In our previous posts about space reduction, we’ve talked about all of 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 actually 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, there is a second component of the continuing reduction program effort that 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 so that the details of the progress can be verified. We recommend quarterly reviews that identify detailed changes in space that are documented on rent bills – increases from new locations that are opened or expanded in size and decreases as offices are reduced in size or closed. In addition, this monitoring identifies space changes that are exempt from the program based upon the standards identified 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 that are 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 who are responsible for space within an agency tend to forget about changes (particularly minor changes), which can make it more difficult 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 will reappear a month or two later when they are renewed. Another example of this is a space “swap” where one department will give up a space to another department. Neither of these examples are actual reductions in space but these types of fluctuations are harder to identify if you review the rent data more frequently.
With all this in mind, in a future post, we will address reporting the progress of space reduction programs.
Space Utilization Model (SUM)
A successful space reduction strategy targets projects that generate significant space savings and a quick return on investment. Modeling can help identify the most efficient way to downsize your existing space footprint.
Through this white paper, you will learn how a space reduction model can calculate:
- Space needed to properly house personnel and mission demands, including implementing mobile work solutions
- Cost estimates for construction, tenant occupancy, and rent
- Rent savings generated by reducing the space footprint
- Return on investment as the point when the project cost is offset by the savings in rent
The white paper also comes with a case study that presents how the model has been used to generate excitement for the mission of space reduction.