By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
Before cloud-based space planning platforms, facility managers were stuck performing repetitive, laborious admin tasks. Templating was the extent of automation and each insight gleaned was the product of intensive data review. Workplace innovations were slow to come as a result, and measuring change to improve performance was, at best, another time-intensive task.
Modern space planning software is intuitive and feature-rich, taking much of the heavy lifting and time demands out of workplace planning. The top ten commercial space planning and design features revolve around artificial intelligence (AI), shared data, and drag-and-drop design. They deliver time-saving results and actionable insights. Modern platforms eliminate redundancy, improve efficiency, and unlock new capabilities conducive to workplace optimization.
Consider how these ten features contribute to space planning and design in an era when workplace optimization is a cornerstone of operational efficiency.
1. Lease management tools
Real estate management is the largest variable in office space planning. Businesses need to optimize space to avoid burdening their balance sheet with an unnecessarily large lease. Lease management tools allow space planners to see what they’re paying for their space vs. how they’re using it. Common features include:
- Real estate forecasting models to show projected facility costs
- Occupancy insights like space value, density, and cost per employee
- Customizable with embedded graphs or raw data export
- Renewal tools for directly reviewing and managing lease cost and terms
2. Robust integrations
Well-designed space management software circumvents obstacles between users, third-party apps, and the greater office ecosystem. Processes and protocols necessary for building governance should be easy to connect and integrate. From user-submitted support tickets to integrated data streams from office sensors, good software support is imperative.
- Support ticketing systems
- Shared space reservations
- Networking and chat app support
- Cloud app integrations
3. Data aggregation and record-keeping
The best space planning software automatically aggregates important data and securely stores it . Then, it compiles data into preformatted, easy-to-read reports that outline the core metrics important to facility management. Modern space planning software consolidates processes, instead of forcing FMs to manually export, organize, review, and generate reports.
4. Insights and reporting
Through a dashboard system, space planners have access to both raw data and preprogrammed insights. This allows them to spot trends, examine data sets, capitalize on opportunities, and better understand facilities. Every data point captured, stored, and displayed further clarifies the goals of space planning. Trends and calculations are actionable information, and having them available through pre-scheduled reports or on-demand calculations is meaningful in crafting the right space:
- Utilization analysis
- ROI calculations
- Real and projected capacity
- Cost by employee, department, or space type
5. Move coordination tools
Modern offices are agile. Move management features help facilitate relocation planning, execution, and evaluation. Specific tools make easy work of space allocation, arranging the move itself, and communicating changes about relocating individuals, groups, or entire businesses. The result is less confusion about the move, its objectives, and the responsibilities of participants.
6. Graphical space planning
Grid paper and pencil polylining is a thing of the past in modern space planning and office design. Software gives space planners the tools to create a digital floor plan that’s more than a scale drawing—it’s a visual data interface. Easily render space into a CAD-based floor plan without polylining individual objects. Every object links to pertinent info within a real-time database, updating dynamically as objects move and relocate during the planning process.
7. Collaboration tools
Facility managers aren’t the only ones with a stake in workplace optimization. Multi-user, tiered access to space planning software enables easy sharing and collaboration across teams and departments. Interactive floor plan interfaces let department managers participate in arranging their teams. CEOs can log in to get figures and reports about workplace cost. Maintenance techs can configure support ticketing preferences. Workspace improvement remains a joint effort, with few barriers to collaboration.
8. Iterative floor planning
Space planning is a puzzle—one you’re not likely to solve in one try. Creating the ideal floor plan means trying different scenarios. Space planning software can build a digital twin of your facility, then use it to test ideas. Plus, FMs can see potential changes to cost per square foot, per employee, space utilization, and more before any physical changes occur.
9. Directory information and stack planning
The workspace is as much about the people in it as it is the physical surroundings. When allocating space, it’s crucial to know who’s sitting where. Directory information helps space planners visualize individual seats for granular adjustments to the workplace. On a macro level, stack planning highlights distribution, enabling smarter workplace organization by department or business sector.
10. IoT compatibility
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly growing sector of business analytics that provides an accurate picture of space performance through IoT-fed usage statistics, efficiency reports, and maintenance history. IoT devices automatically integrate with core space planning software to provide continuous insights sans human intervention. Businesses can also link space planning applications with an integration like Tapdn, which acts as a hub for device-generated data.
Planning physical logistics and managing workplace information was tedious and redundant before the rise of digital applications. Now, user-friendly programs streamline the space planning and design process, allowing admins to focus their time and energy on understanding how the company uses space. This software is the foundation for crafting the ultimate workplace design.
Keep reading: Office Space Management Software Tips and Guidelines