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Office Space Optimization 101

employee in office space, employee walking across the office
by
Becky Chariton
Published on

Companies are calling people back to the workplace. From advertising firms to professional services to federal agencies, we're seeing an influx of people return to the office.

While some companies may return full time, many are choosing to go with a flexible workplace strategy. This means the typical office setup isn't going to cut it anymore. You'll have to find new ways to use your space, so people can do their best work.

Building a workplace people want to be in requires a deep understanding of your real estate, your employee's needs, and the type of work they'll be doing in the office. To determine exactly what your teams need and get the most out of your space, you'll have to focus on space optimization.

Office Space Optimization 101 will cover the basics of space optimization. From the benefits to different strategies to useful technology that will help you succeed. Let's dive in.

A well managed office space makes for happier, more engaged teams.

What Are the Benefits of Space Optimization?

Space optimization refers to the efficient use of a physical workspace. It's about taking your existing, unused space and making informed decisions to maximize its utility, productivity, and cost-effectiveness.

According to our 2022 Office Space Report, 11% of businesses use all of the office space they own or lease, and nearly 45% use half their available space or less. Unused space leads to wasted money and resources, that's why space optimization is so important.

Only 11% of businesses use all of the office space they own or lease, and nearly 45% use half their available space or less.

Your workspace should be comfortable, welcoming, and accommodating to all kinds of work. This will enhance employee well-being, and help improve employee experience.

With space optimization, companies aim to make the most out of their office space to accommodate employees, equipment, and activities while minimizing waste and unnecessary expenses. Businesses can achieve a more efficient, cost-effective, and productive work environment by continuously evaluating and adapting office space to meet the evolving needs of employees and the organization.

Assessing Your Current Office and Space Utilization

There's always room for improvement! Assessing your existing space will give you an idea of what's working and what isn't. It's a great way to identify inefficiencies, and growth opportunities so you can adjust your floor plan accordingly. Here's how to start.

Review Your Space Utilization Rate

Office space or utilization rate is a metric that refers to the number of employees in a particular space divided by the capacity of that space, typically expressed in square footage. By gathering data on space utilization you can begin to understand how your employees are using the office and shape your strategy to meet their needs.

By tracking how spaces are being used, you can better predict what resources you will need.

Conduct Employee Surveys

While space utilization data tells you how people are using the office, employee data will tell you how they want to be using the space. The best way to find out what your teams need is by asking them directly.

Employee surveys are a great way to connect with your teams and gain valuable feedback. Gaining their input will help you pinpoint exactly what your teams need to be successful.

Remember, data is a powerful resource that can help you build a more engaging space and a frictionless workplace experience.

6 Space Optimization Strategies for Your Office

Once you better understand your space the next step is optimizing it to enhance workplace experience and improve employee productivity. Since every company is different, every office will be as well.

There are various ways you can restructure your office to ensure you're getting the most out of your space. Consider these strategies and arrangements to help you get started:

1. Flexible Workstations

As previously mentioned, the office should be able to accommodate multiple work styles. Someone may come in for a team meeting one day and for job interviews the next.

Incorporating flexible desk arrangements and utilizing hot desking strategies will enable employees to choose their workspace based on their productivity and resource needs. Allow your teams to pick their desk in advance, so they can come in and get right to work.

Make desks available for booking so teams can choose where they work.

2. Open vs. Private Spaces

Studies have shown that when knowledge workers are interrupted, they may require up to 23 minutes to get back on track. Creating open and private spaces in your office prevents distractions and gives people enough space for focus work when needed.

3. Ergonomic Design

The furniture and layout in your office play a significant role in employee comfort and well-being. Choosing the right furniture can help you create unplanned interactions and promote socialization amongst teams.

It's also an easy way to incorporate some of your company's personal brand and style. Build a space people feel good being in.

4. Storage Solutions

Switching to a hot desking solution means teams don't have a permanent space to keep their belongings. Adding lockers and other storage resources allows people to store their belongings and keeps the space clean and organized. Maximize usability and reduce clutter.

5. Space Management Software

When you're expecting more people in your office it's important that things run smoothly. Integrating technology like room scheduling software or visitor management software can help you keep things on track and ensure you're providing a smooth experience for everyone coming to your space.

6. Sustainability

Sustainable design practices for the office are essential for reducing environmental impact, improving employee well-being, optimizing space, and promoting responsible resource management. Planning for long-term sustainability by designing for adaptability and durability, can help you maximize your space and cut future costs.

When making plans for your office space, keep your long-term growth plans in mind. Your office should scale with you.

Office Space Planning, Design, and Other Considerations

Now that you have the tools and strategies to get started you can you can begin to design spaces that meet your optimization goals. Your office layout should reflect your team's needs and your company values. Once you have employee input and have collected the proper data you can build a space that boosts employee productivity and maximizes utilization.

When you're thinking about your layout it's crucial you consider things like:

  • Traffic flow
  • Wayfinding abilities
  • Zoning
  • Operational efficiency

Your space should be easy to use and easy to manage. Depending on how many people are in your office you'll want to think about how many desks you'll need, the types of collaboration configurations you can create, and of course how you can add your own personal touch.

Using branded signage and adding technology to your office space will make it easy to navigate and help regulate norms amongst your team. You can also rely on workplace analytics to help measure the success of your design, guide your decisions, and anticipate future trends in office space optimization.

Keep employee involvement in mind. Your greatest asset is your people. Space optimization is an ongoing process that requires collaboration between facility managers, interior designers, space planners, and company leadership. Working together from start to finish will make this job easier and make implementing new processes simple.

Finally, as you're incorporating these changes remember to work with a budget. Prioritize investments for the best ROI and utilize your funds to purchase tools, technology, and furniture that will really improve your space. Some of these things you may already have. An office inventory will help you identify what else you need.

When office spaces are well designed, teams can focus on what they need to do.

Leveraging Space optimization Software

Understanding space optimization is a valuable tool that can help you boost productivity, improve employee engagement, and increase cost savings. Data-driven decisions build vibrant workplaces and vibrant workplaces keep employees productive and happy.

Deciding how much space you need to utilize isn't a simple decision. The right technology can be a powerful tool when it comes to making decisions for your team. Leveraging workplace analytics can help guide how space optimization works for you and can help prepare you for as many variables as possible.

If you're interested in learning more about benchmarking your office space utilization, so you can optimize your own space usage read our blog.

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Return to Office Report 2024

Does your office collaboration need a reboot?

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office map
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Does your office collaboration need a reboot?

Find out if your workplace strategy is a hit or a miss.

office map
an employee headshotan employee headshotan employee headshotan employee headshot