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Business Problems With Real Estate Solutions: Process Efficiency 1

Posted by Ann Salas on November 20, 2019
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Process Efficiency

My office could be more productive and/or lean.

Over the course of a long term lease, a company and their needs may change significantly.  Whether there has been a change in the size of your company, how your employees work, or your logistical needs, ensuring that your space continues to maximizes your efficiency is of the utmost importance.

  1. Employee Productivity:  Recent studies emphasize the correlation between office space and employee productivity and wellness.  Therefore, many companies are assessing whether their office space provides employees the ability to be as efficient as possible.  Simply, when working with clients through this discussion, we focus on two factors: workspace design and space amenities.

Workplace Design focuses on how your space is laid out.  Companies have many many different design styles to choose from such as open floorplans which promised to provide cost savings while claiming increased collaboration, but recent findings show that this type of office design can be more of a detriment than an asset.  In order to choose the optimal layout it is important to know your employees’ work styles and needs.  From there, it can be determined if your existing space can be reconfigured to increase productivity or if a new office space is required.  Using an architect to establish the proper layout is beneficial as they will provide maximum efficiency, creative design, and functionality of the space.

Space Amenities are not only as the amenities you provide as a company to your employees, but also what physical traits the building has that can help improve employee productivity and wellness.  In 2014, a new building certification program called WELL was established to recognize buildings that provide the highest level of employee wellness and productivity.  The assessed factors include: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.  Companies that provide WELL amenities have seen increased productivity of about $6,500 per employee per year and between 25% – 65% less employee turnover.  Amenities that provide this increased employee wellness and productivity range in cost, but can be as simple as: providing fruits and vegetables for employees, setting up 70% of workstations within 25 feet of a window, giving access to bike paths, or making programs that promote physical activity available.  Expert assistance can help determine whether your building provides the structural fundamentals (air filtration, water purification, material usage, etc.) suggested for a productive and healthy environment.

  1. Decreasing Square Footage While Maximizing Space:  In today’s office environment, private offices are getting smaller and the need for collaborative space is growing.  Therefore, companies that have not assessed their office space since their last lease was signed 5-10 years ago may realize that there is an opportunity to downsize while improving productivity and efficiency.  The first step is to determine what type of work environment your employees need to efficiently complete their work.  If cubicles or workstations are an option rather than private offices, you should ensure that adequate meeting rooms, quiet spaces, and social spaces are also provided and strategically located.  To determine the adequate amount of space, some companies are turning to The Internet of Things (IoT) products.  These include monitors that analyze the amount of time an area of your office is used daily, which can help determine whether the space is necessary for employee success or expendable.  Another important factor to consider is the efficiency of your building itself.  Selecting office suites with a simple shape allows an architect to easily layout your desired floorplan, while spaces with rounded corners, odd jut outs, or narrow hallways can require you to add more square footage to accommodate your entire fit plan.  Further, buildings with high common area factors (24%+) typically offer common amenities but increase your Rentable Square Footage (RSF), which is the square footage of your office suite plus the common area factor.  If you are not utilizing the common amenities, moving to a building with a lower common area factor will provide you more square footage for less.  For example:  5,000 RSF at a building with 25% common area factor is 4,000 USF. 5,000 RSF at a building with a 15% common area factor is 4,347 USF.  This provides you more room in your actual suite to provide specific amenities or features your employees will utilize.  Efficiency comes from strategically planning your space needs and utilizing each square foot, thus reducing costs without hurting employee productivity.

For questions or more technical details to consider when looking to manage real estate costs, please reach out to our Director of Corporate Services, Elizabeth Holmes – 508-655-5029.

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