How to hire a space planner

by James McDonald on October 15, 2013

No matter how skilled you may be in the fine art of facilities management, you may find yourself needing a little help to effectively manage space. The facility manager’s job has become so broad that a majority of companies now employ people to assist with FM duties.

While you, as the manager, are unquestionably in charge of your department, it never hurts to have a few close advisors you can trust to help you manage your company’s facilities. Chief among those helpers should be your space planner.

While managing facilities entails a lot of different tasks, including overseeing supplies, files, worker productivity and running the mailroom, the space planner is focused specifically on managing the space within your office building. When it comes to each room within each wing of each floor, the space planner’s job is to optimize the design and layout in order to maximize productivity and keep employees happy.

The manager might be the most important person in a facilities department, but you could make a case that the space planner runs a close second. In his book, “Facilities Management and the Business of Space,” author Wes McGregor explains that space planners take buildings and turn them into productive offices.

“Second only to the customer, the space planner is possibly the most key member of the accommodation planning team charged with converting the organizational and building data and its analysis into proposals for a workplace environment,” McGregor wrote. “The space planner will be responsible for the facilities manager or project manager, depending on the project requirements, for producing workplace layouts that meet the needs of the customers.”

In other words, the space planner acts as a liaison between the facilities management department and a building’s end users, by helping to devise plans for using office spaces effectively.

With all this in mind, it’s clear that hiring the right space planner is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a facilities manager. So how will you go about finding the best person for the job?

Write the perfect job posting
More than ever, it’s important nowadays to write a clear, compelling job description to make your description stick out from all the rest. notes that job hunting today is dramatically different than the way it used to be in the pre-Internet era. Candidates can now conduct quick Google searches and have dozens of job opportunities at their fingertips within a second, so you need to make sure your position stands out.

State explicitly what makes your space planner job a compelling position – whether it’s the money, the benefits or the unique opportunity for career development, you should have a top selling point and broadcast it with pride.

Always be recruiting
The best job recruiters don’t attract talent solely by putting job descriptions on websites. Rather, they’re always in recruiting mode, whether or not they’re actively looking to fill positions at the moment. Whenever you’re interacting with colleagues, either online or over the phone or in person at an industry event, be on the lookout for talented people who may someday be able to help you. You never know when the perfect space planner might come along. It might not be exactly when you expect.

Some of the best recruiting opportunities come at trade shows or facilities summits, where you’ll have a chance to network with like-minded professionals. You can meet people with promise and reconnect with them later using social media sites like LinkedIn.

Discover the person within
One way of finding talent people is to sift through a stack of resumes and cover letters, grab the one applicant that looks best on paper and go with your gut. But that might not be the best way – if you really want to find the top candidates, you’ll look deeper than that. Bankrate recommends getting to know the true person beneath all the on-paper qualifications. Having a fancy college degree and dazzling resume is one thing, but possessing the perfect personality to fit into a team is another.

If you’re hiring for the long haul, you want someone with the perfect chemistry, who will fit your strengths and weaknesses and push you for years to perform better at your job. Don’t rest until you’ve found the perfect space planner.


James McDonald

James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.

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