How to analyze and optimize your office space

June 2, 2022


7 key learnings from the webinar


On May 17th Izix hosted the webinar “Facility talks: how to analyze and optimize your office space?” in collaboration with Zapfloor and Colliers.

Did you miss it or do you want to refresh your memory on all the interesting topics that were addressed? We’ve got you covered! 

Check out the 7 key takeaways from the webinar, or view the entire webinar.

1. The train towards hybrid working is unstoppable

While some companies already had some sort of homeworking policy, the pandemic has pushed it – and now that employees have tasted it, there is no way back for them. There is just no fighting it.

Jacques Caers: “Many employees won’t want to go back to on-site work full time, so the challenge is for companies to adapt to this new way of working, which is here to stay.

That means that employers need to update their infrastructure, but also their work-from-home policies and use the appropriate tools to facilitate these changes.”

working from home

2. Companies will have to rethink their office space usage

A poll done by Colliers shows us that, thanks to the lower occupation rate at the office, 60% of polled companies expect to only need 50-70% of their current office surface, leaving a lot of unused space to be repurposed.

Annick Vandenbulcke: “It’s not just a waste of space; it’s also demotivating for employees to come to a mostly empty office.” To make the most out of this newly freed space, companies should focus on aspects that are specific to hybrid work. “We see that many offices lack small meeting rooms that are ideal for meetings where half of the participants are at the office, and the other half are remote.” 

3. And the same goes for the parking lot

“If the idea of ‘one desk per person’ is outdated in the office, the same thing is true for the parking lot,” says Dorian. “Especially as big, mostly service-oriented companies are moving to prime locations, they will need to increase flexibility, and optimize the space, whether it's the office space or the parking lot.”

A good parking policy can help you do more with fewer spaces, but it’s not only about efficiency, Dorian de Broqueville clarifies. “You can use parking availability as an incentive to encourage employees to come to the office on specific days, so it can really support your hybrid working policy as well as your mobility policy.”


4. To see the real return on investment, you need the right tools

Colliers Occupier Cost Index showed that in 2020, companies' expenses were down only 4%. Shouldn’t that number be a lot higher? “In 2020, companies were mostly focused on implementing remote work and ensuring business continuity,” Annick explains. “Most of those savings were done on things like catering costs and office supplies. Only recently are these companies looking at what to do with their office space. So it will be interesting to see how that number will evolve over the next few years. Probably some companies will downsize and save money there, or others will focus more on the quality of services in the building rather than the surface area.”

But eliminating office space won’t automatically lead to lower bills: to measure your ROI you also need to define the right KPIs as well as keep in mind how hybrid working improves other things in your company, like your employer branding. “Especially in this war for talent that we’re in,” says Jacques. “But all in all, as companies adapt their infrastructure and use smart tools to optimize their way of using the facilities, they will be able to save more by doing hybrid working.” 


5. Real estate operators will need to get on board, too

With companies no longer needing all the facilities, all the time, they are increasingly demanding more flexible services from real estate operators. “What we see now is that when companies move to a new building, they’re looking to share resources, such as meeting rooms and parking spots - with the other companies in the same building, that they can book as needed,” notes Annick.

As this trend develops, building owners who want to stay relevant will have to adapt their business model to a more service-oriented one.


6. Data is key

To optimize your office space, you’ll want to have some data about how you’re currently using your space. Planning tools are designed to help with that, but Jacques notices that companies are still reluctant to use those. “I hear a lot ‘we just use Outlook to book meeting rooms, no need for a special tool’. And in many cases, a calendar tool works fine for booking, but it’s not made for gathering data.” 

An advantage to special, business-oriented planning tools is how they can work in tandem with access control systems, Jacques explains. “For example, if there’s someone who books a 6-person meeting room every day, but uses it to work alone, that’s not going to work if you want to optimize your office space. That’s where it’s important to collect data and for that, you need to use tools that allow you to measure that.”

And it doesn’t stop at just collecting the data. “A major challenge is then to make the data speak and to extract meaningful insights, and to do so in an agile way,” Dorian adds. “So instead of saying ‘we need all the data so we can decide something for the next 10 years,’ you might be better off starting with less data and going for a flexible approach, then evolving when you get more data.” 

7. But we can’t forget about the human factor

To leave no human behind, it’s essential to have a people-focused hybrid working policy. That allows the employees to still connect and to feel appreciated, regardless of the location they’re working from. 

Watch the entire webinar


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