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Checklist: Addressing Employee Workplace Complaints

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Feedback is part of a healthy company culture. If employees have concerns or demands, you need to hear them. With feedback in hand, the next step is to put it into action. Here’s a quick checklist for some of the most common employee workplace complaints and how to address them.

How to address common employee complaints

  1. “I don’t have enough personal workspace”
    • Make sure you’re not overcrowding employees
    • Try a new desk arrangement
  2. “There’s too much overlap in shared workspaces”
    • Invest in a scheduling system
    • Encourage better communication among employees
  3. “I can’t concentrate because it’s too noisy or distracting”
    • Create private workspaces for employees
    • Explore new desk arrangements
  4. “There’s no place for me to talk or work in private”
    • Create private workspaces for employees
    • Explore remote work options or flexible hours
  5. “It takes too long to fix things”
  6. “The office is boring and it really sucks away my productivity”
    • Gauge specific feedback and tweak design
    • Accentuate the workplace creatively

There are some employee complaints you can’t do much about. That’s why it’s important to take control and affect change where it makes sense. Addressing concerns shows employees you care about them as both valuable workers and human beings.

Keep reading common employee complaints about the workplace and what they’re actually telling you about your office.

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Checklist: Accommodating a Multigenerational Workforce

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

In today’s workplace, the age range of your staff may span 50 years—up-and-coming Millennials to veteran Baby Boomers. There are five distinct generations to accommodate, each with its own outlook on work and the workplace. Giving each group the tools to succeed and a workplace where they feel comfortable isn’t easy. To help you conquer what may seem like a Herculean task, SpaceIQ created the following.

Multigenerational workforce checklist as a roadmap:

  • Step 1—Identify the generations present within your company and determine the breakdown of your workforce across each of these age groups.
    • The Silent Generation, born before 1946
    • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
    • Gen-Xers, born between 1965 and 1980
    • Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996
    • Gen-Z, born after 1996
  • Step 2—Gauge the variables you have control over and set standards for them. Try to be inclusive of all factors impacting a worker’s ability to do their best work in the right environment.
    • Working hours
    • Workspace types
    • Technical considerations
    • Management oversight
    • Task allocation and delegation
    • Praise and criticism
  • Step 3—Listen to the needs of employees and their feedback, then share that feedback with the people who can make meaningful change. Collect information on key metrics such as:
    • Workplace cost per employee
    • Workplace Net Promoter Score (NPS)
    • Office space vs. employees
    • Occupancy
    • Employee friction
    • Real estate portfolio efficiency
    • Real estate agility
    • Service quality
  • Step 4—Set the standards for your workplace (inclusive of all generations) and adapt your over time to support your ever-changing workforce:
    • Explore activity-based workspaces for different work habits
    • Make necessary desk accommodations specific to generational needs
    • Deploy technologies and training inclusive of all workers
    • Manage employees individually based on their reception to authority
    • Delegate tasks each generational worker is comfortable with and capable of
    • Define appropriate working hours and strategies to accommodate generations

Managing a multigenerational workplace takes a top-down approach. You’ll need to identify the generations present, understand their needs, set standards, and gauge your capacity for change. Recognizing staff diversity will help you empathize with their work environment expectations. Understanding generational needs and wants builds trust and confidence, which in turn incentivizes employees to do their best work.

Read more on the Multi-Generational Workplace and how to achieve success across generations.

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Common Employee Complaints About the Workplace

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Part of having good company culture is listening to employees. Giving them a voice means understanding their needs and wants, as well as what’s preventing them from being their most productive. Lending an ear and taking action to common employee complaints results in a win-win situation: Employees feel validated and employers reap the benefits of a happy workforce.

When listening to employee complaints, subtext matters just as much as what they’re actually saying. Look beyond the complaint itself and explore what’s causing it. Common employee complaints about the workplace are a symptom of bigger problems. Understanding those  problems and addressing them quickly will not only quell complaints, but fundamentally improve your workplace.

