[Blog] Rethinking Your Approach to Office Space: How to Optimize and Conserve

Oct 5th, 2021
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The past few years have witnessed a radical overhaul of the corporate work world, and not just on account of the still-ongoing pandemic. Sure, COVID-19 may have expedited the shift. But the collapse of the traditional 9-5, static office setting has been a long time coming. Conceptions of office space and the face of “work” are changing rapidly, thanks to remote and hybrid models that can be both a gift and a struggle for management to wrap their heads around.

Some may try to bury their heads in the sand and insist things will eventually return to the old model. But the hard data says otherwise: the hybrid and flexible workplace is here to stay. An August 2021 Bloomberg article reports that workplace activity in major metropolitan centers like London, New York, and San Francisco has dropped by half. Among companies whose employees can work from home, at least half expect their workers to continue doing so a majority of the time post-pandemic.

Failure to adapt to this brave new world of decentralization will only increase already high employee turnover rates. A recent PwC US Pulse Survey found that 65% of surveyed employees were looking for a new job. Why? Some of the top reasons were schedule flexibility and expanded benefits and compensation.

Whether you like it or not, the face of work is actively changing. Companies that adjust to these changes will future-proof operations, and have a huge advantage over competition in years to come.

But how do you transform your office space—the literal face of business—to match these new realities? It’s time to realign your space management approach to create a flexible environment that adapts to your company’s changing needs.

What Exactly Do We Mean by Space Management?

As Smarten Spaces CEO Dinesh Malkani has made clear time and again, the future of work is a hybrid model. Whereas beforehand many companies centralized their staff in one location, the modern workplace is pluralized. Flexible schedules and novel CDC restrictions alike have forced workplaces to decentralize their operations.

With your team now dispersed across a number of workspaces, the question then becomes: how do you keep tabs on their space usage?

Space management, essentially, is the tracking and auditing of your company’s use of physical space. While perhaps simple enough when you could just rent a building and expect everyone on-site during set hours, the hybrid model complicates matters. Effective space management is the differentiator between businesses that thrive in the new world, and those that flounder. Effective space management ensures that your physical office will continue to serve a purpose in the remote/hybrid future, rather than operating as a relic of the Before Times. The right space management solution should allow you to optimize time spent in the physical office, establish a thriving workplace culture, and empower employees to make the most of their hybrid schedules.

By building a workspace that meets employees where they are, you can be sure your company culture adapts and thrives with the times.

How to Optimize Office Space Smartly

Properly managing your hybrid space means understanding your office as a work continually in progress. Using a workplace app like Smarten Spaces can help you spot usage trends, so you can adjust workflows accordingly. Having the ability to determine workplace capacity at any given time allows you to make informed decisions about space, and the workflows passing through it.

An effective space management app gives you total control over the office space, remotely. With a bird’s eye view, you can easily assess who sits where, and when, and who’s working together.

Analytic data like this offered by the Smarten Spaces app then allows you to apportion seats to optimize work. For example, you can use space management data to glean who works most with whom, and then use the hot desking features to schedule these workers concurrently.

Booking recommendations allow you to book seats across multiple days, so as to ensure appropriate space considerations for CDC regulation compliance throughout the week. Imagine using just one app to book office space, track the flow of people in that time, and then automatically power down the lights\ and stop the air conditioning when it’s no longer in use!

The benefits of this kind of app are apparent. A space management app like Smarten Spaces is indispensable for plotting a strategy to optimize office space. Given just a few weeks of tracking office traffic, you’ll likely find you can reduce your office space drastically in a hybrid work environment.

Rethink the Office With Smarten Spaces

A May 2021 Bloomberg article found that even while executives struggle to come to terms with the 9-5 office’s obsolescence, they still intend to reduce their physical office space by anywhere from 11% to 40% in the next nine months. Rather than simply hacking off space without understanding its purpose, you’ll find that a space management app allows you to make space-cutting decisions intelligently.

As the office moves to a hybrid, multipolar model, more planning is necessary to ensure seamless operations. Smarten Spaces solutions are built to help you optimize office space and extract maximum benefit. Only using office space when necessary saves you overhead costs and allows employees to feel empowered by their new freedom.

Smarten Spaces offers the following space management functionalities:

  • Track Space and Utilization Trends with Smarten Spaces to quickly identify which areas are over-and underused, and how regularly.
  • Automated Supply and Demand Recommendations, so you can easily determine workplace capacity and reduce costs on wasted space. Smarten Spaces allows you to review utilization data so you can make informed decisions. The app also supplies automated recommendations regarding whether to acquire or offload more space.
  • The Smarten Spaces app also models various What-If Scenarios based on these trends, so you can plan for every possible outcome.
  • Lease Management—directly manage lease renewals in-app, and keep all those documents in one place to make data-driven decisions about your lease requirements.
  • Move Management functionalities like seat management, so you can plan and execute your move in the most efficient manner. Get visibility into where everyone is sitting and who's working together to organize them strategically.
  • Expense Administration, so that you understand the dollar impact of every square inch utilized. Align your space and cost in real-time and track real estate expenses to optimize and reduce costs.

Other integrated functions like contactless access, health screening, contact tracing, seat scheduling, and control over air, temperature, and other ambient elements allow you to dictate the space’s configuration from afar, just the same as (or better than) if you were present in the office. The data and feedback gleaned from all this allows you to understand your workspace as a process, one that progresses in tandem with the realities of modern work. The best workplace isn’t static. It’s one that encourages employees to grow and flourish. Smarten Spaces can help you navigate the turbulent currents of change revolutionizing workspaces by setting up a comprehensive digital office solution.

Schedule a Demo Today. Together, we’ll smarten your workspace, and build a hybrid solution that works for you.