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Watch This Space

Don’t feel pressed for space. Our blog will guide you to smarter office space management. Learn how to harness and maximize your dynamic space with simple solutions that work for you.
Open vs. Closed Spaces: Which Office Layout Fits Your Culture Best?
Office spaceOpen vs. Closed Spaces: Which Office Layout Fits Your Culture Best?Recently, the modern workplace has undergone a dramatic shift in the way companies design their offices—open plan offices and workspaces are becoming increasingly popular. The primary difference between an open plan and a closed space lies in the layout. Open plan offices typically have a single, shared space with minimal individual rooms. This allows for better collaboration and easier communication between employees. In contrast, closed spaces are typically divided into individual cubicles or rooms that provide more privacy and a sense of personal space. Open Office Space To understand why so many companies are moving towards open space offices, let's have a look at the main characteristics, pros, and cons. Key Features Rows of desks that allow employees to find their "neighbors" easily. More natural light can flow into the workplace, making it a more pleasant environment.Areas for engagement and casual conversations like break rooms and lounge sections. ProsMore cost-efficientMaximizes available spaceIncreases communication & collaborationHighly flexible & adaptablePromotes employee health & well-beingConsLack of privacyOften noisy & distractingFrequent disruptions cause employee anxiety One of the main benefits of open plan offices is that they're more cost-efficient. You can maximize your office space and save on rent costs by parting ways with individual cubicles and rooms. Now, your employees have easier access to one another, thereby increasing communication and collaboration. More human connection (and natural light) is also good for your employees' well-being. Finally, a highly flexible open office can be rearranged easily, saving you time and effort. In contrast, a main drawback is a lack of privacy, so it can be difficult for your employees to focus or have confidential conversations. Open plan offices are also often filled with noise and chatter. These distractions and interruptions can increase your employees' stress levels. ■ Explore additional benefits of open space offices Closed Office Space Now, let's see what closed office spaces bring to the table. Key Features Separate offices for employees including individual cubicles or rooms. Room dividers to separate the workspace into smaller sections. Screens dividing spaces to maintain privacy and reduce noise levels. ProsOffers more privacy & silenceFewer distractions & disruptionsClear sense of hierarchy & orderCalmer environment results in happier employeesConsMore expensiveWeaker interpersonal relationshipsPossible team isolation The benefits of closed offices stem from the increased privacy they offer. Because each of your employees has their own space, they can focus better and are disrupted less by noise or colleagues—which in turn can make your employees happier and more productive. Separate offices and spaces also create a clear sense of order and hierarchy, which can be beneficial in some workplaces. But closed offices also have drawbacks. They're typically more expensive than open plan offices because they need more square footage and furnishings. The privacy offered by closed offices can also lead to weaker relationships between your employees as they're less likely to interact with one another on a daily basis. This includes not getting the feedback or collaboration they need to succeed, causing feelings of isolation and low morale. ■ Discover how office layout can affect gender bias Choose the Right Design for Your Workspace Culture Ultimately, the right office layout will depend on the type of work your company does and the culture you wish to foster in your workspace. If your workspace culture is collaborative, creative, and encourages social interaction, then an open space office layout is most suitable. On the other hand, if your workspace culture values privacy and individual work styles, then a closed-space office layout is more suitable. Both layouts have their pros and cons, so it's important to assess your workspace needs thoroughly before making a decision. Nevertheless, both open and closed offices require effective space planning and management. This is where a dedicated solution like POC's space management software does all of the hard work for you. You can fully visualize your space and customize it to your needs in a dynamic interface—without requiring the skills of an AutoCAD expert. Moreover, you'll have access to detailed metrics so you can make informed business decisions with the help of an all-in-one platform. ■ Book a demo to try POC's features for yourself
7 Benefits of Open Space Offices: Improved Teamwork & More
Office space7 Benefits of Open Space Offices: Improved Teamwork & MoreLately, there has been a drastic shift from personal spaces to working in shared spaces. This is especially true with the emergence of open space offices. Also known as open plan or shared office spaces, these office setups are designed to optimize collaboration. The challenges and benefits of open space offices are being discussed around the world. The main disadvantages include increased noise levels, lack of privacy, and potential distractions. Noise levels can be especially disruptive, as people are often talking or making phone calls, and it can be difficult to focus. Individuals can also feel exposed without the privacy of their own offices. That being said, the benefits of open space offices far outweigh the drawbacks. Here are seven advantages I experienced in an open office layout. ■ Discover how open vs closed office spaces compare 1. Improves Communication Among Employees I've found that communication flows better between my employees because they have greater accessibility to one another. Their coordination and collaboration improved because they can interact with one another on projects quickly and easily. An unexpected bonus is the social element present in the office. My employees have more opportunities to network with each other, giving them a better understanding of one another's roles and responsibilities. 2. Enhances Collaboration & Teamwork It quickly became apparent that noise levels had to be kept in check. But instead of enforcing an office-wide law (and creating a negative atmosphere), we set up dedicated spaces for planning, brainstorming, and collaboration. In this way, my employees are encouraged to work together to solve problems, come up with creative solutions, and ultimately build a better working environment. We also noticed that this extended to interdepartmental teamwork, giving us better project outcomes. 