The Value of Efficient Space Management

Efficient space management can do much more than reduce expenses— effective office design can improve productivity, attract top talent and promote interactions between departments. Here are some important things to keep in mind if you’re looking for ways to switch up your office space layout and maximize workplace efficiency.

Freedom to move increases staff engagement

Building mobility into a workspace can go a long way in improving the engagement of staff. A study by Gallup found that employees who have the option to move freely throughout an office were 1.3 times more likely to be engaged than their more restricted coworkers. Offices that want to encourage innovation should be planned with variety in mind and account for different working styles.

Consider utilizing a tool or system that helps to easily relocate employees around the office if and when they request to move. This way, you can promote maneuverability around the office while also maintaining the necessary oversight.

Amenities and flexibility increase innovation

World-renowned design and architecture firm Gensler found that highly innovative staff—defined by Gensler’s innovative index—were twice as likely to have access to and use amenities like cafeterias, gyms, outdoor spaces and childcare facilities. These same innovators report spending only 74% of the work week at the office, which is 12% less than less innovative employees.

What this suggests is that freedom to operate in varied environments is a defining characteristic of innovative staff, and can allow for better time management practices. To help your employees achieve similar results, create a directory allowing the easy identification of these amenities.

Most offices are heavily underutilized

A study by Dr. Gabor Nagy of Haworth found that 93% of office spaces are underutilized when time is counted as a factor. Approximately only one-third of office spaces are occupied at any given time during regular working hours. When taking into account the fact that offices tend to go unused on weekends and after work hours, office occupancy equates to only about 10% of a 24-hour day. Additionally, meeting rooms were found to boast only a 29% utilization rate, while 48% of seats in an office were left unoccupied. Add all this up, and there are clearly many opportunities for space utilization being left on the table.

Great office design can help raise utilization rates by planning for more interactions and events. Consider hosting socials, implementing lifestyle amenities and adopting hot-desking, all of which also offer opportunities to simultaneously boost culture and revenues.

Office distractions can hurt productivity

Focused heads-down work makes up the majority of the workday for office staff. Getting solo work done is a difficult task in chaotic environments, with office workers prone to losing on average 28% of their productive time due to distractions. Office managers need to find ways to balance the many benefits of an open office plan with the privacy and focus needs of their staff.

One such plan of attack could be to determine an office layout that is more centered on employee collaboration—for example, build meeting rooms that can accommodate all sizes of groups. This can be more effective than spending large amounts of money on mitigating these distractions, the nature of which can vary greatly depending on the individual.

Go green for savings and sustainability

Designing spaces to be energy efficient can reduce operational costs while progressing sustainability goals. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) found that green buildings on average used 25% less energy and had 19% lower operational costs, while also demonstrating a 27% higher occupant satisfaction than the national average.

If your office is yet to implement a green strategy, the first step it to determine where in your workplace you could most feasibly implement a sustainable approach. Once you have decided on your course of action, it is important to ensure a system is in place to maintain it—after all, going green can be a lot easier than staying green.

The value of space management can be seen in everything from savings on office overheads to improved staff creativity and wellness. Managers that choose to use the best tools and practices available will be able to drive company growth and increase the company’s bottom line.

Article by David Spence, OfficeSpace