used in open plan offices to let employees feel a sense of ownership and belonging in an otherwise vast space.

O

Occupancy

Occupancy is a measure of the total number of people in a specific space. The metric is calculated by the total number of ‘in’ counts (when a person enters the count-zone) minus the total number of ‘out’ counts (when a person exits the count-zone) at any given time.

Capturing how many people are in a space at a specific time is useful as it allows Space Managers to maintain safe headcounts. Additionally, captured over a period of time, the data can be analyzed to identify trends, changes in occupancy across time and to form targets and KPI’s for occupancy in the future.

Occupancy Accuracy

Occupancy Accuracy is achieved by using overhead counters with accurate and consistent flow-rate accuracy. Occupancy accuracy can be subject to cumulative errors due to slight inaccuracies inherent in all existing people counting technologies. Such inaccuracies are exacerbated by low maximum capacities combined with short average dwell times and high footfall, and high volume.

Occupancy Management

Occupancy Management is the management of occupancy in a space ensuring that space occupiers are comfortable while in the space and that headcount doesn’t exceed the predefined maximum capacity.

Occupancy Management can be managed manually or with the support of occupancy monitoring technology. Occupancy monitoring technologies include PIR sensors, video-based sensors, beam-counting sensors and thermal sensors.

Strategically, identifying unique occupancy trends (lows, averages and peaks) enables planners to identify useful changes to optimize space deployment. If a particular type of workstation just isn’t being occupied, space planners can dig into why (maybe the environment isn’t suitable rather than the problem being the workstation) and pivot on feedback.

Occupancy Tracking

Occupancy Tracking is monitoring and measuring the number of people in a building, floor or zone/ neghborhood.

Occupancy metrics can be tracked over time to compare historically or can be compared against another building, floor or zone.

Office White Noise

Office White Noise is a tactic of sound masking to reduce noise levels and increase concentration.

In a noisy environment, white noise, along with white and pink noise (which all differ in combinations of frequencies), muffle louder sounds and provide a continuous background sound.

Open Office Plan or Open Plan Office (OO/OPO)

Open office plan or open plan office refers to a more modern workplace layout created to allow for more organization-wide transparency and ad-hoc collaboration amongst employees.

Some open workplaces include a variety of flexible workspaces enabling activity-based working. Other open office plans consist of uniform benches or rows of desks and little flexibility creating an uncomfortable workspace full of noise, distractions and void of privacy and empowerment.

OO or OPO are acronyms commonly used to refer to an “open office plan” or an “open plan office”

Over-counting

Over-counting happens when a people counter counts more people than are actually passing through a space.

Over-counting happens because of environmental conditions, or by insufficient configuration, or unexpected staff or customer behaviour within the counting zone.

P

Passing Traffic

Passing Traffic refers to the amount of people walking past a space (including cafes or other general access space, neighborhoods/ zones or meeting spaces). Data capture is useful to understand if and how spaces are being used.

Peak Occupancy

Peak Occupancy is the time and day that a workplace is busiest on average.

People Counting

People Counting is counting the number of people who enter into a space (at a building’s entrance, through common space or into a workstation or meeting room).

People counting can be undertaken manually – assigning a person to count the number of people that enter and leave a space. Technology can also be deployed for the same purpose. Typically tech-based people counting includes thermal sensors, video-based sensors, PIR sensors and beam-counting sensors.

The data is used by managers to create safe, efficient and comfortable workplaces and iterate on trends and demands maintaining a well-used space over time.

Physical workspace

A place where people come together to work in person, whether on collaborative projects or individual ones.

Pod

A small, self-contained, soundproofed, modular space designed for privacy and concentration for one or two people.

Workers can pop into pods for calls, quick in-person or virtual meetings or distraction-free sessions of solo productivity.

Pods are the workplace equivalent of a hotel room with a “Do not disturb” sign hanging on the doorknob. Sometimes called a “focus room.”

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet enables people-counting devices to pass electrical power and data safely on CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cabling.

Power over Ethernet is commonly abbreviated to PoE.

Presenteeism

Due to external or internalized pressure, presenteeists come into the office when they’re physically or mentally unwell ultimately resulting in lost productivity. This type of behavior can cause sickness or unhealthy attitudes to spread throughout the office.

