We have discussed the inevitability (and necessity) of workplace change on more than one occasion. More often than not, change leads to more change. Telecommuting, open collaborative spaces, hoteling, hot-desking and downsizing have left many facilities with too much space.
Regardless of the reason, many organizations are finding their workspace scattered with unused spaces, otherwise known as workplace pockets. These pockets negatively affect the bottom line in the obvious sense but the effect it has on the employees is something that is often overlooked. Particularly after a big downsizing event, workplace pockets have proven to be negatively draining on the workforce left behind. And when your employees are unhappy, productivity suffers.
Re-stacking May Be The Answer
Should you find your organization in this situation, it is your duty as the facilities manager to work closely with executives and department heads to come up with a strategic plan. “In a corporate real estate context, strategic planning refers to the alignment of the company's real estate assets in support of its business goals.” Should a reconfiguration of space, otherwise known as “re-stacking” be part of your plan, several factors should be examined—space utilization should be maximized and productivity should be increased. The knowledge that change is inevitable should be considered through the entire planning process and your re-stacking strategy should include the facilities’ long-term goals.
What You Should Consider
While re-stacking is most likely a less complicated solution to relocating, it comes with its own set of hurdles to face. There is no way to avoid some disruption during this process, careful planning can minimize interruptions in workflow. While there are a multitude of things to consider during this revitalization, let’s take a look at some of the most common hurdles facilities face:
- Where will your employees work while the workspace is being transformed? While the end result will secure you increased productivity, you do not want productivity to suffer during the re-stacking process. Consider the employees and their needs and ensure they will have a temporary workspace while theirs is being renovated.
- How will you accommodate all technological needs? Movement within the facility will inevitably bring about the need for IT changes. Coordinate with IT regarding what systems will be moved to what spaces and the specific needs of each system. Nothing would be more frustrating than to get an entire floor renovated and moved, only to find the jacks are in the wrong place and your cable needs are not met.
- How will you move one group of people out, and another in to the same space at the same time? A plan of action for a shift of this magnitude is vital to the re-stacking success. The more solid your strategy, the less time and money your organization stands to lose. Furniture knockdowns, ergonomic concerns, missing items and overall cleanliness should not be overlooked.
- How will you keep everyone safe? Employee health and safety should be top priority during your renovation and re-stacking efforts. Maintaining an open line of communication amongst staff ensures safety and provides employees the information they need to properly prepare for any disruptions.
- What to do with what’s left? At the end of your re-stacking efforts, you will likely come across orphaned file cabinets and workstations, as well as obsolete or surplus equipment. Proper removal of said items must be coordinated.
Organizing Your Efforts
The key to a successful re-stacking project is planning. Above are just a few of the most common obstacles organizations face. Your job as the facilities manager is to develop a move strategy that considers this project from every angle. What will be used as your swing space? How do you properly measure your current open space? What metrics are you using to predict future spatial needs? What is your company’s long-term vision and where does your new spatial plan fit in? While planning for future growth can prove difficult, it is recommended to “plan for a 5 to 10 percent “fit factor,” the number of seats deemed necessary to accommodate future growth. This provides the business with a certain degree of flexibility and, moreover, prevents it from feeling boxed in.” You must consider your facility from every angle to ensure the best possible outcome.
The movement of the company’s assets should be carefully considered. Do you have a current list of all tangible assets and where they are currently located? Do you know where each asset needs to be moved, who it will be assigned to and its current condition? Hopefully you have an asset management software that provides you with the most up-to-date tools for planning. Partner that with a move management software solution to maximize your efforts and ensure the proper metrics were considered during your re-stacking efforts.
While moving into a vacant space is the most ideal situation when relocating employees, this is not always an option. Although there are many complexities you will face in your re-stacking efforts, a well thought out plan using the latest in technology can lead to a seamless transition. One that makes every team member feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle their work. A little investment in this transformation can yield your organization significant savings and increased returns.