Re-thinking Planning: The Game Has Changed

Person Hand Holding Puzzle With Question Mark

Not since Henry Ford pulled workers from the fields to the factories have we seen such a comprehensive change in the workplace as we are now experiencing. The most obvious changes are in how, when and where we work. To facilitate this change, strategists and designers have developed innovative workplace solutions that can respond, and even encourage, these new ways of working.



The challenge for Corporate Real Estate (CRE) teams is to leverage these new solutions across large or disparate portfolios. Understanding the impact of these solutions on the planning process can help CRE leaders make informed space decisions across the broader portfolio. No longer can we rely on the old rules of occupancy planning, where we were able to align occupancy demand with space capacity at a simple 1 person to 1 seat ratio. The game has changed; work styles, types of ‘seats’, organizational strategies and initiatives, and even the definition of occupancy itself. Now, our planners must look at even more factors in providing space. This includes executive strategies, organizational goals, performance drivers and the types of work being performed.


So where does a Planner start?

three businessman holding puzzle

As Occupancy Planners, problem solving is at the core of what we do. Whether developing a high-level occupancy strategy for a given workforce, planning the implementation of that strategy, or managing routine occupancy changes, we are solving what security expert Gregory Treverton called either a Puzzle or a Mystery. Either the problem ultimately has a right answer, even if we can’t find it – a puzzle, or it “cannot be answered; it can only be framed”- a mystery. Therefore, one of the first steps in any planning effort is to decide which type of problem you are solving. If you are not sure which type of problem you are solving, I would first recommend reading Treverton’s original premise here. If you are still not sure how this applies to the space and occupancy planning world, stay tuned for my next post, which will go deeper into the puzzles and mysteries that planners tackle every day.

Over the next few months I will further discuss why Planning, while evolving, is still a critical practice in the ongoing role of providing physical space; not just enabling work, but promoting efficient, effective worker productivity. The value can be simply stated: From Data, to Information, to Transformation

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