Take a look at a few of the most common employee complaints about the workplace and what they’re actually telling you about your office:

1. I don’t have enough personal workspace.

Not having the space to do their work is one of the top employee gripes. If they don’t have a space to settle in and put their nose to the grindstone, many workers won’t come close to matching their full  productivity potential. Instead, distractions and discomfort will zap their motivation and concentration. Employees need room.

This complaint may be the result of dysfunctional workplace design. Not giving employees enough space between desks or trying to cram too many people into too small of a space will create instant friction. Likewise, forcing shared workspaces in an environment structured around personal work contributions is a recipe for disaster. When practical, give employees the space to be their best.

2. There’s too much overlap in shared workspaces.

Space overlap is a huge problem for companies with shared facilities. Trying to use a conference room that’s already occupied disrupts work for both parties. Likewise, having to travel around the office to find an open desk wastes precious time. Having shared workspaces is a great way to utilize real estate, but needs proper oversight to prevent overlap and disagreements.

The solution is space management software or, at the very least, a communication platform that coordinates room bookings. Knowing if a space is occupied will save time and confusion. And the ability to book space ahead of time is great for productivity. Communication alleviates confusion.

3. I can’t concentrate because it’s too noisy or distracting.

Open offices are the culprit here. While an open office design is lauded for its ability to make the most of the space and bring teams together, the downside is the many distractions created by this design. Headphones only go so far to alleviate noise. And open workplaces allow instant access to anyone in sight. Interruptions create friction.

Privacy areas, such as phone booths, are a great solution. Quiet workspaces, private meeting rooms, and discrete hot desks are all great options for those days when total focus is required and interruptions can’t be tolerated. The open office concept can work, but employers need to help employees cope with excessive noise, distractions, and unfettered accessibility.

4. There’s no place for me to talk or work in private.

Another qualm of the open office concept is not having private spaces. Many employees don’t feel comfortable taking a personal call from at their desk or reading an email from a family member. Similarly, they may be having a bad day and need to get away while they work.

The easiest solution is creating private offices that can be booked by anyone. Also viable is introducing remote work options or flexible work hours. This takes some doing, but can be particularly useful in the long run.

5. It takes too long to fix things.

This complaint has nothing to do with space and everything to do with how it’s managed. Nothing will raise the voices of your workforce faster than a burnt-out lightbulb that stays dark for weeks or a lack of paper towels in the bathroom that persists for days. Employees expect the facilities around them to be hospitable and accommodating—and rightfully so.

One solution is an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) or a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). Both platforms help facilitate better responsiveness to facility needs. Employees will know who to report issues to and once they do, the software creates an accountability string to ensure problems are fixed.

6. The office is boring and it really sucks away my productivity!

Sometimes even the most subjective complaints yield insight into how to improve your facilities. Case in point, complaints about a drab office may seem inane, but may actually help address productivity issues. If employees are getting brain drain from their surroundings, you need to make changes that stimulate their creativity, comfort, engagement, and productivity.

There’s an infinite number of possibilities for resolving this complaint (read addressing employee complaints). Ask employees specifically what about your workplace lulls them into lethargy and then make basic design changes and workplace improvements.

There are always going to be employee complaints because everyone wants something different out of their workplace experience. The key is honing in on common complaints and digging deeper into them to figure out how to better accommodate employees.

Keep reading: Checklist: Accommodating a Multigenerational Workforce

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Workplace Move Management Tips for a Smooth Relocation

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
SpaceIQ

Uprooting your office and transplanting it to a new location is no small feat. There’s a lot that could go wrong. There’s a lot that will go wrong without the right plan. Below are move management tips to reduce the pain and mistakes of a workplace relocation.

Move management planning tips

No matter what phase of a move you’re in, planning is key. Never make a move unless you’ve thoroughly vetted every scenario and identify all objectives of your move.

