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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Space Allocation: Using Your Office Space Effectively 

Defining your office space and assigning it a purpose is an integral, ongoing part of space management. Allocating sufficient space for particular work activities or departments helps you achieve business goals, streamline daily operations, and improve employee satisfaction.

Space allocation is the process of designating how various rooms, workstations, and areas are intended to be used and by whom. Depending on your facility and your circumstances, it may mean assigning spaces to particular organizations, departments, teams, activities, or business units.

In today’s office environment, space allocation isn’t something you can do once and then leave alone. To effectively optimize your office space, you need to regularly evaluate whether your space allocation fits your current needs.

This article will cover how organizations and landlords generally approach space allocation, the relationship between space allocation and space utilization, and how to optimize your space allocation.

Space allocation for organizations and landlords

Space allocation involves assigning ownership of a space and/or designating a space’s intended purpose. However, it’s worth noting that corporate landlords and individual organizations approach office space allocation very differently.

A landlord doesn’t necessarily need to know whether tenants are using space efficiently or what they’re doing with it—they just need to know who to charge and what to charge them for. So a landlord’s space allocation typically assigns space to specific tenants and designates shared spaces which may fall under some form of common area maintenance (CAM) expenses.

But when an organization allocates space in a leased or owned facility, they’re defining what their space is intended for, setting aside workstations for a department and/or hoteling, reserving space for amenities, and designating rooms as conference rooms, offices, storage, etc.

Depending on the workplace model you’ve implemented, your square footage, the number of employees, and other considerations, you may be more focused on allocating each space to a purpose or a particular department. Within larger spaces that have been allocated to a department (such as a floor or building), you may have shared spaces that you’ll allocate differently (such as a meeting room anyone can reserve between the sales and marketing departments).

The relationship between space allocation and space utilization

Even if employees use your office space exactly as intended, there will inevitably be more or less demand for particular kinds of space over time. But the only way you’ll know where you have opportunities to optimize is by monitoring your space utilization.

While space allocation is how you assign your space to be used, space utilization deals with the reality of how occupants actually use it. To ensure you’re using your space as efficiently as possible, you’ll want to allocate space based on your space utilization data. Once you implement your plan for your space, your space utilization data provides feedback on how well your plan is working. Then you make adjustments as needed to align your goals and intentions with how people interact with your space.

Sometimes this will reveal a disparity between your intentions and your employees’ regular work activities. But more often, space utilization reveals areas where your space serves its intended purpose but is simply underutilized.

Suppose you have several meeting rooms with capacity for 20 or more people, but the vast majority of your meetings only involve about five people. The space may be “occupied” frequently, but those empty seats represent underutilized space. To reduce waste and use these areas more efficiently, you’ll need to consider ways to reallocate and reconfigure your office space.

The more granular you can get with your space utilization data, the better equipped you’ll be to optimize your space allocation. Maybe you didn’t need nearly as much storage as you anticipated—or you’ve found room for more, so you can avoid renting a shipping container. Or perhaps changes to your work-from-home policy have altered your office hoteling needs.

How to get office space allocation right

Ideally, space allocation should be an ongoing process of planning the best ways to use your space, allocating accordingly, and then reallocating according to how occupants use the facility. Here’s how to allocate the right amount of space for your office.

Utilize scenario planning to compare ways to meet your goal

Space allocation decisions are generally rooted in specific goals or objectives. It should reflect both the current state of your business and your vision for the future. Are you investing in customer service and expecting the department to grow? Have you switched to a hybrid model or implemented more office hoteling? Are you making room for a new amenity?

Whatever your goal, there are usually many ways you could allocate your space to accomplish it. Through scenario planning, your leadership team can explore potential configurations to consider their impact on business operations and employee satisfaction. But it’s hard to see all the possibilities if you’re relying on humans to problem solve.

This is where enterprises and large organizations increasingly rely on space management software like Tango Space. Using artificial intelligence, Tango Space incorporates your parameters (like density, number of workstations, etc.) to show you the optimal floor plans that satisfy your criteria. 

Monitor space utilization

Once you’ve implemented the space allocation that best fits your goals, you’ll need to track how well it’s utilized. While the best occupancy analytics data comes from Internet of Things (IoT) devices like Light Detection and Ranging (LiDaR) strips and blurred vision cameras, you can still collect useful information from desk booking software, badge scan data, employee surveys, and in a pinch, manual counts of bodies in rooms and workstations.

These won’t give you granular data about the percentage of capacity in use throughout the workday, but the more data points you have, the better informed your decisions will be.

Adjust your space allocation regularly

However you collect your utilization data, you’ll want to consider the range of solutions, including implementing new policies about how the space can be used, reconfiguring the space to improve utilization, or reallocating the space toward other goals or initiatives.

You don’t need to constantly reconfigure your office, but over time, as you observe the way employees interact with your space, you’ll want to reevaluate the optimal space allocation for your workplace.

Simplify space allocation with Tango Space

Effective space allocation helps you achieve business goals, eliminate waste, and improve operational efficiency. With the right space allocation, you can avoid buying or renting additional space you don’t need, lower occupancy costs, and improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Real estate is one of your biggest expenses—so why not do everything you can to make the most of that investment?

Want to see what space management software can do for your organization?

Schedule a demo of Tango Space 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.