Workspace station with a computer screen and books.

What is the prerequisite to effectively manage your space?

Space management is becoming more important than ever before, as the need to attract and retain highly qualified staff increases. Effective space management also helps Facility and Space Managers to not only use their space cost-efficiently, but also to create the best possible employee experience. As a result, this is considered an important goal in many organisations’ corporate strategy. Facility and Space Managers can help their organisations achieve this goal. In this blog I will explain what ‘space’ actually means, the current focus of space management, and what you need to have in place before you can effectively manage your space.

What is ‘space?’

When talking about space, it is often in relation to an individual space. It is easy to think of workspaces linked to an office, such as a room with a desk for an employee to do a specific task. For example, a developer sitting behind his or her desk programming software.

However, space is so much more than that. Think of the different uses for space in different industries. Universities need educational spaces to support their students, such as classrooms and libraries, while industrial organisations need research laboratories and production space. Most government institutions and commercial organisations still need ‘standard’ office space to house their departments and employees. And while space can relate to a room with one or two desks, it can also relate to an entire department, a whole floor, multiple floors within one building, or several floors within a large portfolio of buildings across the globe. Space can be many things.

In the end, space is there for the people using it. And you, as a Facility or Space Manager, want to offer the people using that space the best possible working experience. An experience that suits their needs, keeps them satisfied, and makes them productive.

The current focus of space management

Since the way people work has evolved over time, the way space is managed has also changed. Today, the demand for getting the right people with the right skills in the right place – the War for Talent – is higher than ever before. The current focus of space management is in creating a working experience that helps to attract and retain that talent.

Supporting research:

  • According to a study by CBRE titled ‘Millennials: Myths and Realities’, 78% of the surveyed millennials – by 2020 the largest group of employees – consider the working environment important when choosing an employer.
  • The 2017 Deloitte Millennial survey showed that millennials fear a workplace that is sterile and impersonal.
  • Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL)’s 2017 Global Research project reveals that how an employee experiences their work environment is ‘the primary differentiator whenever individuals engage with an organisation.’

What do you need in place, before you can effectively manage space?

To execute a successful space management strategy, you need to have space management ‘basics’ in place first. At the very least your space portfolio should consist of a basic information set about, for instance, room numbers and room names that is used for a unique identification of space, which is your space ID. This data is the key component to which you need to relate all other space data you are willing to collect. How can you even think about space occupancy if you do not know which room is which? How can you charge back costs if you do not know which department is using which space? These questions cannot be answered without having identified your space ID. Surprisingly, when it comes to effectively collecting data many organisations seem to forget that having this basic data in place is a prerequisite. Only by relating all the other space data you are collecting to your space ID, are you able to take full advantage of this data.

Your space management strategy should be derived from your organisation’s corporate strategy. When creating an optimal workplace experience is one of your goals, relating all your space data to a unique space ID is essential to get key insights that enable you to more effectively execute your space management strategy. These key insights help you to report on the success of your strategy and show you where you could improve.

There is, however, more that your business needs to do to manage space effectively. Relating your space data back to your space ID is only a start. On your route to optimised space management, you should at least have taken some key elements into account. In my next blog, I will elaborate on one of these main key elements.

Geert-Jan Blom, Solution Marketing Director at Planon with experience in IT and services industry.

Geert-Jan Blom

Solution Marketing Director

Geert-Jan started his career in facilities management, solution design and software implementation with Planon in the early 2000s as Pre-Sales Consultant. He progressed within the company to the role of Senior Business Consultant and currently works as Solution Marketing Director.

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