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SALTMINE’S GUIDE TO THE
FUTURE OF WORKPLACE
(AND ITS 4 COMMON ROADBLOCKS)
WHO AND WHAT
Saltmine is an all-in-one workplace optimization platform
that helps workplace and real estate teams plan, design,
and strategize the workspaces of the future.
We believe the future of workplace is about fully
understanding how people are actually using a real estate
portfolio in order to evolve it to our ever changing and
dynamic office landscape.
Our platform is all about helping customers have a
complete grasp of this understanding, so they have all
the crucial information they need to evolve spaces as
well as improve employee effectiveness, efficiency,
productivity, and most of all, happiness.
On top of helping you gain a better understanding of
your real estate portfolio, our platform enables
customers to develop a dynamic and data-driven
workplace strategy. From its ability to capture all
architectural plans and workplace data under one
roof, to its immersive 3D design module, the
Saltmine platform is built to empower customers to:
Plan, strategize, design, and execute agile and flexible workplaces.
Intake, track, and interpret relevant data–creating actionable next steps.
Cut project costs and timelines.
Empower users to build workplaces people will love.
YOUR FUTURE OF
THE 4 ROADBLOCKS GETTING IN THE WAY
OF YOUR UNIQUE FUTURE OF WORKPLACE
While achieving the workplace of the future can seem like an ambiguous journey,
from our experience there are four common roadblocks that get in the way of
planning the offices of tomorrow.
These roadblocks include:
1. Determining agile ratios 2. Knowing whether or not to drastically alter space 3. Collaborating and engaging stakeholders 4. Eliminating time consuming and costly manual design processes
Here’s a helpful guide to provide visibility into these four roadblocks as well as how Saltmine’s platform helps customers navigate around them.
ROADBLOCK #1: DETERMINING AGILE RATIOS
Prior to the pandemic, when everyone was coming into the office everyday, it
was all about 1:1 seating–i.e., one person will always have one seat.
Companies struggle with determining what the correct “agile ratios” are for their
Return to Office (RTO) in the hybrid era. They’re unsure what types of spaces are
needed to ensure employees are productive and happy.
For example, here’s a common question we’ve heard quite a bit:
“If we don’t know how many people are going to be in our hybrid office, how do we
figure out how many seats we need?”
Predicting office usage in our hybrid
world is difficult because we can no
longer rely on 1:1 seating as it
assumes that one person will always
need one seat. In today’s hybrid
environment, some groups of people
will use the office with regularity,
some might occasionally and
irregularly come in, and others will
never come into the office.
While those who are coming in with
regularity will likely need places to do
individual work, one of the biggest
reasons why people are using offices
again is to socialize and
collaborate–two activities that don’t
need 1:1 seating.
The only effective way to fully understand how and why people are using certain spaces is through data.
It’s all about data:
Your current space. The first step is to take inventory of all your current architectural spaces. This gives you an overview of the different space types you currently have available–e.g., “me,” “we,” and “us” spaces.
Trending utilization. Occupancy data that indicates how many people are coming into the office, provides clarity on what they’re using different spaces for.
People’s perception of space. Just because people are coming in, doesn’t mean they like it. By asking employees how they feel about their space, you gain the critical qualitative data necessary to ensure spaces are reflective of how people actually work.
With quantitative and qualitative data at your disposal, Saltmine users will be able to make systematic decisions regarding future design proposals–empowering them to determine and accommodate their unique, agile ratios.
Using Space Temperature, see what spaces are
most heavily used in a given location.
Post-occupancy, make data-driven decisions to evolve space.
Gather qualitative feedback within Saltmine that captures and analyzes valuable insights from employees.
Optimize your workplace by refining and adjusting for different workstyles, occupancy trends, and evolving spatial demands.
For example, one of our customers–a global financial services
company–wanted to “energize” their real estate portfolio and pursue a hybrid
working model that uses a neighborhood strategy.
They wanted to switch from their pre-pandemic 1:1 ratio and try out an 8:10 ratio.
However, after they rolled out their new plan, empty desks were still abundant.
They still had more space than they needed and having workers so spread out
was not conducive to team building.
They realized that going from one drastic change to another wasn’t going to
work and needed to experiment before determining what ratio was right for
This is where the Saltmine platform comes in.
