Let’s say a friend brings you a chocolate cake. You plan to get around to eating it, but instead you get distracted and, before you know it, the cake is stale. Then, to make matters worse, your friend charges you $100 for letting it go to waste. While the last part of that analogy might be a bit of a stretch, this is essentially what happens when space in your facilities is underutilized (or unutilized entirely).
Not only is the organization failing to take advantage of the space, but poor workspace management also costs your company money. In fact, failing to meet your space utilization goals could end up costing your organization thousands of dollars every year.
Unfortunately, effectively utilizing your office space isn’t simply a matter of cutting a slice and grabbing a fork. Instead, it requires making a plan—specifically, a SMART plan.
1. Make it SPECIFIC
Rather than vaguely stating a goal for improved space utilization, start your SMART plan by identifying the specific workspaces in your office that are underutilized.
Don’t be surprised if this requires a bit of research and observation; it’s not uncommon for companies to be unaware of exactly how their space is being used. The more information you can gather (whether through space utilization software or direct feedback from employees), the more specific you can make your plan.
2. Make it MEASURABLE
To make sure your plan is moving in the right direction, it needs to be objectively measurable.
Space utilization metrics can both give insight into the problem and identify improvements as they happen. The ability to measure your progress will also help keep your plan on track.
3. Make it ATTAINABLE
While you want your plan for improved workspace utilization to be ambitious and impactful to your bottom line, it won’t achieve anything if it isn’t attainable.
One strategy for maximizing your goals for space utilization is to consider the smaller steps necessary to achieve along the way.
4. Make it RELEVANT
Following through on a plan requires commitment and buy-in from all levels of your organization. This means your plan also needs to be relevant to the overall mission and goals of your company. Otherwise, it isn’t likely to succeed.
For instance, if one of your company goals is to hold less meetings, converting unused workspace into an additional conference room isn’t relevant to the needs of your employees and will likely be met with pushback.
5. Make it TIME-BOUND
There’s no sense in going to the trouble of making a plan to improve space utilization if you don’t expect at least a little impact in the near future. Setting a time frame for each step you’ll take toward improvement helps keep you accountable to your goals.
However, make sure your timetable doesn’t go against the third SMART recommendation—it should still be attainable.
As you begin making your space utilization plan, ask yourself: Is it SMART? Using the SMART parameters gives your plan the greatest chance of succeeding, which means your company can be better utilizing your workspace and saving money before you know it.
Get expert insight on space optimization from real facilities leaders. Download our free eBook, The Great Workplace Space Race: How Successful Enterprises Are Solving Spatial Challenges.