GUEST COLUMN: Rory Brannigan from ISDM Solutions on 5 considerations for space management

Rory Brannigan, CEO of ISDM Solutions on 5 considerations for effective organisational space management.

Working environments across the world consist of space, often in and around buildings, which has to be carefully planned and managed to ensure that every square inch of physical real estate is providing maximum value. Facilities managers are at the apex of this, ensuring that spaces are controlled and managed to deliver on the required positive outcomes that a company would expect.

Over the years we have learnt that organisations need to consider the following five areas in relation to managing their space. The first is accurate information, how do you measure if your space is working for you? Good space management requires data gathering and analysis around how the space is being used. Are collaboration spaces over or under occupied, what are people's habits and behaviours? Many companies are waking up to the potential cost savings of having large sections of their workforces working from home. Detailed analysis is taking place, with a careful consideration around how much office space is costing.

The second is employee wellbeing, the rise of working from home has led to a rise in employees complaining of Zoom fatigue. Psychiatric Times attributes this to diminished Oxytocin due to non-physical contact, resulting in feelings of lethargy. This leaves your team feeling disconnected from co-workers, so it is becoming apparent that a blended model could be the way forward for many. How can your organisation build a working environment that maximises productivity and efficiency, while paying great attention to employee wellbeing, diversity of a workforce and the increased value of flexibility within our working lives?

The third is maximum occupancy, many companies are now limiting the number of employees on site at any one time, how is this managed and controlled? Hygiene precautions mean that for the most part, permanently assigned desks are a thing of the past. This raises more questions for the FM team, how can people book these resources? How can employees ensure that they get the desk with the right technology to allow them to fulfil their role effectively?

The fourth is having the right tools, like the UMA platform (, which allows for the booking of meeting spaces and resources like hot desks through an application using text or voice. In addition, UMA can monitor how many people are in a given space and can alert users and managers if too many people are in that space.

The final area to look at is honest and open communication, as well as gathering data it’s important to listen to the people who are using the space, and regularly provide a platform for them to share openly & honestly. We all know about the investments made in tools and technology without involving the right people – they don’t tend gather the traction or deliver the value expected.

The one constant that links collaboration technology, spaces and resources is people.

Space management is nothing new, but it has largely run in the background as a vital but silent service. The spotlight is now firmly on it, with facilities managers having to react in an agile way to ensure that businesses continue to deliver in an efficient manner, while ensuring that the health and safety of employees is never compromised. This delicate balancing act is not without its challenges, but with the right expertise the correctly delivered space management can be a priceless asset that ensures enhanced productivity and business resilience both in the medium and longer term.

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