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Stack Planning

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  • Post last modified:September 21, 2021

Stack planning is a macro way of looking at space utilization.

The “stack” is a complete collection of floor plans, showing every level of a building and each floor’s distinct features. A stack shows which groups occupy what space, where open spaces are, and floor plan capacities.

Stack planning is a valuable tool in predicting how changes to one area of the workplace affects others. Stack planning helps facility managers (FMs) determine if change is needed, and if so, where. It’s the most holistic way of looking at facilities and everything within them.

Goal stack planning involves quickly rearranging large employee groups to better utilize existing space. A facility manager might use stack planning to rearrange entire departments across three floors of a building or model workspace conservation under a new desking arrangement.

Three ways facility managers can use block and stack planning to optimize their workplaces

Facility managers can leverage block and stack planning to create a workplace that isn’t just great for the present moment (or during times of physical distancing and enhanced sanitizing precautions), but for the long term as well.

  1. Visualize your teams across floors and buildings

With block and stack planning, facility managers can enjoy benefits such as:

  • Visualizing departments across your floor plan regardless of employee location
  • Setting up your teams as groups in order to see the best ways to organize a floor plan based on department planning or other company goals
  • Easily viewing where a given team is located, even if it’s across multiple floors or locations  

In short, block and stack planning takes the guesswork out of adjusting your seating plans by providing groups of staff to organize in one fell swoop instead of having to address each employee in a different way. This way, you know you’re making changes based on the needs of employees as well as your company’s resources.

  1. See how teams are distributed throughout your portfolio
  2. Find and make better use of unused space


Marketing wants to hire two new employees, but it already crammed 12 people in a space meant for 10. One solution is to break up the department and move employees to available workspaces. But stack planning may offer better alternatives:

~Swap space: Human Resources consists of eight employees in space meant for 14. Swapping department locations may make sense.

~Move floors: The first floor has two vacant eight-person areas. Marketing can move without disrupting any other department.

~Create adjacencies: IT is currently next to Marketing. Six Product Development employees sit in space meant for 16. Product Development and IT consistently collaborate, so it’s smart to seat them next to each other.

Each option maximizes workspace while accommodating the unique needs of every department. A top-down view of the workplace stack provides context for decision-making when it comes to space utilization.


Image by Stephen Keeling from Pixabay



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