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Office space management is about so much more than desk placement. It’s about creating the best possible environment for your team to thrive, and making sure that every square inch shines with potential.

Do you remember the scene from “Step Brothers” when Will Farrell and John C. Reilly built bunk beds in their shared bedroom? “Look at all this floorspace! So much space! So many activities!” they cried. 

Suddenly they were making plans to open a store and conduct a step class where once there was only room to sleep. Such is the magic of effective space management.

Step Brothers - So much space! For Activities!

In this article, I’ll share the benefits of office space management and the steps you’ll need to take to optimize your space.

 Let’s dive in.

What is Office Space Management?

Office space management involves researching, planning, and optimizing how your organization is utilizing space across your real estate portfolio. The process typically uses real-time data regarding space usage, available square footage, occupancy rates, real estate costs, and a variety of other metrics to produce plans and conduct forecasting.

Since the pandemic, workspace needs have changed dramatically. Where many teams were entirely in-person pre-covid, many have now transitioned to a hybrid work model in which physical spaces can be treated with a more flexible approach.

Hybrid workplaces will likely only have a few full-time on-site employees with most popping in occasionally. When they do, services like desk booking and hoteling, conference room booking, visitor management, and check-ins have the potential to drastically improve efficiency.

Space management tools monitor real-time and historic space allocation data to surface underutilized spaces and provide suggestions for how to transform them into more valuable floor plans. 

Maybe you discover that some of your meeting rooms could be repurposed as a hot desking area, or  seating arrangements for remote workers are best relegated to a specific area of the layout. Maybe two office locations can be combined into one. Office space management means using your available space to better serve your team and business.

office space clusters graphic

What are the Benefits of Office Space Management?

There are several benefits of office space management. Let’s take a look at three of the most impactful:

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Improves Employee Satisfaction

Adjusting your space management strategy can improve employee satisfaction by making it easier for team members to conduct their tasks within your work environment. Think about it:

  • If an employee has to fight for a desk every time they visit an office, they’ll endure unnecessary stress and anxiety that could otherwise be soothed by using a mobile app to book the space in advance. 
  • If on-site, staff must choose a new desk every day based on transient employees who come and go, they won’t feel as valued in their roles.

Office space planning is an employee-centric activity with the potential to show your employees that their needs matter.

Realize Cost Efficiencies

For the same reasons that office space management improves carbon footprint, it can also save money. Holding underutilized spaces in a real estate portfolio is costly, especially when the organization is paying to heat and light them daily.

By gaining an understanding of current and historical space utilization, companies can decide to condense spaces into more efficient configurations, surrendering leases or even selling off pieces of their portfolio to free up working capital.

To further optimize cost-efficiency, HR software can provide invaluable insights.

Decreases Carbon Footprint

Environmentally conscious businesses keep an eye on electricity, heat, and water utilization to ensure that valuable natural resources aren’t going to waste. Optimizing your space can decrease the strain on the grid by narrowing the number of locations that are eating up resources.

Similarly, when employees are given the option of remote work, organizations can cut their carbon footprint by cutting back on commute times. When a company uses property management to shift seating allocations and create more sustainable options, the planet benefits too.

Steps for Optimizing Your Office Space

steps for optimizing your office space infographic

Now that we understand the benefits of space management, let’s take a look at how to implement office space planning in 5 steps:

Step One: Analysis

The space planning process begins with understanding your existing data. Take inventory of current metrics like:

  • Technology used in the space
  • Total square footage
  • Total workplace capacity
  • Capacity of each individual space
  • Function of each area of the office.

Step Two: Use Tools to Track

Effective tracking is best done with the right tools. An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) can assist you with both planning and carrying out your space management strategy. You can also manage functions like desk and meeting room booking with a hot desk booking software

Step Three: Ask the Team

Employee feedback is crucial to developing a space management strategy that works for everyone involved. Consider sending out a survey to employees. Ask questions like:

  • How would you rate your workspace?
  • Do you feel supported in completing your tasks at work?
  • How can we improve the in-office experience?
  • What’s your biggest challenge when visiting the office?

Step Four: Establish Goals

From the feedback you receive from staff, you’ll be able to narrow down the central objectives for your optimization plan. How can these goals be achieved using the space that you currently have?

In re-allocating resources, office space management software can be an invaluable tool to assist you in dreaming up new solutions and building out floor plans to support them.

Step Five: Implementation

To effectively implement your office space management plan is an ongoing process. Past the initial launch, you’ll need to continuously monitor utilization and regularly gather feedback from your team. This way you can quickly identify problems and create adaptive solutions.

Need expert help selecting the right Human Resources (HR) Software?

If you’re struggling to choose the right software, let us help you. Just share your needs in the form below and you’ll get free access to our dedicated software advisors who match and connect you with the best vendors for your needs.

How can office space management software help?

Office space management software can handle many of the tedious administrative tasks associated with office space management. 

These tools allow employees to place self-serve bookings for desks, meeting rooms, and parking spaces, and also assist you in creating interactive floor plans to forecast and reimagine your space utilization.

To help you choose, check out our list of the best office space management software systems on the market today.

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Related read: Best Office Management Software for Core Functions

By Finn Bartram

Finn is an editor at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.