5. The Business of Space

  1. Professor Edward Finch
  1. Danny Shiem Shin Then

Published Online: 16 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119967316.ch5

Facilities Change Management

Facilities Change Management

How to Cite

Shin Then, D. S. (2011) The Business of Space, in Facilities Change Management (ed E. Finch), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119967316.ch5

Editor Information

  1. School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, UK

Author Information

  1. Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 16 DEC 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405153461

Online ISBN: 9781119967316



  • Business of space;
  • Technology and workspace;
  • Workplace strategies;
  • Space planning and management


This chapter provides an overview of space planning from a business-driven perspective. The focus will be on how to plan for and manage facilities change resulting from office reconfiguration and office moves by regarding functional spaces within buildings as a business resource that must be optimised — hence ‘the business of space’ (McGregor and Then, 2001). The provision of functional workspace is no longer simply determined by financial considerations. Demand assessment at a corporate level is multi-dimensional: it therefore needs to take into consideration location preferences and transportation convenience, technological developments that support flexibility and mobility, corporate image and culture, and individual tasks and preferences. Clearly, facilities change management is inextricably linked to the provision and management of business facilities in which the workplace and workspace environment is the embodiment of the corporate culture and branding.

Understanding the status quo and projecting future requirements are key ingredients in effective space planning and management — understanding the baseline position. The continuing pace of developments in computing and communication technologies, increased mobility and social networking tools will mean that there are many possible alternatives to the traditional workplace or work style. The design and provision of a correctly balanced infrastructure of physical and virtual workspaces will be at the heart of strategic space planning for modern corporations.

This chapter is structured to provide a systematic assessment of demand and supply variables that impact on decisions relating to the provision and utilisation of functional space as a business resource. The importance of having a coherent corporate accommodation strategy that drives decision making is paramount in managing space demand over time. The business of space has resulted in a new geography of workplace that calls for careful evaluation of real estate portfolio options.

The design and reconfiguration of space within organisations, whether in terms of physical relocation or workplace reconfiguration, involves not only physical changes but also emotional changes for the people affected. Effective facilities changemanagementwill require a thorough process of assessing organisational needs, assessing supply and deriving an appropriate outcome by matching demand and supply. Success in such a process will rely on taking a vision of the future and a structured approach in reaching it. This, in turn, needs to be supported by a comprehensive understanding of the business needs, data from the organisation and physical characteristics of the building infrastructure (including constraints). In space planning andmanagement, the focus must be on the people using the facilities, the technology needed to support tasks and work patterns, and themanagement skills, together with necessary systems capabilities to adjust and monitor facilities performance.