  1. Identify goals—What do you want to get out of the move? How long should it take? What specific things should be accomplished before, during, and after the move?
  2. Create a timeline—Timing is everything when relocating, especially for larger workplaces. Build in buffer time between phases to problem solve. As your move takes shape, you’ll find clarity in how goals fit the relocation plan.
  3. Develop a contingency plan—If something goes wrong, how will you adapt? What can you do to minimize problems and deal with their effects? The goal is to never need a contingency plan. But if you do, you’ll be glad to have one.

Delegate move management tasks; Create accountability

Relocating an entire workplace is hardly one person’s job. It should fall on the shoulders of a well-appointed team. Putting together a move management team is an important step in delegating various aspects of the relocation (also read, What is Move Management?). Delegation also creates accountability.

  1. Appoint a strong leader—Choose leaders with a track record of responsibility and effectiveness. Look for managers who can internalize goals, think outside the box, and meet deadlines, all while properly managing staff.
  2. Delegate tasks—As we’ve said, one person can’t do everything. Assign tasks to people who can quickly and effectively complete the work. The more responsibility a person normally has, the more likely they are to embrace tasks and see them through to completion.
  3. Get feedback—Make sure you’re getting input and involvement from all business areas affected by the move. For example, accounting may not have much to do with move logistics, but it will still be involved in the final relocation. Tap someone from the department to help keep employees apprised of expectations.

The key is to keep your circle tight, yet inclusive. The fewer the people charged with move duties, the less room for error. But you need enough decision-makers to ensure plans are executed in a timely and appropriate manner.

Centralize communications and keep talking

Communication is paramount during relocation. When everyone is well-informed, fewer issues tend to arise. To that end, we’ve got a few essential workplace move management tips that revolve around communication and how to manage it:

  1. Use a dedicated messaging platform—Instead of email, use a system with organizational capabilities. An app like Slack allows you to create content-specific channels where information is readily accessible and always on-topic. It’s easy to create and browse channels such as #MoveTimeline or #CommunicationPlan channels to find information.
  2. Conduct weekly check-ins—Schedule meetings with your core move management group to ensure everyone is on the same page. Encourage decision-makers to bring questions and concerns to the table, so they can be appropriately planned for and addressed.
  3. Create a move process document—A living document that outlines the entire relocation is key to helping teams stay on task and educate new team members. Centralizing information (preferably in a cloud document) also makes it easy to reference and pull information from for additional planning and communications. Make sure the document has a dedicated owner to make updates and mark off tasks as they’re completed.

Go over all variables

The worst part of any move is stumbling awkwardly over the variables you didn’t account for—sometimes literally. During the planning and collaboration phases, be sure to reflect on all contingencies and variables:

  1. Conduct a walkthrough—Before packing a single box, walk your facility and take extensive notes. What’s staying? What needs to move? Whose responsibility is it? How is it being handled? Forgetting something simple like delegating a packing chore means having to deal with it during the move or after—a sure way to slow things down.
  2. Map workplace items—Create a map every piece of equipment, furniture, electronics, etc. Take the copy machine, for example. How is it getting from your old facility to the new workplace? Mentally outlining the step-by-step process means you’re not accidentally overlooking important duties.
  3. Create individual action plans—During the task-delegation phase, create action plans for every person involved in the move and have them review their assignments. A second set of eyes and an accountable individual will uncover missed elements in your plan and make sure it’s as thorough as possible.

It’s nearly impossible to account for every variable, but you can at least cover the major ones. Getting granular with your move management approach will leave you more prepared than most when it comes to execution. Learn more about move management software.

Stick to your plan

The best tip for moving your workplace is a simple one: Stay true to your plan. All the tips above contribute to preparedness. If you’re taking the time to prepare and formulate a plan, have the sense to stick to it. Upending your entire workplace and moving it is chaotic enough—don’t introduce any more uncertainty than is necessary.

