In Minneapolis, Wells Fargo, Inc. wants a Space Planner who is able to review and resolve all space requests in the queue.
In Massachusetts, Moderna, Inc. wants a candidate to act as a MAC (Move, Add, Change) lead for employee moves.
And global real estate management company CBRE is looking for a Space Planner to predict future space needs based on changing workplace needs.
In a wide range of industries across the U.S., the hunt is on for strategic Space Planners who can help the corporate world save money and time and improve the return-to-office experience. Titles may range from Space Planner/Data Analyst to Designer/Space Planner and Advisor, Workplace Spaces – but the task is generally the same: help plan the smartest spaces possible.
And more and more, space planning roles reference occupancy analytics. For example, Wells Fargo requires that candidates for a current Space and Occupancy Planner position have strong experience with “office space and occupancy planning either as an occupancy consultant or as an employee in a corporate real estate department.”
And much of the activity in this career sector is about returning to campuses and offices. Candidates for the job title Space and Occupancy Planner at Hasbro, Inc. are required to support “the business with its current space planning needs as well as strategically plan for future hybrid working arrangement.”
As Molly Glasgow, executive vice president at the commercial real estate management giant JLL, told WRAL Techwire, “Companies are still investing in space. Even hybrid and “fully remote” companies.”
The main responsibility is to make efficient use of space while also keeping costs low. This can include everything from determining where to place cubicles to deciding whether to sign multi-million dollar leases. Many companies require Space Planners to have 4-year degrees in interior design or architecture, but requirements range from 5 years of work experience to a few years of training to a high school degree. Other than education, most of these space planning positions require candidates to be creative, organized and have advanced communications skills.
Through the collection of occupancy data, they can determine how to set up offices or classrooms, and project headcounts and utilization over time. Many Space Planners are tasked with creating plans for short and long-term occupancy needs through utilization strategies and real estate decisions. They also produce and develop daily occupancy reports in order to communicate space utilization in office spaces.
These Space Planners are then obligated to distribute the data that they gather to stakeholders. The data is used for project proposals for office buildings and many corporate Space Planners are required to report to the C-suite for space design reviews.
As we enter a post-pandemic world, the way office space is used has changed drastically. The Space and Occupancy Planner at Wells Fargo, Inc. in Minneapolis is now expected to understand shared and flexible seating and workplace strategies as well as concepts such as desk sharing. Many corporations are also beginning to invest in technology to accommodate their hybrid work model which can be costly. Senior Space Planners at CBRE are responsible for developing opportunities to decrease costs while increasing process efficiencies.
By using AI and combining it with other inputs, Space Planners can generate valuable data and insights previously unattainable such as collaboration scores. Planners can use this data in order to create next action recommendations for office spaces and solve disputes over space – all while adding long-term value to leases. Smart planning can also help organizations avoid the high costs of deferred maintenance.
Alex Trotto contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Armored Things. She is currently a Northeastern University student in her sophomore year.