Space management is defined as the management, control and supervision of the physical spaces a business occupies. This could refer to a single floor, multiple floors or multiple floors in multiple buildings. 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 your space planning goals.
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In the early stages, management teams must develop planning principles for the company that will serve as criteria by which alternative space planning 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 three space management necessities to make sure you stay on track.
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 space utilization metrics are being analyzed once new strategies are launched.
A few things to consider:
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
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:
Along with the user/employee data, it's 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the right space management software in your corner, you can make better use of your office space, save on costs, easily access information and gain insight from real-time data.
Why wait? Start improving the space management of your workplace. Request a free demo of the iOFFICE Space Management Software.
James McDonald is a sports enthusiast, brother in Christ and once swam in a tank with the infamous TV sharks.