Most CRE professionals have a common goal when it comes to office space management. They want to create a work environment that reflects their corporate values, boosts employee satisfaction and productivity, and answers a modern workforce's needs. Of course, optimizing costs is also a crucial aspect.
Space management is always based on the same core pillars: analysis, implementation, and tracking. They examine various aspects such as energy consumption, office use and occupancy, employee experience, technology in place, and so on.
Their job is then to determine objectives and implement space management techniques. By following this process, CRE specialists consider companies' and employees' needs to make the most of the physical workplace.
The world of work is evolving quickly. New ways of working flourish, and modern technology blooms even faster. Therefore, understanding the pillars of office space management, its benefits, and the fundamental steps to achieve your goals successfully is a must. This article gathers all the information you should always have in mind when managing your workspace.
The three core pillars of office space management
Analysis of the current situation and goals planning 👀
Before starting to change any aspect of the workplace, you need to understand the current situation. Where do you spend the most money? How do your team members use the office space? Does it answer their needs? What is the company's financial situation, and how much budget do you have? And so on.
To get all this data, you can:
conduct surveys among employees;
organize meetings with other managers (Facility, HR, Finance, IT, etc.);
analyze space utilization, energy consumption, employee satisfaction, etc.;
Implementation of efficient and effective changes 🗓️
Once you’ve determined your strengths and weaknesses, time for action! You now know your goals and have planned the best space management strategies to achieve them. Let’s say your objective is to reduce energy consumption and create more sustainability in the office by next year. It’s time to share with the rest of the workforce how and invest in the tools and equipment you need.
Implementation doesn’t happen overnight: it is an ongoing process.
First, it covers multiple aspects of the workplace, and everything cannot be done at the same. It is always better to focus on one objective at a time and succeed than to do it all at once and fail.
Second, unexpected events and outcomes can happen. This leads us to the last but not the least part of space management: tracking.
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Data tracking and space management strategy adjustment 📈
The third aspect of office space management tells you if you’ve made the right choices, if it is paying off, or if you need to make some adjustments. Space management technology helps you track data and keep an eye on your space management KPIs. In other words, are the changes you made having the expected effects? Consistent monitoring is key. It enables you to determine issues, adjust your plans and improve the situation as soon as possible.
Collecting feedback from your workforce is here, again, essential as they are the ones that use the workspace. They are best positioned to tell you what works and what doesn't regarding design, flow, efficiency, etc.
The benefits of implementing space management techniques
Optimizes the office space
One of the primary purposes of office space management is to improve the physical workplace. This includes using every space you have while ensuring that your work environment's design and layout answer employees' needs.
The role of the office is not always considered as much as it should be. Yet, it plays a major part in various aspects like employee experience, well-being, productivity, and much more. Moreover, space optimization contributes to creating a smoother and more efficient workplace flow. Implementing space management techniques enables you to enhance all of these aspects.
As a CRE manager, one of your top priorities is to reduce office costs, isn’t it? To do so, office space management is a must. Thanks to a thorough and regular data analysis, you determine your most significant expenses and efficient solutions to minimize them. For instance, you might have realized the advantages of remote work, like many organizations worldwide during the pandemic. Consequently, you have decided to maintain flexible work arrangements in your working model. This change directly impacts your office use. Analyzing the office space needs of your hybrid workforce allows you to make data-driven adjustments to avoid losing money on real-estate costs.
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Reinforces corporate culture
Investing in office space management is key for companies promoting an employee-centric approach and focusing on creating a positive corporate culture. As mentioned, the workplace should meet employees’ expectations and needs. When it does, it makes people thrive. Why? How?
There are plenty of explanations, including the fact that:
The workspace is designed to boost collaboration and interactions.
Efficient space management smoothens workflow and, therefore, improves productivity.
The atmosphere makes workers feel good and inspired.
Seating in cubicles with terrible lighting and having to cross the whole building for each team meeting will definitely play on workers’ moods at some point. Let us tell you, this is not good for your staff, but for you neither. Creating a physical work environment that answers the company’s and employees' needs is the golden rule to foster productivity and satisfaction. A well-designed office encourages collaboration and improves efficiency. But this is not the only reason it boosts productivity. Lighting and temperatures, for example, have a massive influence on this aspect too.
What about the workplace atmosphere? A good workplace layout improves the employee experience, morale, well-being, and overall satisfaction.
6 steps for managing the office space successfully
1. Determine the company’s and the worker’s needs 🤝
The first step to successfully managing the office space is to analyze the current situation and determine your goals. What are the needs of the company (cutting costs, getting employees on-site more often, rethinking the purpose of the office, etc.)? What are employees expecting when working at the office (focus zones, communal areas, bookable parking lots, etc.)? Maybe the HR and the IT teams are currently discussing a new system to optimize workspace booking.
You need to have a clear overview of all these aspects first to be then able to make the right choices.
2. Analyze the current state of the physical workplace 🧐
Time to check your workplace analytics and see how the office space is used. What is your occupancy rate? Do people prefer assigned desks or collaborative workspaces when on-site? Improving your design and layout is important, but analyzing your energy consumption is too. At this step, you must understand where your money goes and if some adjustments could be made to reduce your costs. Sometimes, you can treat both topics at the same time. For example, it is the case when you choose to downsize your office.
3. Define your office space management goals 🎯
Now that you have a clear idea about your needs and the current situation of your workplace, you can start planning. How are you going to improve the functioning of the workplace? The fact that you assess your space first enables you to make data-driven decisions. So, where do you start first?
Setting realistic KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure your success is fundamental at this stage. Moreover, remember that defining effective goals implies balancing employees' expectations and the company's needs.
At this point, you are all set! You know the goals to achieve and have the tools to support your success. It is time to implement your new space management strategy. This stage can imply significant changes in the workplace. Communication and transparency are key for a successful outcome. Employees might not understand your decisions at first sight. It is crucial to take the time to explain why you have made these choices and how it is going to benefit them and the company.
6. Keep track of workplace data 📊
Office space management is an ongoing process where you must continuously monitor data, check KPIs, and adjust your strategy as a CRE professional. Comparing insights from tools that provide workplace analytics, like your desk booking app, is essential to keep track of data. Sending employee satisfaction questionnaires specifically designed to evaluate how happy they are about their work environment is also a great resource. Lastly, keeping a close look at data enable you to see areas of improvement and success. It makes your job more tangible and provides relevant information, avoiding confusion.
Office space management is a game-changer in creating an exceptional work environment. It is based on analyzing your office space, implementing effective space management techniques, and tracking data. Insights into energy consumption, office utilization, and employee experience help you set clear objectives and implement a tailored space management strategy. When done successfully, space management enables you to reduce and optimize costs, strengthens corporate culture, boosts employee satisfaction, and enhances productivity.
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