The workplace is a constantly changing landscape. From steadily rising real estate costs and focus on more collaborative work to an increase in mobile workers and distributed teams, many organizations are adopting workplace spaces optimization strategies. While the shrinking size of individual workstations falls under this umbrella, real estate optimization is much more than just reducing space per person.

Space optimization: much more than just reducing square footage

Alternative Workplace Strategy (AWS), pioneered by IBM in 1989, which includes teleworking and employee mobility strategies, has reduced the size of real estate portfolios by about 6-10%, according to CoreNet Global. A common problem is that organizations implementing AWS as a space reduction strategy often leave real estate idling.

Ultimately, the key to resilient real estate is embracing optimization as a way of reallocating space to support your organization’s unique strategy and culture. With greater focus on collaborative work, organizations must incorporate spaces to support those interactions. Traditional private offices may be reduced or removed to make space for team rooms, work cafés and other informal group spaces. Changes for a mobile workforce might include replacing resident workspaces with benching or touchdown stations.

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As organizations optimize real estate they may sub-lease or rent portions of their space, move to a smaller footprint or rethink how they allocate space. During this process, an important factor is to design a workplace with the right balance of individual and shared workspaces. Looking at space as an ecosystem, you can adjust your footprint to effectively support your brand, culture and overall strategy. By looking at your workplace as a space where your people can choose where and how they work throughout the day, it becomes a key tool in improving performance, innovation and engagement.

Key ideas to consider when creating a workspace that amplifies performance:

  •  The more mobile and distributed we are as workers, the more we need fixed places to connect
  •  The smaller our technology becomes, the more we need to be able to scale up to share effectively
  •  The more data we generate, the more we need spaces to help us make sense of it
  •  The more we become collaborative, the more we need time alone to focus and rejuvenate
  •  The more virtual we need to be, the more physically present we want to be

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