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7 Ways to Improve Your Space Utilisation

Updated: Feb 26

Improving Office Efficiency


Have you outgrown your space, but you've still got several years left on your lease? Maybe you need to move office, and you want to reduce your space requirements to reduce your lease cost. Whatever your situation, you're looking to make your office layout more efficient, so that you can fit more people in.

 

You're not alone. Very regularly, we speak to prospective clients in this situation. Your office lease will be the biggest cost of your office relocation. If you can reduce the amount of space you need per person, you can reduce your real estate costs per person. This will increase the return on your real estate investment.

 

However, you need to be very careful that your space doesn’t become overcrowded. If this happens, your office will become a distracting and frustrating place to work. This will have a detrimental impact on team performance, far more damaging than having to spend more on office space. You must make your office as efficient as possible without damaging its effectiveness. This is the process of office space utilisation.

 

In this article, you'll learn about the top 7 ways that you can improve space utilisation in your office. By the end, you'll know how to identify efficiency issues, and how you can resolve them at your company.

 

Go Open Plan

If your office has a lot of partitioning and different rooms, it will be very inefficient. A compartmentalised space requires much more space for walkways and limits how you can arrange furniture within the space. If you have lots of private offices, small team offices, or conference rooms, then you are wasting office space. These spaces are often only used 20-30% of the time.

 

To solve this problem, implement an open-plan layout in your office. By removing partitions, you can situate people and environments much closer together, making your office more efficient. This doesn’t mean your office has to become one homogenous space - you can use other zoning techniques to create different environments.

 

Reduce Desking

Many offices are based on individual desks, with several meeting rooms. However, these designs are based on how people worked 40-50 years ago. If your office space is more than 60% desks and /or 20% meeting rooms, then you are not using your space as effectively as you could.

 

You can resolve this issue by reducing the amount of desking within your space. Not everyone necessarily needs their own individual desk. By analysing your space, you can see how many desks are used at any one time, and reduce the quantity of desks accordingly. You could also reduce the width of the desks if further space savings are necessary.

 

Adaptable Spaces

If your space has not been designed with adaptability in mind, your people will have little or no control over their environment. As a result, they can’t adapt the space to their needs, making your office less effective and efficient. A typical indicator of this problem is that some areas of your space are overcrowded while others are empty. Another sign is if your people are complaining they don’t have enough of a certain type of space.

 

If you have this issue, you will need to refurbish your office to make it more adaptable. Common ways to do this include adding variety to your space, as well as installing foldable walls and modular furniture. To learn more, read the Top 4 Ways to Enable Customisation in Your Office Design.

 

User-Based Layout


While having a compact, efficient office is important, you can't afford to lose sight of effectiveness. If your office doesn’t match the way your people work, it will not be efficient, regardless of how compact it is. Your office needs to be designed to maximise the performance of your staff, both individually and collectively.

 

You can ensure your space matches the way your people work by studying what types of tasks they work on, and what types of office environment would support those tasks. Staff surveys and occupation analysis can also provide insight into how your people work. You can then adapt your space based on this.

 

Technology

The technology used throughout your space also has a role to play in making your office as space-efficient as possible. This includes both the user technology (eg laptops) and the space technology (eg access control). If your technology is outdated, it will be a lot less portable and flexible. You will also require more space to overcome its shortcomings.

 

To solve this issue, speak to or survey your staff about your technology. You can then update your technology to ensure it fulfils its role as set out in your workspace strategy. This isn't just about modernising your package - you need to ensure it does what staff need it to, and that it helps them to maximise their performance.

 

Smart Storage

Outdated and/or ineffective storage can waste a lot of space in your office. It can also make your space a lot less flexible. A typical indicator of this is if all your staff have under-desk storage at their desk, or if more than 5% of your space is used for storage.

 

You can resolve this issue by installing lockers for your staff. This frees up space and eliminates the need for each person to have their own desk. You should also store as much as you can digitally, and regularly rationalise what you do store in your office.

 

Hybrid Working

Overcrowding in your office can be very frustrating for your people. It creates a distracting environment that reduces their productivity and wellbeing. If you have this issue, your staff will likely be complaining they don’t have anywhere to get work done.

 

If you have explored all the other options and still need to fit more people in the space, you could consider implementing hybrid working. Part-time remote working enables staff to use their remote time on focussed work, where there are no distractions. As a result, there are fewer staff in the space at any one time, reducing your total space requirements.

 

Making Your Office More Effective and Efficient

Now that you know about the 7 best ways to improve space utilisation, it's time to assess your own office. Through speaking to leaders and colleagues, you can get an understanding of what is and isn't working in your space. You can then apply the relevant techniques to your office, to reduce the amount of space you need per person, and make your office more efficient without damaging its effectiveness.

 

Of course, you may be wondering how much office space you need in the first place. To learn about that, read this article. You’ll learn how much space you need to allow per employee, and what affects that number. You’ll also learn what types of spaces should be included in your office, and how much you need of each.

 

To learn more about space planning and office design, read 7 Ways to make your office design more space efficient. We'll go through 7 common ways we see space wasted in offices, and how you can avoid them in your next office design project.

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