Facilities Management Metrics: Why You Need Them and What They Tell You

By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer

Facility management metrics take concepts such as efficiency and attach value to them. A good metric puts decision-makers on the same page when it comes to understanding how their facilities function. Most importantly, they quantify a wide range of insights within a workplace, including organization, productivity, and reliability.

The role of facilities management metrics

Facilities management metrics are a type of Key Performance Indicator (KPI). They define a top level of success and set the benchmark for excellence in whatever’s measured. Some KPI metrics might include space utilization and efficiency, total utility costs, and operational flexibility.

Metrics isolate a qualitative variable and add quantitative insight, like our example of workplace efficiency from above. Another example is reliability. How do you gauge if your workplace’s digital network is reliable? It starts by defining a few key metrics:

  • How many unexpected outages occurred over the past X days?
  • How long was the cumulative downtime for outages?
  • What is the cost per outage based on standard utility costs? Based on revenue per hour?

Attaching data to these questions paints a clearer picture of reliability. You might perceive your network to be reliable and data may confirm it—or, it might tell you differently. This applies to any variable you choose to measure. Quantifying workplace variables means standardizing insights.

Once you’re tracking the right metrics and defining the important workplace variables, you’ll have insights to make improvements or monitor trends.

Choosing the right metrics and defining them

Properly quantifying workplace KPIs starts by benchmarking the right variables. Facility managers need to understand all contributing factors for what they’re measuring. For example, to understand space utilization, data about the following is required:

  • Total available square footage
  • Cost per square foot
  • Total number of employees
  • Ideal space per employee

From there, each variable becomes part of the equation to calculate space utilization. In this example, dividing available square footage by total number of employees gives you the actual square feet per employee. Dividing this number by the ideal space gives you utilization relative to your target. Plugging in cost per square foot to both numbers generates a dollar figure.

Facilities managers should measure anything quantifiable against the core KPI. If your goal is reducing utility costs by 4 percent next quarter and your KPI is total utility costs, measure all contributing factors, including variables such as each individual utility cost.

Defining metrics appropriately is the key to understanding how they contribute to your KPIs and how those KPIs affect your workplace.

Using metrics to drive workplace improvements

Once you’ve defined the facility management metrics that matter, work them into KPI reports and then work backward on each variable.

Let’s say you have a space utilization efficiency goal of 85 percent. You identify the right metrics and gather data to quantify them. Then, you take the cumulative figures from your metrics and plug them into your KPI reports, only to discover that your space utilization is 95 percent—higher than you want it to be. Your workplace is too crowded.

Using metrics to identify overcrowding is the first step to improving your workplace. Now, you’ll need to work backward and address the variables that comprise your metrics. It’s clear the problem is too many employees in too small of a space. But, because you have clearly defined metrics, you can plug in numbers and run scenarios before making any real changes.

You might decide to turn 10 of your employees into remote workers, changing five of their workstations into hot desks and the other five into flexible workspaces. The result: space utilization is now 85 percent.

The beauty of workplace metrics and the KPIs they feed is that everything is quantified, so you get insights before making changes. Without the right metrics, who’s to say a change will work? And how would you know even if it did?

Facilities metrics tell you what you need to know

Quantifying the intangibles of your workplace—efficiency, productivity, organization—puts facility managers on track toa highly optimized workplace. KPIs and the metrics that define them help facilitate major improvements that can lower costs, improve operations, raise employee morale, and enhance workplace governance.

As companies become more cost-conscious, facility managers will rely more heavily on management metrics to generate important insights. And, from these insights, they can provide key decision-makers with the right information to drive changes that keep their company competitive.

Keep reading: how to select the best facility management software for your company.


