If you’ve ever double-booked a conference space, shivered all day at work, or sat across the room from the rest of your team, you’ve experienced the pitfalls of an inefficient office.

When employees struggle to figure out the basics of navigating through their space, their ability to be happy and productive decreases. They may even lose their motivation to come into the office at all.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. With the right data, tools, and planning, you can build a workspace that helps each of your employees live their best work life while also cutting down on company costs. Here, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about office space optimization in 2024 and beyond.


Quick Summary:

  • Optimizing your office space can save your company money and lead to happier, more productive employees, including hybrid workers.
  • When designing your space, address challenges like passive occupancy, ghost booking, and inefficient technology.
  • Implementing the right equipment and software not only can help you optimize your office space but also motivate your employees to come into the office more frequently.

What Is Office Space Optimization?

Office space optimization involves strategically using physical office space to enhance efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction. This process includes designing layouts that maximize usable space, incorporating flexible workstations, and utilizing technology to support a variety of work styles and functions.

Effective office space optimization aims to create a dynamic environment that adapts to the needs of the workforce, promotes collaboration, and reduces unnecessary costs associated with underused spaces..

In 2023, 41% of employees with jobs that could be done remotely were using a hybrid schedule — a 6% increase from 2022. Hybrid jobs have become the new normal, so in today’s world, optimizing your office means taking hybrid schedules into account. Some employees may show up in person only one day per week, while others may come three or four.

Why Is Optimizing Office Space Important?

Optimizing your office space helps create an environment where employees are as happy, healthy, and productive as possible. And considering that wasted office space costs companies over $300,000 each year, it can also help you efficiently use the money your organization spends on its real estate.

unused office space stat

The benefits of optimized office space for employees include closer relationships with their co-workers and more creativity.

And yet, not everyone wants to work fully in-office. Today, 95% of working professionals want at least some type of remote work, 51% want a fully remote job, and 46% would prefer a hybrid job. Those who only have the option of a clunky, uncomfortable office may feel even more incentivized to just stay home.

Benefits of Optimizing Your Office Space

Efficiently running your office helps motivate your hybrid employees to come to work on-site, but how else can it benefit your company? Let’s take a look.

Save Your Company Money

As of December 2023, office vacancy rates continue to rise, climbing up to 30% in some markets. Instead of increasing the size of your office, you may want to focus more on making good use of the space you already have.

Here’s a very useful article on the ideal amount of office space per hybrid employee.

Foster Happier and More Productive Employees

Research shows that the wrong type of office density (either overcrowding or using an open floor plan in an industry where doing so doesn’t make sense) can lower employee productivity. On the other hand, factors like access to high-quality amenities, LEED certification, and attractive common areas can increase it.

3 workers

Optimizing your office space is always a good idea, given that 90% of employees say that their office’s layout and design features have a big impact on their happiness at work.

Measure and Communicate Progress

When you can show that your office space is being used efficiently and cost-effectively, you demonstrate to vendors, higher-ups, and employees that the company isn’t wasting money.

Optimize Your Energy Usage

Considering that 30% of the energy consumed in commercial buildings is wasted on average, optimizing your energy usage can help reduce waste, emissions, and expenses.

In 2024, sustainability is more important than ever. Read more about the benefits of a sustainable workplace.

Challenges to Address When Designing Your Workspace

When you’re ready to optimize your office, start by addressing a few common challenges that cause inefficient workspaces, like the ones below.

Passive Occupancy

Passive occupancy occurs when people think a space is occupied and don’t use it when, in reality, the area is available.

For example, an employee may leave their jacket on a desk or in a conference room and work from home the following day. Another employee who comes into the office that day won’t use the desk or room because they think it’s taken even though it’s actually free.

In addition to creating confusion, these situations are an inefficient usage of space and can lead to bottlenecks. For instance, multiple employees may try to book the same conference room, not realizing another one is available.

Or a worker may forgo sitting at a desk that has all the supplies they need. Or maybe an introverted employee sits in the center of a room, believing all the desks by the window are taken.

things to keep in mind when optimizing office space

Ghost Booking

Ghost booking happens when a space is booked and doesn’t end up being used, but the booking isn’t canceled, so others still think the room is taken.

