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What Is Space Management Today?

by James McDonald on March 10, 2022
RECOMMENDED RESOURCE
The Ultimate Space Management Software Buyer's Guide
 

The way we think about space management has evolved as organizations have adopted more flexible ways of working and adjusted to changes following a global pandemic.

Instead of focusing primarily on reducing costs, today's space management strategies focus more on achieving overall company objectives, including attracting and retaining top talent, improving collaboration, optimizing resources, and reducing risk. 

What is space management today?

Space management is a multi-step process that requires data gathering, analysis, forecasting, and strategizing. In practice, it involves creating a space management system that identifies floor layouts and occupants throughout your organization. Space management software simplifies this practice and makes it easier to scale for effective space planning.

Find the best space management software with this buyer's guide. 

To meet the changing needs of today's hybrid workplace, space management needs to go beyond seating assignments and occupancy rates. Your strategy needs to be agile and data-driven. Without guidelines around how you plan to use your office space or a way to measure utilization, you could have a lot of wasted space. Prior to the pandemic, the average space utilization for corporate real estate was only about 60%, according to a JLL benchmarking report. 

Now, research from CBRE shows 87% of enterprises plan to adopt hybrid work. That means space planning and optimizing space utilization will be more important than ever. 

"This hybrid arrangement balances the benefit of time together in the office with employee expectations for greater convenience," said Lenny Beaudoin, Executive Managing Director of CBRE's Workplace, Design, Occupancy practice. "This makes it vital for each company to define what hybrid work means for their organization and set the agenda for their employees to ensure they have time together in person." 

Space management essentials

A clear workplace strategy

Your critical first step is to identify your company's goals and determine the best way to use your office space to support those objectives. While there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach, there are several space strategies that could work well, including: 

  • An "office first" strategy where employees primarily work in the office, but have the option to work remotely a few days a week
  • A "virtual first" office, where employees are primarily remote but come to the office regularly for specific purposes, such as team meetings or client interactions
  • Hybrid-guided flexibility, where employees divide their time between home and the office depending on their needs
  • Using flexible office space, such as coworking spaces or satellite offices, to give employees who live farther from the main headquarters more opportunities to collaborate without a long commute

A few things to consider:

  • What are your company's strategic business goals?
  • How does space management relate specifically to those goals?
  • What do you need to really achieve your space management goals?
  • What data do you need to collect for consistent, ongoing analysis?
  • What space utilization metrics do you currently collect? How relevant is this data, and what changes should be made for a more clear visual of where you are currently, where you have been, and where you are going?

Think of the workspace in terms of your workforce, as these are your two most valuable tools. Proper alignment of the two is one of the most critical components to the company’s survival and growth. Where do the two fit into your master plan, and what changes must be made to get there?

“Space utilization in the course of our master planning work revealed opportunities to better align functions and their assigned space. The resulting realignment freed up 10% of our space for clinical expansion, meeting our projected growth needs for the next five years.” – Steven Wright, Vice President, Facilities – Roswell Park Cancer Institute

2. Workplace data

Now that you have identified organizational goals, it's time to gather data on your workforce (users) and standard processes. This will help determine what information should be included in your space module, as well as help define what data and metrics will be collected in the future. 

A few things to consider:

  • How do you want to track your employees and the space they use? (employee by name, department assigned, office assigned, and/or assets assigned?)
  • What assets do you want to track?
  • Should these assets be tracked by workspace or employee?

Along with the user/employee data, it's important to have a good understanding of current day-to-day processes. What is your current reporting structure? What details do you currently collect, and how useful are they? This will not only help establish what metrics you should be analyzing. It will also help your space management software vendor identify ways in which your software could be used to improve on current processes. These needs will vary with each company’s unique needs.

Space management software

Have you ever heard the saying “You’re only as good as your tools”? A skilled sharpshooter will always be less effective than the nervous, shaky guy with a good rifle and accurate scope. The tools are what bring everything together. 

If you have not already, your company should consider in a space management tool, for proper management of your real estate. You will need your AutoCad facility drawings, which provides accurate information regarding the facility space, layout, and square footage. If you don't have access to your AutoCad drawings, check with the building architect, building manager, or furniture salesman, as each should be able to provide you with the necessary information.

The benefits of investing in a space management software tool are realized from Day One, where you begin to build an accurate picture of who is using what and where. As you build on this data, you will start to identify trends, which will help you determine how to manage future changes. For many, analysis and planning reveal that reallocating space and repurposing poorly used space will avoid moving to a new facility. Coupling your space management software with other tools such as mobile applications, asset management, and move management modules, offer further in-depth analysis.

As companies seek out new and innovative ways to expand their businesses while also cutting costs, many are realizing the added value of investments in tools such as IWMS software and a facility management software. Adopting new technologies such as space management software offer us a better understanding of our business practices, realizing new opportunities in the process. With the right information and arsenal of tools, we set ourselves up for accomplishing organizational goals that before seemed far-reaching or unattainable.

Benefits of space management software

With real estate costs on the rise and a focus on the employee experience, the value of space management software continues to grow. Here’s a look at some of the benefits of space management software. 

Better space utilization

At any given time, workplaces can have a large chunk of space that goes unused. Space management software helps pinpoint which rooms are being underutilized, enabling organizations to shed excessive real estate and redirect their resources.

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Cost savings

An average annualized workstation costs a business around $18,000. So when an employee only uses this space twice a week, there are a lot of unnecessary costs that can add up. With space management software, you can better prioritize how these spaces are used to save on expenses. For instance, you could simply have these employees reserve a nondedicated workstation on the days when they are working in the office.

Better collaboration

Effective space management requires data. But when this data lives in different places, communications can become siloed within specific departments and important information can easily fall through the cracks. Space management software makes relevant data available throughout the organization, allowing facility managers to easily monitor space use and implement measures as needed.

Real-time space management metrics

Greater transparency in the workplace translates into better communication and higher employee satisfaction. What’s great about space management software is that you have access to well-defined, real-time metrics like total square footage, percentage of space used, and operational costs per square foot. By breaking down these different metrics, businesses can identify solutions for how to improve their space management.

Find the best space management software

iOFFICE + SpaceIQ combines intelligent space management, strategic planning, and forecasting in one user-friendly platform. Our space management software is the foundation for effective workplace management. You can manage room booking or desk hoteling, update your floor plans with drag-and-drop functionality, and plan office moves all from the same place. 

And with our intelligent space planning feature, Space-Right™, you can reconfigure floor plans instantly. 

You can limit capacity in meeting rooms and common areas to prevent overcrowding, assign employees to alternating shifts, and more.

Ready for a closer look? Tour our space management software today. 

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5

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