Future of Coworking

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

It’s hard to walk around a major metropolitan city and not stumble upon a coworking space. Even a busy coffee shop filled with working professionals fits the definition. But that begs the question: What is coworking and what defines a coworking space?

The concept of coworking is shrouded in some confusion—namely because it’s so new. Most companies and individuals recognize the concept, but don’t grasp the details. Coworking is about more than just groups of professionals working in close proximity. It’s about bringing flexibility into the way we work.

How to explain coworking

Coworking is best described in layers. There are several aspects that transcend the physical. However, the physical component does play an important role in defining the concept.

At its simplest, coworking is about various working professionals occupying the same space, who may or may not interact. At this level, the space is what’s important. It can be a coffee shop, a repurposed loft, a themed area, or any of a thousand different concepts. So long as the workplace itself provides an outlet for work and attracts professionals, it’s a coworking space.

Most coworking spaces go beyond providing the bare minimum of real estate for patrons. Further defining coworking means looking at amenities and how professionals interact with the space aside from merely working in it. Does the space serve food and drink? Does it offer broad technologies? What kind of furnishings does it include? Is there a theme? These variables attract workers—sometimes specific to an industry or profession beyond a general appeal.

At the apex, it’s important to look at the barrier to entry or cost of a coworking space. For a run-of-the-mill coffee shop, it might be the price of a latte. Other spaces have monthly or hourly fees. A coworking space may be open to women only or cater to specific professions. These variables shed light on just how generic or specific coworking spaces are.

Why coworking fits with the modern workforce

There’s ample data showing the rise of desk occupancy at these spaces, as well as an ever-expanding real-estate grab from coworking companies. But what’s fueling the demand? Namely, the many benefits of coworking for the modern workforce.

Coworking introduces total flexibility to the concept of work. Not only is it about working wherever, whenever, and with whomever you want. It’s flexibility the modern workforce craves. Single parents with non-traditional work schedules. Gig workers with multiple jobs. Remote employees—all benefit from the flexibility of coworking.

The diversity of coworking spaces themselves has also fueled their popularity rise. Instead of conforming to a one-size-fits-all workplace—or even a flexible, generally inclusive one—workers are finding coworking spaces that suit them. Whether it’s the 20th floor of a high-rise complex, the graffitied inside of a converted warehouse, or a library-turned-workspace, coworking has options for everyone.

There’s also the benefit of diversity. Working alongside other professionals creates natural networking opportunities. Moreover, workers aren’t restricted. They can explore new coworking facilities whenever they want, leading to new connections and discoveries about their own work habits. It’s conducive to professional growth.

Coworking is on the rise

It’s important to get familiar with coworking because it’s a concept that’s not going anywhere. It’s here to stay and only getting bigger, according to industry data from commercial real estate resources, business professionals, and financial companies. Check out some of the coworking data points contributing to the growth narrative:

  • There are an estimated 35,000 flexible workspaces in the world today
  • The global market value of flexible workspaces is estimated at ~$26 billion
  • In 2018, flexible workspaces accounted for more than two-thirds of the U.S. office market occupancy gains
  • 40% of flexible workspace demand is forecast to come from large and corporate companies

This is just a fraction of the available insights. Other metrics show momentum for coworking and the shift away from centralized workplaces for companies of all sizes.

The future of coworking is bright

Will there ever be a time when coworking spaces are 100% of commercial office space? Probably not. But the fact that they’re a growing percentage of the commercial real estate market today suggests a shift in where and how people want to work. With so many options for space and great benefits accompanying it, it’s no surprise coworking is quickly going from trend to standard.

Keep reading: what’s the future of remote working?

Workplace Thought Leadership

Digital Twins

By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer

Is your company using a digital twin to manage your workplace? While electronic representations of real-world objects have been around for decades, businesses are now exploring novel ways to harness this technology and combine it with business processes, driving efficiencies and data-driven decision making . Because a digital twin is composed of data layers, the latest innovation is to add a “personnel layer.”

A digital twin opens this virtual representation to a new class of workplace management professionals: human resources, space planners, and employee experience managers. A dynamic digital twin of your workplace will yield actionable data that affects everything from space planning and move coordination to lease negotiations and employee management.