Wayfinding Best Practices

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering

Wayfinding is a must-have feature for any company whose offices reside on expansive campuses or span multiple floors or buildings. Visitors and new employees need some way to find their intended destination, without getting lost or taking detours that waste time. It starts with proper wayfinding signage. Written signage or scrolling digital boards aren’t enough. Follow these wayfinding best practices:

Baseline wayfinding best practices

Effective wayfinding signage is based on core components of signage design and placement:

  1. Consistent branding: Wayfinding signage should be immediately recognizable. Consistency across all wayfinding markers and guideposts helps visitors quickly spot and understand these markers. Before you hang signage, develop rules that govern sign design and stick to it the same way you would your company’s branding.
  2. Keep it simple: Overly complicated wayfinding signage is confusing. Guests should be able to spot signage and process information in seconds, which means keeping it clear and to-the-point. Often, this only takes a couple of words and/or pictures. The symbol for a woman, the word “Restrooms,” and an arrow pointing left are a lot easier to understand than a sign that says “Women’s Restrooms, Third Door on the Left.”
  3. Color-code: Colors—along with words, symbols, and shapes—are important variables in delineating signage. Keep color-coding consistent and purposeful, such as using green to refer to the third floor or orange to signify a particular department like Accounting. Provide a color key for easy reference.
  4. Use visuals: Symbols and shapes can quickly say what words are too cumbersome to communicate. They’re also a great way to simplify signage and wayfinding design. We’re all familiar with universal symbols for restrooms, as well as signs for things like stairs or elevators. Alongside easily recognizable symbols, colorful shapes will imply specific destinations or amenities. Be sure to keep your shapes consistent and easily distinguishable.
  5. Consider placement: Wayfinding signage is only as effective as its placement. No one will see signs if they’re tucked away out of the normal sightline. Make overhead signs prominent, hang wall placards at eye-level, and display all signage at junctions where visitors need direction. If your wayfinding signage isn’t instantly recognizable, it needs adjustment.
  6. Map the path: Keep in mind that all wayfinding signage should be connected—meaning every sign should lead to the next one, no matter the destination. You’re mapping out a path for people to follow to every discernable destination in your facilities. If there are gaps in the path—too much distance between signs, poor display of signage, lack of context—visitors will lose the trail. If they do, additional signage will help them pick it back up.

Sound design guidelines, recognized communication principles, and proven placement strategies are the fundamental cornerstones to effective wayfinding signage.

Best practices for the digital age

If your business is exploring wayfinding signage in the digital age, there are some additional variables to consider beyond the physical. Check out some digital considerations:

  1. Augment: Digital opens up a world of layered communication for wayfinding signage. For example, putting a QR code on larger pieces of signage enables visitors to scan them for additional information, such as a facility map, information about the area they’re in, or specific directions to their destination.
  2. Centralize: For physical signage with digital displays, central management is a crucial consideration. Uniform governance is important when changing displays, updating information, or expanding signage capabilities. Tie everything into one central management approach using a facilities management platform or other technology.
  3. Supplement: Supplementing physical signage with digital tools is a great way to expand the power of wayfinding. For example, creating an app that includes point-to-point directions or a directory of spaces and people will add even more context to the physical signage a person is following.

Leveraging digital technology into well-orchestrated wayfinding signage will make it easier for visitors to interact with your facilities and more quickly get to their intended destination.

Read more on wayfinding software.

Plan your wayfinding before implementing it

If you’re revamping wayfinding signage or adding it for the first time, take the time to plan. Use floor plans to delineate where signage should be displayed and what types of signage will go where. Then, create the design hierarchy of your physical signage and develop a standardized template. From there, consider digital components and ensure they support your physical plan.

When all planning is solidified, have your signage fabricated and installed appropriately. Remember to test your wayfinding. Get feedback from visitors about how it works and update accordingly to close gaps in your current approach. Taking the time to do wayfinding right will be a boon to your facilities and a welcome accommodation for visitors.

Keep reading: what are wayfinding kiosks and digital signage?


Continuing Education for Facility Managers

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing

Because of their role in workplace design and governance, it’s essential that facilities managers are up-to-date on the newest trends and technologies. As we enter a transformative age in modern office design and management, continuing education for facility managers is of the utmost importance.

The workplace is changing

It’s no secret that the traditional workplace is evolving into something vastly different than what it once was (read modern workplace trends). Individual offices, cubicle clusters, and even relatively modern open-office environments are going the way of the dinosaur in favor of more efficient, versatile workplace layouts.

Facility managers need to keep up with the changing workplace environment. That means staying educated on trends in workplace design and layout, and understanding how new concepts impact traditional workplace obstacles.

What type of workspace design will best accommodate your business’ rapid growth? How can you make the most of unutilized square footage? What factors are influencing the need for better space planning? All are relevant questions in the modern work environment, and they need modern insights to answer them.

