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What are smart space solutions and how can they help you?

In this post, find out what smart space solutions really are and how they can transform your physical workspace for the better.

Amy Kirkham
By Amy Kirkham Content Marketing Manager

For businesses, office space management has always been a priority. But now, with return-to-office policies in full swing and economic conditions tightening budgets, optimizing current workspaces to save cost and support employees is more important than ever.

Smart space solutions are a great investment for ensuring you make the most out of your space–and for improving the employee experience. They help save cost and make people’s work lives easier by automating tasks and simplifying the way you work onsite. In this post, we’ll dive into smart space solutions and why you need them to improve your office space. We’ll cover:

  • What are smart space solutions?
  • What makes smart space solutions smart?
  • 4 types of smart space solutions

What are smart space solutions?

The goal of space optimization is to find ways to make the most of the space you currently have. That means avoiding empty desks, ghosted meeting rooms that have been reserved but sit empty, and unused social spaces. It also means setting your space up in a way that empowers your employees to do their best work. 

In today’s world, it’s almost impossible to optimize space without smart space technology. Smart space solutions help you utilize your existing workspace more efficiently through automation and insights. In turn, this helps to create a positive employee experience onsite. 

Smart space solutions will not only improve your workplace with automation and make your space work better for employees, but it also helps you manage your resources and costs through visibility into usage data. An ultimate win-win.

What makes smart space solutions smart?

The term “smart” actually comes from an acronym for “self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology” according to NetLingo. And while smart technology is a broad field that is difficult to define, smart space solutions are more niche. 

Smart space solutions are smart because of their ability to be intuitive and automatic when it comes to making your space as efficient as possible. Think room booking technology that suggests the right room based on in-office attendees and tech needs. When people go to book a meeting on their calendar, a suggested room shows up based on how many people are invited and what kind of amenities they need. If the host wishes to switch to a different room, they can by using a drop down list. 

Smart technology does a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to the manual, day-to-day tasks of sharing an office space–giving everyone more time and mental capacity to focus on what matters most at work.

The benefits of smart space solutions

Currently, 46% of businesses only use half of their physical office space. Of those companies, 73% are looking at measures like space optimization to cut costs, improve employee experience, and make their workplace more agile. Here are five common benefits of smart space solutions that you can expect. 

  1. Cost saving. Reducing your office footprint cuts costs. Smart space solutions help you understand how your space is being used, so you can decide if and where you can cut. 
  2. Space optimization. If you cannot reduce your office footprint, then optimizing the space you’ve got is a great way to continue growing your company without the need to upsize your office space.
  3. Better employee experience. When tedious tasks like booking meeting rooms become automated, it makes the employee experience more slick. According to our recent At Work report, 34% of employees cited slow technology as a major deal breaker for returning to the office. The more technology helps make peoples’ lives easier at work, the less frustrated folks are about finding a space, and the more they will enjoy returning to the office.
  4. Workplace agility. As organizational priorities shift, so must your office. How your workspace adapts to you and your way of working is crucial. Smart space solutions help you pivot when the time comes by transforming spaces quickly and easily.
  5. Time saving. By automating manual tasks, your people get back precious minutes and hours in their roles. This is beneficial both to employees that experience smart space solutions, and admins who control them.  

4 types of smart space solutions

Now that you know the definition, here are four types of space solutions that should be on your radar. In the next chapter, we’ll get into the features that make each piece of technology smart.

1. Room booking 

According to LinkedIn, demand for meeting rooms has skyrocketed by 73% in 2022 across flexible workspaces. It’s no big surprise. As offices begin to fill back to their original capacity, the demand for space to have team meetings, 1:1 discussions, or a private space to focus has increased as well. 

Room booking software enables you to find and book the right room for your meeting when you need it. It also frees up any unused rooms if folks are no-shows or if they cancel a meeting and forget to release the room. (We’ve all been guilty of this.)

With room booking software, the tedious work of scheduling meeting rooms is automated. Display screens outside the room are color-coded to show you if a room is busy, free, or pending check-in. If nobody checks-in, the room automatically releases after a set period of time. This gives the space to others who need it. It also gives your organization important data on how employees use different meeting rooms throughout the week.

2. Hot desking

Hot desking is a flexible seating arrangement that enables folks to book a desk on an ad-hoc basis, depending on when they are coming onsite. This is particularly popular with hybrid work, where employees can switch between home and the office throughout the week. Hot desking technology gives you valuable data to make informed decisions about your space. For example, if you know that 50% of your desks currently sit unused, you can right-size your layout to minimize wasted space. You might replace those empty desks with couches. Or you could even open your office up to a co-working space to really make the most of your real estate.

3. Space analytics 

Space utilization insights are your secret superpower to improve your workspace. Smart space solutions should provide analytics and data to help you analyze how your space is used. You can look at things like office attendance rates, which rooms are booked most often and at what time, and the number of people booking desks throughout the week. If you are an organization spread across multiple floors or locations, you can also use insights to understand which office space is used most. Based on the data, you may decide to reduce your real estate to bring people closer together, while simultaneously saving on cost. 

4. Maps 

Interactive maps give you a bird’s eye view of your office layout. It helps you see which meeting rooms are available and where they are within your office layout. It also helps you locate where coworkers are sitting throughout the office. This benefits everyone in your office. No more walking around the office searching for people or rooms. Instead, folks can check the map and know exactly where they’re going. 

Smart space solutions come in different shapes and sizes for all types of organizations. Maybe you only need a hot desking solution as you refine your return to office policy in 2023. Or it could make more sense to invest in a workplace platform that includes everything from smart meeting room technology, to hot desking, and detailed analytics across your entire office. 

It’s easy to see the positive impact smart space solutions can have on your workplace. But the question remains: is it worth it? 

On a larger scale, smart space solutions have the power to transform your workplace and save you significant cost. But it’s important to be smart about the space solutions you invest in. Think about your office, your people, and where you want to take your organization in the future. Smart space solutions work for everyone, but can be especially impactful to those looking to scale without the added price tag of upsizing.

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Amy Kirkham
Author Bio Amy Kirkham

Amy is a content guru at Envoy, where she helps workplace leaders build a workplace their people love. Outside of work, you can usually find Amy drinking coffee, exploring new places, or planning her next trip.