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10 Mobile Employee Apps That Increase Productivity

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

No matter what line of work you’re in, technology has a foothold in some way, shape or form. Often, the simplest technological integration is a smartphone app. In fact, workplace apps have become a staple for many businesses—be it for communication, collaboration or as part of general operations. Chances are, you’re already using one or more apps as part of your everyday job.

The benefits of workplace apps are huge! From improved productivity to higher morale, using the right app(s) can make all the different in how you work each and every day. Let’s take a look at 10 mobile employee apps that are hugely beneficial to the people using them.

1.    #Slack

Slack takes workplace messaging to a whole new level. It’s quicker than email, more organized than texting and offers more integrations than just about any other messaging platform. Slack is truly a tool that allows you to maximize productivity.

Slack is divided into threads that are specific to a singular topic, allowing you to start an ongoing conversation while staying on-task. Share files, tag collaborators, create checklists and more, all within a specific channel. The platform is totally customizable and integrates into virtually any other app or platform you might be using, including SpaceIQ!

2.    Trello

For those who absolutely need a visual task management system, Trello is a superb tool. It creates a visual workflow and process management system for projects, acting as both a to-do list and a tracking tool. Its cloud-based platform lets you work with collaborators and upload documents directly to each task, keeping everything keenly organized in one place.

As far as simple workplace apps go, Trello takes the cake! It’s extremely intuitive interface makes it easy for anyone to pick up in just a few minutes, making it a great tool for businesses with higher staff churn rates or those that rely on contractors who come and go.

3.    15Five

This handy app is heralded as one of the most user-friendly mobile employee apps because it opens a line of communication between managers and subordinates, as well as across teams. The app allows managers to set up weekly check-ins with employees and has a feature that lets workers ask questions or seek clarification from supervisors. It’s a smart way to boost employee engagement and productivity.

Fast-paced environments and jobsites with bigger teams benefit most from 15Five. This app helps everyone get the recognition they deserve for a job well done, while helping managers pinpoint areas where they could coach better performance.

4.    Skedulo

An app that’s made for teams operating across multiple jobsites, Skedulo is the answer to the 5W question: who, what, where, why and when? This workplace app allows managers to schedule their employees at a specific time and jobsite, complete with a job description. The shift is pushed to everyone on the team so every project is properly coordinated.

With features like maps and calendars built in, job information can also be exported or used in conjunction with other apps. Plus, data capture capabilities within the app allow workers to document the job as it’s being done, for recordkeeping and transparency purposes.

5.    When I Work

Another scheduling app, When I Work is a device-native app—meaning it comes with all of the smartphone integrations you need to make it a core part of operations. Gig workers and contract employees will get the most mileage out of this app. It pushes schedules and changes via text or notification alert, in conjunction with time, date and location details.

When I Work is a manager’s best friend, too! Supervisors can approve shift switching, answer questions, manage a virtual timeclock and more. The tiered permissions of this workplace app also make it easy to delegate with transparency.

6.    ClickUp!

ClickUp! was first an internal tool, but now as a way to making the world more productive. It’s goal is to have all work live in ClickUp – thereby making people more productive and giving back at least 20% of time to dedicate to other things. One app to replace them all. ClickUp! is used 200,000+ teams—and 3 million+ users.

7.    Evernote

Note taking is an underrated skill that benefits anyone immensely in the workplace. Whether it’s tracking the conversation in a meeting or jotting down ideas for a project, Evernote remains the leader for note taking workplace apps. And, it’s so simple to use that it can quickly become an integrated part of any office workplace.

Evernote also shines in its multimedia capabilities. Notes can be supplemented with pictures and video, turned into checklists, tagged and annotated, or stitched together for comprehensive knowledge. Whether for personal or collaborative use, Evernote makes keeping track of notes simple.

8.    Zendesk

Every company has defined processes and practices. Unfortunately, not all of them have Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documentation. Zendesk acts as a hub for all of your company’s Q&A needs and SOP documents. If anyone has a question, you can point them to Zendesk where the answer has already been archived. And, if it’s a brand-new query, you can easily create an entry for future reference.

Zendesk has the added bonus of being both an internal and customer-facing piece of software. Use it as a workplace app for your day-to-day operations or create a tool that your customers can reference to streamline customer service.

9.    CamCard

Business cards are still the currency of the working world. If you’re in sales or networking, your old-school rolodex is likely chocked-full of cards. CamCard helps you digitize cards to ensure they’re always available to you in the cloud. Just snap a picture of the card and the software pulls out all of the details, creating a virtual rolodex for you to comb through, complete with pictures of the physical cards.

CamCard takes the stress out of trying to remember contacts and is great for workers on the go who need to tap into their network at any time. The app even allows you to make phone calls, send emails or access your contact’s social media with a tap of the finger.