The DNA of a Digital Twin

Simply put, digital twins provide electronic means to represent physical items. They can be simple and static as a two-dimensional CAD file of your floor plan. They can also be more complex, such as a cloud-based application that dynamically represents your global real estate portfolio, from the location of each building down to the position of every security camera or defibrillator.

But without additional data to provide context and without supporting business processes, a digital twin is just a visual tool. With detailed layers of shared data, however, a digital twin enhances an organization’s ability to operate efficiently and make smart  decisions.

Consider a common object like a coffee maker. The machine comes with a printed manual that typically includes a cutaway diagram and basic instructions. But this information is static and analog—it can’t be easily updated, searched, or shared with multiple users. It also can’t be merged with related data sets, like your monthly coffee expenditure.

Now imagine a digital twin of the coffee maker. This virtual model captures the smallest details of its construction, allowing you to easily troubleshoot errors. The digital twin also contains a wealth of usage and maintenance data, all of which helps you to maximize lifecycle costs.

This is just a taste of what a digital twin can do. What if you could document that the coffee maker is located in your main kitchen, was last serviced two months ago, brews an average of four gallons a day, and is one of three other machines at this office? The data contained in this digital snapshot radically alters how you can maintain this single asset. These powerful insights can now be applied to an entire building or portfolio to proactively manage workplace expenses.

Digital Twins and Workplace Management

Building owners and property developers are already familiar with CAD (computer-aided design) and BIM (building information modeling). While these tools offer insights into physical property, they are ultimately disconnected from the most important part of your business—employees and their associated real estate costs.

The value of real estate has historically been tied to square footage, but what if it was linked to headcount? What if the question we asked was: “How much does it cost to place one employee in my building? What about 100 employees? Or 250?”

BIM and CAD simply aren’t equipped to answer those questions. They aren’t configured to tell you the number of assigned desks versus hots desks. They do not show that Mia, Jacob, and Alyssa sit in a row of private offices. And you can’t use them to assess the impact of increasing or decreasing your workforce. There’s simply not enough information available to decide whether or not to renew a lease.

But a workplace digital twin with operational management capabilities is an extraordinary opportunity to improve operations, enhance service quality, and transition to fact-based decision making. A digital twin transforms how decisions are made in four key areas:

  1. Space & Asset Management – A digital twin enables you to monitor office occupancy to make sure it remains within your targets: too low and you’re inefficient, too high and you have (literally) no wiggle room. For example, you can create a rule that stipulates floors shouldn’t exceed 90% occupancy. When the headcount reaches the 85% threshold, the digital twin can generate an alert.
  2. Move Management – Paper copies of seating charts are an outdated and clunky method to coordinate office moves and quickly turn into a scribbled mess when multiple departments are involved. But with a digital twin of your workplace, planners can collaborate and provide real-time input instead of exchanging hard-copy drawings and combining the data. You can retrieve an exact count on any floor at a glance. You can then explore different allocation options with a few keystrokes.
  3. Lease Management – Without integrated data, it’s nearly impossible to determine whether your portfolio can support your future business needs. Is it more economical to add employees to a Denver office or expand an existing San Diego location? A standard lease doesn’t tell you that—you can only compare the price per square footage. A digital twin enables you to proactively manage real estate expenses. For example, you could set an alert nine months before a property’s lease ends. This advanced notification creates a window of time to consolidate square footage, change your office density, or terminate the lease.
  4. Employee Management – Managing new hires and existing employees is usually the domain of HR, but what about resignations or terminations? If you only have a tool like BIM or a BMS (business management system), there’s no process in place to indicate when and where a person has been removed.

A digital twin that interfaces with HR software merges siloed data into one platform. Imagine an automatic push when a person’s employment ends that goes to the space manager, facilities department, and security team. Without this kind of automation, it’s a challenge to distribute this critical information to all the necessary contacts.

A digital twin with layers of workplace insights provides a shared picture for key leadership. It automatically merges data from separate systems to help improve processes and support decision making in a context-rich environment. In addition to collaboration, this virtual double can be leveraged to run reports and scenarios. With a digital twin, you can pair staffing forecasts with real estate costs and uncover innovative ways to maximize your operational expenses.

Keep Reading: Digital Twin Software: Maximize Solutions and Benefits


Free Wayfinding Software

By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist

Employees can’t find each other. Visitors get lost. You’re growing and expanding so rapidly that departments are changing monthly. Your facility needs wayfinding software.

