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3 Common Problems with Office Space Management

March 12, 2024
3 min read
HubStar VP of Growth
3 Common Problems With Space Management

In the flurry of headlines and contradicting opinions over how people should be working, not much attention has been given to how office space management is being impacted by the constant change of hybrid work. Tools and ways of working haven’t caught up to the realities of the new world of work, and it’s created new problems and challenges that space managers and planners are running into every day. 

In this post, we’ll cover three common problems with office space management that newer ways of working have created. 

1) Office space management is built for pre-2020 sized workplace.

Offices were far easier to manage when everyone was in five days a week. But now that people aren’t anymore, organizations are left holding onto a lot of empty space. Hybrid work has presented an opportunity to cut back on wasted space and right size the corporate real estate portfolio – and it’s one that most organizations are acting on. 

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Almost half of large organizations expect their portfolios to decrease. But 55% of organizations in that same survey actually expected their portfolios to increase, regardless of company size. Downsizing, upsizing or reconfiguring the real estate portfolio is at the top of every CRE leader’s list of priorities, but the burden of figuring out how to reshuffle the office falls squarely on the shoulders of space managers and planners.

Pre-2020 office space management tools don’t have a straightforward way to serve more employees with less space in a way that doesn’t degrade the employee experience. 

2) Office space management tools aren’t built for hybrid work.

Hybrid work has completely changed the way space managers assign employees to the workspaces they occupy.

Before 2020, each employee occupied one workspace five days per week – an occupancy ratio of 1:1. Whereas today, when the average employee spends 3.5 days per week in the office, multiple employees are occupying the same workspace at different times and for different reasons – an occupancy ratio of at least 2:1.

Hybrid work means shared desks – something office space management and planning tools haven’t yet evolved to encapsulate. And to add fuel to the fire, most companies have a plethora of different work patterns occurring all at the same time – so space sharing ratios could be even higher.

Most offices tend to give employees who want to come in at least three times a week a permanently assigned desk. But what about the day or two those desks aren’t being used by their assigned owner? Which desks should be bookable beforehand, and which ones should be part of neighbourhoods used by different teams on different days of the week? 

The challenge facing space managers is to design innovative workplaces that inspire everyone’s best work without breaking the bank. The logistical nightmare of space-sharing ratios can make this a pretty formidable challenge.

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3) Floor plans can’t be updated quickly enough.

Office portfolios are in a constant state of flux globally, in a bid to find the most efficient and cost effective sizes and configurations for a hybrid workforce. Spending hours updating dozens of CAD files, layers and polylines becomes substantially less feasible when it needs to be done every week or even every day instead of once per quarter.

What’s more, organizations are constantly reshuffling the configuration and functionalities of their office spaces to create the best possible work environments for hybrid employees. Individual workstations are becoming breakout rooms, conference rooms are turning into multiple smaller conference rooms and corner offices are becoming a thing of the past. 

Space managers ultimately determine if these reconfigurations are feasible and turn them into reality with floorplan adjustments. But with the scale of changes taking place and the new dimension of a space manager’s role as facilitators of a great workplace experience, the volume and frequency of floorplan updates is no longer feasible. 

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HubStar

HubStar is a next-gen hybrid workplace platform that helps workplace innovators create a productive, connected workplace. Bring teams together in the right place at the right time while optimizing the spaces, facilities and policies they need to collaborate, do their best work and thrive.

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