In addition to physical workplace changes, the concept of work itself is shifting. Remote working options are in vogue, the purpose of the physical office is changing, and the workforce is more diverse than ever. Facilities management continuing education brings these variables front and center and helps managers adapt at a time when change is critical.

Online course technology is getting smarter

Also growing in the wake of the changing workplace is a shift toward technology-enabled spaces. Many of today’s facilities management online courses focus specifically on technology: what’s available, how to utilize it, what it means for the workplace, and how to leverage it.

For example, today’s facility managers need to know how to effectively use an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) or leverage Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) software for space planning. Many of these tools are easy to learn, but a formal education enables facility managers to use them with purpose.

In addition to IWMS, CAFM, and other types of workplace management software, there’s the Internet of Things (IoT) to consider. Sensors, beacons, and other connected technologies are shaping the way we interact and make use of workspaces. Understanding these devices and their benefits gives facility managers a leg up in implementing them. And, as is the case with facility management software, knowing how to use these devices with purpose is key.

Facility manager and workplace expectations are growing

For decades, the workplace was simply a given cost. You needed office space so workers could power the business. It was akin to “You need to spend money to make money.” Today, companies are challenging this mantra by turning it into a sliding scale. The question today is, “How can I increase what I make, while decreasing what I spend on facilities?”

Doing more with less falls on a facility manager. Accommodating business growth without scaling up facilities—or in some cases, downsizing office space—is a monumental task best approached with formalized education. When you understand the variables and headwinds you’re up against, generating new ideas and solutions becomes much easier.

Say your company must decrease its total square footage without laying off employees. Trying to pack employees into a sardine can may seem the most immediate solution for a facility manager who doesn’t know any better. For a well-educated facilities manager, there are boundless modern tactics and trends to explore.

As the expectations for workplace adaptation change, facilities managers need a way to align their capabilities to meet those expectations. The answer is invariably better education. The more tools you give yourself, the more things you can create with them.

Where to find ongoing facilities management education?

The best place to explore up-to-date trends and modern education topics is the International Facility Managers Association (IFMA). Not only does IFMA have its finger on the pulse of the industry, its continuing education is recognized as the standard for facility management. The organization offers position-specific credentials that are widely recognized across industries.

IFMA training and education gives facility managers access to important information pertaining to current industry trends. Best of all, it offers online education spanning every level of facilities management, allowing new and experienced managers alike to stay current in their field.

One of the best investments a company can make is in its talent. When it comes to facility managers, continued investment in education and training is sure to result in rippling positives—namely in how your workplace is designed, allocated, and governed.

Keep reading: facilities management and millennials – the future of the workplace.

Workplace Thought Leadership

Maintaining Business Agility Amidst Evolving Workplace Needs

By Laura Woodard
Real Estate Executive (Ret.)

It seems counterintuitive. Agility should feel flexible, right? But even the most flexible person has a backbone. Agile companies succeed because of their anchor points, which in addition to acting as a mission statement can also be the primary structure everything else is built around. Aaron De Smet, a principal in organizational design at McKinsey, expands on his interpretation of business agility with the following: “Agile companies tend to keep the primary and secondary axis of their organization structure pretty constant so that people have a clear home—it’s clear to them where they belong, where they build up expertise…they provide mechanisms for quickly assembling teams with the right talent to address the challenges and opportunities that are coming up.”

This idea of having a core axis around which multiple teams and projects flow is how Spotify stays competitive. The music streaming company, which actually employs “agile coaches,” is divided into autonomous squads that are given the opportunity to develop and innovate, with each squad leader acting as the problem solver. These squads also tackle a problem that holds companies back from agility: hierarchy. Each squad is viewed as equal and operates with a peer review system, so everything is fair game. Squad members can also cross-pollinate by working with other teams within their “tribe.” They still report to the same leader. While this could be messy because, let’s face it, egos often get in the way at work. Agility in company culture is anchored in egalitarianism and allows Spotify to thrive.

Apple is another example of a company culture steeped in egalitarianism. Under Steve Jobs’ leadership, Apple’s anchor point—or mission—was to “make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.” Even when the company erred in product or software design, this objective never changed and was, arguably, met with every product the company released. Years ago in a garage, Jobs likely didn’t expect his company to be the driving force behind selfie culture or act as the launchpad for hundreds of new artists to host their music. Those developments—hi-res cameras on the front and back of iPhones, plus iTunes and Apple Music—were the hallmarks of the company adapting to the consumer zeitgeist.

