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    Space Management: Everything You Need to Know

    James McDonald

    Planning and mastering how your organization utilizes its office space is a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Space management is a multi-step process that requires data gathering, analysis, forecasting, and strategizing. It requires a deep analysis and understanding of the company’s critical values and goals moving forward. In the early stages, management must develop planning principles for the company that will serve as criteria by which alternative processes will be assessed. These guidelines will serve the company for years to come, as issues occur that could not be anticipated during initial planning. So, how do you make the most of your company’s spatial (and tangible) assets, ensuring the budget is maximized both now and moving forward? Let’s take a look at 3 space management necessities to make sure you stay on track.

    3 Space Management Essentials

    1. Organizational Goals

    Your critical first step is to identify organizational goals and plans, both short and long-term. Establishing clear-cut plans will help ensure your space management module is designed around both current demands, as well as future space needs, and that the proper metrics are being analyzed once new strategies are launched.

    A few things to consider:

    • What are your institution’s strategic business goals?
    • Relate space analysis 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 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. Information Regarding Employees and Standard Processes

    Now that you have identified organizational goals, it is 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 is important that both the facility manager and IWMS software vendor have an 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 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.

    3. The Tools

    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. Hopefully, you have aligned yourself with a software vendor who can meet your needs both now and moving forward. Our ebook 8 Practical Guidelines to Evaluating Facilities Management Software offers a comprehensive guide to the evaluation process.

    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 do not 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 in determining 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 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.

    This is all you need to master space utilization!

    James McDonald


    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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