Office Design

3 Reasons Space Management Is a Team Effort

David Spence
March 18th, 2014

Why Everyone Should Have a Say in Facilities Management

1.) Happiness and Productivity Are Directly Correlated

It’s a well-known fact that positive emotions promote productivity. A few years ago, Jessica Pryce-Jones, CEO of the U.K-based workplace consulting firm iOpener Institute, conducted research to better quantify this correlation. According to Pryce-Jones, “[t]he happiest employees are 180% more energized than their less content colleagues, 155% happier with their jobs, 150% happier with life, 108% more engaged and 50% more motivated. Most staggeringly, they are 50% more productive too.”

The implication for facilities managers is obvious. By keeping workers happy with their environment, facilities managers can also help them achieve their best results. But how to make them happy? It might not be that hard, according to findings published in a 2010 issue of The Scientific American Mind. The study reported that workers who were allowed to decorate their offices were 30 percent more productive than those who weren’t. However, this productivity boost was reversed when the workers’ own decorations were replaced and their furniture arrangements changed. So something as simple as letting workers have a say over their own space can result in considerable gains for the company.

2.) One Size Does Not Fit All

Inspired to completely revolutionize the office with a new approach to the space? Make sure you run it by your coworkers first. Making rash decisions without consulting the people it will affect can lead to disaster. Take, for example, the case of a Los Angeles advertising agency reported on by Nathalie Towner. The company decided to embrace hot-desking completely and did away with assigned seating. The results?

“[S]taff began hiding things in corners and forgetting where they left them or storing office equipment in their cars. Some individuals even took over client meeting rooms on a permanent basis. Senior employees pulled rank and were sending in junior staff as early as 6 a.m. to reserve a computer and a telephone for them.”

After experiencing all these issues, the office went back to its old seating arrangement after six months.

3.) Your Coworkers Know the Space Inside and Out

In addition to shaping bigger decisions such as what an ideal office layout looks like, your coworkers can also help you make small but key space decisions, too. After all, no one knows a space better than the person who’s there eight hours a day, five days a week; they’re your boots on the ground. By sharing their knowledge about what does and doesn’t get used in the space—filing cabinets or faulty office equipment, for instance—they can help you maximize their surroundings for optimal real estate usage.

This knowledge can also be useful when you’re planning an office move. Workers can help you sketch out what the new office should look like, based on logistical concerns like the need to update office technology and the best seating arrangements for optimal collaboration.

Ultimately, space management may not be at the top of your colleagues’ lists when it comes to pressing work concerns, but that doesn’t mean their opinions aren’t valuable sources of info on the topic. When it’s time to update the space in any way, your colleagues can help create an office that’s more productive and efficient for everyone.

photo credit: jairoagua via photopin cc