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4 Analytics for Reporting Space Reduction Progress

by Keith Fentress / June 19, 2014

Two types of reports are integral in monitoring the space reduction progress of a space reduction program.

The first is at the department or division level. This level of reporting compares the department’s or division’s space reduction progress against its specific space reduction target. This report contains more detail so that managers can drill down to specific office-level information to determine whether their strategy is working.

The second type of space reduction progress report is at the portfolio level for executive managers. This report summarizes department-level data so that overall progress can be tracked. At this level, dashboards that graphically display the results of the program are very effective at communicating progress.

Space Reduction Progress Analytics

Regardless of the type of report, four key analytics should be included when reporting on space reduction progress.

Progress Towards Goal: This analytic is a no-brainer. It tracks how close an organization is to meeting its space reduction progress goal. An effective way to visually communicate this value is as a percentage on a chart or graph, such as a thermometer chart that shows a line for the goal and a bar that increases towards the line as space is reduced.

Improved Utilization Rate: The utilization rate is typically defined as the usable square feet divided by the personnel who work in the space. (Note that there are many ways to calculate a utilization rate, which will be explored in future blogs.) If an organization reduces the footprint of its office space through decreasing design standards and/or implementing mobile work areas, workplaces can become more efficient. Thus, the average square feet allotted to each person should decrease, which, in turn, decreases the utilization rate. A bar chart is a good way to graphically display this comparison – the old utilization rate can be compared to the new utilization rate side-by-side. Another way to show the improved utilization rate is as a percentage of the old utilization rate. For example, if the utilization rate drops from 300 to 170 square feet per person, the organization has improved its utilization rate by 43%.

Number and Type of Projects: No two projects are alike, so it’s important to distinguish the number and type of space reduction projects. Providing labels or tags to projects can help when aggregating and reporting on projects. For example, one of the labels we use is “lock and walk” to define those projects where the tenant can simply close down a location and, with little to no cost, return the space to the landlord. Additionally, we like to color code projects by the return on investment. (ROI occurs when the cost to reduce space is offset by the savings in rent.) We use the color green to signify projects that have a return on investment within three years. The idea is that projects with a quicker return on investment should receive a “green light” for funding.

Rent Savings: Some of our clients focus solely on space savings, but the reality is that an organization, especially its budget department, needs to know if its space reduction progress strategy will save money. Displaying the annual rent saved or the future cost avoidance is a good analytic to present. We typically use bar charts to present the savings in rent and space. Two bars side-by-side represent an effective comparison between the before and after values for space/rent.

Remember, not all space reduction progress projects will save rent. For example, we have witnessed an office move from a relatively low rental rate leased facility into a smaller space in a higher rental rate government office building. In the end, the office reduced its space but paid more in rent.

In fact, this last point – rent savings – will be the topic of an upcoming blog. Stay tuned!

Tags: Space Utilization

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Keith Fentress

Keith Fentress

Keith Fentress is the founder and president of Fentress Incorporated. He has an extensive history of consulting to real property organizations. His skills include organizational development, program evaluation, and business process improvement. He enjoys outdoor pursuits like backpacking, canoeing, and snorkeling.