10.   Expensify

Expense situations arise all the time and are usually accompanied by a tedious documentation process. Expensify is a must-have mobile employee app for tracking and cataloging expenses in real time.

When a purchase is made, an employee simply enters the nature of the purchase, the amount and any other pertinent information. Then, they can take a picture of the receipt with their smartphone. Expenses can then be exported individually or in bulk for processing and reimbursement. This app cuts down on the headaches and pitfalls that come with expense reporting and minimizes processing time for quicker reimbursement.

Employee Mobile Apps Make Life Easier

With smart technology always in our pockets, workplace apps (just like workplace management software) are becoming more and more integrated into everyday business operations. And for good reason! The right app in the right hands can drastically improve your ability to get the job done quickly and correctly.

Whether it’s workplace communication or expense reporting, ultimately, everyone benefits. Check out the 10 apps above to see how they might improve your workplace operations.

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Magic Quadrant for Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS)

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
SpaceIQ

Wondering what is the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS)? And what it means for you and your business? This brief overview should shed some light on the subject. As you’ll see, the Magic Quadrant is a useful and interesting piece of information for those considering investments in the IWMS market, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of market research.

It may sound like some sort of obscure ritual but, in actuality, the Magic Quadrant is a simple coordinate graph that uses a classic X-Y axis system to create a four-quadrant plane. Rather than using a number line though, the axes and quadrants represent qualitative judgements made by research analysts at Gartner, a world-renowned IT research firm based in the U.S. This qualitative analysis is based on data-backed research, but the subjects of each Magic Quadrant graph are not assigned a numeric value, score, or weight. This means that the people reading the Magic Quadrant reports can determine which qualities they find most important and assess the research results based in large part on their own criteria.

Each Magic Quadrant graph focuses on a single topic or market trend such as eCommerce, sales force automation and integrated workplace management systems (IWMS). Each of these reports names the major software and technology vendors in each market and places them on the quadrant graph based on data analysis and qualitative determination. The 2017 eCommerce Magic Quadrant, for example, includes vendors such as IBM, Oracle and Salesforce. Gartner researchers update their Magic Quadrant reports roughly every 1-2 years. There are Magic Quadrant reports for most major tech markets in which several big-name vendors release software platforms.

Why an IWMS Gartner Magic Quadrant?

The IWMS Magic Quadrant assesses the major players in the facilities management software market. According to a 2013 Magic Quadrant report from Gartner, “Real estate and facilities executives who deliver the significant ROI of integrated management of the full facilities life cycle will gain positive C-suite and even board-level attention.” This gets at the “why” of the IWMS Magic Quadrant: Gartner believes this class of software to be of significant professional import for executives and others in facilities or real estate departments within larger organizations.

Gartner describes Magic Quadrants as a “first step” for those considering adopting or changing to a new technology provider for a specific purpose. Investors can use the Magic Quadrant to determine which organizations are best positioned for success in the near and distant future. With the IWMS market continuing to grow and expand, the Magic Quadrant is a good source for those interested in anticipating which vendors will provide the best tech in this market.

Though these graphs have become useful shorthand to represent industry achievement, it is important to remember that Gartner does not reveal its research methodology. The Magic Quadrants themselves are rather terse representations of what is likely a complex research and analysis process. Gartner has also been the subject of some criticism in the past, particularly from smaller vendors and open-source vendors who feel that the company focuses too much on entrenched industry leaders and doesn’t make enough room for up-and-comers. With that in mind, investors and others watching the IWMS industry may want to balance the information Gartner presents with independent research and analysis.

Understanding the Magic Quadrant

Beyond the basics, it’s important to understand the qualitative categories each part of the Magic Quadrant represents. A vendor shown to fall into the very bottom left-hand corner of the Quadrant is represented very differently in Gartner’s analysis than a vendor shown in the very top right corner. That’s why it’s so important to understand what each different part of the quadrant means before you start taking in this simplified visual summary of complex, data-backed market research analysis.

You may also not always agree with the placement of certain vendors in the Magic Quadrant. Gartner has an interactive Magic Quadrant that you can adjust according to your own needs, but if you don’t have access to this tool, you can simply make your own assessment of whether you think the analysis presented on the chart is complete or accurate.

The X-Axis: Completeness of Vision


This is the axis that deals mostly with technology and innovation. “Completeness of Vision” gets at questions relating to the vendor’s ability to actually do what it sets out to do with its products in this market. Vendors who have a good handle on innovation and seem to be one step ahead of the pack tend to do well on “Completeness of Vision.” Technology that doesn’t really clearly address the problems it purports to address or that unsuccessfully approaches a specific function or doesn’t seem to have a good feel for future market direction will appear further to the left, while those vendors that deliver useful tech and make good products in the market will appear further to the right.

