How do I optimize office space? – Space optimization
Most companies will concern of the working environment in order to be looked presentable and impressed for whoever step into the office. With the rising of rising real estate costs , space optimization becomes important in order to achieve cost-saving potential without sacrificing employee satisfaction or retention. This becomes a challenging task and objective for most of the companies. As management point of view, you don’t want a large number of employees in a space too small to accommodate them, you also don’t want a lot of unused, wasted space. Finding the balance in between will only increase the complexity when you factor in the increase in employees working remotely and the desire among the millennial workforce for more streamlined, collaborative space. How can you ensure you optimize your space in a way that saves you money without sacrificing employee satisfaction or retention?
Steps Toward Space Optimization
Determining how to best optimize your space or whether you need to relocate requires a strategic process. By following the right steps, you can reduce the time which take months previously to just a couple of weeks or less. Here’s where to start:
1. Conduct inspection for your existing space management data:
To begin, you must have existing space management data. With the data, you can plan or justify space reassignment. Traditionally, tracking utilization of space has been difficult; most charged with the task were manually recording data in spreadsheets. Today, more sophisticated space management programs have been introduced that make the process faster and simpler.
Whatever method your company uses, this data will help you take note of your existing space, including space type (cubicles, offices, conference rooms), occupancy status for each, and to which department that space is currently assigned. With the full picture, you can begin evaluating how the spaces are used.
2. Evaluate current space utilization:
Critical to space optimization is knowing how often you’re using spaces and how they are being used. For instance, is a space occupied by an employee regularly, empty most of the time, or used for collaboration or hoteling? Note who is in and how often, trends across departments (e.g., outside salespeople may rarely be in the office), differences in usage by space type, and whether days of the week have an impact. Tracking occupancy has become a bit easier with clock in system when each employee comes and goes, and sensors on desks or chairs that monitor when that space is occupied.
3. Consideration of future requirements:
It’s important to remember that you’re not only optimizing for today; you’re optimizing for tomorrow, six months from now, a year from now, and so on. Conduct surveys to various department heads and managers, which ask for information about space they have, which buildings and/or floors they inhabit, headcount, as well as the forecast for the next year. Do they project growth due to a budget increase? Will they need a dedicated storage or conferencing area?
This is also a time to consider departmental affinity — where departments should be located to make their jobs easier, including colocation. For instance, complementary teams like sales and marketing may meet frequently and would benefit from being in proximity. On the other hand, unrelated departments that have limited or no collaboration have no need to be placed close to one another. Additionally, if your business occupies multiple floors, certain departments might be better suited on higher or lower floors.
Finally, just as you project department growth, consider overall growth and contraction for the future. Perhaps you’ll offer work-from-home opportunities, hoteling, or have a call center with shifts, where multiple people occupy the same space at different times of the day or week.
4. Review space alignment:
Take your existing space data and determine whether it’s aligned with your future ideas. With this information, it’s time to make a decision. You might find that your current space or building is not fit for your strategic goals. Alternatively, you could determine that the space can work by moving some people around.
If you were to move some people around, you may proceed your strategy with four goals in mind:
- Optimizing space with colocation and future growth in mind
- Minimizing square footage and space usage
- Minimizing the movement, moving as few people as possible
- Minimizing costs involved
Make use of Technology for Workspace Optimization
While there is no way to fully automate the space optimization process, there is technology available to help you make better decisions. AI systems use computer-aided design (CAD) to identify and draw walls, cubicles, doors, windows, columns, and more, improving as they are fed more data. As a result, polylining can be done more quickly and accurately than if it were drawn manually. As office spaces and businesses themselves continue to evolve, organizations must consider whether they are optimizing the space they’re in or whether changes can be made. Leading integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) and AI can help management make informed decisions that will serve both short- and long-term needs while keeping costs down.
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“You cannot mandate productivity, you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” — Steve Jobs