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Why Bed Checks for Commercial Space Planning Are So Yesterday

Successful strategic planning requires an
understanding of your business units

Ian Morely

By Ian Morley

Still relying on manual audits or “bed checks” to collect occupancy data for your commercial space planning? We don’t need to tell you it’s inefficient, but you’re losing more than you think without a modern workplace management tool.

6 reasons why bed checks aren’t useful for commercial space planning

1. Labor-intensive and costly
To properly handle commercial space planning, you need to know which work spaces are being used and who is using them. Walking the floors with a clipboard and checking off occupied desks sounds simple enough. But with multiple regions, dozens of buildings, hundreds of floors and many thousands of work points to check, it takes quite a lot of people (not to mention money) to gather all that data manually.

TRY THIS: How much are space planners making? How long does it take to audit a floor, then input the manual data into a spreadsheet or IWMS system? How often does the task need to be done to update the data? Do the math and see how much this inefficient process is costing you.

 

2. Take too long to capture constantly-changing data
That brings up another big problem with bed checks for commercial space planning. How long does the process take to audit even one building? Keep in mind, during that time your business is not standing still. If you’re like most large corporations, people join the company and leave the company every day. Teams continue to move around. So by the time you’re done with one floor and moving on to the next, your data about the first floor is already out of date.

After weeks (or longer) of work collecting and compiling data, the result is inaccurate. And the worst part? You need to start all over again to update it! It’s like your dog chasing his tail: you’ll never quite catch up.

3. Subjective process that’s prone to error
As we mentioned, to those who have not done it, conducting bed checks for commercial space planning seems like a simple task. Just check off which desks are in use.

Well, that’s never as easy as it sounds. People try to game the system. There’s a computer on this desk, but nothing else. Is someone using that or not? This desk has a pile of files, but not much else. Is it a dumping ground for someone’s extra stuff or is that space in use? An empty-looking cubicle could turn out to be assigned to someone who is currently traveling or off on leave. In some cases, teams actually try to “hide” vacant space by putting coffee cups or jackets there to try to fool you into thinking it’s in use.

As a result, the manual audit process is subjective and error-prone by nature. That gives people even less confidence in the data and your commercial space planning.

4. No ability to track utilization
We don’t need to tell you this: today’s mobile workforce is using space differently. So even if bed checks could tell you accurately which spaces were assigned to whom, the process tells you nothing about actual utilization of space. Even if someone is assigned to a space, how much time do they spend there? Optimizing space based on utilization data is the biggest opportunity to reduce CRE costs.

That’s the data that should be driving your commercial space planning and helping you to create more efficient and productive modern workplaces.

 

5. Contributes to adversarial relationships with your business
Why do you suppose those teams feel the need to “hide” vacant space when they know you’re coming around to check? They want to keep ownership of that unused space because they’re not sure they can get more when they do need it. Simply put: they don’t trust you to provide what they need. The inefficient manual audit process only contributes to that lack of trust.

On the other hand, modern tools for commercial space planning help you do the opposite: build good relationships with your teams by solving problems and meeting their needs. More on that in a minute.

6. Can’t help you plan for the future
With manual commercial space planning, you have no basis for making good strategic space decisions. When considering renewing leases, adding or consolidating space, or implementing flexible workspaces, you need more than occupancy data (and flawed data at that).

Successful strategic planning requires an understanding of your business units, their goals, and their projections about how their space needs will change over time. To get that information, it’s imperative to gain their trust. You also must have modern tools in place so it’s easy for teams to provide that information.

The modern way to collect data for commercial space planning

Even if you have a legacy IWMS system that’s not helping you much with commercial space planning, you can still take advantage of modern tools that can change everything. Here’s what you get from a best-in-class workplace management system like Serraview:

  • Integration with your other enterprise systems (including your IWMS) to provide reliable data about your organizational structure and workforce.

  • Business units can enter and update their own occupancy data, so it’s always current and accurate. Even better, they can provide you with projections for future space needs. Think they won’t do it? Read this article to learn how to make it happen: How to Get Business Units to Help With Office Space Management.

  • Accurate data visualized on a floor plan and in customizable dashboards and reports. This feature completely changes the conversation with your business about commercial space planning. You quickly gain their trust when they can see you know all about them and have the ability to meet their needs.

  • Powerful scenario planning tools that help you create a plan to restack a building in minutes. Even better, you can easily create multiple scenarios to right-size your portfolio in an entire city or region. It’s a great way to turbocharge your commercial space planning.

  • Best-in-class tools (like Serraview) integrate with sensors, badge readers and many other utilization tracking technologies to provide real-time data about who is using space and how often. This goes far beyond tracking occupancy to help you optimize space, move towards modern flexible spaces and reduce CRE cost.

Read these resources to learn how corporations are moving away from inefficient manual audits and gaining the benefits of modern tools for commercial space planning:

How To Turbocharge IWMS With Facilities Space Management Tools

Learn how to manage your workplace utilization today. 

Learn to manage your workplace utilization

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