Space management is absolutely essential to the smooth operation of the modern office environment. As people gradually return to office work post-pandemic, and as flexible working models become more commonplace,
it’s important that workspace is utilized in the most efficient, cost-effective ways possible, while suiting both business needs and employee desires.
In a recent blog, we explored in detail why space management is vital, and in this post, we’re going to take a look at how it should be implemented. This five-step process can help you deploy a space management solution with workplace scheduling technology at its core, and with the flexibility to evolve along with your business in the years to come:
Step 1: Define the role of the office
Effective space management requires careful planning, including working out what success looks like to the specific organization in question. A big part of this is deciding what purpose (or purposes) the physical office will fulfil. This will vary considerably depending on each business’s industry and typical working functions, but very few will be able to completely return to how they were before the pandemic took hold.
Possibilities for repurposed offices could include becoming ‘hubs’ for collaboration and socialization, impressive ‘statement offices’ that help impress visiting external clients, ‘quiet zones’ full of shared workstations that employees can use when they need to focus on a particular job, or a combination of all of these.
Step 2: Assess the needs of the workforce
Once the office’s new purpose has been determined, practicalities can be worked out in more detail, in the context of how employees will use the spaces provided and what they will get out of the new arrangements.
This works in two ways. The first is professional: many employees will expect to work more flexibly in the future, including through ‘hybrid’ working models where they combine home and office work. They will expect the new office set-up to support their desires to work how they want. The second is personal: employees will want reassurance that the redesign takes their health and safety concerns into consideration, particularly with regards to COVID-19 protection and related regulatory compliance.
Ticking both of these boxes will help make sure that the workforce is on board with the changes ahead.
Step 3: Reshape the office environment
Then the actual changing of the offices can take place. This is likely to involve a departure from workstations that are allocated to individual employees, towards a shared model where each user can book a space for the specific time period they need it for. A similar principle can be applied to every space, including meeting rooms, breakout areas, equipment and even parking spaces.
These principles, and the feelings of the workforce, will guide the physical layout. In particular, this will influence with regards to the number of workstations available, the maximum capacities of each meeting room, and how different workspaces are spread out.
Step 4: Deploy an integrated booking system
With different workspaces and different employees all operating at different times, keeping control of everything and ensuring everything runs smoothly is a major undertaking. Only a strong workspace management and scheduling solution can make this happen in a way that supports the needs of everyone concerned.
Through integrated workspace solutions, mobile apps and Microsoft Outlook, employees can check workspace schedules anywhere, any time, and make their desired bookings in moments. They can also arrange meetings by checking the schedules of their colleagues and securing an appropriately sized meeting room at a time that suits every attendee
Step 5: Monitor usage and consider adjustments
Getting this seamless approach to space management up and running isn’t the end of the story. Nobody knows how their own organization, or the wider business world, will change in the future, but businesses will have to be ready to make changes to their workspace arrangements to respond if required. Understanding exactly what those changes should be is critical.
A good workspace management solution can help in this area by collecting all the data generated through its day-to-day use, feeding it into powerful analytics functionality, and generating data-driven insights. These insights can then be used to make informed decisions on how different workspaces should be added, removed or reshaped to meet the evolving needs of business.