Our first annual Sustainability Report, detailing 2023 performance, is now available. View Here

Our 2023 Sustainability Report is now available. View Here

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What Is Facility Planning?

Every facility manager wants to use their buildings and assets effectively. But what that means is different for every organization. And you can’t use facilities well if you only react to how they’re used or let decisions and processes develop organically. You have to purposefully map out how your space and the people who occupy it can meet your goals.

Facility planning is the process of ensuring that your facilities can satisfy future needs and align with short- and long-term business goals. This process happens at both the portfolio level and location level, translating strategic initiatives into tactical decisions. It’s essential to maximizing the value of your real estate, but many organizations still aren’t equipped to do it well.

Facility planning requires you to understand how occupants interact with each workplace, how changes to facilities will impact operations and efficiency, and how to best satisfy your intent without compromising other areas.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why facility planning is important
  • Facility planning’s scope
  • When to conduct facility planning

Why is facility planning important?

You don’t accomplish meaningful organizational goals by accident. And when your goals relate to facility use, you have to intentionally coordinate your space, occupants, and assets to reach them. So whether you’re trying to create room for growth, improve operational efficiency, reduce real estate costs, or accomplish something else, strategic facility planning is a must.

For example, suppose you’ve implemented a hybrid workplace model, and you’re preparing to increase the number of days employees are required to work in the office across your entire organization—perhaps with the intent to hit a particular space utilization benchmark. Based on how your space is being used right now, you need to ensure you can support that increase in utilization without disrupting employee productivity or satisfaction. You may need to reconfigure some or all of your facilities to achieve your goal, and you’ll need to forecast how this change will affect demand for space.

Whatever your business goals, reaching them will likely involve facility planning.

Key elements of facility planning

Facility planning encompasses several distinct processes and components, but broadly speaking, it’s a combination of space management and real estate management. Here’s what it entails.

Space utilization data

Space utilization data is the foundation of facility planning. You can’t accurately determine the best ways to use your facility without first understanding how it’s currently being used. And since every facility and employee population is different, there’s only so much you can apply from one facility’s utilization to another. To plan effectively, you’ll need some combination of occupancy sensors, Wi-Fi tracking capabilities, and occupancy analytics platform.

Space inventory

In order to decide how to use your facility, you need a thorough inventory of the square footage or meterage you have to work with, including assigned and unassigned space and any relevant details about its purpose, business unit, etc. Facility planning without a detailed spatial inventory would be like trying to plot the best route from one destination to another with parts of your map missing.

Space planning

Space planning is another component of facility planning that helps you envision the best facility configurations to reach your goals. Space management software like Tango Space provides multiple processes to help you plan effectively. For example, stacking and blocking enables you to visually rearrange your space by department or purpose, letting you explore possibilities like moving groups of people or work activities from one floor to another, or consolidating them to a single space.

Scenario planning is another valuable process that lets you use floor plans to investigate “what if” questions like “What if we reduce customer service space by 30% over the next five years?” While there are often numerous facility configurations that can meet your goals, Tango empowers you to find the best options with the help of AI. Establish parameters like who can be where, maximum capacity, and any applicable regulations, then let AI reveal the configurations with the best outcomes.

Move management

Moves, adds, and changes (MAC), also known as move management, involves actively coordinating transitions in your workplace. This may seem more like executing your facility plan, but depending on the scale of your moves, this process can take weeks or even months and require aligning numerous timelines with both internal and external stakeholders (such as the facilities team, IT, and contractors for remodels or service connections). It’s an instance where planning is essentially part of the execution, and poorly executed MAC activities can disrupt other parts of your facility planning.

Facility managers and their directors need the ability to easily oversee move management and delegate related tasks, and Tango Space lets you do that from the same place you do other facility planning processes like stack planning and scenario planning.

Portfolio management

When you have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of locations, facility planning can’t be isolated to each individual facility: you have to consider each building’s function and possibilities in relation to the rest of your portfolio. This big picture approach helps you coordinate changes on a much larger scale, including budgets, timelines, expenses, and occupancy needs.

Tango Portfolio Strategy was designed to specifically address this high-level work, giving you broad visibility into your facilities and the capabilities you need to plan and monitor progress toward changes. As you explore how initiatives play out across your portfolio, Tango helps you find the options that best align with your strategy.

When should you conduct facility planning?

Facility planning isn’t a process that just happens once. In fact, components of it are ongoing—moves, adds, and changes happen all the time as employees come and go and you discover better arrangements for various teams and departments. And once you’ve implemented a facility plan, your space utilization data may indicate that there’s a better way to achieve your intended outcomes as employees use your facility.

Changes in leadership, your employee population, or organizational goals will often trigger the need for facility planning as well. While executing a larger facility plan takes time and resources, the point is to align your facility with your goals, and when goals or circumstances change, you’ll likely need a new plan to create the right outcomes.

Plan your facilities with Tango

Facility planning requires access to a wide range of data and capabilities Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) were built to facilitate. As a leading IWMS provider, Tango has a suite of solutions to help you plan and implement the best ways to use your facilities.

Tango Portfolio Strategy empowers you to analyze your entire portfolio to identify opportunities, model your options, predict the impact of changes, and manage the execution of your strategy.

Tango Reserve is a highly configurable reservation system that helps you manage shared office resources and analyze their utilization.

Tango Occupancy Data & Analytics by Locatee is an advanced occupancy analytics solution that uses wifi connections to track utilization throughout your facilities.

Tango Space brings all your spatial data into one place and equips you with robust capabilities like stacking and blocking, move management, and scenario planning.

Want to see how Tango can help you with facility planning?

Request a demo today.

Tango 2023 Sustainability Report

We have released our first Sustainability Report for 2023, marking an important step in our sustainability journey. In the report, we announce our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, setting us apart as a pioneer in the larger ecosystem of real estate technology providers.