For instance, an employee may book a conference room and later cancel the meeting. But since they’ve reserved the room, others can’t use it.

Like passive occupancy, ghost booking wastes space. It can also lead to frustration, workers not wanting to be in the office, and decreased employee satisfaction.

To prevent these issues from happening, implement an intuitive hybrid workplace management solution that allows you to not only book office resources but to track their usage.

One such software is OfficeRnD Hybrid. It’s an easy-to-use, yet powerful software that allows you to book meeting rooms and desks, entice employees to collaborate in person, and make more informed business decisions thanks to workplace analytics. With it, you will be able to optimize your space with ease. Click to learn more and watch the short video below.

Inefficient Systems

Companies with a hybrid work model need efficient systems to book desks and conference rooms. Even if employees avoid ghost bookings and passive occupancy, a confusing system that isn’t properly integrated can be frustrating and time-consuming.

The more time employees spend decoding these types of administrative tasks, the less productive they can be.

resource bookings

Plus, inefficient systems can make it difficult for you to optimize your space. As a result, you’ll have a harder time gathering data, figuring out who’s in the office and who’s not, and incentivizing hybrid workers to come in.

Future Planning

While you’ll want to make your office space the best it can be for your current employees, it’s also important to consider your company’s plans for growth. The more efficient your space is, the easier it is to scale when the time comes.

Planning for the future in this way can save your business time and money down the line. To do this, you’ll want to look at all of your processes, from the technology you use to the energy efficiency systems you have in place.

5 Key Tips to Make Your Office Space More Efficient

Now that you know what challenges you need to address, let’s dive into four main ways to start optimizing your office space.

Gather Information to Understand What Your Employees Need

Before implementing changes, it’s important to understand what your employees need from their office.

Start by sending out a survey that can inform you what’s working, what’s not working, and your workers’ preferences. Questions you can ask include the following:

  • Do you prefer an open floor office design or working in a cubicle?
  • What’s your ideal temperature to work in?
  • Do you have all the supplies and equipment you need to be productive?
  • What could we change that would motivate you to come into the office more?
  • Do you need anything to feel safer at work?

Next, gather the necessary data so that you can make informed decisions about what your office needs to provide its employees. This should include things like:

  • How often each employee comes into the office
  • How many people and meetings per day your conference rooms should accommodate
  • Details on the current hybrid work policy, including which teams are required to be in the office each day
  • How many employees your company is planning to hire or let go of in the next few months

optimizing

Choose a Desk-Sharing System That Works For Your Office

For a hybrid office, consider implementing a desk-sharing system. This means your employees won’t have the same assigned desks every day; instead, they’ll use a booking system to reserve their spots before they come into the office.

Two of the most popular options here are hot desking and desk hoteling.

Hot desking allows employees to pick their desks when they come into the office on a first come, first serve basis. Desk hoteling, on the other hand, allows workers to reserve their desks in advance through an online system.

Desk hoteling can help reduce passive occupancy and ghost booking since employees know who is sitting where on any given day and can cancel their bookings if needed.

This system also empowers workers to choose the type of desk they want, reserve a cluster with their teammates, and avoid the stress of not knowing where they’ll sit when they come into the office.

Implement an Easy-to-Use Technology

A convenient space management software can help you:

  • Ensure that your employees can easily book desks and meeting rooms
  • Build and follow effective office policies centered around a hybrid workspace
  • Track analytics to understand how your space is being used
  • Monitor how you’re using your budget

You’ll want to pick software that can integrate with the technology you already have in place so that your employees don’t end up working with tons of apps. Make sure it can accommodate remote, in-office, and hybrid workers.

For example, OfficeRnD Hybrid integrates with a wide variety of platforms to make your experience as seamless as possible for all types of employees.

officernd hybrd dashboard for optimizing office space

Once you have your technology in place, use tools like IoT sensors, smart badges, and WiFi tracking systems to continuously update your occupancy data.

Find Cost-Effective Ways to Optimize Your Equipment

There are plenty of cost-effective ways you can make your equipment more efficient. Consider energy-efficient solutions, like LED lighting, which can help lower utility costs while reducing your energy consumption.

To help make your employees as comfortable as possible, opt for ergonomic equipment, like chairs, mouse pads, and standing desks. Not only can this lead to happier and more productive workers, but since they spend so much of their day at their desks, it can also help improve their physical health.

