For a majority of the population, the word circulation takes us back to Middle School Science class, where we learned about the circulatory system and how blood moves through the human body. For architects, designers, and real estate brokers, however, the word takes on a whole new meaning. In building design, the concept of circulation refers to the pathways people take as they move through buildings. It connects the more ‘useable’ space, such as conference rooms and workspaces, often referred to as the ‘space between the spaces.’
Historically, circulation routes were considered useless space. Its only job was to connect one space to another. As a result, it was viewed as an added cost to projects, wasting square footage that could have been used elsewhere. Project efficiency was key, and every opportunity to minimize this space was seized.
Circulation in the Modern Workplace
While circulation efficiency is still critical to any design project, it now has a more consequential purpose. Rather than viewing it as ‘useless’ space, designers and facility planners are using this as another tool to keep their workforce engaged.
HBR recently conducted a study to unravel the mysteries of efficient office design. Using a variety of tech tools, including sensors and network analytics, they collected performance data that captured critical details regarding location, communication, and workforce interaction. What they learned was “that face-to-face interactions are by far the most important activity in an office…that creating collisions—chance encounters and unplanned interactions between knowledge workers, both inside and outside the organization—improves performance.” These ‘chance encounters’ are an instrumental part of today’s workplace strategy. They support collaboration and a more engaged workforce. Ultimately, this leads to improved overall efficiency and increased productivity.
The Workplace of the Future
As facilities planners work to facilitate office redesigns with the office of the future in mind, they must consider what exactly this new space should support. The workplace of the future will be a technology-driven, highly networked layout. It will offer spaces that serve multiple purposes, ensuring employees have both shared and individual spaces, based on their immediate needs. A human-centric environment. In essence, it must be designed for ‘spaceless growth,’ offering flexibility and mobility, while delivering optimum space utilization numbers.
To achieve this, organizations will need to collect more data, dialing in on this information on a more minute level. FMs, IT, and HR must work together, acting as facilitators. With a more efficient workplace design strategy in place, performance will increase and organizational numbers, on every level, will be enhanced.
How SpaceTrak Can Help
This new information solidifies the importance of circulation as part of the future workplace’s strategy. The concept is no longer just about space optimization. It encompasses much more than that. It is about supporting the workforce on an individual and collective level. It is no longer simply about getting an employee from one area to another. It’s about who they will meet along the way and how that encounter will impact overall productivity. Circulation has been elevated to an essential part of the strategy, viewed as “multipurpose experiential spaces essential to creativity and collaboration.”
Historically, architects and designers have programmed in a 35 – 40% circulation factor. Driven by the data supporting the importance of circulation, some workplace strategists are increasing these numbers to 50% and higher. However, it is important to remember that there is no blanket percentage that works for every organization.
Through more than 120 combined years of experience in architectural design, real estate, and strategic facility planning, the SpaceTrak team recognizes that there is no overall space factor that, when applied, will yield the same results across every platform. Today, design teams have a unique opportunity to collect valuable data that ensures they are not just designing a space that fulfills the needs of their current workforce. This data enables strategists to forecast future needs, designing circulation paths that will facilitate maximum engagement, innovation, and productivity well into the future.
Through SpaceTrak’s real estate and planning tool, organizations of every size have access to the algorithms and analytics that ensure both business strategy and real estate are aligned. Planners are able to ask the right people, the right questions to ensure adjacency needs are met, with future needs in mind. Scenario building is simplified, down to the minute detail. Space requirements are confirmed, ensuring a more streamlined and efficient workplace project. Project timelines and budgets can be projected more accurately, ensuring a time savings of up to 80% versus traditional, manual processes.
Contact us today to find out how SpaceTrak can dial in on your organization’s unique spatial needs, both now and well into the future.