By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
It’s almost inevitable that you’ll need to change your workplace’s seat arrangement at some point. Company growth may demand new workstations. Moving to a new building may facilitate some rearranging. You might even discover the demand for a better desking concept. Whatever the catalyst for change, evaluating a new floor plan is best done using office seating plan software.
Seat planning software offers a number of benefits, including the ability to finesse a desking arrangement before physically moving anything. It’s a good way to see what you’re in for and make sure the final decision to disrupt current seating arrangements is the right one. Seat software also keeps workplace planners apprised of variables they might otherwise overlook. Here are six of them, and why they’re so impactful to a new seating plan.
1. Available facilities
You can’t know what seating arrangement is best—or even viable—until you see a complete picture of the available facilities. Trying to arrange variables without determining the constant (available space) is fruitless. Think of it like driving with a blindfold on. You may be able to get into the car, turn it on, shift gears, and step on the gas. But if you can’t see where you’re going, you’re bound to crash.
In understanding available facilities, pay attention to a few key elements. First, total square footage and how that real estate plays out across various floors and defined spaces. Second, the layout of facilities—floors, walls, hallways, and anything else not subject to change. These variables play a role in how each work area in the greater workplace will pan out.
2. Desking concepts
Using office seating chart software largely depends on the desking concept you need. The software allows you to map out desk locations, which means thinking about the core concept first. Do you want to clump people together in groups? Get everyone together in an open environment? Have hot desks scattered throughout the workplace? The concept you choose plays a big role in desk layout, which then affects seating.
Be sure to choose a desking concept that’s complementary to available space and employee needs. Trying out a benching concept in a small room may not work as well as individual desks, and cubicles won’t benefit an office where collaboration is paramount.
3. Workspace demands
A seating planner needs to know what the demands of the workforce are before making any changes. Charting these demands in seating plan software means putting another piece of the puzzle in place for the ideal desk arrangement.
For example, if you know you need two collaborative workspaces on the third floor, you can build the seating chart around them. Or, if you know you have 10 remote workers who come into the office each week, you can better plan for that capacity in your seating arrangements. Factor in the demands you know and plan the unknown variables around them.
4. Employee distribution
Stack plans or space allocation maps allow facility managers to use seating arrangement software to drag-and-drop desks, groups, and entire departments into the ideal floor plan. This ability to arrange and rearrange makes tweaking a new seating arrangement simple and encourages managers to create the perfect one.
Seeing employee distribution within the context of a seating plan is also helpful in relocating and consolidating groups. If Marketing is spread across three floors, a new seating arrangement can bring them together. Or, if Sales and Marketing need to be together, it’s easy to drag-and-drop scenarios to seat them together. Regardless, facility managers need to look at current employee distribution as they plan a new seating arrangement.
Like most facets of workplace management, developing a new seating arrangement benefits from integration. The ability to message stakeholders and department leaders with desking questions is invaluable. So is sharing marked-up floor plans with them. Nothing compares to the convenience of a dynamic company directory—one that updates as employee seats change based on seat planning software.
Consider what integrations you need while planning for a new floor layout and ensure your office seating plan software offers them.
6. Move management
While planning a new workplace seating arrangement might be a laborious task, managing the transition to one is downright arduous. It helps when the same software used to plan new arrangements also offers the tools to execute on them. As you bring the perfect desking concept to life on screen, make sure your planning software can help you make it a reality in practice. This includes move scheduling, task delegation, messaging, action planning, and progress tracking.
These variables all impact the outcome of a new seating arrangement. Failing to consider even one of them could send the workplace into disarray mid-move, or leave you with a desking concept that doesn’t work as well as you anticipated. Use seat planning software to create the ideal desking arrangement, then check it against these variables to make sure it’ll work.