At its core, a company’s real estate strategy is formed at the intersection of personnel needs, physical space requirements and the processes that run the company.
On the surface, the relationship between the number of people working, the amount of space a company needs and the breadth of your information technology infrastructure is pretty straightforward. But today’s workplace is changing. Companies are learning to do more with less. Employees are mobile and IT needs have changed dramatically.
While the Internet has made countless facets of business much easier, IT professionals must now learn to integrate company software and systems with smartphone operating systems, tablet devices and cloud-based project management tools. Things may run faster but they are no less complex, requiring designated rooms with separate climate control parameters and often separate security requirements.
Wireless networking has to some extent has made inter-office communications less architecturally complex. Nevertheless, those wireless signals start from somewhere, so the specialized physical needs of IT departments remain necessary.
Personnel involved with space planning need to determine how a prospective space will accommodate a physically—and technically—mobile workforce in conjunction with staff that remain in-house. What kind of physical layouts will work best? Who needs furniture and who doesn’t? Which workstations need what software?
Technology departments, human resources and space decision makers also come together on office access and security issues, phone systems and equipment needs.
When these teams successfully share knowledge across departments, tremendous savings can be realized. Companies can create “move plans” that can be applied to future relocations and become more accurate in planning budgets around headcount projections.
While no two moves are exact, there are processes and strategy precedents that can become universal. The more data and information about people and systems that real estate decision makers have when making space decisions, the more affordable the end result.