Top 5 Challenges Space Management Tech Solves for Universities

November 7, 2023
Hybrid Work
Top 5 Challenges Space Management Tech Solves for Universities

TL;DR Article Summary

Like many institutions today, where and how work is done in higher education is changing. Universities are increasingly embracing hybrid working opportunities—with no signs of stopping. An EAB survey found that higher ed leaders anticipate a 17% increase in hybrid staff, with two-thirds of universities saying they will allow remote work for three or more days a week.

Even so, physical spaces on campuses are not going away anytime soon. Students, faculty, and staff still largely need spaces to meet in person, whether it be forming lifelong friendships or conducting research together. With the increase of hybrid work and high cost of leasing physical spaces, universities can benefit from managing their shared spaces more efficiently. 

Space management tech helps universities scrap unused spaces and empty desks while ensuring that staff, faculty, and students still have access to the resources they need when they need it. See how space management software streamlines room and desk reservations in universities:

1. Faculty and Staff Can Book Space They Need, When They Need It

Conference room reservation system allows faculty and administrative staff to easily reserve office spaces or meeting rooms on campus, improving workspace availability and efficiency. People often travel from different campuses and need a place to work just for the day. Space management tech makes it easier for people to reserve a room or desk ahead of time.

“When people from other campuses visit our site, the desk booking system gives them the freedom to book a desk so they have a seat to stay in when they get here. Before, people just randomly sat wherever they felt like. The booking system has made it easier for us to know it’s okay to use a desk because it’s available that day.” - Alejandro Vazquez, Administrative Manager at Columbia

Desk reservation system also promotes flexible working arrangements. Staff members reserve workstations when they need them, promoting hot desking and reducing the need for permanent seating. Faculty and staff who work on campus 2 to 3 days a week can choose to share their desks, helping to decrease the number of unused spaces as more people work remotely during the week. 

2. Students Book Space To Study, Rehearse, and Collaborate

Space management tech provides students a simpler way to reserve dedicated spaces to study, collaborate on projects, and hold rehearsals or practices. Students can reserve individual desks or group study rooms in the library, helping them find a quiet and productive environment for academic work. The tech also helps prevent people from reserving spaces where they don’t have access to. For instance, faculty and staff cannot reserve common areas in residential buildings that are only for students. 

“We just opened up a new student hub with spaces that students can reserve for studying, group projects, and other academic uses. With the new tech, they can see their reservation time, get confirmation, and know what’s available.” - Winnie HeeWee Wong, Student Engagement Executive at Swinburne University of Technology 

Additionally, space management software makes it possible to see what a space looks like before making reservations. That helps students know if a space is suitable for their needs, such as determining if a room is big enough for a large group practice or if it has the right lighting to set up an art exhibit.

3. Bring Organization to Premier Space Reservations

Staff and event organizers use space management software to reserve conference rooms, auditoriums, or event spaces for seminars, workshops, and conferences. The technology helps uphold reservation policies and streamlines the process for these generally more limited spaces needed for formal events.

For instance, anyone who wants to use the space may have to put in a request to Facilities/Events personnel to reserve these spaces. Once Facilities/Events receive these requests, they make the reservations on the space management platform. This ensures that not just anyone is making reservations to these premier spaces and creates more visibility as to what is happening on campus, helping with coordinating all moving parts required to ensure events run smoothly.

4. Easily Track Shared Equipment and Amenities 

Space management tech helps ensure equitable access to limited amenities and critical resources. For instance, students living in residential buildings can use the technology to reserve popular shared spaces like the kitchen to ensure everyone has a chance to use them. Students in science and engineering disciplines can also use the coworking software to reserve time slots for laboratory work.

“We have a communal kitchen that only students living in the residential buildings can use. We have about 400 students and only 9 stove tops, so students have to make a reservation to use the kitchen.” - Winnie HeeWee Wong, Student Engagement Executive at Swinburne University of Technology 

Additionally, space management software can be used to keep track of resources like lab equipment. Staff and faculty record where equipment is stored on the platform and enforce reservations of these resources beforehand. If equipment is missing from their rightful spot, personnel can access the record of who last reserved the equipment, helping to track down the missing item. 

5. Maximize Potential of Underutilized Spaces

Professors and faculty can use room reservation systems to book classrooms or lecture halls for specific classes, workshops, or meetings. The platform lets them know if classrooms are available, plus when and for how long they are available. Photos and descriptions also help ensure faculty reserve the right size classroom with the right amenities.

Space management tech helps make use of classrooms that previously sat empty between formal classes. It also reduces the confusion and embarrassment of walking into a classroom when class is already in session.

“It would be so much extra work to have to check every classroom and every study space just to make sure that the right people are in there at the right time. Space management tech has made it easier to see who should be in our academic buildings at what time.” - Gavin Curless, Events/Facilities at Cornell College

Manage Spaces Smarter With New Technology

As more people work in a hybrid setting and universities redesign their space allocation and utilization policies, it becomes more crucial to understand how spaces are used to support good decision making. Space management technology offers data on space utilization trends, helping universities optimize their physical resources, plan expansions, and identify areas for improvement. Not only does this help universities save on costs related to more efficient use of space, it also ensures a better work and educational experience for faculty, staff, and students.

See how Skedda helped Columbia and Cornell College organize and simplify their space reservation process. If you’re ready to start scheduling and reserving desks and rooms, create your free Skedda account today.

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