Want more tips on a great move? Check out our guide: Best Practices for Relocating Employees.

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Blog

Today’s Multi-Generational Workplace

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

Generations have always existed side-by-side in the workforce. Fathers and sons founded startups together, just as 20-somethings learned the ropes from someone 20 years their senior. Workforce age gaps spanning a couple decades isn’t uncommon. What’s unique now is the scope of today’s multigenerational workplace.

More than just Baby Boomers and Millennials (read Millennials in the workplace), there are an unprecedented 5 generations in the workplace today.

The 5 generations in today’s workplace

  1. The Silent Generation, born before 1946
  2. Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  3. Gen-X, born between 1965 and 1980
  4. Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996
  5. Gen-Z, born after 1996

All told, there could be 70 years’ difference between your youngest and oldest employees. It’s a situation unlike anything that’s ever occurred.

How did we get so many generations?

Today’s multigenerational workforce is no accident. It’s the product of many factors, some major and some minor. For example, people are living longer than ever before, which has pushed the need for more retirement income. This is simultaneously exacerbated by the high cost of U.S. medical care, which means people must  squirrel away even more during their working years. It goes on and on.

The bottom-line explanation for having so many generations in the workplace is far simpler: More people are working longer.

As fresh college grads and new wage earners enter the workforce, they’ve historically taken the place of retiring employees in their 50s and 60s. With older workers hanging on for as many as 10 to 15 years longer, generational turnover in the workforce is down. The middle generations aren’t getting any younger, either.

The result is three plentiful generations of workers (Boomers, Gen-X, Millennials), sandwiched by two generations—one on the upswing (Gen-Z) and the other on the downturn (Silent Generation).

Make room for everyone

Aside from economic factors, there are some major concerns that come with 5 generations in the workplace.

For starters, every generation has their own perception of work and the world. Boomers and Millennials might not see eye-to-eye, while Gen-X and Gen-Z may have a completely different approach to their work. Pushing for rigid conformity across generations is a non-starter—unless you want to create conflict, inefficiency, and relative workplace chaos. Understanding and addressing the needs of each group is a crucial first step in accommodating all workers.

There are also technological concerns. Gen-Z workers may relish the idea of working offsite, collaborating via the cloud, and using a robust app portfolio to communicate with coworkers. Baby Boomers may be less enthused by this option, instead preferring the familiarity of an office. This concern also extends to any technology within the workplace, including ID access badges, multimedia equipment, and mobile devices. Every generation needs to be comfortable with technology, and the technology needs to support every group.

Finally, there’s the dynamic of coexistence. What’s going to happen when you hire a well-qualified Millennial to manage a staff of Baby Boomers? What happens when your Silent Generation manager doesn’t know how to communicate criticism or praise to a Gen-Z subordinate? The differences in workplace etiquette and communication are a minefield, but one that’s navigable by understanding generational differences.

It’s time to reevaluate workplace variables

Having 5 generations in the workplace is a new concept, which means things can’t continue in the traditional ways. Companies should reassess workplace environments and understand the variables governing them. Then, ask an important question: “Am I meeting the needs of every generation in my workplace?”

Not every factor requires consideration or can be controlled. Instead, focus on the ones you can regulate. For example, you can’t control the weather, but you can offer a work-from-home option in the event of inclement weather. Such concepts should be applied to all areas of your workplace. Moreover, should be approached with every generation in mind. Here are some of the chief variables to pay attention to:

  • Working hours
  • Workspace types and layout
  • Technology
  • Management oversight
  • Task delegation and job duties
  • Praise and criticism

These core variables have profound impact on everything from workplace culture to productivity and job satisfaction. Ensuring they’re inclusive of each generation’s strengths and weaknesses means harnessing the power of all 5 generations.

Enable success across generations

Age ultimately affects many things in a person’s life. But, if they’re of able body and mind, work ethic isn’t one of them. Given the right opportunities and support, employees from every generation can contribute to your workplace success.

