Department of Mathematics

Herman Miller Inc.

Proposed Project for the MSU Industrial Math Students

Workplace Usage and Optimization

Background: Our patented Space Utilization Service collects accurate occupancy data through unobtrusive sensors (motes) that attach to the underside of chairs in workstations, offices, and conference rooms for three weeks.  All of this reported data is evaluated and recommendations of how clients can best adapt their space to be both more efficient and more effective. Efficient spaces reduce their overall real estate costs, maximize the use of space, lower the energy use, and better support their work flow processes.  Effective spaces are an engaging space where our clients’ work force wants to work, and are attractive settings, that also aligns with the way our clients naturally work and go about their business.

Project: The project can be broken down into two parts: What is the correlation between individual and collaborative space and measuring vibe; and Optimal breadth of study and optimal mix of space types.

Correlation between individual and collaborative space and measuring vibe: What is the correlation between the usage of individual space, collaborative spaces and the in between space such as walkways.  For example, when the utilization for individual spaces decreases or increases, where is the change – is it in conference rooms, informal collaborative spaces, walkways, etc.  How can the current data collected be used to measure the energy and vibe (activity) in a space.  What additional data should be collected in order to better measure this?

Optimal breadth of study and optimal mix of space types:  There are two parts to this inquiry.  First, when conducting research or space utilization studies, how much of the customer’s space should be monitored in order to accurately represent the entire floor or building?  Secondly, using the data of the customers’ space utilization studies, how can HMI identify the optimal mix of conference room quantity and size to maximize utilization based on occupancy utilization patterns observed for a customer’s conference rooms as well as the optimal mix of dedicated workstations, shared and/or open workstations.

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For any additional questions regarding the program curriculum and/or the extension deadline for the application to the MSIM program, contact us at


Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
619 Red Cedar Road
C212 Wells Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: (517) 353-0844
Fax: (517) 432-1562

College of Natural Science