Space Optimization: What Is It, and How Can It Benefit Your Business?
Space optimization is the process of ensuring that your available real estate is being used in the most efficient and effective way possible. Organizational leaders and property managers instinctively know that space optimization is an important part of operational success—but how do you know if your space is optimized or not?
More importantly, if you know your building or property isn’t being used in the most efficient way possible, where do you go from there? And what sort of benefits can you expect to see from optimizing your space?
Understanding Space Optimization
An optimized workspace is one in which the available space is being utilized to its maximum potential, with the smallest possible amount of space being wasted or unused. Well-optimized spaces are designed around key operational processes, such as storing and retrieving products in a warehouse or meeting the day-to-day needs of employees in a large office.
There is no single space optimization algorithm, as each workplace has its own operational needs, goals, and pain points—and therein lies the key to this process. In order to properly optimize your space, it is essential to conduct an extensive space utilization analysis to understand 1) how the space should ideally be used, and 2) how it is currently being used.
For instance, you might conduct a traffic analysis to determine levels of use throughout the day, or over the course of a longer period of time. Once you have compiled these space occupancy reports, it is then possible to build out a roadmap for optimizing your workspace.
A New Way to Look at Space Optimization
A classic example of unoptimized space would be an organization that is leasing more space than it currently needs. This could be in the form of leasing a single too-large space, or leasing multiple separate facilities (such as an office and a warehouse). In this example, the organization is paying for unused space. A traditional space optimization solution would be to consolidate separate facilities and resources into one all-encompassing facility.
Now consider this often-overlooked, yet equally important example of unoptimized space: an organization that owns or is leasing a space that is too small, thereby limiting employee productivity and the ability to grow, expand, and earn more revenue over time. This side of space optimization is more likely to be missed during a space utilization analysis, but is critical for creating a truly optimizing space.
Benefits of Space Optimization
- Cost Savings: If you are paying for more space than you really need, cutting down on excess space can reduce rent and utility costs. Similarly, if you are in need of more space for storage or operational activities, optimizing your existing space rather than expanding or renting out additional space will save you money in the long run.
- Operational Efficiency: In an optimized workplace, every operational process and need has been carefully considered and accommodated. For an office space, this would include individual workstations as well as meeting spaces. In a warehouse, this might include item storage, retrieval, and distribution. For retail businesses, storing and stocking items are key processes to consider. Regardless of the type of business, an optimized space makes it easy for employees to do their jobs efficiently.
- Opportunities for Growth: Space optimization is a long-term objective. Do you have the space you need to be successful not just today, but five years from now? Looking ahead is a smart way to set yourself up for growth opportunities down the line.
- Employee Satisfaction: Optimized workspaces are safer, more comfortable, more supportive, and more rewarding for employees. Spaces that are too small can be frustrating for workers; consider the example of a retail employee searching for items in an overcrowded storage room, or office employees being unable to reserve an appropriate meeting space.
Successful space optimization requires considering as many variables as possible, including how employees use the space, operational challenges and bottlenecks, future growth opportunities, and cost savings potential. When done correctly, space optimization yields many benefits for building owners and managers, organizational leadership, and employees.
Systems & Space has helped companies optimize existing space, boost operational efficiency, and save money for more than 30 years. Learn about our high density storage and other space-saving solutions by contacting Systems & Space today.