The Silent Generation and Baby Boomers have decades of accumulated experience. Gen X and Millennials are adaptive and reliable. Gen Z is savvy and seeking to prove themselves. Each generation not only deserves a place in the workforce, they deserve the resources to leverage their abilities. And, more than that, they deserve to hold a job they believe is supportive, fulfilling, and rewarding.

Having trouble adapting your workplace to simultaneously meet the needs of 5 different generations of workers? Be sure to check out our guide for Creating a Harmonious, Multi-Generational Workplace.

Read more on SpaceIQ’s 4 step multigenerational workforce checklist on how to accommodate the five distinct generations in the workforce.

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Facilities Management Budget Planning Tips

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

One of the most difficult tasks for any facilities manager is budget planning and management. Trying to account for workplace expenses can seem like an insurmountable job. Nevertheless, it’s one you’ll have to face head-on. Here are a few tips to conquer budget issues:

1. Look at costs

Understanding how to budget for facility management starts with understanding the various costs of running your workplace. Everything from maintenance costs to expenses for routine maintenance throughout affect how much you spend above and beyond your lease.

Fixed and known costs

Start by tabulating your fixed costs. For example, if you know you pay $12,000 per year for landscaping, you can budget this as a fixed cost. Likewise, if you have access to pricing from vendors and partners for products and services to be purchased in the year ahead, budget those as known costs.

Unknown and unexpected costs

What’s harder to plan for are unforeseen costs. There are a few ways to make the unexpected more predictable. Use historical data for things like routine maintenance costs. Depending on the quality of your records, you can also look at costs from years past and match those to expenditures you may face.

One-off and seasonal costs

It’s a good idea to break down costs on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. This will help highlight overlooked costs, such as seasonal facility fees. For example, you may pay more for utilities in the winter and more for landscaping in the summer. Similarly, if you want to plan a renovation in the spring, you’ll be able to more easily account for those costs when your budget is broken down.

2. Look at trends

You may not have a crystal ball for telling the future, but if you’re up on workplace trends, it could be the next best thing. One of the best budgeting tips for facilities managers is looking closely at workplace and facility management trends and budgeting for them.

Will you be making any changes to your physical workplace layout this year? If so, you’ll need to budget for each part of the project. Expanding your office IoT this year? Accounting for the integration costs should be the focal point.

Everything outside the normal scope of day-to-day facilities management will come at a cost. The key to building an inclusive budget is planning.

3. Look at the little things

Your facility management budget is complex, but that doesn’t mean it should be convoluted. Just like integrated facilities management is a rising trend, integrated budgeting is also important. This means budgeting for your facilities through different lenses.

Take your facilities management budget and break it into individual segments. Look at costs for running each part of your facility, then build a strategy to make the most of those dollars. For example, buying lightbulbs may seem simple. But is that ongoing cost more than researching a more-efficient lighting solution? Forcing yourself to budget at scale also forces you to think about the cumulative elements of your workplace.

4. Build in a buffer

Even the best budget is one unforeseen cost away from being busted. That is, of course, you build in a buffer.

First, take the sub-budgets that comprise your overall facilities budget and build in dollars for miscellaneous expenses. This will give you some wiggle room at a more subtle level. For example, if you’re under budget in one area and over budget in another, a simple transfer can balance things out.

Alternatively, you can pad the top of your budget with one lump sum for general, unexpected expenses. This tactic provides a lump sum to work with later on.

5. Sell it to the C-suite

Perhaps the hardest part of budgeting for facilities management is selling it to executives. Illustrate value wherever possible and justify expenses with benefits. If you’ve taken the time to budget well and responsibly account for contingencies, you won’t have to defend your budget so much as explain it. Draw connections from your budget to the impact they have on the workplace and stand by your costs and figures.