But how does the physical workplace support an agile business?  Interestingly, Apple designed its stores with sculptor Tom Sach’s “Always Be Knolling” (ABK) in mind, which is why their spaces are so inviting.

Always Be “Knolling”

Knolling is the organizational process of arranging items in parallel or at 90-degree angles. It’s a practice many stores use to make their products visually appealing or how individuals maintain sanity in their offices or homes. However, we can look at knolling more broadly as the process of putting everything in its rightful place, which won’t be the same all the time. We can apply the ABK principle to the workplace within the framework of agility. According to De Smet, agility requires two things: “a dynamic capability, the ability to move fast—speed, nimbleness, responsiveness” and “an anchor point that doesn’t change while a whole bunch of other things are changing constantly.”

Do my spaces have key anchor points across the country and across the globe? Is there a pattern that’s clear if I’m navigating a new office or new floor? Do I have a space that can adjust to an organizational leaders needs in an appropriate time frame? What changes can be done in hours? What changes require weeks or months?

Leadership can be the biggest inhibitor of agility, according to a report from the Business Agility Institute. Managers like stability. It reflects well on them, which means they may be the least likely to adapt. But managers are the ones who should set the core goals and give teams flexibility in how those goals are met. How we “knoll” in business is to shift our processes into the angle that meets the needs of that moment, not throw out the process entirely. Agility doesn’t mean a reinvention, rather a reinterpretation, to best accomplish the business goal.

As we are aware of the need for agility, and educate business leaders about the opportunities to flex the workspace, we can support the visionary aspirations of our company.

Keep reading: Corporate Agility: A Modern Workplace Must-Have Trait.


Facilities Management and Millennials: The Future of the Workplace

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing

Facilities managers have been around as long as the workplace itself, though their duties have evolved over time. Now, it appears we’re headed for a changing of the guard. According to a report from technology provider and document services company ARC, 40% of facilities management professionals are set to retire by 2026. Who’s replacing them? Millennials.

The workplace of today is undergoing significant change—the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), widespread quantification of workplace variables, consolidation of physical offices, and workforce globalization. On top of all this, there are as many as five generations present in the workforce, each with unique needs.

As the largest workforce segment, Millennials are poised to assume facilities management roles and a bold, new landscape of duties.

Millennials and the future of facility management

New facility managers will need to adapt to the growing prevalence of workplace oversight technology. Thankfully, Millennials are well-equipped to embrace this change. This generation of early adopters and tech-savvy professionals should have no trouble handling the shift to digital workplaces.

Moving forward, Millennials will manage a growing ecosystem of network-enabled devices. Computer-Aided Facilities Management (read more on what is CAFM) platforms and Integrated Workplace Management Systems (read more on what is IWMS), sensors, beacons, wearables, and smart technologies with their affiliated applications require intricate workplace integration and management.

The shift to digital tech has a fundamental purpose: To quantify the intangibles of a workplace. Gathering data about space utilization, utility costs, and employee sentiment drives analytics on efficiency, reliability, and productivity. Tomorrow’s facilities managers will leverage data to streamline workplaces more than their predecessors.

Millennials will also need to recognize the demands of multigenerational workplaces in a way like never before. As the largest segment of the workforce, Millennials must understand the needs of older generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X) and become familiar with the tendencies and habits of the up-and-coming workforce (Gen Z). This means curating workplaces that are broadly accommodating and supportive of each generation’s work style and habits.

Space utilization and cost control is the glue holding these changes together. Facility managers should apply smart technologies and practices to maximize leases in the face of potential future instability in the commercial real estate sector. It’s all about making what you have count.

Looming headwinds in the facilities management market

As tech-enhanced facilities management becomes more critical, a big problem looms: qualified Millennial applicants are scarce. The ARC report sheds light on the difficulties of integrating Millennials into facility management:

  1. Misunderstood job duties: Because the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics doesn’t recognize facility management as a standalone occupation, many job prospects are unaware of its significance. It’s more traditionally grouped into administrative services or general management, making the job responsibilities hard for candidates to decipher.
  2. Differing values: Facilities management is seen by many Millennials as building management, when this is only one aspect of the job. Millennials and Gen Z put less emphasis on physical workplaces and more on the benefits and incentives a company offers. As a result, they’re less inclined to apply for a job they believe is rooted in something they don’t inherently value.
  3. Management expectations: As facilities management evolves as a profession, many C-level executives are losing touch with what the job entails. They know what they expect from their facility managers, but may not realize how the job is now done. This can force Millennials into a position they’re largely underequipped for. For example, CFOs may want metrics about space utilization costs, but may not be willing to invest in the technologies FMs need to provide accurate data.

