Smart Compression: A Revolution in Space Planning

What if I told you that you had to do your job using only the technology from 20 years ago. No Google, no smartphones, no social media. Impossible, right?  
Well, that is what we do when we only provide a one-sized-fits-all approach to space planning. Using the same processes and ideas from decades ago to support today's workforce does not work - we need smarter tools, like Smart Compression.

Advancements in technology have revolutionized how we work. The days when an 8x8 space to house your paper files, bulky desk phone, and a large desktop computer that must be plugged into the wall are gone. These technologies have untethered us from the limitations of these spaces and unlocked a new world of dynamic workspaces. Smart Compression provides a framework for taking advantage of emerging trends while tailoring them to the unique needs of your organization.
Smart Compression is more than just space savings. It's about getting the most out of a company's second largest expense (real estate) by focusing on its largest expense (people). By examining the way people work you can tailor a work environment that fits the needs of the workforce while encouraging behaviors that align with your strategic goals (e.g. collaboration and innovation).
Three converging concepts drive Smart Compression:

  1. Work from anywhere - In a world where all you need is a laptop and a cell phone to do most jobs the draw of the office environment is evolving. Determining who is in the office, and how often, can drive space needs.
  2. More than one work style - To best support the needs of your organization it's important to think through the needs of the different departments and teams and provide spaces that support the needs of the group and the individual.
  3. Choice is king - Having a variety of "me" and "we" spaces for teams and individuals to choose from can help drive collaboration and support productivity.
A scientific and data-driven approach is key to providing the business intelligence necessary to make the right space decisions. Studying the behaviors of a workforce requires the right tools and expertise.
Below are proven methods that are three key to effective data collection:
  1. An effectiveness and engagement survey gathers subjective workforce feedback.
  2. An ethnography tool places an observer in the work environment to document and map behavior.
  3. Visioning sessions and focus groups with leadership reveals their desired strategic direction.
Data collected through these methods inform programming, design, and location decisions. Introducing smart office technologies can also support the ways of working while providing valuable insights for future decisions. Some organizations undergo annual health checks to make sure they remain on-track.
This Smart Compression blog is only a brief introduction to a fresh, multi-faceted, and innovative approach to space management. For C-level executives facing important real estate decisions, Smart Compression is a significant advance in space management thinking, offering a clear-eyed, comprehensive evaluation of the workforce that informs real estate strategies tailored to the organization.

Roy Abernathy
Executive Vice President, Global Workplace Strategy & Human Experience


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