Do you know the condition of your company's real estate? If you want to ensure that you get value for your money when renting a large office space, it is important to determine if all spaces are being used efficiently. By collecting data to calculate office occupancy, you can take office optimization to the next level. In this article, we will explore various areas of improvement with the goal of increasing employee satisfaction and boosting business revenue.
What is office optimization?
A spacious office doesn't come cheap, especially if you opt for a prime downtown location or favor open and modern spaces. As you can imagine, office space represents a significant business expense, yet it remains a necessity. With more employees preferring hybrid work arrangements, most companies have realized the need for greater creativity in office layout planning.
Office optimization holds significant potential and does not necessarily entail reducing real estate. Instead, it means maximizing the utility of your existing space. In an ideal scenario, an optimized office is:
- Inspiring and welcoming
- Easily maintained
A well-designed modern workplace holds value for both CEOs and employees. CEOs benefit from reduced overhead costs and strengthened employer branding thanks to the flexible office environment. On the other hand, employees become more effective and productive. Collaborative spaces, along with desks, workstations, and workplace huddles, empower them to be more creative and enjoy a greater sense of autonomy.
In the ideal workplace, a significant number of employees can split their time between the home office and the physical office while having everything they need to excel in their roles.
Office space optimization has a positive impact on both the business and the work environment, enabling careful planning and execution of new strategies.
How do you optimize office space?
Rome wasn't built in a day, and office space managers understand that workplace layout involves everything from budgeting to interior design and IT. Here are some key points to consider if you want to reevaluate or reduce office space.
Space utilization software
If you would like to create a strategy for optimizing office space, it's a good idea to start collecting data. An occupancy rate can be calculated with the help of occupancy data, which tells you exactly when and how people are moving around the office.
The office space utilization rate helps you determine how long a desk is occupied, identify peak hours in specific areas, and pinpoint unused office space. For instance, perhaps no one is using the top-floor coffee area, but people prefer to relax in the lounge near the entrance. Since most people don't occupy the same desk from 9 to 5 every day, it's crucial to gain an understanding of office occupancy. This way, you can avoid empty conference rooms and underutilized desks, which essentially represent wasted resources.
Occupancy sensors track movement in the building and collect this data in cloud-based software. At Flowscape, we firmly believe that data forms the foundation for well-informed decisions. Our Analytics tool dispels uncertainty and allows you to analyze data in real-time and historically.
Real-time data is helpful because employees can easily locate their favorite colleagues using the app and collaborate with them. They can also identify crowded areas to avoid noise and disturbances. Hybrid workers can anticipate what to expect, even if they don't come into the office every day. When people can avoid congested areas, they can find spaces with better air quality and ventilation, resulting in fewer headaches and less hassle.
Office space utilization based on feedback
Space optimization isn't just about reducing overhead costs and increasing revenue; it's also about being accommodating. When optimizing the office, we recommend seeking feedback from different departments. They may have valuable ideas and suggestions, considering that employees are the ones experiencing daily issues.
Surveys can also be conducted anonymously since the goal is to gain a holistic perspective, rather than designing spaces for each individual. Sometimes, an existing work culture may not accurately represent the feelings of the majority of workers. It's easy to become entrenched in established practices and overlook input from new employees. A survey can be invaluable when you genuinely want to understand people's needs.
In any team, there are typically individuals who are introverted and extroverted. The objective is to create various spaces that cater to their needs. A hybrid worker might prefer the home office over a noisy office space any day. To entice them back to the office, you must create an environment that pulls them in.
Office planning - how much space do you need?
If you would like to optimize office space, the office layout is crucial. It can be both functional and stylish at the same time.
One way to optimize office space is to ensure that you set up a workspace where everything is within reach. This also means that people won't have to search down the hallway to find equipment or storage for their belongings.
- Provide personal storage for each workstation to ensure that employees can keep their valuables in a secure place and access them quickly. This might include items such as wallets, umbrellas, or handkerchiefs.