There’s also concern about Millennials’ interest in facilities management as a career. As the position is being redefined, it’s harder to gauge exactly what they can or should expect from their employer and what the true scope of their duties will be. And while some might jump at the chance to be pioneers in a profession experiencing a paradigm shift, many are waiting for the dust to settle and standardization to play out.

Millennials are the key to future facilities management

The demand for facilities management is growing rapidly and Millennials are well-positioned to fill it. But to build excitement and interest, companies need to evaluate their needs and expectations—and transparently communicate them to candidates.

If you’re getting ready to bring on a new facility manager, take stock of the position beyond pay and benefits. Clearly define job duties and expectations. Consider your company’s five-year roadmap and how facilities management software factors into it. Identify the technologies and programs you have or want to invest in.

Millennials are the perfect fit for the technological, problem-solving, and organizational aspects of managing the workplace of the future. But they can only succeed if they have all the information that goes with the job.

Keep reading: Millennials in the workplace, what do Millennials love?


Facilities Management Data You Should Be Collecting

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager

Data. It’s critical for understanding where your facilities management processes and procedures stand, plus how to set improvement goals and measure them. Good news is there’s an abundance of facilities management data out there.

Why collect facility management data?

Facility management data quantifies your workplace. Since benchmarking is the first step to improvement, reviewing viable data about your workplace and everything in it is important before making any changes. Data might confirm known inefficiencies, shed light on new ones, or prove your hypothesis wrong. Regardless, data and analytics set the stage to better track facilities management.

Data-driven facilities management starts by using platforms that make sense of all that information. For that, you’ll need a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) platform or an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). Each can work independently or collaboratively to shed light on facilities management tasks and help create forward-thinking plans to improve real estate decision-making, operational excellence, and employee experience.

Facilities managers should see data as more than numbers. Targeted analytics and the information gleaned from them drive better understanding of needed workplace improvements.

Understand the different types of facilities management analytics

All facilities management data is valuable, but is only useful when it impacts change. Data available to facilities managers isn’t uniform. There are four facilities management analytics subsets to consider:

  1. Descriptive: Highlights a particular trend
  2. Diagnostic: Sheds light on the drivers of a trend
  3. Predictive: Forecasts new trends
  4. Prescriptive: Influences new trends

Each subset provides insight into a different area of facilities management. For example, descriptive analytics can tell you that eight of your 16 hot desks are currently occupied, while predictive analytics tell you this number will be 14 of 16 tomorrow based on past trends. How you use this data depends on your goals.

Key facilities data every facility manager should track

What types of data should facilities managers track? While there are a nearly infinite number of workplace data points to consider, some metrics will provide more insight than others. Here are five of the best metrics to track:

  1. Work order response times: Show how long it takes to fulfill repair requests. This is both a diagnostic data point and a prescriptive one. If it takes four days to replace a lightbulb, facilities managers can investigate repair delays (diagnose) and create process improvements (prescribe) to reduce response time.
  2. Planned vs. reactive maintenance: Data lends itself to descriptive analysis. If your office’s Wi-Fi was down over the last month, how much was due to a planned firmware update and how much was caused by an unplanned networking issue? Diagnosing the cause of problems leads to proactive facilities management.
  3. Cost per repair: Say your average workplace repair cost is $500 and there are an average of 100 annual repairs. That’s $50,000 annually—a great figure to know when planning yearly budgets.
  4. Energy use and audits: Energy is a big cost for most companies. What’s optimal energy expenditures for your facilities? Diagnostic analytics can outline where inefficiencies exist and where streamlined solutions, such as motion-sensitive lights, can cut costs.
  5. Space occupancy levels: Do you know the actual capacity of your available real estate? Using descriptive analytics, facilities managers can understand existing space utilization and how to better manage office footprints. This same data can help show when it’s time to move to a larger workplace.