Presenteeism in the workplace is especially rampant in the open office since it’s incredibly obvious who is and isn’t physically present at work.

Q

Quiet Car

A Quiet Car is an area designed for focused, individual work.

Workplace libraries are often used as the “quiet car” area for when employees want the presence of others focused on individual work without having to tune out the typical distractions associated with busier workplaces.

R

Real-time Counting

Real-time Counting is counting and displaying live footfall and occupancy counts within 5 seconds of a person having passed through a count-zone.

Recaptured Time

Recaptured Time is time that is freed due to employees ghosting on bookings.

If an employee made a booking for a workspace or meeting space and doesn’t check in to the space after a period of time, the space is released back into general bookable records. Automatically cancelling the booking due to an assumed no-show and turning bookable again enables cost reduction as the space is up for others to grab for ad-hoc meetings.

Recaptured Time illustrates how much of that released time is used for ad-hoc events.

Remote Monitoring

Remote Monitoring is a regularly performed service to ensure that people-counting devices are still connected to the network and are functioning as they should be.

This process automatically flags any correction errors and can highlight specific accuracy problems. Additionally, regular device monitoring can help identify if a device’s battery needs changing.

Resident Employee

Resident Employees are employees who spend more than 60% of the time at an assigned workstation or at least 5 hours each day.

This type of employee usually spends most of their days in heads down, individual work. Writers and software engineers often fall into this category. Also known as a “soloist-style worker”

Reverse Desk Hoteling

Reverse Desk Hoteling is an assigned workstation that becomes usable/ bookable due to the assigned employee’s scheduled absence.

Reverse desk hoteling can be sync’ed up with HR systems, making spaces bookable when the assigned user is on holiday or known to be absent.

Room Display

A Room Display is a digital touch screen that is mounted on the exterior wall or window of a conference room or related office space.

The display typically shows the room name, availability, schedule and could allow booking instantly at the door.

Some room displays have the ability to report issues with the room or require check-ins to reduce no-show meetings.

S

Setting

Types of spaces optimized to support work and interaction. In a flexible workspace, the right mix is meant to foster an office landscape that’s easy-to-navigate for people and provide them with variety throughout their workday.

Space Management

Space Management is a sub-discipline of Facilities Management. Space Management oversees people, buildings and assets. Space Managers are responsible for the safe, efficient, consistent and comfortable deployment and management of space for users to complete their roles in. Traditionally, the role was seen as a tactical role simploy tracking numbers of assets. As the industry has matured and bocome more sophisticated, Space Management now has significant strategic importance.

Space Managers will use several platforms to support them across the areas they are responsible for. CAFM, CMMS, PPM, BMS, EMS.

Space Programming

Space Programming is the planning phase before undertaking a workspace move.

It’s used to determine what’s not working with the current space configuration, what space users need as well as what a new space can look like. This includes how much space is allocated to each department, how much sqft/ m per workstation and assets to be used through the office.

Staff Planning

Staff Planning is a continuous process of shaping a staff profile to reach for several people and business oriented goals.

Staff planning enables building managers to look at the needs and wants of building users deploying facilities that users want to and will engage with. People and workspace are typically an organization’s two highest costs. Bringing space deployment in-line with user expectations will enable efficient deployment and is a factor in optimizing attrition rates.

Stereoscopic Video Counter

A Stereoscopic Video Counter is a people-counter with two lenses. The addition of another lense creates 3-dimensional vision creating an image with both depth and shape. Stereoscopic video counters achieve more accurate people counting.

Structured Query Language (SQL, MS SQL and MySQL)

Structured Query Language is an industry-standard database language. Incorporating an industry-standard database language enables multiple systems to easily access the same databases and draw out the data needed in order to analyze or report on.

Common abbreviations include SQL, MS SQL and MySQL.

T

Tailgating

Tailgating happens when one person directly follows behind another through a counting zone or security gate and they aren’t counted. This is typically a problem with swipe-card access-controlled gates, where one person swipes their card and another follows. An electronic tailgate monitor can instigate a tailgate alarm when two people try to pass through a security gate simultaneously.

Thermal Counter

A Thermal Counter is a specific type of counter. Thermal counters are mounted on a ceiling. They count people by monitoring the difference between the background temperature and the temperature of count targets as they move through the count zone.

