It’s no secret that real estate is one of the biggest costs for any company. When you look at everything that goes into a commercial portfolio—the lease, utilities, technology, maintenance, security—it should be obvious that closely examining and maximizing that portfolio should be a priority. But many companies refrain from doing this or try to cut costs in other ways and lose out on significant savings. Let’s look at how office space planning can have the biggest impact on your balance sheet.
More Than Just the Real Estate
Of course, real estate costs extend beyond the lease and ownership-related costs. Corporate real estate spending includes utilities, building systems maintenance, administrative services, and security. And although it’s usually in a different budget, the technology to run and manage all those systems is also related. Companies can—and should—look for ways to reduce utilities and maintenance costs by running those systems efficiently, but in almost all cases, the biggest impact comes from reducing your total square footage.
Make the Space Fit the Work
If we accept the industry norm that 40% of the space in traditional offices is underutilized, right-sizing your office will create multiple cost savings beyond simply reducing the number of hours the HVAC is running.
However, office space planning doesn’t simply mean using less space. More importantly, it means using the space more efficiently with an activity-based or flexible working environment. A corporate space assessment should start with determining the types of work activities that are performed, along with their frequency.
A coder might not need a large private office, but she will need space for two or three large monitors. Someone on your legal team who still works with physical documents, however, needs a place to store them securely and enough desk space to spread them out. And your marketing manager, who splits his time between individual focused work, group brainstorming, and meeting with partners needs a variety of spaces to serve those different purposes.
Once you’ve defined the types of work and work-related activities your employees do, you can begin planning the space to facilitate those activities. Most companies would see huge benefits from adding dedicated collaboration spaces that can be used for planned or impromptu meetings between teams. You’ll also want to account for personal preferences—extroverts may love working in an open setting, while introverts will want to know they can retreat to a quiet area where they can work uninterrupted.
Other Office Space Planning Benefits
Once you complete an office space planning design, you’ll begin to see the payoff quickly in the form of a less expensive lease and lower utility costs. But you’ll see other intangible benefits.
With a well-designed office, people will be able to work better. Over time, you can expect to see a reduction in absenteeism and turnover rates because your employees are equipped to do their jobs with greater ease.
Your workplace is also part of your company brand. It will make an impression on everyone from prospective clients to potential investors and partners—so in addition to cutting costs, your office might be responsible for numbers on the other side of the balance sheet as well.