Track your connected tech

It’s crucial to aggregate data from any connected tech in the workplace. These integrated technologies allow facilities managers to put their fingers on the pulse of the office and understand how it functions on a day-to-day level. For example, analyzing data from room reservation screens shows how frequently a particular room is being used and what its cost or value is within the larger scope of your facilities.

Facilities data allows managers to understand the needs of the physical workplace; collecting and analyzing data from Internet of Things (IoT) devices informs the needs of people within that same space.

Put your data to work

Putting together facilities data and IoT devices means painting a robust picture of your office ecosystem. The more data being collected means the more workplace areas that are being quantified. And if you can quantify something, you can improve upon it. Data is the path to a better workplace.

Keep reading: How to select the best facility management software


Corporate Agility: A Modern Workplace Must-Have Trait

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

Technology has made the world a smaller place, while also speeding it up. Today, businesses need to work smarter and faster to accomplish more in less time. As a result, companies are only as successful as they are agile. Corporate agility is the trait for businesses striving to set standards for efficiency and productivity.

What is agility in the workplace?

There’s a lot that goes into being an agile business. Business agility is includes leveraging modern technologies, responsible oversight, culture, creative solutions, and problem-solving.

  1. Technology: Modern technology enables agility through automation and access to information. The sensors, beacons, and mobile technologies of an agile office provide instant insights for quick decision-making.
  2. Oversight: Coordination is key in the agile workplace. Someone—namely a facility manager—needs to coordinate movements, delegate tasks, and simplify organization.
  3. Culture: Employees need to have an agile mindset and be amenable to rapid change. This means developing a culture of support and inclusion—one that builds camaraderie and enables productivity.
  4. Problem-solving: Agility in the workplace demands identifying problems and quickly solving them. Problem-solving also extends to real-time obstacles, such as double-booked meeting rooms or hot desk availability. True agility means overcoming issues with as little strife as possible.

These four corporate agility pillars come together to enable success. In the face of ever-growing business demands, reliance on technology, oversight, culture, and problem-solving prevail. An agile business is an adaptable one.

Adaptation is the key to survival

Organizational agility is more than a great business trait. It’s a competitive advantage. Companies that adapt to changing business demands position themselves in front of the competition in a variety of ways.

Ever have a customer drop in unannounced for an impromptu meeting on an important project? If all meeting rooms are occupied, the fire drill will take place in the break room or less-convenient location. Real-time tracking can show what rooms were actually reserved or if someone’s parked in one without a reservation—client needs trump employee wants.

Companies that are able to do business—in all its forms—better, faster, and smarter means avoiding obstacles that sidetrack, slow down, and stonewall the competition.

Traits of an agile company

A company built on agility pillars is ready to improve current and future business potential. Let’s take a look at these traits of an agile company and why they’re important:

  • Quickness: When you can do something in a fraction of the time it traditionally takes, you’re better-positioned for progress. Ex: Booking a conference room through a Slack channel and having an automated wayfinding system that registers the booking (read more on what is wayfinding).
  • Accuracy: Agile companies tend to be accurate ones. There’s little room for error when the timeline is shorter and the demands are higher. Ex: Knowing exactly how many hot desks are open and accommodating workers without overlap.
  • Decisiveness: Decision-making is easier and becomes second nature in agile workplaces—largely because data is readily available. Ex: Forecasting when to scale up to larger facilities based on existing space utilization.
  • Frugality: Agile companies save money by making smarter, timelier decisions and avoiding costly mistakes. Ex: Using facilities data to create a new floor plan that eliminates the need for more square footage.
  • Organization: Organization is everything for an agile company. Having data, systems of record, and integrated technologies enable agility and encourages organization. Ex: Having individual Slack channels for different teams for collaborative communication.

With agility comes the need for management

An agile company requires proactive, decisive leadership. Without a strong leader at the facilities management helm, agility can quickly turn into chaos. A hands-on facilities manager is an absolute must for corporate agility.

Facilities managers are the fuel that makes an agile company run efficiently and powerfully. They’re the integrators of workplace technology, overseers of space utilization, promoters of the agile mindset, and the final word on facilities problem-solving.

