How do I optimize office space? – Space optimization
Most businesses are concerned about the working environment in order to appear presentable and impressive to anyone who walks into the office. With rising real estate costs, space optimization is becoming increasingly important in order to achieve cost-saving potential without sacrificing employee satisfaction or retention. For most businesses, this is a difficult task and goal. From a strategic point of view, you don’t want a large number of employees in a space that is too small to accommodate them, and you also don’t want a lot of unused, wasted space. Finding a nice balance will only become more difficult as the number of employees working remotely increases and the millennial workforce desires a more streamlined, collaborative environment. How can you ensure that you optimise your space in a way that saves you money while also ensuring employee satisfaction and motivation?
Steps Towards Space Optimization
Choosing how to best optimise your space or whether to relocate requires a strategic approach. By taking the proper steps, you can reduce the time it used to take months to a couple of weeks or less. Here’s where to begin.
1. Perform an audit of your existing space management data
To begin, you must have existing data on space management. You can use the data to plan or justify space reassignment. Tracking space utilisation has traditionally been difficult; most people charged with the task were manually recording data in spreadsheets. More sophisticated space management programmes are now available, making the process faster and easier.
Whatever method your company employs, this data will assist you in keeping track of your existing space, including space type (cubicles, offices, conference rooms), occupancy status for each, and the department to which that space is currently assigned. When you have a complete picture, you can start evaluating how the spaces are used.
2. Analyze the current space utilisation
Knowing how frequently and in what ways you use spaces is critical to space optimization. For example, is a space regularly occupied by an employee, mostly empty, or used for collaboration or hoteling? Take note of who comes in and how frequently, trends across departments (for example, outside salespeople may rarely come in), differences in usage by space type, and whether days of the week have an effect. Tracking occupancy has become a little easier with a clock in system that tracks when each employee comes and goes, as well as sensors on desks or chairs that detect when that space is occupied.
3. Future requirements consideration
It’s critical to remember that you’re not just optimising for today; you’re optimising for tomorrow, six months from now, a year from now, and so on. Conduct surveys of various department heads and managers, inquiring about the amount of space they have, which buildings and/or floors they occupy, headcount, and the forecast for the coming year. Do they anticipate growth as a result of a budget increase? Will they require a specialised storage or conferencing area?
This is also a good time to think about departmental affinity, or where departments should be located to make their jobs easier, such as colocation. Complementary teams, such as sales and marketing, may meet frequently and benefit from proximity. Unrelated departments with limited or no collaboration, on the other hand, have no need to be placed close to one another. Furthermore, if your company has multiple floors, certain departments may be better suited on higher or lower floors.
Finally, consider overall growth and contraction for the future, just as you do department growth. Perhaps you’ll provide work-from-home opportunities, hoteling, or a call centre with shifts, in which multiple people occupy the same space at different times of the day or week.
4. Evaluate space alignment
Evaluate your existing space data to see if it aligns with your future ideas. Now that you have all of this information, it’s time to make a decision. You may discover that your current location or structure is unsuitable for your strategic objectives. Alternatively, you could move some people around to see if the space works.
If you were to rearrange some people, you could proceed with four goals in mind:
• Space optimization with colocation and future growth in mind
• Keeping square footage and space usage to a minimum
• Keeping the movement to a minimum and moving as few people as possible
• Keeping costs to a minimum
Utilize Technology to Optimize Workspace
While it is not possible to completely automate the space optimization process, there is technology available to assist you in making better decisions. AI systems use computer-aided design (CAD) to identify and draw walls, cubicles, doors, windows, columns, and other structures, and they improve as more data is fed into them. As a result, polylining can be completed more quickly and precisely than if it were drawn by hand. Organizations must consider whether they are optimising the space they are in or whether changes can be made as office spaces and businesses themselves evolve. Leading integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) and artificial intelligence (AI) can assist management in making informed decisions that serve both short- and long-term needs while keeping costs low.
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