What is Work space Optimization?
Work space optimization is all about making your existing space work better for you.
As the name implies, work space optimization can be about optimizing space to create room for additional workstations but it may also be that your business has too much space and, with some planning, you can reduce your commitment and cut your overheads.
If you have a business plan about your growth or future development then this service will prove extremely valuable to you in planning and decision making.
What should you consider?
There are numerous considerations in any work space optimization project
- Do all staff need a permanent desk? Those that need about 44 square feet minimum per person. Hot-desking, remote working, shared or pre-booked workstations are an option for your business and can help make the most of the available space.
- How much storage is required and does this need to be on site, easily accessible or archived?
- Is there a need for a postage, print and communications room or can these facilities be incorporated into the main work space area?
- How many break out spaces are required?
- What are the requirements for the reception area and meeting spaces?
It’s important to consider all these questions, particularly to factor in storage, postage and print rooms, break out spaces, and reception and meeting spaces. Although these vary for each business, they can count for upwards of 20% of your total floor area.
Understanding how your employees and teams operate internally will also have an important impact on the optimized layout for your office. Placing the right teams near to each other can have a positive impact on productivity and staff output.
It may sound like common sense but as businesses grow and people are added in as required, it is often a matter of placing individuals where there is available space rather than where they would best be positioned.
Part-time, flexible and remote working staff may not need a permanent work space which can help reduce the desk space that you need and can make hot-desking or pre-booked workstations a viable alternative to underutilized office space.
Ensuring your optimized office space has adequate and flexible provisions for IT and data must also be a key consideration and should be examined alongside plans for business growth and development.
Potential for growth and expansion may not be on your immediate agenda, but building leases are generally five or ten years as a minimum (with three- or five-year break clauses respectively) and can become quite restricting if your business grows rapidly. Having the potential to create additional workstations within your space, ideally having planned for this in advance, can prove invaluable in these situations and aid with decision making.
Who needs to be involved?
Once a business has identified the need for efficiency in their work space or realized that the company is growing or contracting resulting in insufficient or underutilized office space, a specialist practice should be appointed to guide you through the work space optimization process.
Keeping staff up to date of any change is important in order to have their cooperation and support. Getting their involvement can be time consuming but it can also be extremely helpful in highlighting some of the detail of the operations of the office, which managers and directors may not appreciate.
Top 7 Tips
- Get an independent consultant to advise you: Practices with in-house design teams, project experience and case studies, as well as an understanding of your existing furniture systems will work in your benefit.
- Timing: Try not to rush a decision to match an immediate need. Perhaps additional staff can be placed in a meeting room for the short term or meetings outsourced, to get things right for the long-term rather than an immediate ad-hoc fix.
- Logistics: If work is being undertaken in a live environment, it’s important to ensure you have a clear logistic plan showing who sits where, where they will sit during the transitions and where they will be moving to at the end.
- Pack Up: Whatever the number of boxes you think you need, add a third more. The cost of moving is insignificant against their delivery and collection costs. You can always store an empty box but your plans on a weekend can be placed at risk if you don’t have enough. Also packing up will take longer than you think, particularly if computers are being removed from desks.
- IT: Draw up an IT plan to ensure that computers and phones are back in place and operational for the next morning when staff come through the door.
- Cleaner: A full move or office refurbishment is a great time to clean the carpets while the desks are being moved. It is amazing how much mess collects under desks.
- Empty Out: Be sure that all boxes are emptied before they are to be collected. You will pay for additional collection charges if they have to come back to collect boxes that were missed.
Adapted from Logic PM