Top strategies for hybrid office space planning

Discover the new metrics, benchmarks, and design approaches top teams are using to optimize their real estate portfolios and employee experience in the hybrid workplace.

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Modern metrics measure reality.

Hybrid is here to stay. We sat down with industry experts Susan Wasmund, Head of CBRE’s Global Workplace & Occupancy Management practice, and Maya Katter, VP of Client Success at OfficeSpace, to uncover common myths that could be hindering your hybrid office. With over 45 years combined experience advising the world’s top brands, they explore reframing your approach to hybrid using metrics that matter now.

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Planning your office space based on headcount.

With employees working from home and in-office today, planners need new ways to forecast space needs and demand:

  • 50% of desk bookings within OfficeSpace are made last-minute 
  • Peak days see up to 150-250% more desk bookings than average days
  • 33% of companies now have a seat sharing ratio of >1.5:1

The more flexible an organization’s hybrid work policy, the more variable demand for space will be. Facility managers (FMs) and space planners need new ways to plan for this new reality. 

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To learn utilization metrics can inform your workplace strategy.

CBRE myth 02

Measuring your space based on density

Traditional density metrics aren’t effective at measuring the use of hybrid space or reflect the reality of how spaces are actually being used in a dynamic work environment. 

Measure how efficient and effective your space actually is, by using more modern metrics, that create a clear picture of your space needs, answering questions such as:

  • How can the size and purpose of the office better meet employee needs?
  • How can workplace design help to maintain or enhance productivity?
  • How can we address company goals around culture and collaboration?
  • How much capacity do I need at a given site? Could we sublease a floor? 


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And discover which micro and macro metrics to measure now.

CBRE myth 01

Using established benchmarks for designing space

Benchmarking against other organizations for space planning is no longer relevant. In a hybrid world, there‘s no ‘one size fits all’ solution across industries. ‘One size fits all’ may not even work within a company.  

Designing hybrid office spaces now means managing a host of competing interests and factors, including:

  • Job functions and team requirements
  • Demographics
  • Geographies
  • Culture
  • Purpose
  • Budget 

To support the unique business and cultural objectives of their organizations look internally to align with company goals.

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And discover today’s benchmarks for space management.

CBRE myth 03

Hybrid work requires capital improvements and renovations

Companies are juggling tension between economic uncertainty, and the need to invest in space improvements that support collaboration and attract employees to the office. FMs and space planners can optimize office space planning without expensive investments, if they’re able to leverage existing data to see office use trends across:

  • Teams
  • Departments
  • Sites
  • Cost Centers

Armed with the right utilization data, organizations can make great hybrid spaces that are engaging and effective, without risky or expensive investments. 

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And start leveraging your existing space.

CBRE myth 04

Hybrid work requires complicated technology

Perhaps the biggest myth about hybrid work is that it requires complicated technology to implement, measure, and optimize. 

Some organizations are already collecting data that can be repurposed and combined as part of a ‘test before you invest’ strategy for hybrid. To improve employee experience and workplace management, many companies already collect:

  • Desk and meeting room reservations, check-ins, and cancellations
  • Badge swipe data
  • Wifi logs

By combining and analyzing this real-time data properly, companies can implement and test better strategies to ensure spaces support business performance.

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To discover how OfficeSpace simplifies testing, measuring, and adjusting your hybrid strategy.

CBRE myth 05

Top strategies for hybrid office space planning with CBRE’s Susan Wasmund.

Discover new benchmarks, metrics, and strategies to create more engaging work environments and better real estate portfolio decisions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some of the most common hybrid workplace questions

What is office space planning?

Office space planning is the process of using data to optimize on-site work environments. The goal is typically to use good metrics to create cost-effective spaces that support employee engagement and long term business goals. While it can include elements of basic office interior design (like office furniture and natural light), the focus tends to be on finding the right mix of heads-down and collaborative spaces, and on balancing employee/company needs with real estate budgets.

In the current era of hybrid and remote work, where the number of people using the office can vary dramatically from day-to-day, office design and space planning is increasingly challenging. Many are turning to new strategies to better align their available space with their people’s needs.

What are the three major factors in office space planning?

The three major factors in  office space planning for a hybrid work environment are:

  • Align your hybrid strategy to your business goals, instead of looking at other organizations. Focus on looking internally at what leadership wants your real estate strategy and employee culture to look like.
  • Utilization is the metric to measure what’s really going in your workplace, density isn’t as relevant in a hybrid world. 
  • Leverage your existing technology and space. Set your own benchmarks, test, iterate, and measure. Getting presence data from technology doesn’t have to be expensive, look to leverage badge and WIFI data.

Whether building a new office space, redesigning an existing one, or simply editing a floor plan, decision makers need to develop their strategy around these three factors. From open spaces and conference rooms, to common areas, huddle rooms, individual workstations, cubicles, and everything in between, building an office with intention requires careful planning with the right metrics and right plan for how to use them.

What is an example of an office space planning decision?

A common example of an office space planning decision comes from HUB International, an OfficeSpace client that redesigned their corporate headquarters to offer more bookable private offices. Employees are now able to reserve these workspaces when they need heads-down space, or a space for 1:1 meetings or whiteboarding sessions.  

Repurposing private spaces and open floor plans to allow for more collaborative spaces is also very common, as hybrid offices seek to use their physical space to support collaboration and culture efforts.