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Space use, footprints and telework planning for HR and facilities staff

On this page you'll find tips and recommendations for all agencies’ human resources staff and facilities staff to work together regarding agency space use (“footprints”) planning efforts in the future as part of our statewide efforts to modernize the workplace, while ensuring equity for all employees. Although human resources (HR) generally does not have a direct role in facilities planning work, it makes sense for facilities planning staff and HR to partner in discussing the future space needs for their agency.

Facility planning: introduction

The Office of Financial Management (OFM) provides facilities planning and oversight for most executive branch state agencies. OFM staff partner with agency leaders and facilities planners to assess current and future agency needs for leased space. The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) assists agencies by negotiating lease agreements to secure the needed space so agency needs are met. This guidance is presented to help HR and facilities planning staff from state agencies engage more effectively internally, and to effectively use the resources provided by OFM Facilities Planning and Oversight and DES Real Estate Services.

The space needs of an agency are driven by their operations and by what their employees need to be successful. Although supervisors and managers are responsible for deciding if all of a position’s assigned work must be performed onsite and designating positions accordingly, HR may be most familiar with the amount of remote work that is possible for the overall agency workforce based on position designations and employee interest. HR is responsible for managing and communicating workforce needs and helping to develop policies that support employees. HR is also involved in change management and negotiating the impacts of managerial decisions with labor organizations.

Strategies and data

We recommend agency Facility Planning and agency HR staff talk to each other—early and often—about workforce and operational space needs and possibilities. The OFM Facilities Planning team is responsible for reviewing statewide and agency space use data and working with OFM Budget to understand growth trends and forecast space needs, but you as HR can be internally proactive so that your facilities planning team and HR team are prepared to work constructively with OFM Facilities Planning when the time comes.

Where to find your data in HRMS: In advance of engaging with agency facilities planning staff, the best thing that HR can do is review modern work environment program participation for their agency's employees. Within HRMS, employee participation is Infotype 9106, while the position eligibility data is Infotype 9901. This information can be produced as a report from HRMS via the Employee Duty Station report (ZHR_RPTPA805), or users of the Washington Workforce Analytics (WWA) enterprise data warehouses can create ad hoc queries using the Duty Station elements in the respective WWA universes. This information can also be filtered at a high summary level with this State HR Modern Work Environment dashboard.

Keep your data updated: Due to the urgency of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy emergency order in March 2020, and the ongoing public health imperative, many agencies shifted large numbers of staff to telework very quickly. In many cases telework eligibility and participation information was not updated in HRMS. If upon review of your data you realize that it is not up-to-date and does not reflect current true participation and eligibility in modern work, you must work with managers and supervisors to update your agency’s records on eligibility and participation in telework and other modern work policies such as compressed work week. Make sure that updated information is entered into HRMS.

Agency footprint and co-locating

Agencies that are considering reducing their space use in light of increased remote work may find co-locating with another agency to be the most viable solution. The costs and complications of downsizing an existing lease in the midterm of the lease agreement make this an unlikely path to pursue. Co-locating is an option if an agency has a longer lease and would like to share both lease cost and space.

OFM Facilities Planning and Oversight has developed a available space report in the Facilities Portfolio Management Tool (FPMT)  to help agencies backfill unused space. 

OFM Facilities Planning and DES Real Estate Services recommendations

Agencies should consider the following if they are interested in reducing their leased space or co-locating:

  • The number of leases the agency has and the lease end date of each.
    • This is available in FPMT but agency need to look at their whole portfolio and identify opportunities and limitations.
    • The space reduction timeline should be aligned with lease renewal date (not mid-term).
  • Has your agency estimated how many staff will return to the office and how many will work remotely post pandemic?  This is also a requirement for the Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery Guide for state agencies.
    • How many staff will work full time from home, coming to the office for meeting/training/supplies only? How many will work three or more days remotely? 
    • Has your agency determined how many days per week someone must work in the office to receive a dedicated workspace?
  • Has your agency reviewed your employee responses on the most recent State Employee Engagement Survey, and any other surveys (such as pulse surveys) your agency may have used?
  • Has your agency opened a project with DES Real Estate Services (unless giving up an entire building) if you want to reduce your space?

Once an agency can answer these questions, OFM Facilities Planning and Oversight can assist in estimating potential downsizing options and project cost data. DES RES can assist with the implementation of the footprint reduction project.

Advice from an agency

We’ve provided some advice from a state agency that recently co-located with another agency on what you may want to plan for as you consider sharing space.

Preparing and partnering with new neighbors

  • We discuss physical space planning with co-agency facilities management staff.
  • We conducted walk-throughs, with both agencies’ facilities staff.
  • Held weekly meetings to discuss progress in the project (we conducted a design/build) with both agency’s facilities management staff/resource management staff, to discuss the following details: 
    • Division of space and design build plan
    • Plans for any shared space such as lunchroom environments
    • IT needs/systems,
    • Network challenges and compatibility
    • Building security
      • how to give each agency autonomy but still retain a shared level of security,
      • entry into the building & secure spaces: card key vs. other options
  • Parking capacity for the incoming staff
  • Who staffs the reception area – what is the expectation on each agency’s staff? to assist the other agency?
  • Who receives the mail? How is it sorted/who sorts it?

These discussions shake out the differences in agency culture, and how they manifest themselves in all aspects of the future co-location site.

Other considerations

Technology coordination: IT staff needed to meet and collaborate to decipher how to address differing wireless systems to make sure they can work independently of one another and not crowd the other out

Policy review: Analysis of policies re: facilities, HR, IT (equipment & resources) to identify cross-over or contradictory language (ex: we require badges to be worn at all times and be visible at all times . . . is that the other agency’s requirement as well?)

Interagency agreement: Agencies will need to meet to discuss and may revise the agreement as necessary; also captured in lease agreement – set out expectations ahead of time (we could share out interagency agreement and/or lease agreements to help provide additional items to add to the checklist/things to consider)

Labor Relations and communication: Consider developing a communication plan for labor partners (timing based on agency current practices) and when to communicate with employees (develop cross-sectional transition team?)


Last updated
Monday, July 12, 2021
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