Post-COVID, hybrid work has become the primary way for companies to organize their workforces. While many companies and their employees report considerable benefits from hybrid work, it does put more onus on facility managers and people ops teams to manage a now-fluid workforce.
A major part of their job is office space management. The way you design and use every part of your physical space is a critical factor in making in-office days as productive and enjoyable as possible. Let’s take a closer look at what effective space management is, how it can benefit your business, and how to get the right systems in place to do it right.
What is Space Management?
Space management, also known as office space management, refers to the process of designing, organizing, maintaining, and optimizing the physical layout of a business’s workspace.
Space management is inclusive of:
- Choosing or changing the footprint of your office
- Making the office easy to access and use
- Creating different types of spaces within the office
- Selecting furniture, equipment/technology, and decor
- Replenishing supplies
- General maintenance of all company-owned or rented space
How Space Management Fits Into Your Workplace Strategy
Workplace strategies encompass a wide-ranging array of processes, people management, space management tools, and technology. Before hybrid work became the norm, workplace strategies were fairly static. People came in most days or every day, sat at the same desk, used the same meeting rooms, and used the same tech. Their needs with respect to their workspace typically didn’t change much in the short term.
The days of static workplace strategies are over. You need to transform your office for the demands of hybrid work.
Zooming in specifically on the space management portion of your workplace strategy, the name of the game now is using workplace analytics and feedback to create flexible and always-evolving spaces based on real time data and feedback.
Benefits of Flexible Space Management
Getting your space utilization and management strategy right can provide several benefits for your workforce and business. Here are a few common ones that companies who get hybrid right achieve.
For knowledge workers in particular, the work day is often a mix of heads-down individual work and collaborative time. That’s why a big part of space management is unlocking productivity gains by creating spaces that foster all types of work.
Space management is vital for providing spaces that can accommodate both types of work and maximize every hour spent in the office. Hot desks equipped with monitors and even dividers can enable focused work, while meeting rooms and huddle spaces that have technology to facilitate brainstorming and hybrid meetings unlock productivity gains no matter what employees need to get done on any day.
Space management has a direct impact on your bottom line. For example, if you track desk usage and find that actual real estate usage is far below self-reported levels, you can lower your spend on desks/equipment and convert more of them into hot desks. If entire sections of your office are underutilized, you can find a way to sublease that space and consolidate your own.
Beyond optimizing your current workspace, space management software will give you the office space planning tools you need to forecast future space allocation needs and their associated costs, whether it’s more desks or even larger office space.
Deeper Insights Into Your Workforce
Being able to tailor your office to the exact needs of your workforce is a key benefit of taking space management seriously. A space management solution will give you analytics that let you track and measure how your resources are being used so you can understand what your workforce truly needs.
Are people getting frustrated with the lack of meeting rooms? Are teams unable to sit near one another when they’re all in the office? Are employees having a hard time accessing or finding their spaces? Space management solutions can help you provide an optimal arrangement of resources and make them easy to access.
Read our report, “Unlocking the Benefits of Space Management for Office Productivity” for more key benefits of space management.
What is a Space Management System?
A space management system is a software or technology-based solution that is designed to efficiently manage and optimize physical space within the workplace. It helps organizations make the most effective use of their available space while improving productivity, enhancing operational efficiency, and reducing costs.
Space management systems enable organizations to plan and visualize the allocation of space, manage resources within the available space and access real-time visibility into space utilization by monitoring occupancy and movement within the facility.
Using Space Management Software for Your Office Space
With all the complexities and unpredictability hybrid work can bring, there are two ways your space management strategy can fail:
- Trying to manage your space manually or with guesswork and hunches.
- Treating space management as if it’s separate from your overall workplace strategy.
A space management system has to be part of a more comprehensive workplace experience platform. This will ensure you see space management in the context of your hybrid work strategy. How?
A workplace experience platform consolidates processes such as desk booking, meeting room scheduling, room booking systems, visitor management, employee feedback, resource management and others into one platform that gives you visibility into each activity. Those features enable employees to easily access the office and resources they need while giving you granular insights into how every aspect of your office space is used.
This data is crucial for your physical space inventory management because it allows you to:
- Understand which kinds of spaces your employees prefer. Do you need more collaborative space or more quiet areas for focus? How can you improve on facilities management based on that?
- Identify usage patterns. Are resources stretched thin on busy days or completely underutilized? How can you improve on space management planning to avoid that?
- See how space management influences business outcomes. Can you analyze your space data with HR and other BI tools to see how in-office work influences metrics like productivity, sales, product deadlines, etc.?
When you can integrate space management tools with other solutions in your hybrid workplace it results in better space utilization and more effective facility management.
Get Started With Space Management Tools
Choosing the right space management solution will give you the foundation for automating and systematizing your space management efforts and aligning it with your overall hybrid work strategy. Get the data you need to manage dynamic, flexible workspaces and make the office a destination, not an obligation.
Start with Robin, for free.