Workplace Occupancy Uncovered by Indoor Air-Quality Sensor Data

Given that human beings exhale CO2 while they breathe, indoor air-quality sensors with CO2-sensing capabilities can be exploited to detect and/or estimate room occupancy. This natural correlation between CO2 data and room occupancy has already been observed in Oxygen at Work’s measurements in more than 60 office spaces across Switzerland. In particular, this correlation is evident during Christmas periods when the CO2 level indoors drops sharply, indicating empty office spaces.

CO2 measurements in more than 60 office spaces across Switzerland during working hours (08:00-18:00)

Occupancy analytics is transforming from a promising smart technology to an essential building system, especially in the post-COVID era, promoting occupant-centric healthy workplace designs that improve building and occupant performance. While technology makes remote work more and more feasible, companies are finding that keeping employees on-site is more effective. There are significant disadvantages to remote work and equally significant advantages to working in the office. Therefore, this may no longer be surprising to see the Swiss public transport packed with people during rush hours since the Swiss government eased the COVID lock-down regulations in late June.

Oxygen at Work’s CO2 measurements in more than 60 office spaces indicate a relatively strong reduction in the CO2 level indoors, which is partly accounted for by a reduction in the number of employees working on site. However, air exchange optimizations provided by Oxygen at Work to their clients, in an effort to ensure a healthy working environment, already contributed to changes in the CO2 level, which have to be taken into account for occupancy interpretations.

All in all, given the wide range of intended and unintended (but positive) side benefits of working from an office, Oxygen at Work, as a health and wellbeing provider company to office spaces, stands with decision makers taking appropriate measures to ensure healthy working environments while protecting people and economy.