Using Saltmine, they discovered that their ratio sweet spot was actually 5:10.
Uploading all of their architectural plans and utilization data into Saltmine to create a Digital Twin of their real estate portfolio
Digitizing all the furnishings in their portfolio and creating an interactive 3D model of their neighborhood strategy
Generating high definition renders and 360 panorama views to get a better sense of the future built environment–resulting in a more engaged project team and
Experience live changes in 3D and collaborate in an immersive environment.
This iterative and visual way of determining ratios allowed the customer to
experiment with different ideas, configurations, and furnishings to reestablish
their global corporate standards–all before modifying the physical built
The ability to fully leverage actual utilization data to run various scenarios and
test different floorplans allowed this customer to get a better understanding of
what would actually work in the built environment.
And the best part? This customer is forecasting that they will save approximately
$1.4 billion dollars in global CRE costs over the next 10 years.
ROADBLOCK #2: KNOW WHETHER TO DRASTICALLY
ALTER SPACE OR NOT
While the offices we left at the beginning of the pandemic aren’t conducive to the
present, it’s important to recognize that drastic alterations could fail at a large
scale–i.e., we shouldn’t over index.
Many companies we talk to and work with recognize this but are still lost. They
see the need to alter the spaces they’re offering to employees but want to limit
the construction and permits they’re committing to. Many have asked:
“What can we do in the meantime?”
Rather than knocking down walls,
workplace and real estate teams
should leverage Saltmine to seek out
more immediate wins and iterate
chunks of space over time. This
provides occupiers a better grasp of
how spaces could be radically
changed in the future–if they need to
change them at all.
Organizations are eager to attract
people back to in-person spaces,
making the understanding of what is
and is not working, paramount when
it comes to workplace strategy.
Are rows of individual work stations
largely unoccupied? Are
collaborative spaces usually at
capacity and booked? If so, perhaps
those rows of desks need to be
altered to facilitate more “we” space.
Once this incremental change is
done, our platform can help you
measure the performance of the
space by accessing utilization and
employee sentiment data which
allows you to critically evaluate
space iterations, experiments, and
Data plays a huge role in all of this. In order to know what to change, all your
various data points have to be centralized in one place and fed into a solution that
provides actionable insights.
Which is exactly what a multi-billion dollar technology company did with
The first thing this customer did was use Saltmine as their single source of truth
for all workplace data, including the architectural plans of their entire US real
estate portfolio. Not only was this customer able to house their entire real estate
portfolio in Saltmine, but Saltmine’s unlimited user structure made that
information available to any team member, at any time.
Once their entire real estate portfolio was digitized in Saltmine, they were able to:
Benchmark their space and get an understanding of how their portfolio and current spaces compare against other companies in the industry.
Integrate workforce survey data into their RTO planning to have a better understanding of how their offices should function for their employees, post-pandemic.
Measure how spatial needs have changed since the pandemic and how a hybrid strategy would affect their architectural space.
Test their spaces to ensure they were up to not only industry standards but their own, unique-to-their-company standards.
Get an overview of how specific teams are using collaboration
Understand how employees feel about furniture, spaces,
Determine whether or not employees believe various work
experiences are enablers or obstructors to their work.
Establish a baseline for employee experience parameters by
comparing the employee experience in terms of utilization and
sentiment. This allows you to track changes over time and by
Most importantly, this customer was able to establish a framework for making
data-driven spatial decisions, before making any drastic alterations to space.
To properly prepare for the future of workplace, companies need to incorporate
all facets of their real estate portfolio, and analyze it with the intention of
answering specific questions. These answers will give them the data and
confidence they need to make decisions about what changes they’re making to
ROADBLOCK #3: COLLABORATING WITH AND
Visually collaborating with and engaging stakeholders in the design process is key
when it comes to the workplace of tomorrow.
However, many of the processes and procedures we depended on before the
pandemic for collaboration, cannot be used for new projects or renovating areas
of a real estate portfolio.
Designers and stakeholders used to physically gather together to evaluate space,
floorplans, furniture, etc. Now, in our more digital-first world, this type of visceral
experience isn’t possible which places a lot of pressure on designers to find new
ways to engage stakeholders–who may not have a design background–in an
immersive way. As a prospect once inquired:
“How does Saltmine provide realistic context in digital realms?”
