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    Want to Improve Space Utilization? Do This One Thing First

    Elizabeth Dukes

    If you want to run an efficient, cost-effective workplace, good space utilization is key.

    Yet many organizations waste as much as half their space. They’re not only paying to rent space they don’t need; they’re also wasting money on the costs of electricity, heating and cooling and maintenance. Poor space utilization can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year—and for large global companies with many locations, the problem can be even more expensive. It also makes employees less productive.

    Space management software can help you keep track of your space and identify ways to save. But to make the most of it, you need to make sure you’re using standard space classification across all your locations. For large global organizations, this can be a huge hurdle to overcome. Here’s a look at how Adobe worked with iOFFICE, global architecture and design firm Nelson, and commercial real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield to get it done.

    Assessing Space Utilization Data

    Adobe has more than 18,000 employees working in over 55 locations across the globe. The creative technology giant is continually growing, making space a constant challenge. Adobe has more than 35 million square feet of space and works with Cushman & Wakefield on occupancy planning for a portion of it.

    The consulting company recognized that even with iOFFICE’s space and move management software, it was difficult to plan office moves because there were no uniform standards for reporting space across locations. Each time Adobe prepared for a move, its Global Workplace Solutions team would have to gather data about available spaces and manually review and edit that data.

    Categories for spaces and employees varied across locations. For instance, occupiable space was defined differently from one site to the next. Some sites labeled employees as part-time or full-time, while others called them contractors or remote employees. And no one could agree on exactly what terms like “offline space,” “mobile space” and “unassigned space” meant.

    “People didn’t trust the data because different sources were providing different types of data, and there was no consistency in terminology or classification coding” said Gina Payne, who handles real estate optimization and occupancy planning at Nelson. “They needed us to assess the existing iOffice Space Inventory Management configuration, provide recommendations for data quality improvement, and define the process for making updates to the system."

    The Nelson team started by assessing space utilization data from a variety of sources, while Cushman & Wakefield provided insight into the processes and procedures they were using to update data.

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    Step 2: Creating Space Classification Standards

    Rather than getting hung up on the nuances of how each software system operated, Adobe needed to start with the fundamentals.

    Nelson recommended Adobe adopt OSCRE space quality standards so all their systems would speak the same language. They provided Adobe with location hierarchy coding, measurement classifications and space inventory KPI data.

    They also discussed key definitions they needed to clarify, including:

    • Occupiable space
    • Non-occupiable space
    • Restricted space
    • Non-standard space
    • Offline space
    • Mobile space
    • Unassigned space
    • Requirements for executive areas
    • Requirements for secure areas

    Defining these terms made it easier for space planners to make use of data from various sources within iOFFICE’s software.

    Next, Nelson put together a timeline of recommended steps Adobe needed to take in the immediate future (within three months), near term (three to six months) and in the long term (six to 12 months) to ensure everyone would adopt the new standards.

    The main recommendations included finalizing Global Workplace Services definitions, establishing organization-wide space classifications and adopting OSCRE space quality standards. By standardizing and organizing the data, Adobe would increase data and reporting accuracy, trust and efficiency.

    Cushman & Wakefield then worked with Adobe to implement the changes.

    The Impact: Trust, Transparency and Better Space Utilization

    Taking the time to standardize terms and definitions made a significant impact on the way Adobe managed its space. Now that everyone was speaking the same language, managers felt confident they were getting consistent space utilization data from one location to the next.

    That’s made it easier to plan for new hires, office moves and expansions. Managing 35 million square feet of space is a tremendous responsibility, but now Adobe’s planners have the information they need to make better decisions about space utilization.

    Elizabeth Dukes

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Elizabeth Dukes

    Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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