After a year of uncertainty, planning for your company’s future space needs has never been more challenging — or more important.
A good space forecasting strategy should account for current utilization trends, long-term objectives, and anticipated growth.
Fortunately, with the right space management software at your fingertips, it’s much easier. Here’s how to develop a plan that reduces costs and positions your company for success.
What are the fundamentals of space forecasting?
Space utilization data
Maya Angelou famously said, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you are going.”
Having full visibility into your floor plans and how employees are using the space available to them now is the first step to being able to forecast future needs.
iOFFICE’s space management software makes it easy to see your entire real estate portfolio at a glance. You can drill down to see space utilization by building, floor, or department. And if you use occupancy sensors to capture real-time data, you can get an even more accurate picture within the same system. You can easily see important metrics, such as:
- Meeting room utilization rates
- Average desk occupancy
- Average utilization by space
- Peak utilization by space
These metrics help you compare the space you have available with actual demand. You might have 50 desks available, but if you discover each one is only occupied half the time during a typical week, you might realize you don’t need as many. Similarly, you might discover you don’t need as many conference rooms, or you may need different types of spaces instead. Rather than having a dozen large conference rooms, you could achieve better space utilization by converting four of those rooms into smaller, reservable quiet spaces where employees could take calls or meet with just one or two other people.
Because employees will likely use office space differently in the hybrid workplace, it’s a good idea to monitor space utilization for at least 30 days after you have fully reopened before making any long-term changes.
Think about your business objectives for the next several years and what role the workplace will have in supporting them. For instance:
- What is your company’s vision?
- What specific goals will help you achieve it?
- Are you planning to expand into new markets or lines of business?
- What is the timeline for expansion?
- How will those goals impact each department?
- How will you need to work together to accomplish these objectives?
- How often will each department need to work together in person?
- How will you keep your company culture strong as you grow?
- What level of remote and in-person interaction do you need to fully onboard new employees and help them build relationships?
These are important questions to discuss with your executive team. Based on these conversations, you may decide some office locations are more critical than others. If you plan to do most of your recruiting, hiring, and onboarding from your company headquarters and host monthly meetings there, you may need to reconfigure or renovate that space to accommodate regional growth. However, if you expect most of your company’s growth to be in other parts of the country or the world, it might make sense to invest more in smaller satellite offices or coworking spaces.
Other goals that impact space forecasting include a desire to:
- Improve operational efficiency
- Improve employee productivity
- Prioritize diversity and inclusion in your workplace
- Enhance the employee experience
- Reduce your company’s carbon footprint
Achieving these goals may not necessarily require more office space, but thinking about your space differently. If you want to improve diversity in your hiring process, you may want to consider which jobs could be entirely remote so you can expand your search to include employees who live in different regions.
Just be sure you also consider how you will ensure remote employees have access to the same benefits and opportunities as those who work in the office. If your office has an on-site workout facility, you could offer discounted gym memberships to remote employees. And if your on-site employees frequently gather together outside of work, make sure you also have company-sponsored events where remote employees can connect with their colleagues. You could host these events at your company’s headquarters or consider renting a conference space specifically for that purpose.
Anticipated growth and space forecast
Once you’ve outlined your goals, you’ll need to determine exactly how they will impact growth for each department or floor. iOFFICE’s space forecasting feature makes it easy to see how 10% growth in one department will impact your future space needs.
First, you can see a breakdown of how much space each department or floor is currently using. Then you can create a forecast and enter the percentage increase or decrease you expect in your workforce.
Just select an area, enter your anticipated growth, and drag your projection to the appropriate floor. From there, you’ll see a summary of your plan that includes the number of people you expect to move, the number of new hires, and the number of reductions. You can even split your projections across multiple floors.
Office move plans
Once you have determined your anticipated growth and developed a space forecast, you can create move requests within the same system if you use iOFFICE’s move management software.
Just write a description of the forecasted vacancies and select a move date, and the software will create a move ticket. This notifies anyone who needs to take action, such as your facilities management team who needs to move desks or allocate new resources. It also makes it easy to see how these new scenarios will impact your current space.
Why strategic space planning software is essential to space forecasting
If you want to effectively manage your company’s growth, just being able to see all your office floor plans and data in one place is a good start, but it’s not enough. You also need to be able to easily forecast growth, reconfigure floor plans, consolidate spaces, or plan new offices as your workforce expands.
iOFFICE combines intelligent space management, strategic planning, and forecasting all in one user-friendly platform. Our space management software is the foundation for effective workplace management. You can easily manage seating arrangements, integrate with reservation software for flexible seating, and update your floor plans with drag-and-drop functionality.
And with our intelligent space planning feature, Space-Right™, you can reconfigure floor plans instantly to maintain a greater distance between workspaces. This is essential for managing a safe return to the office, but it has strategic applications beyond safety.
For instance, you can group employees into alternating shifts to accommodate more people with fewer desks.
You can limit capacity in meeting rooms and common areas to prevent overcrowding so employees feel more comfortable and less stressed in your office. And you can see how new office layouts would impact your growing workforce.
Ready to see what your organization has been missing?