How space management optimizes evolving office environments
Interior design isn’t just for your master bedroom or to “balance the energy” in the living room where the rocking chair is not in the right place. In corporate or office settings this practice is referred to as space management and it is more important to the success of an office than one may initially think. Space management optimizes office space.
Hybrid work has forced businesses to re-imagine their interior design principles while considering how to provide their employees with the best possible workspace that meets their needs.
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Why Space Management?
Cubicles were the prevailing office design approach for decades, with open-concept offices being seen as a luxury of progressive tech companies. However, the need for a more tailored and human-focused approach to office space is apparent and now a priority on
Proper space utilization in an office can include collaborative working areas, cubicles, and regular evaluation of space management means that under-used areas can be lent to bolster more in demand things that will be used and prevent dead space.
Design and Productivity
We know that the right interior design can positively impact productivity and workplace culture if implemented properly and employee concerns are taken into consideration.
Designing an office space is more than a well placed plant and curved chairs in the lobby. When using data driven insights from software solutions that can track in real-time with sensors how heavily trafficked certain areas are, space utilization aids in showing what your employees really need from a hybrid office.
Say the data shows that the 1 collaborative working desk area in the office is frequented more than any other are following an increase in remote workers; this highlights a need for more space like it so that those kinds of tasks and projects can be completed efficiently.
Space Planning Advantages
Effectively harnessing space management and space planning means leveraging data insights and sensors first to collect data. Planning your space use means committing to optimizing your use of resources.
Server rooms used to be large and take up entire floors of buildings, meaning that there was less space to be used for offices and less space to be leased to occupants who could put it to use.
This is a prime example of space management and the improvements that have been made over the years using informed data and modern technologies. With smaller servers a server room can be no larger than a closet; this makes room for areas in demand with space management being key to optimizing said office space.
When talking about hybrid offices where employees are commuting only when they need to use office for things that cannot be done at home, designing the space with this in mind is paramount.
Foundations of Space Strategies
Space management optimizes office space, as are the space strategies making up the cornerstone of how to benefit from space management. Simplifying management across portfolios, planning capabilities, cost savings, and supporting hybrid work and employees.
The core strategy to space management is collecting data on space use in the office. While simply keeping tabs on spaces and asking employees what they think is needed most from their office, installing sensors to track use of facilities and areas means day to day patterns are available and can tell a much deeper story.
If an area is used less than others, there could be good reason for that which warrants investigation and can lead to the improvement of the office for employees. When deciding how to set up a hybrid office that is only used for a percentage of employees and requires different resources, this data is crucial.
Finally with health & safety being a primary concern for many, space management can help to ensure physical distancing and health measures such as ventilation and air flow are sufficiently deployed and covers all areas.
How Space Influences the Workplace
Like it or not, our space and environment have an influence on how we go about our day and interact with others. Many encountered this when they began working from home and had to convert parts of a living room or bedroom space into a functioning office. Work habits may have changed depending on the room as many reported that striking a balance between work and personal life was important, as their spaces began to see use in both aspects.
In the office, space dictates how we go about our work and interact with colleagues. Offices designed for independent work will have little to no open space. No open spaces and more cubicles will ultimately create an environment where collaboration is low and interactions with colleagues are limited.
With independent work being dominantly done at-home, offices are being turned into areas for collaboration and team projects. Open concept office space is a cornerstone of hybrid offices; with repurposed areas and “de-densifying” as a primary focus. Meaning that conversation and collaboration is by design, with the office being a destination for work and collaboration is no longer a “water cooler activity”.
Flex space & Leasing
With the advent of redesigning office space and since space management optimizes office space, concepts such as flexible space and leasing agreements. These have begun to grow in popularity and investment.
With long-term leases becoming a thing of the past and offices presumably changing hands more regularly, we are likely to see increased investment in flexible space for hybrid offices. Flexible office space means ready-to-go resources and capital with less pressure on the business moving in.
Shorter leases and different tenants needing different things requires space that can be repurposed to fit these needs without significant renovations or capital investment by landlords. A flexible space can meet the needs of different groups with minimal changes.
Space Planning & Facilities
Managing space does not only mean optimizing the office to include more desks, but this also means organizing and designing it in line with preventative action principles for facilities.
Proactive maintenance on things that are regularly used and are in high-traffic areas highlighted by sensors can mean that potential issues are addressed before they even arise. Space planning can also ensure things such as heating and cooling systems or ventilation systems are targeting high traffic areas or common areas where there are regularly gatherings.
Tracking facilities that are used in high traffic areas or busy rooms like meeting rooms and acting on a preventative basis can mean savings on maintenance costs and lack of downtime that interferes with other activities.
Space management is key to optimizing office space as without it you could be missing benefits and data needed to make space work for your business.
Integrating data analytics and collection via sensors to learn what is used most and by who gives a complete picture of how the office functions and how to invest in resources or design that is more in line with how your people like to work.
Technologies to track things like desk usage, hoteling and room reservation as well as many more exist to do just this and ensure you’re getting the most out of an office that is designed to fit the needs of your people.