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What is Space Management in Corporate Real Estate?

Space management is a critical and sometimes misunderstood component of corporate real estate. In this article, HOK's On-Site Space Management team explains the fundamentals of space management and the necessary processes and tools for maintaining an efficient and balanced portfolio.

Space management is the function of guiding a company’s workplace real estate portfolio in support of its core business strategy. Space management is often broken down into two key areas of responsibility:

  • Overseeing the portfolio: Providing, maintaining and managing the work environment across multiple offices and locations.
  • Evolving the portfolio: Supporting the changing space and occupancy needs of a business with an eye toward future demands and concerns.

Delivering on these responsibilities requires focus and the efficient integration of two functional specialties: portfolio data management and space and occupancy planning.

Portfolio Data Management

This is the process of measuring and reporting on the physical space, current occupancy and utilization of an organization’s real estate portfolio.

Space management teams establish and create a process for collecting, maintaining and auditing real estate data across a portfolio. From this timely and accurate information, businesses gain a full accounting of their real estate holdings that can be used to support planning from both a micro perspective, such as identifying who sits where, to a broader and holistic outlook, such as understanding how much space each business occupies and how it is being used.

Strong data (supports) → Good planning (supports) → Good decision-making.

Space and Occupancy Planning

This evaluates and outlines the scope of change in a portfolio (project scope) in response to end-user requirements or real estate-driven needs.

Space and occupancy planning focus on providing strategic guidance and daily operational services, including planning for business group adjacency, future occupancy and work environment reconfiguration. Planning deliverables provide clear documentation of building and floor conditions, definition of requirements, directional options and forecasted outcomes that help clients make informed real estate decisions.

Space management planners assess workplace activities of all sizes with the goal of consistently improving the portfolio in terms of its performance, efficiency and workplace strategy by shaping environmental change on each incremental project activity. Achieving these objectives requires the real estate team to capture, maintain and manage a vast amount of information about the portfolio (buildings, space, people and other factors), further underscoring the importance of portfolio data management.

Space Management Tools

Most organizations use an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) to manage information pertaining to real estate, leases, facilities, assets, maintenance and sustainability. These are complex software platforms that support real estate holdings by providing a better understanding of the portfolio, operations, legal obligations, staff contract locations and more. Often integrating data feeds from other sources (such as IT and HR departments), the IWMS system functions as the central nervous system of a company’s real estate operations.

Space management teams are deeply involved in the implementation, optimization and daily use of these tools, using them to develop processes and approaches to manage portfolio information in a consistent, intuitive and accurate way for use by multiple stakeholders.

Discover More

To learn more about space management and discover how HOK leverages technology and human expertise to manage corporate real estate portfolios, download our free report: The Five Pillars of Effective Space Management.

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