These are just a few of the tasks facing today’s facilities managers. Managing for agility, like most processes, requires supporting technology. An Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) makes quick work of space allocation, resource tracking, and facility optimization. An IWMS promotes agility in addressing budgetary and workplace concerns without significant time investment.

In the end, it’s a company’s ability to move forward confidently is what makes a workplace agile and adaptable.

Keep reading: modern workplace trends


WeWork Office Design Concepts are Mainstream Hits

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

Today, WeWork and coworking go hand-in-hand. WeWork office design ideas are revolutionizing the way people experience work, and the company has pushed some popular design trends into the mainstream.

If you haven’t heard of WeWork, you’re about to. The company (or rather its umbrella entity, The We Company) filed for its initial public offering (IPO) on April 29, which could set its value at $47B. WeWork office design, coworking spaces, and entrepreneur resources make it a leading authority on the workplace of the future.

The company was founded in 2010, but started making headlines in 2015 after snagging more than $250M in Series D and E funding in just six months. Soon after, it pulled out all the stops. WeWork acquired several tech startups, bought extensive property in New York City, and signed a few big-name board members. The New York-based company hasn’t slowed down since.

The experiential workplace

Many of WeWork’s design experts come from traditional workplaces. They’ve talked at length about their disdain for gray cubicle walls, fluorescent lighting, and stuffy floor plans. It makes sense that WeWork office interior design is a strong departure from these antiquated concepts.

One of the consistent themes among all WeWork locations is an emphasis on experience. Rather than walking into a uniform space, every WeWork coworking space is a brand-new experience. The décor is unique. The atmosphere is different. The theme is distinctive.

This focus on experience makes WeWork locations feel less like an office. They’re not places people dread. Workers pay to enjoy the café-style settings or collaborate with peers on a purple couch with groovy tunes playing in the background.

Bridging the gap to nature

For companies looking to tap successful WeWork office design tips, one of the most universal is a reach back to nature. Regardless of theme, all WeWork office design concepts include two natural attributes: sunlight and greenery.

WeWork specifically chooses locations with large, imposing windows to expose the space (and workers in it) to nourishing sunlight. In spaces without windows, LED lights are used instead of traditional fluorescent bulbs. No flat-panel ceiling lights for WeWork. Creative fixture styles are the rage.

Greenery holds a special place in the WeWork office design ecosystem. The company places foliage throughout its spaces and even provides literature for guests on the benefits of plants in the workplace.

An array of workspace options

Within every WeWork location is a diverse range of individual workspaces. There are collaborative social areas for the free flow of ideas and concept sharing. There are also individual workstations of varying types, so employees can hunker down and stay focused. Quiet, secluded workspaces are also a growing trend in WeWork spaces.

Providing an array of workspace options is more than a convenience. As companies imitating WeWork’s have discovered, office designs are one of the best ways to enable workers. Workspaces that meet a particular person’s needs boosts productivity.

Emphasis on tech resources

There’s a reason people flock to WeWork locations instead of setting up shop at a café or public space. WeWork locations are smarter and more accommodating to those who demand the latest tech. And it’s not just about free high-speed Wi-Fi.

More than wireless Internet access, WeWork leverages tech in a way other companies should mimic. The company uses an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) to track and assign individual workspaces and give visitors access to controls for their individual workstation (lighting, sound, comfort, etc.).

Bigger than what it’s doing for workers is what WeWork’s tech emphasis is doing for companies. By adopting, normalizing, and showcasing the value of the Internet of Things (IoT), WeWork has normalized these integrations for companies.

More than a fad: A revolution

WeWork is more than a trendsetter. The company is driving workplaces into the future as the authority on workplace design. Not only are WeWork’s office space design techniques widely shared and proven, the company has launched design services for enterprise clients. It’s the next step in bringing better offices to more workers.

For WeWork, the workplace no longer looks and feels like the office of yesteryear. Today, it’s a completely new concept that demands a reimagined design approach. WeWork is modeling innovation as a proven leader in workplace design.

Keep reading: the WeWork experience is revolutionizing the corporate workplace, including how businesses think about their own corporate workplace.


