An increasing number of employees are currently working remotely or adapting to flexible working - which in turn creates large cost deficits for businesses when their office space is not fully utilized. Changes in behavior requires changes in management and technology. In this blog post, we will go through what solutions are needed to reduce office space and save costs – without interfering with your business overall efficiency.
Reducing office space after Covid-19
Buildings make up a considerable proportion of the economic cost for a corporation - and finding ways to utilize company property more effectively is a key step in creating a more sustainable one. According to the UN Global Status Report (2017), less than 50% of office space is being used during work hours – and only best-in-class reach 80%.
The Covid pandemic has permanently revolutionized the way we work, with employers realizing that a decentralized mode of working is not only practical, but it is also more economical and environmentally friendly. As businesses start to plan their post-Covid office strategies, it is expected that average utilization will settle at between 30% - 40%, which will not be commercially sustainable and will lead to a drastic reduction in office capacity requirements.
Low utilization is not only a waste of space, but also an immense economic loss to any business. In a typical large city, the cost of a desk can reach sums around €25,000 per year which is a substantial cost. Therefore, it is likely that the office space will evolve into a space designed to facilitate collaboration and teamwork while other aspects of work could be conducted from home or a shared office space. If this is something you are currently adapting for your office, there are some solutions you should take into consideration.
Challenges with reducing office space
Reducing your office space can seem straightforward if assumed that employees will work completely from home. In our article about office reduction trends in San Francisco, we touched on the current trend where large corporations are now starting to pull the plug on their rental contracts and moving completely to remote working. But there are some issues with this 100-0 method. There will still be a need for office space to enable effective collaboration, and many people do not have the ability to work efficiently from home due to different types of distractions. Office space can therefore never be completely replaced, only reduced.
Smart office solutions are therefore needed to avoid issues like crowding, dissatisfactory office layout and to enable employees to plan their travels. Reducing office space without reflecting upon the flow of people in your office and the needs of employees can quickly turn into insufficiencies instead of improvements.
Fortunately, there are solutions that enable us to reduce office space, while increasing employee satisfaction simultaneously. Adapting booking solution for your rooms and desks together with effective workplace analytics, office space reduction can be easily managed.
Room booking is a system that enables you to book meeting rooms in advance or ad-hoc. This is often managed by a plug-in to your email system, a smartphone app or via a web browser. By enabling effective room booking, you can make sure that your employees only come to the office when they have a booked meeting room.
Read more about room booking here.
Room booking also have other advantages than just reducing office space. It can also guide you to select the optimum room using filter functions and scoring systems, which prioritizes them from the best to the least suited.
Desk booking is one of the most important things to adapt if you want to reduce office space. On one hand, a fixed seating model will not be sustainable if flexible working is adapted – unused desks will only take up unnecessary space. Conversely, an activity-based workplace environment combined with high occupancy can lead to employees arriving at the office in full occupancy. Desk booking allows employees to book a desk both in advance and upon arrival. Desks available for booking can be indicated on a map or via a booking system, which allows for effective planning from employees.
Read more about Desk Management Here.
It is also possible to change some fixed desks to drop-in desk instead, where employees do take an available desk without booking. To enable effective planning with this type of solution, you need sensors and a software system that can indicate occupancy. Learn more about the difference between bookable desks and ad-hoc desks here. If you have decided that a desk booking solution is something you want to implement to reduce your office space, you can read our guide on what equipment you need here.
Workplace Analytics tools are essential if you want to reduce office space and save facility costs. Only by collecting utilization data for every desk, room, and zone, can a business fully understand how their office space and resources are being utilized. It is important to implement an analytics system before any office space is reduced – otherwise there is no concrete way to understand how the office space is actually used. Without that information, it is difficult to estimate the quantity of the reduction and prioritize.
Analytics on desk and room utilization enables a deeper understanding of the most intrinsic parts of the overall office utilization. Workplace analytics also has a lot of other benefits that you can read about here.
With these systems in place, it is possible to reduce office space on a large scale without interfering with your employee’s day-to-day work. Fell free to contact us for more information.