A space plan is a made-to-order layout of your office space. If well designed, it will be flexible enough to accommodate future changes in your organization, such as staffing additions or managerial promotions, without the need for major interior renovation.
“An efficient space plan will increase productivity, efficiency and employee morale by maximizing the capabilities of your space,” says Sam McWilliams, managing partner at SMC Consulting, LLC.
As companies grow and reorganize, space can become fragmented, which challenges departmental and personnel adjacencies.
“These are common challenges that come with organizational change and growth, but can be addressed with proper planning,” says McWilliams.
Smart Business spoke with McWilliams about how a space plan can help you get the most out of your office space.
How is a space plan developed?
Determine what your current and future needs are, then reach out to a professional space planner or designer. He or she can evaluate your existing space plan and determine whether it can be reconfigured to accommodate those needs, or requires additional space.
Architects are not always required for interior planning. By hiring a designer/space planner, you will be able to keep your professional fees to a minimum.
What should be expected from a designer?
The interior design professional should be knowledgeable about building codes and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to ensure that your space is properly designed.
Expect the designer to conduct site surveys and perform employee interviews to identify company goals. It is important to understand what challenges employees and companies are facing with their current space to understand why a company is looking to make a change. This process is called programming and is a critical step in developing a space plan that will make the best use of the space available.
What are the next steps?
The designer will generate a space plan that reflects the compilation of details gathered from programming. Generating these drawings should be a collaborative effort between you and your designer.
Departmental adjacencies and alignments will be identified, that can create ‘neighborhoods’ of groups that need to collaborate and interact with one another on a daily basis. Workspaces will be designed to accommodate work processes that allow daily activities to be performed more efficiently. By developing a standard footprint for an open plan environment, your new space plan can promote collaboration, increase productivity and reduce real estate costs.
How much flexibility does a space plan offer?
A flexible space plan allows companies to preserve space for future use by utilizing temporary space via ‘hotelling,’ a method that allocates unassigned space for visitors, field personnel or huddle rooms for small meetings. These temporary areas can be easily converted to more permanent workspaces without interruption or loss of existing space allocations.
Incorporating an open environment in your space plan can increase space allocation. Designing workstations in modular size will allow for easy reconfiguration in the future. Workstation ‘typicals’ can be easily reconfigured using the same panels to create smaller or larger workstations depending on your needs.
How will implementing this space plan render measurable results?
By utilizing the appropriate square footage, you can reduce overhead costs and increase workplace efficiency and productivity by:
- Implementing company standards.
- Workstation and office design.
- Defining and improving adjacencies.
- Reducing or eliminating architectural fees.
- Proper allocation of square footage.
- Eliminating wasted space.
- Alternative work solutions.
- Improving IT infrastructure.
Change can be a challenging but rewarding process. Developing your space plan may take time, but the effort is worthwhile when you see the impact it has on your company.
Sam McWilliams is a managing partner at SMC Consulting, LLC. Reach her at (724) 728-8625 or [email protected]
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