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The Invaluable Effect of Strategic Facilities Real Estate Forecasting & Occupancy Planning

An organization’s workspace environment is like its own little ecosystem.  There are a number of moving parts, each with its own role in contributing to productivity and, ultimately, profits.  Much like the canopy and understory in a forest, physical and human capital rely on each other, not just for survival, but for growth and performance.  There’s a natural flow to how things evolve in the space each organism occupies.  This evolution is slow and gradual, with subtle nuances affecting the overall efficiency.  Left to its own devices, however, the forest starts to become overrun with dead trees and decaying plant matter, with vines choking out even the healthiest of trees.  

A controlled burn is the final piece to the puzzle.  It manages the ecosystem, returning nutrients back to the soil, allowing for new growth.  In the business world, real estate forecasting and occupancy planning is the controlled burn.  Adopting an occupancy plan maximizes the productivity and efficiency of every component of the forest, while forecasting and planning for the forest’s future spatial needs.  

Defining Space Management and Planning

Simply defined, space management is the supervision and control of the real estate an organization occupies.  Whether it’s a small business occupying a 1-story building or a global corporation with multiple floors within multiple buildings, its value is the same.  Space management, in combination with real estate forecasting and occupancy planning, leads to a blooming and booming ecosystem.  All components work together to maximize overall productivity, reducing time and costs for organizations as they manage their real estate. While this sounds like a simple concept, it is far more complicated to put into practice, with a number of different ways to go about it.

Let’s begin with space management.  Organizations that have space management software systems in place, a CAFM or IWMS systems, have a snapshot of their current environment.  That’s step one. 

Step two is real estate forecasting and occupancy planning.  Organizations are always changing, whether it’s growing, a merger, acquisition, relocation, or right-sizing.  Having a plan for how to best utilize your real estate through change saves time and money.  While paper and pencil or Excel spreadsheets could uncover usage, these methods are antiquated and narrow.  Utilizing spreadsheets for forecasting of your real estate only offers a single snapshot in time and, by the time you’ve analyzed the data, it is, or is becoming, outdated.  And, since there is no accurate regard for future needs, you will always struggle to get an accurate plan for your evolving organization.

Facility managers are now recognizing the value of aligning real estate with business strategy.  Space management, in combination with real estate forecasting and occupancy planning software, are the right tools to have in place for developing a strategy that delivers flexibility and mobility with optimum staff and space utilization numbers.  A human-centric environment that considers all organizational needs, both now and into the future, becomes the 21st century solution for success.  

The Connection Between Real Estate Forecasting and Occupancy Planning and Return on Investment

To understand the connection between real estate forecasting and occupancy planning and the ROI it brings to organizations, we must first examine the benefits of this software and strategy.  

 Understanding Space Utilization

Understanding how your organization uses every square foot of its real estate and how this affects the people and business partnerships, is the foundation for a comprehensive occupancy management strategy that truly delivers a notable ROI.  What spaces are occupied?  How is the real estate divided?  Are there any unused or underutilized offices and buildings?  Making these connections between people and the places they frequent is the first step towards a creating a workplace where all parts align to develop a flourishing ecosystem.  

Using Occupancy Utilization Data to Improve the Bottom Line

Once you have a clear and concise picture of your current usage, you can identify ways to optimize that usage, making the most out of every inch.  How much underutilized space do you have?  Are you paying for more than you need?  Would a redesign offer better use of the combined occupancy?  How can you improve flow?  Are key players strategically placed next to each other to improve interdepartmental efficiency?  If a redesign is prudent, how will you ensure employees have access to necessary physical assets?  And, most importantly, what can you do to ensure the workplace is aligned with the organization’s short and long-term goals?  Space Management software is an excellent tactical solution for managing your current situation, but how will you plan for the future?   

Forecasting Future Spatial Needs

As mentioned, Excel spreadsheets limit you to a specific place and time.  It offers only a small snapshot, with little to no insight into how the ecosystem will evolve or what nutrients it will require in the future.  With the right real estate forecasting and occupancy planning software solution, you create a flexible environment, a concept which encourages planning not only for the areas occupied, but also for future mergers and acquisitions, relocations, and right-sizing. 

The Engaged Workforce

The economics of real estate forecasting and occupancy planning goes beyond simply reducing the numbers on the real estate line of the quarterly or annual budget.  An office that has been masterfully designed considers every detail, from ergonomics to choice in technology and circulation.  This is not only an investment in your physical capital; it’s an investment in your human capital and future investments.  And, there is mounting evidence indicating that, when you nurture this synergetic relationship, the rest of the work falls into place.  Increased employee engagement leads to increased productivity, a reduction in churn rate, and significant time and cost savings.  And, since office design now influences company culture more than ever before, it can also be used as a powerful recruiting tool.  

How SpaceTrak Can Help

Using our  30+ years of experience in architectural design, real estate, and strategic facility planning, the SpaceTrak team has designed a real estate forecasting and occupancy planning tool that enables organizations to strategically align both real estate and business strategy.  Strategists have access to the analytics and algorithms needed to forecast future needs and make intelligent business decisions that facilitate maximum productivity, innovation, and engagement well into the future.

SpaceTrak’s intuitive, user-friendly software allows planners to ask the right people the right questions, uncovering critical information regarding organizational and operational needs.  Users can build various scenarios, down to the minute detail.  Project planning is more streamlined and efficient.  And project budgets and timelines can be more accurately projected, delivering a time savings of up to 80% and increased accuracy of up to 30%.  Whether you need help planning and executing a major move or are in the beginning stages of developing an occupancy management strategy, SpaceTrak delivers the data you need to develop strategies for improvement and efficiently plan for every stage of growth.  Ultimately, the effect these changes could have on the organization’s financial portfolio is profound.      

Interested in our industry-leading space management and forecasting tool?  Check out all the great features and benefits our software solution offers. 

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