Retailers are masters of using space management tricks to convince you to buy more.
If you’ve ever walked away with $20 of trinkets from the “bargain bin” section of Target, you know this all too well.
Workplace leaders can take a cue from some of these tricks as they consider how to make the most of their office space. A good space management strategy can make a small, crowded office feel larger and more inviting. It can also make employees more productive and happier, enhancing the employee experience.
Here are a few space management techniques some of the most successful enterprises use.
1. Optimize Space Management for Daily Operations
Developing a space management strategy that doesn’t take into account future business needs is nearsighted, but it’s also a bad idea to ignore the needs of your current workforce.
Consider the daily operations of your company. Are there two or three departments that work heavily with others? The workstations for these teams should be located in the same vicinity. There should also be ample collaborative spaces nearby.
Are there teams that often have visitors, such as clients or vendors? Place their workstations towards the front of the office so they can be there to greet their guests when they arrive. Be sure there are plenty of private conference rooms and meeting areas within close proximity as well.
2. Create Multi-Use Spaces
Once you’ve established the short-term aspects of your space management strategy, it’s time to start planning for the future.
Relocating an office is expensive, so it’s in your organization’s best interest to make the most of its existing space for as long as possible.
One trick is to create flexible layouts with spaces that can serve double duty. Our partners at CPM One Source suggest designing a kitchen that can be used as a meeting space or a break room/employee lounge that can also be a collaborative area. They also recommend investing in furniture that is easily rearranged and temporary walls that can be moved throughout the office as needed.
3. Create Decompression Zones
Retailers use this trick to ease you into the shopping mentality as you enter the store.
A decompression zone is simply a wide, open space that’s free of clutter, easily accessible and welcoming. Workplace leaders can use this tactic to break up clusters of workstations or other sections of the office. Make these areas more open and inviting with natural lighting, an exposed section of hardwood flooring and some greenery, such as a large potted plant or vertical garden.
4. Implement Hot-Desking or Office Hoteling
One of the most effective ways to efficiently manage space is by instituting reservation-based workspaces, such as office hoteling or hot-desking. iOFFICE user Sodexo Nordics implemented this strategy at its Stockholm office and was thrilled by the results.
In an office that uses hot-desking, there are a set number of unassigned workstations available to any member of the workforce on a first-come, first-served basis. When an employee comes into the workplace, he or she chooses any of the unoccupied desks and claims it as homebase for the day.
Office hoteling is another flexible workplace seating strategy. Similar to hot-desking, office hoteling offers all employees access to a group of desks. However, instead of selecting his or her desk upon arrival, in an office hoteling setup, an employee reserves their desk before they come in.
Since it’s rare for every workstation in an office to be in use at all times, hot-desking and office hoteling are among the best ways to improve space utilization.
5. Share Space Management Among the FM, HR and IT Teams
Creating a powerful space management strategy is nearly impossible without collaboration between the facilities management (FM), HR and IT departments. Each team is responsible for an integral part of how the workplace is designed and optimized. More specifically …
● The FM department has the most visibility into space utilization, employee traffic patterns and asset availability
● As the frontline of recruiting, onboarding, training and offboarding, HR has insight into the needs and wants of the workforce
● The IT team is the authority on how office space updates impact technology requirements
The FM, HR and IT departments must maintain open lines of communication and have the ability to share information quickly and easily. Our friends at McKesson understood how crucial it is for these teams to work together and used the iOFFICE solution to make it a reality. The healthcare leader recognized that each team owns a piece of the space management strategy puzzle. And if they don’t collaborate, the strategy can never be complete.
6. Use Space Management Software
Hands down, the most efficient and cost-effective way to manage space is with space management software like ours. Sephora can vouch for this approach. So can Adobe and Under Armour.
Space management software not only simplifies space optimization in general, but it can also be the backbone of each of these tricks. When used as part of an integrated workplace management system (IWMS), space management software supports:
● Setting short-term and long-term space utilization and optimization goals
● Applying hot-desking or office hoteling in any size workplace
● Encouraging interdepartmental collaboration, especially between the FM, HR and IT teams
Workplace leaders who use space management software don’t have to rely on Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or several siloed systems. They can make data-driven decisions about how best to use every inch of their available workspace.
With real-time information at their fingertips, they can easily forecast future needs and make changes to adapt as needed.
Coming to work may not always be as much fun as a trip to Target or IKEA, but with these space management tricks, you can make the experience more pleasant.