3. Encourages Creative Thinking I've touched on creativity in the previous point, but I want to emphasize it separately here. My employees' mindsets and approaches changed, because suddenly employees with different perspectives, experiences, and skills worked together in a space that encouraged them to do so. And they generated insightful and innovative solutions. 4. Fosters More Transparent Office Culture Our open office space eliminated the traditional hierarchy you'll find in a closed office space. We created more of a flat structure that made our teams and departments feel more connected to one another. This created a greater sense of belonging and a significantly more relaxed atmosphere in the office. We believe transparency is key in all aspects of professional life and want to reflect this in our office space. ■ Optimizing your office space can help you prevent gender bias in your office culture 5. Promotes Employee Health & Well-being Because our office has fewer walls and physical structures, our employees can move around more freely to take advantage of the larger workspace. It encourages movement and helps to reduce sedentary behavior and promotes a healthier lifestyle. There's also more natural light in an open space office which contributes to a better working environment. We also placed common resources in centralized areas. This is more effective from a practical viewpoint, but it also means our employees have to walk around more and take the stairs. This helps to reduce stress levels and improve overall physical and mental well-being. ■ Follow these tips to increase your employee satisfaction even more 6. Offer Greater Spatial Flexibility With no barriers or cubicles in our office space, we can use the space more dynamically. It took a while before we found a set up that worked for us, but because the office space is so flexible, it's easy to make changes and try different arrangements. This goes both for our teams and the furniture. If the size of a team or if their needs change, we can reorganize until we have a space that's comfortable and productive. ■ Learn more about how flexible workspaces increase employee happiness 7. More Cost-Effective Layout Finally, we've saved on certain costs because open space offices have fewer overheads. For example, we don't have to build separate walls for each room but can simply use furniture and dividers to create distinct areas in the office. We've been able to reduce these costs because of our open office plan: Lighting and heating expenses Power billsSupplies and materials Furniture costs Start Maximizing Your Office Space I've found an open space office to be a great asset because of the potential advantages it offers—like those I've just discussed. However, it's not enough to just create the space and then expect to see results immediately. It's about optimizing the space for your business's and employees' needs and continuously trying until you find the right setup. A modern, digital solution like POC's space management software makes it easy to enjoy the benefits of office space optimization. View your workspace in real-time and make whichever adjustments you want. The software keeps track of your changes and gives you real data to help you see if these changes were effective. If you take nothing else from this post, remember: Partner with professionals to get the most out of your office space. ■ Want to try it for yourself? Book a demo
7 Best Practices for an Efficient Office Wayfinding System
Office space7 Best Practices for an Efficient Office Wayfinding SystemWayfinding is the practice of guiding people through spaces. Elements such as digital directories, maps, and signages have made navigating complex spaces much simpler. Wayfinding is particularly useful for office spaces, especially if organizations have expansive, multi-floor buildings or multiple offices. Visitors and new staff members need an effective way to reach their destination without getting lost or wasting time in the process. With proper wayfinding systems, you can contribute to visitor and employee satisfaction by promptly ensuring visitors and employees get where they need to go. Below are some best practices for an efficient office wayfinding system: 1. Ensure Messaging is Consistent & On-Brand Start by ensuring your signage and messaging is consistent. This includes visual elements, color schemes, fonts, and logos throughout all of your wayfinding materials. While it's crucial that your information is clear and easy to follow, also ensure that each sign acts as an advertisement for who you are and what you do. Your signage should never be wordy or distracting, but a distinct look or visual element can tie signage to your brand, creating instant visual recall and brand recognition. 2. Keep Signage Simple, Concise & User-friendly Whether your signage is digital or physical, use simple fonts that are easily read from a distance. Keep the information clear and concise. Overloading your signage means visitors can't read them if they're in a hurry or viewing the signage at an angle. If you want to provide more information than can comfortably fit on traditional wayfinding signs, digital signage is the ideal solution. Not only are these interactive and engaging, but they can also feature a digital directory or an interactive map informing visitors of their surroundings quickly and efficiently. 3. Leverage Colors to Simplify Navigation Signage is often visitors' first impression of your workplace, so color choice can play a big role in how visitors perceive your space. Consider color-coding your wayfinding signage for easy reference. For example, if you want people to go up or down, consider using green for “go up” and red for “go down”. You could also assign different colors for different departments and use those colors to indicate which floor a department is on. 4. Consider Placement & Visibility of Signage Effective wayfinding signage must be well-sized and optimally placed where people will see it. Don't tuck away signs out of sight. Instead, make overhead placards visible and hang wall markers at eye level. Ensure all signage is strategically located in areas where visitors may need direction or guidance. If the look of your wayfinding isn’t instantly recognizable, tweak it until you get results. 5. Use Symbols & Icons Rather Than Words Symbols and icons can often say more than words can, making them ideal for simplifying wayfinding signage. Symbols and icons can represent a place, an object, or a concept—just make sure the connection between the image and its meaning is obvious. For example, the symbols that indicate restrooms, stairs, or elevators are universal and well-known. 