Small Office Designs to Transform Your Workplace

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

Working in a small office means contending with the limitations of its square footage. Estimates cite the need for every employee to have a minimum of 100 square feet of workspace. But that’s often hard to come by. Changing the fundamental layout of your workplace, making the switch to less cumbersome furniture, and redecorating can make a difference. Luckily, there are a few small office design ideas geared toward employee comfort and productivity:

1. Give neighborhoods a try

Home base for most small-office employees is a personal desk. One option to maximize space is a desk neighborhood. That’s a fancy way to describe grouping the desks of team members together as a way to inspire camaraderie and collaboration.

For small offices, limiting desk neighborhoods to pairs or quads is best. Anything larger becomes more of an open office concept and reduces focus on teammates. Remember: smaller groupings are meant to foster close-knit affiliations between coworkers.

When setting up desk neighborhoods in a small office, pay mind to thoroughfares. Make sure there’s a clear, unobstructed path from one end of the office to the other. Leave plenty of space between desks—enough for people sitting back-to-back to lean back without bumping. Most importantly, consciously pair neighbors to avoid employee friction and tension.

2. Flexible workspaces are worth a look

If you’ve got a small office and a small workforce, flexible workspaces such as hot desks may be the answer. These open, unassigned seats allows employees and office mates to use desks as needed—when they’re available. They’re a great way to make use of space without focusing on one specific area of the office.

Small companies can create flexible workplaces from unused meeting rooms and offices. Turn a conference room in a group work area and lounge. A tiny office becomes a media room and phone booth. Coupled with a good scheduling system, employees have access to multiple options for work, collaboration, and relaxation.

3. Free up space with new furniture

Beyond desk layouts and seating arrangements, some of the best small office design ideas are the ones that focus on furniture. Because furniture can cover the largest swath of square footage, it’s the obvious place to start.

Think smaller and simpler. Bulky desks can be replaced with standing units that maximize space for tech components and less clutter. Minimalist furniture can have a big visual impact without taking up a ton of space. Geometric tables offer the same number of seats as traditional rectangle ones, but bring teams closer together for better collaboration.

No furniture is also an option. Tear down cubicles and eliminate big file cabinets by digitizing paper files or moving them to off-site storage. Less furniture means more space for employee work areas.

4. Decorate with a theme

Décor goes a long way in bringing out the personality of your office. Walls with art and mounted accents break up the blandness of white paint. Hanging light fixtures or decorations from the ceiling bring dimension to the space. Plants are great for a natural, vibrant aesthetic, as well as color accents throughout the office.

Decorating a small office also reinforces your brand. Use company colors and logos to tie the workplace to  your business. This can foster employee pride and show visitors you’re here to stay. It doesn’t have to be dramatic; make your space an extension of your intangible brand.

5. Balance work and life in subtle ways

Employees in small workplaces may feel boxed in, which can impact mental and physical well being. It’s important to give staff an outlet—something for work-life balance. You may not have a lot of real estate to work with, but there are a few ways to boost morale.

Give your break room a makeover by adding a new fridge, cappuccino/espresso machine, healthy snack options, and proper dishware. For many employees, the break room is their space to unwind—even a TV can help a cramped workplace feel a little more comfortable.

Beyond the break room, pay mind to the areas of the office that cause friction. For example, move the copier near a window. Employees can take in the view and soak in some much-needed natural light while waiting for a report to print.

6. Don’t be constrained by space

You can’t magically push the walls of your office outward without…at least not without spending a large sum of money. What you can do is make the most of the space you have. Try these creative concepts and see if you can make your workplace a little more accommodating—at least until a bigger space becomes a practical investment.

Small Office Design Idea Checklist

Trying to make the most of your limited real estate? Finding the right small office design—one that maximizes space utilization and employee comfort—comes down to working with what you’ve got. Here’s a quick checklist to follow, to help you unlock the best value from the space you’ve got:

  1. Try a new desk layout or rearrange seating
    • Neighborhoods
    • Hot desks
    • Open office design
  2. Consider flexible workspaces
    • Agile spaces
    • Activity-based spaces
    • Hot desks
  3. Try new furniture arrangements
    • Minimalist furniture
    • New arrangements
    • Downsize furniture
  4. Decorate with a theme in mind
  5. Create a reminder of work-life balance
  6. Identify and eliminate friction points

There’s a lot of possibility for small office designs. Unlocking your office’s potential comes down to realizing the many opportunities to make the most of what you have. From new seating arrangements to a better décor scheme, everything matters when space is limited.

Keep reading: reception area ideas for small offices