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4 Top Challenges with Space Management in 2022

Space management helps your business make the most of your real estate portfolio. By tracking and analyzing how your space is being used, you can optimize your workplace to increase productivity and improve employee satisfaction.

In the past few years, space management has become more important than ever. While millions of employees permanently work from home, many businesses have adopted a hybrid workplace model with a mix of on-site and remote workers, adding layers of complexity to space management.

Modern businesses can no longer rely on old assumptions and preferences about how much and what kind of space their workers need, and they need new solutions to keep track of their ever-changing occupancy.

Here are four of the main challenges you’ll face with space management in 2022—and what you can do to address them.

1. Changing demand for space

In a traditional workplace model, you can expect that employees would be at their assigned workstations on most work days. But with a hybrid model, some employees work remotely while others are in the office, and the occupants change throughout the week. The total number of on-site employees and the types of space they need to be effective can fluctuate from day to day. The number of meeting rooms, neighborhoods, workstations, or collaborative spaces your employees need can even change throughout the day.

Some companies address this by setting schedules for when each employee is on-site or working remotely. However, this alone won’t solve the problem. You may still need to reallocate space based on who is on campus and what they need over the course of the workday.

A growing number of organizations are adopting workspace optimization metrics to adjust their supply space to meet demand in real time. But that introduces another challenge: how do you track those metrics?

2. Lack of visibility into space utilization

To keep up with the changing demand for space, you need to know exactly how your square footage is being used. But the more employees you have and the more variable their needs and schedules are, the more difficult this becomes.

Traditionally, businesses have relied on methods like tracking badge scans as employees come into work, manually counting occupants in each room, or reviewing room reservations. But to know if you have the right allocation of space, you need to know how many people are in each space throughout the day, not just entering specific points or occupying a space at a given time. Imagine deciding you have too many reservable workstations because the people using them were all in a meeting room when you happened to manually check occupancy and vacancy rates.

The only way to completely solve the visibility problem is with real-time occupancy management. This strategy uses IoT sensors like LiDAR units and blurred vision cameras to track exactly when a given space is occupied and how many occupants it has. Connect these inputs to Tango Space, our purpose-built space management software, and our machine learning and AI can detect overcrowding, analyze trends, and help forecast demand and optimize your space.

3. Competition for the same spaces

People naturally develop preferences for certain work environments. They may like a particular workstation because of the view, decor, proximity to amenities, furniture, or even simply the fact that it’s familiar to them. Their favorite meeting room may be the most centrally located, the one with the best seating and spacing for their team, or one with superior equipment.

Preferences are fine. But they become a problem if everyone develops the same preferences, which increases demand for specific spaces rather than specific types of spaces. You don’t want a situation where some workstations are booked out weeks in advance while others remain vacant. And while you may have plenty of meeting rooms that adequately meet employees’ needs, their preferences may drive them to plan meetings around the availability of a specific room.

Just as you need to track and address demand for types of spaces, you’ll want to pay attention to the utilization of individual spaces. If particular spaces have exceptionally higher utilization rates, it’ll be important to try to replicate the features that draw people to them and communicate with your employees about how your space can better meet their needs.

4. Uncertainty due to COVID-19

The pandemic has created no shortage of headaches for employers. And part of the problem is that regulations are constantly changing, leading to uncertainty.

Right now, we’re seeing restrictions ease in most areas, allowing more on-site work to resume. But we can’t predict how a resurgence in cases or a new variant might change that. And beyond official mandates and regulations, you should consider the needs and comfort levels of your employees.

Is the extra separation between workstations still giving them a sense of security? Will it create undue anxiety to revert back to how things were? Should sanitation stations become permanent fixtures? What’s your plan if another outbreak occurs?

As you consider these questions and determine how to best meet your employees needs, be prepared for a period of continued changes while we all settle into the new normal.

Modern space management challenges require modern solutions

Today’s space management challenges can all be overcome with a single dedicated, comprehensive solution. Tango Space is part of a purpose-built IWMS solution trusted by hundreds of the world’s leading brands. Whether you have a few dozen locations or tens of thousands, our cutting edge solutions help you make the best use of the space you have, identify wasteful or poorly utilized space, plan for future demand, and explore your locations in real-time.

Want to see what Tango Space can do for your organization?

Schedule a demo today.

Contributors

Brett Sample

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