How Fresenius Created a Leaner, More Productive Workplace
A Leaner, More Productive Workplace in a Quarter
Fresenius provides healthcare solutions across North America for those with chronic kidney disease and related conditions. Headquartered near Boston, the company employs 67,000 people across two buildings. The offices include a combination of private offices and open areas with low-walled cubicles, common spaces, and collaborative zones. Rich Bettina, Director of North American Real Estate Portfolio oversees the allocation and use of space.
Like many companies, Fresenius expanded its real estate footprint to match its anticipated headcount. The danger with this approach is that the growth in square footage may outpace the growth in the workforce. The result is what Bettina calls “real-estate bloat”, which he suspected was occurring at Fresenius corporate offices. “We have a headquarters location with two buildings,” he explained. “One is 100,000 square feet, the other is 300,000 square feet, and just by visual observation alone it was obvious that the space was being underutilized.”
Bettina recognized that there was a big opportunity for cost savings by consolidating employees into one building, but he needed highly accurate data to make the case. He turned to VergeSense’s deep-learning sensors.
In just four months, the data captured by VergeSense sensors revealed that the average space utilization of the building was only 20%. This is not uncommon for many large companies and can persist for years without accurate data to detect and correct it. Armed with this information, Bettina and his team ultimately decided to terminate the lease for one of the buildings early, as the employees would easily be consolidated in another building with ample capacity. With this change, Fresenius is saving more than $6 Million in annual cost avoidance.
For Bettina, the study marks a new era in the ways that Fresenius thinks about workplace design. With this fleet of new sensors, his team was able to get the most out of their real estate investments, mining new space from within their offices while simultaneously maintaining employee experience. “Available capacity isn’t just workstations without names on them. With VergeSense we’re able to see what is actually used and make better choices with our space.”
“Available capacity isn’t just workstations without names on them. With VergeSense we’re able to see what is actually used and make better choices with our space.”
This first pilot was intended to establish a repeatable model that can be used in other buildings across the organization. Fresenius has since installed VergeSense sensors in two larger Boston-area buildings, which Bettina suspects will show similar results. As this workplace utilization assessment program scales across the organization, Fresenius could potentially save tens of millions of dollars, all of it hiding in plain sight.