The Y-Axis: Ability to Execute


Gartner approaches the “Ability to Execute” axis from a pure business standpoint While anything related to the software program or technology’s ability to deliver on the promise of its concept are included in the “Completeness of Vision” axis, the “Ability to Execute” axis addresses business issues, such as profitability, fiscal stability, market share, and the ability to compete. Vendors that do not appear to have much long-term financial viability or that aren’t competing well in the market will appear closer to the bottom while those that do better than their competitors in this area will appear closer to the top.

Quadrant I (Northeast): Leaders


As the topmost and furthest-right quadrant, the Leaders section of the chart includes those vendors who succeed in both “Completeness of Vision” and “Ability to Execute.” This is the section in which major vendor names tend to fall, though that’s not always the case, especially when Vision is an issue for a particular vendor or when a vendor’s business prospects are in trouble in spite of a high profile. While it can be easily assumed that the Leaders quadrant is the location for the “best” IWMS tech, it’s not necessarily the case. Each quadrant on the chart presents a balance of pros and cons. The Leaders quadrant may include vendors who can safely charge astronomical prices for their tech or who provide subpar customer support due to the sheer volume of business they do.

Quadrant II (Northwest): Challengers


Challengers are positioned to do well in the short-term and may already be cutting into established vendors’ market share, but Gartner’s analysis has determined that their ability to think ahead is limited. The high position on the chart does indicate that these vendors are doing some things right, but their lack of appropriate Vision may have long-term implications for the company’s market viability. Good market share doesn’t necessarily indicate that the vendor will continue to make the right moves in the future.

Quadrant III (Southwest): Niche Players


The bottom left quadrant is reserved for the Niche Players, which Gartner defines in two ways. One category of Niche Players is only interested in capturing a small segment of the market, producing technology that doesn’t address the wider needs of potential users outside of a certain industry or function. Broad Vision isn’t necessarily a priority for these companies and their limited market-share goals mean their Execution isn’t at the top of the heap, either. The second category of Niche Players includes those organizations that actually want to be addressing the widest market share possible but have neither the Vision nor Execution to stand out from the crowd.

Quadrant IV: (Southeast): Visionaries


As the name (and graph position) indicates, Magic Quadrant Visionaries have a good completeness of vision, meaning they understand where their market is headed and do a good job anticipating needed changes, but they don’t compete with the top players from a business perspective. This quadrant may also include newer companies or programs that haven’t yet had the chance to prove their long-term ability to execute but have excellent delivery of concept. The Visionaries category may, therefore, include some up-and-comers that could easily hop up to a higher and, therefore, more prestigious quadrant in a future Magic Quadrant analysis release.

What the Magic Quadrant Means for IWMS Programs

As with all professionally aggregated industry analysis, the Magic Quadrant isn’t perfect. Gartner isn’t without its critics but, in general, the Magic Quadrant is a good way for outsiders and insiders alike to get a high-level view of the major players and competitors within a specific market.

Because IWMS is a rapidly-changing and constantly-shifting market, the Magic Quadrant can help facilities and real estate professionals keep their eye on the ball when it comes to changing tech in the industry. Remember that Gartner’s full report includes more than just the Magic Quadrant chart. Past reports have included sections titled “Best Practices for IWMS Deployment” and other information that could be of vital importance for both vendors in the market and professionals who use this kind of software.

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Using Hoteling and Hot Desks for Contactors and Part-Time Workers

By Nai Kanell
Vice President of Marketing
SpaceIQ

The concept of hotel desks is a modern one, originating in the last decade. It’s a way of optimizing workspaces to accommodate more workers by scheduling desks like a timeshare. The practice gets its name from its similarity to hotel bookings: different guests stay in the same room on any given night. With a hotel desk, a singular space can be used by many people at different times to drive down the cost of operating that space.

Not only does hoteling optimize workspaces for efficiency high above their static capacity, it also has the potential to optimize the workers using those hotel desks (please also read our quick guide to office hoteling best practices). In particular, contractors, part-time staff, consultants and other “temporary workers” all benefit from hotel desking. They can instantly and easily be slotted into a workplace with minimal disruption to the task at hand or the static workforce around them.

Breaking down the benefits of hotel desks starts by understanding how these dynamic workspaces play into your overall facilities management.

A Top-Down View of Your Workplace

Through the lens of Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software like SpaceIQ, it’s possible to map out your entire workplace, complete with every workstation and desk. Plugging your workforce into a CAFM-generated overview allows you to see who works where on a daily basis. More importantly, however, it enables oversight of desks that may be open or under-utilized. This is where hoteling becomes instrumental. Take a look at a real-world example.

Let’s say your office has 50 total workstations. You currently employ 45 full-time employees, but need to expand your workforce to include 10 more contract workers for a temporary project. Logistically, your facilities can’t support this influx of staff without doubling up workstations or expanding—both of which come with costs. Overcrowding leads to a drop in productivity and renting facilities incurs major overhead.

