Workplace space management can turn a hybrid office into the place to be, even under a landslide of pressures.
Multiple hybrid work schedules, sky-high employee expectations of the office, shrinking budgets and steadily dwindling corporate real estate portfolios are all weighing down workplace leaders as they figure out how to make the office experience worth the morning commute.
This task is no walk in the park. If people are going to come into the office, they’d better get the best possible work experience out of it.
When office space isn’t up to snuff, people won’t come back.
But when it exceeds their expectations, the office gets its spark back, occupancy rates go up, and your CFO flashes you a beaming smile and thumbs up from across the room.
Here’s why workplace space management is so important for a hybrid office that gives every employee a 10/10 workplace experience.
What is workplace space management?
Workplace space management is the measurement, classification and continuous optimization of all physical space that a company occupies.
The objective of workplace space management is giving every employee the best possible workplace experience while keeping costs low and efficiency high.
Think of space management in terms of supply and demand.
Supply is the space available for employees to work in. Demand is what employees need and want from the workplace, and how they’re occupying it right now.
Workplace space management is the process of measuring that supply and making sure it’s meeting demand.
Why the hybrid office has reinvented space management
Hybrid work has shaken up the ratio of employees to the workspaces they occupy. This is the single biggest thing hybrid has changed about the way office spaces need to be managed.
Back in BC (before COVID), each employee occupied one workspace – an occupancy ratio of 1:1. Whereas today, multiple employees are occupying the same workspace at different times and for different reasons – an occupancy ratio of at least 2:1.
That means more people with different work schedules, habits and preferences are all occupying the same space. And that space needs to give each person the best possible work experience.
Throw in the overall reduction of office real estate and available square feet into the equation, and you have more employees to serve in multiple ways with less space.
To manage hybrid offices effectively, space management needs to be reinvented.
By integrating and accommodating lots of different occupancy ratios, hybrid work schedules and optimal workplace experiences into the space management process.
What are the benefits of workplace space management?
- Efficient use of office space from continuously optimizing overused and underused workspaces
- Reduced costs and carbon emissions from cutting back on needless energy consumption and facilities management services
- Better office functionality since all workspaces are classified by purpose, making adjustments easier
- Better space planning, since space management gives a solid foundation from which to plan and configure workspaces in the future.
- The best possible hybrid workplace experience, since office layout, design and functionality are shaped around what different employee groups need and want from the office.
Essential elements of effective hybrid workplace space management
Here are the key building blocks of space management for a hybrid office:
- A hybrid workplace strategy that defines the role of the office and how different employee groups occupy it (aka hybrid occupancy profiles)
- Space management and planning software built for hybrid working
- Space utilization software to measure and analyze occupancy
- Workplace scheduling software to manage occupancy ratios by making it easy for every employee to book the spaces they need
What are the steps to hybrid workplace space management?
Hybrid work is constantly evolving. That means your space management should be too.
Make sure your space management process follows these steps so your hybrid office meets everyone’s needs:
- Measure total office space down to the square inch by pulling in up-to-date floor plans.
- Classify each workspace. For example, workstation, meeting room, reception area, hallway, and so on.
- Identify usable space. Employees can work in a lounge area, so this would be a usable space. They can’t work in a hallway, so this would be unusable space.
- Subtract usable space from total space. This tells you how much office space you have to work with, as well as the loss factor, which is the area’s unusable space. Your loss factor tells you how efficient a building or floor is at a high level, helps you make effective space planning decisions and helps CRE teams decide which areas to cut from the real estate portfolio.
- Bring in employee hybrid occupancy profiles. For this, you’ll need to group employees by how and when they use the office. For example, you could have three different occupancy profiles – employees who come in twice a week, employees who come in every day, and employees who come in infrequently with no set schedule.
- Classify each workspace by hybrid occupancy profile. If 60% of the workforce comes in twice a week, classify a proportionate amount of individual workstations as schedulable, for example.
- Assign employees to spaces. Rather than assigning one person to one workspace, you could be assigning three groups to the same shareable workspace.
- Optimize. Focus on maximizing occupancy ratios, so each workspace can accommodate multiple employees without sacrificing productivity or comfort. For example, you could optimize a group of directly assigned workstations by making them schedulable. Or you could optimize a floor by replacing an underused workstation with a printer.
(Psst… optimizing workspaces so they do more with less space is where cost savings from more efficient use of space enter the picture)
With Hubstar, hybrid offices deliver a better workplace experience, even with less space.
Hubstar’s space management and planning software gives you the insights and analysis you need to manage hybrid office space, so employees keep coming back for more.