Currently, Saltmine is working with
20+ customers who are actively
iterating space. By leveraging the
Saltmine platform, workplace and
real estate teams can better engage
in collaborative scenario planning to
determine how working styles should
influence spatial design.
Collaborative scenario planning is key
in designing your office of the future.
From your own workplace/real estate
colleagues, to other business
partners and stakeholders–modern
workplace design must be a seamless
collaborative endeavor and design
tools should provide contextual,
immersive visuals to ensure everyone
is “seeing” the same floorplan.
Zoom in and out to see all pending approvals and threads of communication.
When leveraging an immersive platform like Saltmine, those with and without
design backgrounds can more intuitively catch discrepancies in a
floorplan–discrepancies that can often lead to costly project overruns down the
For example, in a recent pilot with a large pharma company, the contracted
architect sent a link to the 3D floorplan they had designed to the Senior Capital
Project Manager (PM) for review.
From there, the PM shared the floorplan to an executive–a key stakeholder who
doesn’t have a design background–for approval.
Upon their review, the executive discovered an area with $150k worth of
unnecessary furniture and brought this to the PM’s attention, eliminated it from
the floorplan and more importantly, the project’s budget.
Catching an error like this using a static 2D floorplan would have been incredibly
difficult–especially for someone who doesn’t have a background in design.
Details like this are expensive when missed, making captivating visuals for
anyone involved in a modern CRE project, a must for the future of workplace.
ROADBLOCK #4: ELIMINATING TIME CONSUMING AND
COSTLY DESIGN PROCESSES
Much of workplace design is unfortunately dependent on manual activities. From
cleaning up CAD plans to drawing polylines, workplace teams spend hours upon
hours of time–and money–on things that should be streamlined for our modern
One of these processes is updating polylines and CAD plans. Each year, endless
amounts of time and money are spent on creating polylines and updating them
each time a floor layout changes–often times after the fact.
As noted by a customer:
“Our floorplans are not correct and we’re struggling to maintain a single source of
truth for our CAD plans.”
In Saltmine, all spaces are tracked at
the room boundary or block level
inside of the floor model.
Using this digitized model, we
completely automate the floorplan
polylining process, allowing users to
export a drawing straight from a
design file with a room boundary
polyline–automatically placed on the
CAD plan to BOMA standards.
This streamlines the space planning
process by digitizing and automating
the space programming, as well as
the polyline process. Once a new or
revised plan has been finalized, our
platform generates an DXF file that is
ready to be ingested into the desired
IWMS system through AutoCAD.
Automating the polylining process saves not only time but money. For example,
consider the following scenario:
Company A contracts Vendor X to trace, clean, and connect polylines for their 1
million square foot real estate portfolio. Vendor X charges a common .06 cents
(USD) per square feet.
To do all of the above for an RE portfolio with 1 million square feet, the cost of
Vendor X is calculated at around $60,000–i.e., 1 million square feet x .06 cents /
square foot = $60k.
If Company A were to use Saltmine’s auto polylining for their million square feet
RE portfolio, the cost could drop by approximately half. Using the same formula
above, the cost drops to $30,000 (1 million square feet x .03 cents / square feet =
Automating this part of the design process empowers designers to:
Perform space strategy and design in a single platform. This reduces the number of steps it takes to polyline and ultimately reduces the time it takes to design a space.
Increase the accuracy of design. Polylining is often done by hand, which can leave a wide margin for inaccurate drawings and errors. Automating the file generation immediately reduces the potential for human error.
KICK THE STATUS QUO TO THE CURB
TAKE CONTROL OF
YOUR FUTURE OF WORKPLACE
It is an established fact that how we work is changing. We live in a new era,
radically disrupted by the WFH movement induced by the pandemic. The status
quo of merely having an office isn’t enough to incentivize office engagement.
Every organization is unique. The trends you see on social media probably don’t
apply to your workplace or more importantly, your people.
Companies everywhere have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be leaders in our
global economy by way of the workplace.
By taking control of the performance of your workplace ecosystem, you are
simultaneously taking control of your brand.
WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR STORY.
Saltmine would love to hear about how your workplace team has approached the
shifts and challenges of our dynamic and evolving times.
Let’s connect–click the button below to schedule time with one of our workplace