Budgeting is never easy, no matter what line of work you’re in. For facilities managers, there’s a lot to consider and a lot that’s unknown. The more you account for your variables, recognize trends, and build in a buffer, the more comfortable you’ll feel in your final budget. Note: make sure to double-check numbers.

Read next, how to select the right facility management software.

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IT Facility Management Tools for Efficient Workplaces

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

Good IT facility management is a cornerstone of a well-functioning workplace. Having the right technologies, overseeing them appropriately, and leveraging the benefits they provide is a critical part of workplace optimization.

Many workplaces use powerful technologies, but may not be managing them as well. For example, that smart thermostat has sensors to control HVAC but they aren’t programmed or monitored. What value are those sensors adding? The same goes for virtually every technology used for facilities management.

The right approach to IT facilities management is recognizing where technology can improve productivity and ensure said technologies are managed accordingly. That’s a facilities manager’s job.

Understand the many integrations of IT facility management

Utilizing supportive technologies to better manage your workplace is the key to unlocking value within it. Smart IT facility management starts with understanding the various systems that can be integrated into your workplace.

  1. Occupancy sensors monitor when a space is in use. Used in coordination with room booking software, these sensors help prevent overlap and miscommunication.
  2. Communication apps like Slack and Messenger allow communication to flourish when used consistently. This requires creation and management of channels and topics where employees obtain vital workplace updates and information.
  3. Cloud computing is central in modern workplaces. Like communication apps, these technologies should be configured and shared by a centralized manager.
  4. Smart lighting, such as motion-sensitive lighting, timed, and remotely-controlled systems, require both physical setup and digital programming. As a smart technology, these installations are part of the greater workplace IT.
  5. VoIP phones, networked devices, and connected workstations are all key parts of the office IT infrastructure. Assigning, managing, and delegating these technologies to workers falls in the lap of facilities managers—especially in flexible offices with hot desking or agile workspaces.
  6. Digital wayfinding software and physical installations are critical technologies for larger workplaces. Ensuring they’re updated, working, and ready to use requires centralized management that leverages relevant data.

The scope of workplace tech is constantly expanding to include new sensors, beacons, apps, and automations. The modern workplace is a menagerie of physical and digital technologies. Taking stock of the tech present in your workplace is the best way to make sure it’s properly managed.

Use a CMMS or CAFM platform

Trying to keep track of various facilities technologies grows harder with scale. For growing businesses or companies building out their office Internet of Things (IoT), the need for centralization is critical.

This is where a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or Computer-Assisted Facility Management (CAFM) come in handy (read what is CAFM). Not only do these systems corral various workplace technologies, they offer a robust range of management options. Some of the hallmarks of a good CMMS or CAFM platform include:

  • Asset management and oversight
  • Preventive maintenance tracking and scheduling
  • Work order and ticketing requests
  • Maintenance logs and histories
  • Cost tracking for IT and facilities
  • Data capture and aggregation

CMMS and CAFM platforms act as hubs for IT facilities management. They’re the central point of integration, oversight, action, and improvement.

Optimize your integrations

Once you have a firm grasp on the scope of your facilities’ IT and a central platform through which to manage it, the focus turns to optimization.

How can you make communication apps more user-friendly? What can you learn from maintenance support tickets? What’s missing from your cloud collaboration? How can you improve your workplace’s various connected workstations? The answer: Consistently take stock of technologies and ask how they’re benefitting your day-to-day operations.

Thanks to many modern integrations, data is readily available. You can get call stats from VoIP phones, activation trends from automated lights, and robust data from communication apps. This data isn’t just a convenience—it’s a tool. It can and should be put to work to optimize your workplace:

  • How can you lower costs?
  • Where are you paying for inefficiencies?
  • How can you improve efficiency?
  • What can you do to maximize productivity?

With IT facilities management central to these variables, having a comprehensive management plan will unlock a broad range of benefits. Remember, simply having the tech isn’t enough; you need to utilize it to its fullest potential. To do that takes an understanding of all tech present in your workplace, a centralized management platform, and a facilities manager who can ensure everything is optimized for top results.