You may also want to consider setting up a storage area with lockers or cubbies to keep your space clean and your employees’ belongings safe. When hybrid workers use systems like hot desking and desk hoteling, they typically don’t have a permanent space to keep their belongings otherwise.

Sometimes, you don’t need to purchase anything new to make your space more efficient. Try rearranging your office layout to take advantage of natural lighting (which can help reduce artificial lighting costs), make the most out of every square foot, and create a better flow between desks and meeting rooms.

Use Advanced Workplace Analytics Tools

Arguably the best way to optimize your office space is by using robust analytics software that gives you a detailed overview of space usage and employee behavior.

Such a tool is OfficeRnD Hybrid’s Workplace Analytics.

Using OfficeRnD Hybrid’s workplace analytics can help optimize office space by providing data-driven insights into space utilization and employee interactions. It offers real-time updates, custom dashboards, and detailed reports, allowing for informed decision-making.

By analyzing patterns of desk and meeting room usage, companies can improve space efficiency, enhance team collaboration, and adapt to hybrid work policies effectively. This leads to better resource allocation, increased productivity, and an overall improved work environment.

Learn more about it here.

How Can You Measure the Success of Your Optimized Office?

You can measure your optimized workspace’s success by looking at a few key metrics, like the ones listed below. Not only can doing this help you understand which areas you’re doing well in and which still need improvement, but it also gives you the tools you need to show higher-ups that your improvements are working.

Take a look at these metrics:

  • Changes in employee productivity
  • Collaboration frequency – for that, you can monitor the number of meetings and employee interactions
  • Space utilization rate: The percentage of office space being used compared to total available space.
  • Occupancy rate: The ratio of occupied desks or workstations to the total number.
  • Employee density: The number of employees per unit of space.
  • Meeting room utilization: Frequency and duration of meeting room usage.
  • Employee satisfaction: Survey results on workspace comfort and productivity.
  • Cost savings: Reduction in real estate and operational costs.

monitoring

Optimize Your Workspace With the Help of OfficeRnD Hybrid

Optimizing your office can come with a whole host of benefits, including increased employee satisfaction and reduced expenses.

But you can’t do it alone. A key factor in making your workplace more efficient is having the right system in place to provide the data you need and help your employees easily navigate the office.

That’s where OfficeRnD Hybrid comes in. This hybrid work management system allows your employees to easily book desks and meeting rooms while giving you the tools to manage office resources and costs, analyze space utilization, and foster employee engagement. Plus, it seamlessly integrates with your existing technologies.

If you want to learn more about effectively optimizing your office, get started for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid today. You can also book a live demo and talk to one of our workplace experts.

FAQ

What Is Office Space Optimization?

Office space optimization is the process of making a workplace as useful and efficient as possible for each employee who uses it.

How Can I Make My Office Space More Efficient?

You can make your office space more efficient through the following means:

  • Collecting valuable insights into what employees want and where space is being wasted
  • Choosing an office design and desk-sharing system that works for your company
  • Implementing easy-to-use technologies that can integrate with your existing systems
  • Add cost-effective equipment that your employees will enjoy using

How Can I Run My Office Efficiently?

Start by customizing your plan for the employees and the work model your office uses, whether it’s remote, in-person, or hybrid. Then, continuously gather information to help you make data-driven decisions, adjust as needed, and keep your plans for future company growth in mind.

How to Maximize Office Space?

To maximize office space, focus on multifunctional furniture like desks that convert for standing or sitting and incorporate storage solutions. Opt for an open floor plan to enhance flexibility and facilitate easier reconfiguration as needs change. Additionally, implementing vertical storage and using wall space for shelves or cabinets can free up valuable floor area. Embracing digital tools can reduce the need for physical files and equipment, further decluttering and optimizing the workspace.

Miro Miroslavov
CEO and Co-founder of OfficeRnD
Miro Miroslavov is a software engineer turned into a tech entrepreneur. In 2015 he co-founded OfficeRnD - a leading flex space and hybrid work management platform. As a CEO at OfficeRnD, he grew the company from inception to a leading software vendor that serves thousands of customers worldwide. He is a big fan of flexible working and is on a mission to "Making Flexible Working the Way of Working".