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Monitoring Performance for a Successful Space Reduction Program

by Keith Fentress / June 5, 2014


Our previous posts about space reduction discussed all the steps necessary to establish a space baseline. Once you’ve identified your reduction target and have the baseline in place, the next step is to get started on individual space reduction projects. After all, if your effort doesn't result in overall space reduction, despite well-intentioned planning and strategy, it is ultimately not successful.

However, a second component of the continuing reduction program effort is equally important: developing an effective, accurate reporting process to ensure the reduction program stays on track. The first part of this effort is tracking and verifying actual space changes.

Actual space changes that occur – both increases and decreases – must be regularly cross-checked against the baseline to verify the progress details. We recommend quarterly reviews that identify detailed changes in space documented on rent bills – increases from new locations that are opened or expanded in size and decreases as offices are reduced or closed.

In addition, this monitoring identifies space changes exempt from the program based upon the standards determined at the beginning (e.g., including changes from pipeline projects that were already planned, funded, or underway at the start of the program or re-measurements by the tenant).

Space Reduction Program Data

In our space reduction program for agencies that are GSA tenants, we have found that comparing the baseline against the rent bills posted on GSA’s Rent on the Web is most efficient when done quarterly.

We see about a 10% or less change in inventory over a quarter, and this amount of data is very manageable to review. If you wait too long, managers responsible for space within an agency tend to forget about changes (particularly minor), making it more challenging to verify the data.

A quarter is also long enough to see patterns in the data. For example, expired occupancy agreements will drop off the rent bill in one month but reappear a month or two later when renewed. Another example is a space “swap,” where one department will give up a space to another.

Neither of these examples is actual reductions in space, but these fluctuations are harder to identify if you review the rent data more frequently. With all this in mind, we will talk about reporting the progress of space reduction programs in a future post.

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 change management, program evaluation, and business process improvement. He enjoys adventure travel and outdoor pursuits like backpacking, canoeing, and snorkeling.