Be sure to check out our next article on how to select the best facility management software for your company.

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Top Five Facility Management Trends of 2020

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
SpaceIQ

As the workplace evolves and becomes more sophisticated, the job of a facility manager becomes more robust. Each year there are new facility management trends to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the top facility management trends of 2020:

1. The expanding IoT

It’s no secret that the number of connected workplace devices is growing. If you’ve been paying attention to facilities management trends over the past few years, you’ll know that the office Internet of Things (IoT) seems to have unlimited potential. And, as more devices come to market and brands begin to distinguish themselves, these devices are being picked up at a faster rate than ever before.

Companies big and small are building out their IoT ecosystems to varying degrees of sophistication. A smaller office may only have something like an Amazon Echo unit and a couple of smart outlets with basic synergies. Larger offices may have a complete array of connected devices powering their IoT.

Regardless of a company’s involvement with the IoT, it’s a sure bet these technologies will grow to new levels of importance in 2019. Soon enough, an office without an integrated IoT will be the anomaly.

2. Data-driven decision-making

Most trends in facilities management tie back to this one: Emphasis on quantification of the workplace. Data from IoT devices and facility management software helps facilities managers understand more about how their workplace functions and what employees need to do their best work. They’re taking data and breaking it down to recognize trends, then using those insights to affect change.

Data-driven decision-making is leading to revolutionary changes in facilities management—from optimizing available office space to changing the way a work environment is managed. The result is savings on overhead costs and smarter space utilization.

3. Integrated facilities management

With the new age of Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) comes emphasis on integrated facilities management. Facilities data has traditionally been siloed, allowing managers to focus on a single aspect of the workplace. Today, workplaces are the sum of their parts, which requires managing everything as a whole.

An integrated approach to facilities management means looking at how one aspect of work affects another. For example, understanding how an open office floor plan affects space utilization is one thing; understanding how it impacts employee productivity is another. Looking at the workplace through various lenses spotlights how one variable affects another.

As workplaces become more complex, integrated facilities management is more important than ever. Taking data and decision-making out of silos and approaching it holistically is more than a trend: it’s the new standard.

4. Emphasis on employee experience

The workplace needs to not only support employees, it should invigorate them. Inspire them. Accommodate them. Even excite them. A chief trend this year is the transition to experiential workplaces. From workstations to collaborative spaces, personal areas to recreational spaces, every part of the workplace should address the question: “How does this space benefit employees?”

This trend is borne on the idea that employees who feel valued and accommodated will produce their best work and develop a connection to their employer. Moreover, an employee-centric workspace helps attract and retain top talent.

By recognizing the importance of employee experience, facilities managers can unlock new purpose and capabilities from their workplaces. Everything from the décor to the physical layout of a space matters, and everything from mood to productivity can be influenced by good facilities management.

5. Focus on flexible workspaces

Commercial real estate costs are on the rise, with no signs of stopping. This upward trend is driving more companies toward flexible workspaces. But such moves requires more oversight from facilities managers.

Hot desks, agile spaces, and activity-based workstations make up the flexible workspace movement, including coworking spaces outside of the central office. Each space enables better utilization of workplace square footage, but comes at the price of centralized management. As facility managers adapt to their role as workspace administrators, modern IWMS platforms are fast-becoming key tools for success.

Flexibility goes beyond just the physical workspace. Facilities managers now oversee hot desks, nap rooms, phone booths, and other functional areas that make the most of the workplace. It’s a trend that’s only going to grow as the workplace continues to evolve.

Stay ahead of the curve

Continuing education and awareness about key trends help facilities managers stay on top of workplace needs. Industry publications and associations are great informational resources. Networking with peers at conferences and events also opens doors to new ideas and solutions. Regardless, the workplace learning curve continues to steepen. Staying ahead of the curve requires staying up on the trends that impact your workplace the most. Read next, why facility management is important for productivity.