The solution in this situation is hoteling. Hot desking the 5 available workspaces enables you to house 10 temporary workers. Divide them into morning and afternoon shifts or across the different days of the week—whatever solution enables maximum utilization of your available space. Ultimately, you get 10 workers occupying 5 desks, with no added costs or setbacks.

Again, for effective hoteling to be possible, a comprehensive, top-down view of the workplace is needed. SpaceIQ enables available workspaces to be pinpointed and employees to be tracked, to determine the utilization of each space at any given time.

Allocating Hot Desks

For larger companies with hundreds or thousands of employees, or those operating multiple locations, space allocation becomes paramount. More than just understanding the number of available workspaces or the demand for space, it’s crucial to determine how available hotel desks should be used for maximum productivity. Some examples include:

  • Open availability. In co-working spaces or communal facilities, it can be virtually impossible to predict desk demand on a daily basis, without pre-scheduling. Having hotel desks set aside enables your facilities to adapt to demand as-needed.
  • Project staffers. In the same way a conference room may serve the temporary needs of a group, hotel desking can be a quick fix to creating space for project staffers. Whether the project lasts a day or a month, versatile desking options ensure optimal space utilization.
  • Consultants. Many consultants spend time in-house during their tenure. Instead of clearing permanent space for them, coordinate in-house work days and use SpaceIQ to reserve hotel desks on those specific days.
  • Transition desking. Finding temporary seating for full-time workers can become a necessity during departmental moves or construction on facilities. Hotel desking creates a temporary home for displaced workers, without driving up facilities costs.

The applications for dedicated hotel desks within a business are virtually limitless. What makes them effective is understanding how to leverage them for workforce expansion, without the need for facilities expansion.

Attracting a Versatile Workforce

The benefits of featuring hotel desks in your workspace go beyond just optimizing your own operational efficiency. These versatile, accommodating desks are also a draw for workers. In the modern economic climate, contractors and part-time staffers flock to gigs that offer them creature comforts: such as a desk to call their own, if only for the meantime.

Knowing that there’s a desk waiting for them at your facilities can encourage many reputable contractors and consultants to actively seek a position with your company. Instead of collaborating entirely via phone, email or video conferencing, gig workers will be able to seamlessly integrate themselves into your workforce for better productivity. And, by not having to work in cafeterias, conference rooms, lounges or breakrooms, part-time workers can work comfortably and distraction-free.

Don’t forget: having a desk ready for your contractors also means you know exactly where to find them! For many facilities managers, this is important in maintaining control over operations. Time spent hunting down employees is time wasted. SpaceIQ makes it easy to pull up a floorplan and type in a name to instantly locate a person of interest.

Managing a Dynamic Workplace

There’s one critical drawback to hotel desking: it breeds chaos when not managed properly. Employee overlap can stifle productivity and overbooking becomes a concern that leaves workers without a place of their own. SpaceIQ is designed specifically around preventing these issues from arising.

SpaceIQ has a twofold safeguard against overbooking or mismanagement of hotel desks. First, the ability to map out a comprehensive overview of all workstations helps facility managers determine how many actual workstations exist. Second, the ability of administrators to assign employees to a workstation prevents staffing conflicts.

Rather than relying on verbal cues or pen and paper forecasting plans, CAFM software compiles hotel desking and workforce information into a single, collaborative map that provides visual cues for managing a dynamic work environment.

Factoring in Temporary Desks

Many companies are driving down the cost efficiency of their facilities by failing to recognize the opportunity for hotel desks. It’s important to take a look at some of the factors that may be signaling the demand for these types of timeshare spaces:

  • How many part-time workers have a dedicated desk?
  • What portion of your staff is temporary and how are you currently accommodating them?
  • If you’re currently at capacity, are there opportunities for hotel desks?
  • What portion of your facilities is unused and could be repurposed to recoup costs?

Determining your own unique opportunity for hotel desking comes from using SpaceIQ to take a top-down view of your current workplace and its operations. Factoring in temporary desking solutions then comes from understanding where space is over- or under-utilized, and what portion of your workforce is full vs. part time. Once you have all of the information, it’s easy to crunch the numbers to see what costs you could be saving or recouping through hoteling.

If any portion of your workforce is made up of contractors or part-time workers, there’s a significant chance that having dynamic workspaces will benefit you. Being able to tailor your workplace around the occasional needs of these workers means giving them a temporary space to call their own, without taking a hit to your facilities’ overhead costs.

Using SpaceIQ to map and assess your facilities will give you all of the information you need to assess what space is rife for hoteling and how you can best accommodate your occasional workforce to optimize their comfort and productivity—all without disrupting your full-time, permanent staff.