Maintaining a firm grip on your organization’s space management is critical for surviving the evolution to a digital workplace. But for many facilities leaders, measuring and forecasting space utilization is a constant challenge. While your organization may currently have a space management process in place, if you experience minor heart palpitations every time someone utters the phrase, “space management,” there’s a good chance your strategy could use a little updating.
Not sure whether or not you need to re-address your space management strategy? Here are a few warning signs:
1. Portions of Office Space Remain Vacant
From small storage closets to large conference rooms, any unused space in your real estate portfolio is a waste. Even without occupants, these spaces require energy to operate. Unused space is also a strong indication you aren’t optimally managing your space. In some cases it could mean leasing those unused areas, or rearranging assets to alleviate the burden in more congested parts of the building.
2. Finding Workspace for New Employees Challenging
Nothing is more off-putting to a new team member than not having available workspace ready and waiting from day one. If your organization struggles to find a spot for new hires, it’s usually due to one of the following causes:
- Your organization has outgrown its existing space
- You have no way of knowing which workspaces are occupied and which are available
- The FM department and HR department aren’t communicating effectively
If it’s one of the first two reasons, your space management strategy is likely to blame. If you have the proper amount of visibility into space utilization, you would have known your office space was approaching capacity and that it was time to acquire new space or reconfigure existing space. You’d also know which workspaces are in use and which are open and waiting. If it’s the third reason, it’s time to sit down with HR and hash out a more streamlined process.
3. You Don’t Know How Many People Work Remote
Quick, what percentage of your workforce could you expect to find in the office on a Tuesday afternoon? If you can’t give an approximate value (or even a reasonable ballpark), then it’s time to re-evaluate your space management strategy. Just as in the previous example, visibility into space utilization can help you learn trends — such as when people are in office and when they work remote. This can help you plan better and ensure you’re not wasting energy heating, cooling or lighting unused areas. Which leads us to the next warning sign.
4. Energy Costs Have Been Steadily Rising
While there’s no denying energy costs are on the rise in general, some of your increases may be due to poor space management. The better your understanding of your workspaces and how they’re used, the better you can allocate resources to these areas.
By tracking space utilization, you may discover you’re paying to keep the lights on in a meeting space that’s only used once per month — or paying to heat a floor that houses four employees who could easily be moved elsewhere.
Better yet, by linking your space management strategy to a room reservation tool, you could ensure you’re only paying to light and regulate the temperature of rooms while they’re in use.
5. Planning for the Future Gives You an Instant Headache
Sure, planning to move an entire building of workers to another office isn’t a walk in the park for any facilities leader — but poor space management can make it even worse. Proper space management (assisted by the right technology) allows you to lay out various floor plan scenarios, make more accurate projections and forecast future needs quickly and easily.
6. Employee Mobility is Difficult or Impossible
Are employees confined to their desks or are they free to move about the office, picking and choosing various workspaces based on personal preference? Mobility is a big indicator of the success (or failure) or your space management plan. The easier workers can move around, the more likely your space management is working as necessary to nurture a digital workplace.
7. You Can’t Instantly Access Space Management Metrics
Being able to immediately access space management data is critical to the success of your space management strategy. Room occupancy, reservations and utilization metrics should be available to you anytime and from anywhere. Even if every other aspect of your strategy is on point, not having the data you need to drive decisions will make it nearly impossible to effectively and efficiently sustain operations.
The transformation to a digital workplace is no longer looming in the distance — it’s here. And organizations that attempt to continue using the same processes and operations that worked in previous decades will find themselves falling behind, and potentially losing business to more advanced competitors. If you want to gain better visibility into your company’s space management and ensure you’re prepared for the future, consider a strategy overhaul and invest in the right workplace technology to help you achieve your space management goals.