6. Don't Forget About Disability Access According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all businesses, especially if they allow public access, must have ADA-compliant wayfinding signage. This ensures that all visitors and employees can access the office space equally. ADA compliance includes requirements regarding the placement and height of signages, inclusion of Braille or tactile letters, and clear readability with high-contrast colors (light on dark or dark on light) and large fonts. Non-compliance can result in legal and financial consequences. 7. Test Before You Invest Before making final decisions about your wayfinding signage, you should test its effectiveness. Conduct user testing with real visitors and feedback. By gathering input from a cross-section of people, you ensure that everyone can conveniently navigate their way through your building. Don't Lose Your Way Whether you're designing a wayfinding system for a small office or an entire complex, simplicity is key to effective signage. By using colors, symbols, and icons to communicate directions clearly and concisely, you can help visitors easily navigate your space. And by leveraging the latest digital tools like interactive digital signage and tactile signs, you can create a wayfinding system that is modern, user-friendly, and accessible to all. ■ Want to optimize your office space further? Explore POC System's solutions
7 Key Space Utilization Metrics You Should Consider in 2023
Office space7 Key Space Utilization Metrics You Should Consider in 2023Space utilization is a measure of how offices and other workspaces are used. Specifically, it measures the function and efficiency of a given area with the ultimate goal of having maximum use regardless of occupancy. Ensuring optimal space utilization is a critical issue that organizations must address to align the needs of individuals with available facilities. Without a centralized system, it becomes much more difficult to successfully manage the use and allocation of these rooms and spaces, which can be costly for any organization in terms of time and money. Below, we've outlined seven key metrics that organizations can use to monitor and improve space utilization. 1. Capacity vs. Occupancy Capacity and occupancy measure the potential for a space to be utilized compared to how many people actually use it. For instance, if there is a conference room that fits 20 individuals but is usually used for meetings with only four to five people, this indicates that the space should be divided into three or four more compact meeting rooms to serve your employees' needs better. 2. Average Peak Utilization To better understand your space's busiest hours and whether the demand is being met, you can measure average peak utilization by analyzing the capacity in each of your office or educational facilities (such as rooms, collaborative spaces, and event spaces) over a set period. Examining occupancy trends can help you recognize when your space is utilized the most: weekdays, weekends, or holidays. Using this data to your advantage can help you make sure that your rooms are always filled with people and running at peak efficiency, no matter the time of day. ■ Want to ensure employee satisfaction? Learn how to optimize your office space 3. Space-Specific Utilization Rate This metric considers the size of individual workspaces, support spaces, and pathways within a facility. However, special spaces (e.g., storage rooms, server closets, data centers, mechanical spaces) are taken out of the equation as their sizes are typically dictated by specific needs rather than the number of occupants in an office area. Measuring special space efficiency is best done through agency design guidelines or other evaluation criteria. 4. Total Office Utilization Rate To calculate this metric, you need to consider all usable areas of your organization and do away with any space utilized for laboratories, storage, or warehouses. Subsequently, a reduction rate of 22% is applied to mirror the expected total amount required for essential support spaces such as conference rooms and their corresponding walkways. The subtotal estimates the space occupied in each workspace, such as workstations and private offices. When this number is divided by the total occupants within, it forms the total office utilization rate—a useful indicator to determine if your office space is being efficiently utilized. 5. Space Popularity Measuring space popularity can help organizations understand which meeting spaces or collaborative areas are in high demand. As you measure your space use, remember to factor in days and times that are especially busy. Your usage will vary according to the day, such as when some teams work remotely and only come into their offices on specific days. Although employees may opt for what works best for them individually, these patterns help offer insight into how your space is utilized and what areas need updating or improvement. 6. Density Ratio Density is the square footage assigned to each employee in an office setting. In pricier business districts, there tends to be less space available per employee, resulting in higher density rates. Density ratios can help you gauge whether your office is utilizing space efficiently or if there are areas that could be expanded to accommodate more employees, such as common areas and collaborative spaces. Additionally, by looking at these ratios over time, you can track how changes to your space usage may impact overall productivity and employee satisfaction. 7. Cost Per Person The U.S. General Services Administration offers an incredibly useful Cost Per Person Model (CPPM) developed in Excel to help organizations determine and review their cost per person. It was specifically formulated for real estate operations but can also be applied to any other core business areas. Examining cost per person can provide critical insight into creating agile workspaces and help facilities managers identify potential inefficiencies within desk arrangements, meeting rooms, and other work areas. Allow Us to Streamline the Process POC System is a dynamic, user-friendly, and intuitive graphical platform. It captures, analyzes, and displays data in real time and provides accurate space utilization analysis to help your facility operate efficiently. Gain an insightful comprehension of your current space usage with a user-friendly and interactive platform, allowing you to evaluate, plan, and improve how you operate. Book a demo now! ■ Discover POC System's space management solutions

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