Sometimes you can just tell when a space was poorly planned or not being used the way it was designed. There might be a wall where there should’ve been a beam. A kitchen that comfortably fits two people in a building designed for hundreds. Desks practically stacked on top of each other in a cramped space. A sales department right next to your developers.
Space planning is about intentionally designing your space according to how it will be used and who will use it. In an office building, good space planning makes employees happier and more productive. It also helps you optimize your space according to your business goals, such as reducing your occupancy costs or creating room for growth.
Whether you’re starting with the bones of a building or working from your existing floor plan, here are five tips to help you plan your space more effectively.
You don’t want to invest thousands of dollars in redesigning your campus, only to wind up with spaces your employees don’t like or don’t use. While your business goals will likely take precedence over employee desires, it’s important to consider what kinds of environments your workers prefer. They’re going to spend a lot of time here, so the look, feel, and purpose of each space can significantly impact their satisfaction and ability to work.
Employee surveys can be a valuable space planning tool. As you reimagine your floor plan, use polls and ranked-choice surveys to assess which types of workspaces or amenities are most appealing to your employee population (and, therefore, most likely to be used). Surveys are also a helpful way to gauge how employees feel about current spaces and past decisions. If a particular space is highly utilized, investigate why, so you can increase your supply of space like it. If it’s underutilized, that’s worth exploring, too, so you can avoid recreating that waste of square footage or make adjustments.
Part of space planning is considering who will use a given space, so even if you’re deciding everything from the top, it’s important to evaluate how your choices will impact the people who work for you. This can also help you identify potential conflicts between your goals and your employees, in which case you may want to explain the decision to increase buy-in and address concerns before they become larger issues.
You want to create spaces your organization needs, and that employees will actually use. But if you make decisions based on assumptions, you’ll wind up with empty conference rooms, neighborhoods that only reach a fraction of their capacity, and workstations that never get reserved.
Your desk booking software provides an excellent window into how employees interact with the reservable spaces you currently have. If a space is underutilized, you certainly don’t want to add another one of that type—and it may be time to rethink that space, too. If it’s constantly booked, on the other hand, that’s a good indicator that you don’t have enough supply of that type of space to meet employee demand. Office-booking data is an essential input for the space-planning process.
Similarly, it’s also important to consider the occupancy and vacancy levels of your current space. Just because a conference room is always booked doesn’t mean it’s always full. You can use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors like blurred vision cameras and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDaR) strips to collect data about how many people use a given space, where traffic flow gets congested, and what types of spaces you really need more of.
Space utilization metrics take the guesswork out of space planning. You don’t have to rely on assumptions about how your space will be used—you can make informed predictions based on cold hard facts.
Part of space planning involves exploring the possibilities. You’re investigating a space’s potential, considering the best ways to use and improve it to suit your organization’s needs. So it’s worth asking questions like “What if we”:
- Add 60% more hoteling space?
- Change these to collaborative spaces?
- Increase capacity by 20%?
- Cut our office-to-workstation ratio in half?
This enables you to see a variety of problems you could solve with your space and some of the solutions you can come up with. Space management software like Tango Space uses artificial intelligence to answer these questions for you, letting you quickly test scenarios and see how they play out on your actual floor plans. Set your parameters, and let Tango do the heavy lifting.
There’s usually more than one way to plan your space around a desired outcome. In fact, sometimes there are hundreds of solutions. But if you’re creating plans manually, you’re probably going to miss some of the most useful models. Once again, artificial intelligence is extremely helpful here. Using your preset specifications, Tango Space can develop models that meet your needs based on your floor plan. Instead of trying to map out every solution on your own, you can simply pick the one that works best for your organization.
Hundreds of leading brands have trusted Tango to help them plan, optimize, and manage their locations. Whether you have a dozen locations or tens of thousands, our space management software has everything you need to make the most of your space and make your workplace more efficient.
Want to see what Tango Space can do for you?