Space & Move Management

5 Space management challenges (and solutions) in a hybrid environment

Nick Mason
May 31st, 2022

Hybrid work is becoming the norm, especially for large American companies. A CBRE survey found that 87% of businesses with 10,000 or more workers say they’ll be adopting a hybrid work model. These companies are consequently facing more space management challenges that come with this shift in workspace utilization.

It’s easy to see why employers are going hybrid. Another survey by ADP Research Institute shows that 64% of employees would consider looking for a new job if they had to return to the office full time. Companies are thus trying to offer more flexible options.

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So, what is a hybrid workplace? A hybrid, or distributed workforce doesn’t operate all in the same location. Some people may work in the office, or across several offices. One of which may be their home. And others work remotely full time. Individual offices and cubicles where employees spend all day every day are no longer the best use of space. Scheduling and communication functionality can be big challenges with hybrid work environments. 

But another key issue facing business leaders is space utilization and management. A hybrid workforce may require taking another look at space and real estate management allocation. It’s important to optimize the budget, ensure productivity, and keep people engaged and satisfied.

This article covers five common space management challenges with solutions for addressing them with the right workplace management solution and facility management software.

space management challenges

Five space management challenges in a hybrid workplace

Hybrid work can bring benefits like flexibility, satisfaction, and in some cases, fewer costs. In a survey from Gensler, employees said they get a boost to their creativity, work relationships, and productivity when they work under a hybrid model.

However, it’s harder than ever for companies to plan for the right amount of space when people are working remotely. There are numerous important aspects to address when it comes to facility and space management challenges. That’s whether they’re related to floor plans, space usage, and the physical space, or workplace connectivity related to the mobile workforce. Here are five space management challenges you’re likely to face in a hybrid workplace:

1. Planning for the right amount of space

It’s not easy to plan for specific room capacity when people aren’t consistently working in the office. Maybe you want to give them the option to return if they so choose, but you’re unsure who will actually use the space—or when.

With the right facility management software, you get access to detailed reports and analytics that tell you exactly how many employees are using the office space. You can then use this data to make insightful decisions about planning so you eliminate wasted space.

2. Creating an in-office work schedule

Data from management software can also solve the second space management challenge: scheduling. When you offer hybrid work options, it’s challenging to know when people will want to head to the office. This is especially difficult if you’re allowing them to choose a routine that gives them greater flexibility and comfort.

The analytics tools mentioned above will help you track the days and times people are in the office. This way, you can create a schedule or stagger office time as needed. This helps you prioritize people’s time, preferences, and even safety while planning for space utilization.

3. Downsizing current office space

It may become clear that you just don’t need the same amount of space as you did before the pandemic. Or before you started offering hybrid work options. But how much should you downsize? What if more employees want to return in the future? What if you don’t have an office space option that’s flexible enough?

Headcount planning is one important and effective way to address this space management challenge. This process, backed by the right software and tools, helps you predict what your staffing needs are and will be in the future across your different departments and locations. Headcount planning involves assessing the needs of the business (now and in the future), aligning with goals, and assessing the skill sets of existing employees.

4. Calculating space utilization

Space utilization is a metric that’s found by dividing the occupancy of a building by its capacity. But this may not always be the most helpful approach for companies. There will be differing goals that may change from employer to employer in their strategic planning. For instance, it may be important not to fill a space to its true capacity. This could be due to pandemic restrictions or employee health concerns.

Thus, it’s certainly a space management challenge to figure out space utilization in a way that will actually help your business identify what your needs are. Office utilization software is the perfect solution to this problem. You can track lots of different data about how the space is being used. This includes occupancy, capacity, cost per person, square footage, peak frequency, and more. These metrics then help you create a plan that works for the business and employees alike.

5. Managing room and desk booking

When half (or more) of the workforce isn’t in the office at a given time, it’s hard to manage room booking (both private offices and meeting rooms) and desk booking. For instance, maybe one team wants to use a conference room at a set time. Or an individual needs to use a private room for a client call. 

Your company can incorporate occupancy sensors in these rooms. That way, people can see if a space is currently being used or not. And office management software can help the company and its employees schedule time in the future. Everyone can reference these digital schedules, updated in real time. That way, there’s no overlap or confusion when reserving a room, space, or desk.

space management and hybrid

Where to find better hybrid work solutions to address space management challenges

Hybrid work is here to stay. Especially as business leaders are recognizing all the potential benefits of working remotely, which affect both the bottom line and employee experience. But along with any kind of change comes a set of challenges.

Today’s companies need better tools to ensure that they’re optimizing their space and providing the right resources to employees, no matter where they’re working from. 

OfficeSpace provides tools to help you make data-driven decisions for your office needs and technology that will keep people connected. We help you monitor, manage, and forecast how your office space is being used so you can optimize utilization and your budget. You gain access to space planning tools like office layouts, growth forecasts, facility management workflows, usage trends, and much more.

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Eliminate space management challenges and plan for a better hybrid future. Request a demo of OfficeSpace today to get started, or contact us to learn more about our space management software.

Photos: Marc_Osborne, AmnajKhetsamtip, BartekSzewczyk