Thirdspaces

A thirdspace in the workplace refers to areas that fall between “home” and “workplace” on the spectrum of spaces an employee finds themselves during a normal day.

Thirdspaces can include cafes, parks and lounges. These spaces are being leveraged in workplace design creating a sense of belonging in the workplace.

Thirdspaces are also called “thirdplaces”.

Traffic Density

Traffic Density is the number of people who pass under a people counting device at any one time.

Traffic Patterns

Traffic Patterns outlines footfall rates at different points through buildings (entrances, floors, etc…). Patterns of interest includes averages, peaks and lows.

Traffic patterns can be used to identify changes historically through a space or can be used to compare from Space A to Space B. These patterns are useful when looking at whether a change has been successfully adopted or when planning for change.

Touchdown Spot

A Touchdown Spot is an informal workspace.

They are used to regroup when navigating through the workspace, continue conversations when meetings run over or quickly sync up with colleagues without having to book a formal meeting space.

These spaces can be equipped with an outlet or an extra monitor to plug into to refresh before moving onto another task or meeting.

U

Under-counting

Under-counting happens when some people-counting devices count fewer people than are actually passing through a counting zone.

This is a specific weakness where Beam Counters are used across a wide entrance. However, both thermal and video counters can also be subject to under-counting when traffic density reaches extremely high levels.

Utilization

Utilization is a metric capturing and reporting on how often a spaces are being used. Utilization levels, rates or percentages can be created as KPI’s. Measuring utilization can be captured across workstations, zones or neighborhoods, floors, meeting spaces. 

The target usage metric for meeting spaces is between 40-60% of the time. Target workstation usage is between 70-90%.

V

Venue Occupancy

Venue Occupancy is a metric measuring the number of people that can safely fit inside a venue.

Video Counting

Video Counting is a type of technology used to count people or assets as they move through workplaces.

Video counters captures the number of people coming on-site. If the tech is employed through facilities (i.e. in elevator lobbies or through corridors), video counters also map where people are going through buildings and when. Data capture is anonymous. Technology does not identify who a person is.

Purpose-built video counters use on-board processing and offer higher levels of accuracy.

Visitor Counter

A Visitor Counter is a device that has been designed to count the number of people entering a public venue. Data is used to determine unit pricing (i.e. a retail unit situated where footfall is higher is going to cost more than a unit with less footfall as the quieter unit may be seen to be less attractive to businesses) ensure the compliance of the venue, the safety of visitors and factors back into planning change through the venue.

Technology to capture visitor numbers includes thermal detection and video-based sensors.

W

Wayfinding

Wayfinding platforms support building/ space users to find their way in an unfamiliar environment.

After searching for a space, asset or person through a wayfinding device or platform, users can then easily move to their desired location.

Typically, wayfinding is accessed through apps on mobile devices or kiosk technology.

Weather Effect

A Weather Effect is the effect that weather has on footfall trends. For instance, on a rainy day, footfall may decrease at a workplace operating a flexible work culture. With validation that workplace attendance dips due to a weather effect, planners can save money simply by adjusting space availability on the day and powering down unused spaces.

Wireless People Counter

Wireless People Counter is any automated people counting device that is powered and transfers data without wires or cables.

Workplace Experience

The overall physical and digital workplace experience workers have that lives in the domain of HR, IT, facilities and internal culture committees, including how well people interact with the tools and spaces provided to them.

A positive workplace experience depends on an office design that makes finding and scheduling the right types of spaces based on activity a simple task and how well those spaces support the wide range of employee activity in order to help them get their best work done.

Ideally the workplace experience should provide employees with flexibility and autonomy on where and how they want to work at any given time and is not limited to the workers who show up there daily, but also remote workers, visitors, contractors, and field workers who are in the office periodically.

Workplace Management

Workplace Management is a broader part of managing premises involving planning.

Workplace Managers look to how a building, floor or space is being used and company ‘as it’s being used’ data to expected usage. Managers identify peaks and lows through spaces on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Particularly with the move towards more flexible, agile working in the last few years, understanding usage trends enables Workplace Managers to identify gaps where a workplace can be made more comfortable and efficient.