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Workplace Thought Leadership

Generation Gap: Workplace Needs of Millennials and Gen Z

By Nai Kanell
Marketing Director
SpaceIQ

It’s common to conflate the professional needs and goals of Millennials vs Gen Z. Both groups make up the youngest and, combined, largest portion of today’s workforce. Both were introduced to technology at a far earlier age than Gen X and the Baby Boomers and both crave meaningful work.

While the similarities between the two generations are numerous, Gen Z came of age during a time of action, the Obama era of hope and change. Millennials, however, had just entered the workforce or had been working for a few years under the accustomed business standards of the time. Both Gen Z and Millennials experienced the same societal tragedies and innovations at a younger age, but what they made of them is where the views on working and workplaces differ.

Gen Z is the generation of real improvement. As middle and high school students, they watched as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Affordable Care Act were signed into law. To them, the legislation promised a fairer, more equitable society was within reach. They witnessed their parents struggle under the weight of the Great Recession. Gen Z’ers graduated high school and college as the #MeToo movement erupted and women began demanding equal pay by disclosing their own earnings. All of this dictates what Gen Z prioritizes in the workplace: financial stability; pay transparency and equity; safe, harassment-free careers; healthcare benefits; regular, in-person feedback; and loyalty.

Most of the same can be said of Millennials’ priorities, except loyalty. This is, perhaps, due in part to Gen Z witnessing massive layoffs, foreclosures, and financial collapse during their formative years. They’ll work harder to advance within the same company and move up the ladder, but aren’t as discouraged as Millennials when advancement doesn’t happen as quickly as they’d like. In fact, a 2018 Gallup poll showed that 60% of Millennials “were open to new job opportunities,” the turnover of which costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.

One explanation for their divergent attitudes toward financial stability and professional loyalty is that, while Millennials grew up, the U.S. economy flourished and Gen Z, still living at-home, were first-hand witnesses to financial insecurity. Millennials are less humble when it comes to accepting a job offer because, as much as they want a substantial paycheck, they want status. One study found that 64% of Millennials wouldn’t work in construction, even for a $100,000 annual salary. Leisure and hospitality industries are among the most popular and lowest paying positions sought by Millennials (read more on Millennials in the workplace). what For Gen Z, having a steady paycheck is more of a priority than a high-status job. In this regard, they’re more like baby-boomers, who are loyal and prefer monetary rewards to symbolic ones, than millennials.

Another common misconception of Gen Z’ers, who practically grew up tethered to their smartphones, is that they’re tech-obsessed and require a screen to interact with other humans.  While their personal lives may include a lot of Snapchat and Bitmojis, Gen Z actually prefers in-person socialization in the workplace—a preference that may also explain their preference for working in corporate or co-working environments over remote offices. Contrary to many assumptions, Millennials also favor an office setting over working remotely. According to a survey compiled by Randstad, 39% of Millennials and Gen Z believe in-person communication with their colleagues is more effective than email, phone, social media, instant messages, video conferences, text messaging, and a “company communication portal”.

Though these groups may have different opinions on long-term tenure and ways to advance, both say communication is the top quality sought in their leaders, based on Randstad’s findings; support with work came in second. A key point to remember is both generations were children who received “participation trophies” for athletic and scholastic involvement. For them, the workplace is no different. Regardless of outcome, Millennials and Gen Z want managers to nurture and listen to them, as an expression of their value to the company. Although each generation wants to feel supported, Gen Z is more likely to return that support when promoted to leadership positions, making pay increases their highest priority.

Generally, Gen Z’ers are more focused on pay parity and disclosure—a likely reflection of their candor about their personal lives, views on gender and sexual orientation, and left-leaning political affiliations. They are the generation that put both fairness and hard work on the same playing field, while wondering how long it will be until robots steal their jobs.