- Above-surface shelves are ideal for storing items and books that you use regularly and need to find easily. Wall-mounted shelves are not only practical but often feature a stylish and contemporary design. You can enhance the atmosphere by adding hanging green plants and ornaments for a cozier vibe. Another advantage is that it's easier to clean the floor since vacuuming under standing shelves and sideboards can be challenging.
- Utilize wall space for mounting other items such as speakers, hangers, and racks.
- Take the opportunity to coordinate the storage units with the overall office decor. Consider woody colors or white for a crisp, fresh look. Laminated and smooth surfaces are easy to clean from dust and dirt, and this applies to cabinet doors as well.
Reduce clutter to improve the employee experience
Piles of paper everywhere are a nightmare for tidy individuals. The transition to a paperless office began a couple of years ago, but it is still easy to habitually hit the 'print' button. The best approach is to establish a system to reduce excessive printing.
You can opt for digital contract software when hiring new employees and sending invites to the annual Christmas party online. Additionally, try to cultivate a mindset that encourages people to think twice before using the printer excessively.
While old documents may need to be retained for legal reasons, consider organizing them neatly in binders within closed cabinets, preferably in a designated space. This way, they won't accumulate dust or create distractions in the work area. You might also consider keeping mobile cabinets or trolleys in a storage room for easy access when needed.
In general, minimalism is preferred, especially in a flexible office environment. Since employees may switch desks several times a week, they prefer finding a clean and organized workspace for the day. The fewer items there are to start with, the easier it will be to maintain tidy desks. Consider adding warmth to the space with plants, posters, wall art, and attractive lighting. In some areas, you could even play some lo-fi music, as some employees find that pleasant tunes can ignite their creativity and help block out background noise.
Make use of common areas and avoid unused space
A comfortable lounge isn't just for visitors or the quick five-minute coffee break; it could be used more frequently. Get creative when utilizing larger spaces. For example, you could host workshops here or invite different departments to a mini-fair where everyone showcases their latest work. By installing a projector, the room can be transformed into a small conference room or even used for a Friday after-work yoga session.
When you set up a room that can be arranged in various ways, it allows for flexible floor plans. Another idea is to have a storage room located close to that area where you can keep the different equipment needed.
Furniture and layout
When selecting the right furniture for the office, keep in mind that the pieces should align with the flexible office environment. Therefore, reconsider the idea of arranging rows and rows of larger desks. You can certainly include the necessary number of desks in a specific area, but also consider adding a few smaller laptop stands that can double as sideboards.
Sometimes, an employee doesn't want to be seated at a desk all day but prefers to quickly check their emails at a bar table or a laptop stand. You can find plenty of furniture with creative designs; one option is a swiveling armchair with an integrated laptop stand – an all-in-one solution! Why not place them by a large window? This allows the employee to face their colleagues or swivel towards the window to enjoy the view and some privacy.
In a flexible office, you might need to rearrange chairs when setting up a temporary workspace or gathering in one of the meeting rooms. Ensure you have lightweight chairs that complement the overall interior.
Inevitably, some areas may feel too small when you're trying to optimize the office. You can create the illusion of more space by maximizing natural light. Opt for muted colors and avoid busy patterns on curtains and carpets. Instead of heavy curtains, choose something lighter and thinner.
Optimizing office space - is it next on your list?
Hopefully, you have found some inspiration and practical advice to begin optimizing the office space. The right tools and mindset will support the hybrid work model and inspire people to work in the office. When they feel that there is variety, both in terms of seating and layout, they are more likely to stay in the same job longer.
An optimized office space will not only improve the current situation but also prepare the company for the future. Work styles are constantly changing, as is the job market and the industry. By continuously gathering data and analyzing occupancy, there's a good chance you'll be able to turn question marks into solutions.
Seeking guidance on how to set up your hybrid office for success?
Don't hesitate to schedule a meeting with one of our product experts. They can provide valuable insights into our solutions and how technology can help streamline your office processes without disrupting employees' daily work.
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