Jan 18, 2024
By Amy Tanzillo

Future-Ready: 5 Ways Space Planners Can Stay Ahead of the Curve

The workplace has transformed over the past several years. Not only have the changes been numerous and disruptive, but the rate at which they have occurred has created a real challenge for space and real estate teams who need to keep up. With change seeming to be the only constant, space planners and real estate professionals are pivoting from trying to make their organizations “future-proof” to instead making them “future-ready.”

What does it mean to be future-ready? For space planners, being future-ready means gathering insights and building processes that allow for adaptation and flexibility. Being future-ready affords space planners the opportunity to shape how organizations will operate for years to come.

Being future-ready means:

1. Understanding your space

Having an in-depth knowledge of the physical office space and how it’s currently used sets a solid foundation for becoming future-ready. Details like room dimensions, seating capacities, seating assignments, departmental adjacencies, working groups, and traffic flows can give insight into how space is allocated today. It’s critical to understand any constraints of the space as well as what’s working and not working for current needs.

Data from space occupancy sensors, badge swipe data, and other monitoring tools can provide additional insight into actual space utilization. These data points together will set a baseline for how space is used today and inform space optimization targets for future requirements.

2. Understanding your people

Just as important as understanding the physical space is understanding the people who occupy it. Space planners need to know details about teams, workstyles, technology needs, and collaboration habits. They must determine how people currently use the space—what works well for them, and where they see room for improvement—and what their future needs may be based on business goals. Space planners should conduct surveys and interviews to gain valuable insight into how the space can be tailored to support productivity and wellbeing.

3. Understanding forecasted growth

Space planners need to be aware of forecasted organizational growth and determine how additional or reduced headcount will impact space requirements. Space planners can start with the question: How many new hires are expected over the next 3-5 years? From there, they will also need to discover how much and what types of spaces they will need. Will more private offices, workstations, or collaborative areas be required? Then comes the question: Can our current space scale to accommodate growth? Is additional space or a renovation needed? Understanding growth forecasts is key to planning for future space needs.

4. Staying aligned with organizational priorities

Understanding organizational priorities can further help space planners prepare for where their organization is headed. Space needs will differ greatly depending on the organization’s strategic priorities. If an organization plans to move a portion of its employees to a hybrid work model, the space planner will need to think ahead to operationalize that strategic priority. They may need to plan workspaces for hoteling and implement a space reservation system. If the company is prioritizing mentorship, the space planner may need to reconsider seating assignments to support adjacencies between departments, teams, and seniority levels. This awareness will ensure that space planning aligns with all strategic priorities.

5. Leveraging powerful, connected tools

Space planners need the right tools and a single system of record in which to gather information. Collating all space information in one place enables the space planner to model different scenarios to determine optimal future space solutions. Well-equipped space management software, such as Nuvolo Space, enables the space planner to experiment with adjustments to seating, work areas, and collaborative spaces to find the right solution for forecasted growth and workstyle needs.

Ideally, space planning tools and modeling functionality should create a seamless transition between stages of the space planning cycle. By modeling and comparing scenarios, space planners can make data-driven recommendations as to how space should evolve to meet future demands.

An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) takes interconnectedness even further, linking space planning activities to real estate management, asset data, and capital planning. Built on ServiceNow, Nuvolo integrates seamlessly with HR processes, creating even greater efficiency across your business. Learn more about how IWMS can give you a transparent view of your workplace.

Planning to be “future-proof,” though an admirable goal, is often an unrealistic one—but space planners can help their organizations be future-ready. A holistic understanding of both the physical workspace and the people within it, as well as information about forecasted growth and organizational priorities all contribute to future-readiness. A powerful space management solution puts these data points and organizational insights at space planners’ fingertips, empowering them to be ready for the future of their workplace.