Office space management is the ongoing process of supervising and controlling the physical space in a business or organization’s offices. It involves planning how the space will be used, gathering and analyzing utilization data, and reconfiguring your space as needed to meet your organization’s goals and meet constraints.
While office space management has always been valuable, most organizations are still learning how to do it well and reap the benefits. Manage your office space effectively, and you could avoid making costly new real estate investments, increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction, and potentially even downsize your real estate portfolio.
Traditionally, organizations have handled office space management manually using static floor plans, personal preferences, and intuition. But there are usually many ways to solve space management problems, and this manual process rarely results in the best solution. Space management software like Tango Space can help you visualize more possibilities, understand how your space is currently being used, and make data-driven decisions.
In this article, we’ll explore why office space management is becoming more important, as well as the specific components that make it work.
Poorly managed office space makes it harder for your employees to do their jobs. They can’t reserve meeting rooms when they need them. Your remote workers can’t schedule time to come into the office because there aren’t enough workstations. Too much congestion and poor office wayfinding makes it difficult to get from one place to another. By modernizing your office space management, you can locate these pain points and implement solutions.
You could have more available space available than you realize, and you can potentially transform that underutilized space into something there’s more demand for, like additional meeting rooms, neighborhoods, workstations, wellness rooms, or storage. You may even be able to downsize your real-estate portfolio—or at least keep from needing to expand it as quickly.
Additionally, shifting expectations for the workplace environment have made office space management all that much more important. With the widespread adoption of models like activity based working, flexible office spaces, and hybrid workplaces, office space management technology has moved from being a “nice to have” to being a “must have” for many organizations.
In these increasingly common models, you can’t take for granted that an employee will use a single dedicated workspace throughout the workday. They could be working from home or using any one of a number of activity optimized workstations, meeting rooms, or common areas. Or they may reserve various spaces based on who they’re working with and what’s available. In order to prevent problems like overcrowding, double booking, or underutilized space, you’ll need to track space utilization at your corporate campuses.
Some of the key components of modern office space management include space planning, space utilization monitoring, automation, and space optimization.
Space planning starts with your business goals. Are you hoping to downsize your real estate portfolio? Expand or add a department? Make your office more appealing to prospective hires? Improve overall productivity?
Your employees won’t necessarily use your space exactly as you intend, but you can influence the behaviors and outcomes you desire by planning your space around them. What you want to accomplish should influence how you allocate space and how you respond to the way it gets used. Over time, the data you collect will help you fine-tune the details and continually align your office space with your vision.
You’ll need to know how your office space is actually being used. For many organizations, this amounts to monitoring things like employee badge scans and room reservations. However, those metrics have limited value.
To access more precise data, you have to invest in real-time occupancy management solutions like IoT (Internet of Things) sensors. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) units and blurred vision cameras, for example, can give you detailed insights like how often a given space is actually used, how many people occupy a space at a time, and where pathways become congested or rooms become overcrowded.
Ideally, your office space management software should integrate all sources of relevant data into a dashboard that makes it easy to analyze and react to utilization—without overwhelming you with additional clutter.
One of the benefits of office space management is that you’ll begin to see trends and patterns emerge in how and where your employees get their best work done. And if your office space management software is advanced enough, it can incorporate machine learning and AI to automate repetitive activities.
For example, when it learns that certain groups of employees tend to work together in particular types of spaces, it can automatically suggest times and spaces to come in based on what someone’s preferred colleagues are doing. Likewise, your software should be able to detect when spaces are being overused and flag potential problems to be addressed. In Tango Space, these issues can even be displayed in a live floor plan.
Automation can also simplify space planning. Say you want to add several workspaces to an existing floorspace. Using your floor plan along with any goals and constraints you have, Tango Space automatically generates the models that fit your parameters. Instead of manually producing a handful of models, you simply have to choose the one that best meets your needs.
With the other four components in place, space optimization becomes much easier. As the data comes in, you can make adjustments accordingly. Take underutilized spaces and transform them into types of spaces for which there is greater demand. And then keep on track with it, making further changes as your needs and goals evolve.
Having the right software can make or break your office space management strategy. With Tango Space, everything you need is in one convenient system. You can visualize your existing space, manage reservations, track how each space is being used, incorporate IoT data, plan for what-if scenarios, forecast for future space requirements, and keep your office space running smoothly.
Want to see what Tango Space can do for you?