Your first instinct is to search free wayfinding software and make due with whatever offers the most features. It’s a great place to start. Getting a free trial or unpaid version is a great way to figure out what features are available to help you solve your wayfinding issues.

But a free download is just the start. Making the most of that free software means looking into its capabilities and evaluating how to implement it at-scale. Does it solve your problems? Does it offer you features for the future? Is the paid version worth it?

Let’s look at how to make the most of free wayfinding software.

1. Download a free trial

Before going all-in on wayfinding software, dip your toes in. Make sure it’s what you need and what you expect before making an investment. The best way to do this is to download a trial. Most top-tier, paid software models offer a free digital signage software download to get prospective customers excited about their products.

Be aware that most trials are either stripped down versions of the paid software or include locked features available only to purchasers. Don’t let this affect your experimentation. Pay attention to the overall usability of the software, the features it offers, its integration capabilities, and its reputation.

2. Explore the features and capabilities

Run through your free digital signage software and explore the features you can access at a base level. The usability of these features will help set expectations for what else the program has to offer and what it’s capable of. If the base features are clunky, the paid features likely are as well. Conversely, if you’re already deriving value from an unpaid, free trial version, it’s likely the full version is even more beneficial.

In exploring your free or trialed software, put it through its paces. Don’t just use it how you would normally—test drive as many capabilities as possible. If you pigeonhole your experience, you’ll never know what else free wayfinding software has to offer.

3. Test a small-scale rollout

Another way to experience free digital wayfinding software is through a small-scale deployment. Get it out there in the field and see how it performs.

Test an integration like Slack and see if you’re able to conveniently message directions to someone. Sync it to your company directory and have employees get directions to one another. Get “lost” in your own facilities and see if the app can find you and bring you back to familiar territory.

A small-scale rollout helps showcase the software’s functionality and practicality. If you’re testing wayfinding software, you’ve already recognized your need for it. Vetting applications in the field is a way to ensure you’re making the best investment to satisfy that need. Even on a small scale, wayfinding software should demonstrate value.

4. Pay for the full version

Once you’ve seen what your free wayfinding software can do and are satisfied, ditch the trial for a paid version. Get access to all the features and full capabilities before you scale up your integration and roll out a larger deployment. Licensing an app will likely get you access to training, tech support, and gated features essential to a smooth rollout.

Up to this point you’ve probably experimented on your own. Get some formalized training from the developer and ask specific questions about implementation at your facilities. This is the quickest way to become an expert on wayfinding software that’ll quickly become ingrained in your facility management operations.

5. Scale up your implementation

Equipped with formal training and a full version of the wayfinding software, build on the deployment you’ve already started. Integrate floor plans. Sync it to your company app. Extrapolate the features previously inaccessible in your trial version. Many software developers will also offer API access to paying customers, which enable custom integrations.

Continually test the wayfinding software as you integrate it into your processes and technologies. Make sure it works properly, as-intended. Run field tests and keep track of errors or miscommunications. Always circle back to the developer to get help solving problems.

6. Put it to work

When your wayfinding software is fully integrated in your facilities management ecosystem and thoroughly vetted, put it to work. Advocate its use amongst employees and position it front and center for visitors and guests. As exposure to wayfinding grows, so will adoption.

The root of a successful rollout is maximizing your initial free trial or access to a free version of the software. Learning by doing and organically discovering the benefits is a great way to understand why wayfinding software is a good investment and how it benefits your company.

Keep reading: get to know the four types of wayfinding signage.


Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash


Six Core Pillars of Office Space Planning

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

Office space planning is a complex task, spanning more than a few critical variables. The workplace is central to all major business operations in some way. A key is finding the right approach to office space planning for current and future success.

Before delving into the nuances of space planning, consider the variables governing the workplace at a fundamental level. These six core pillars are a smart way to glean office space planning ideas for a productive workplace.

1. Layout and space allocation

Available space and layouts that make the most of square footage govern workplace planning. Trying to do too much with too little available space results in poor utilization. Likewise, not doing enough to optimize larger spaces weighs on everything from employee satisfaction to the company’s balance sheet.

The chief factors to keep in mind when observing layout and space utilization are how well employees are accommodated and what level of utilization efficiency is achieved. It’s best to look at these under the same lens. Proper employee accommodation generally coincides with efficient space utilization, and vice versa. Give people enough space and make sure it’s the right type of workspace.

2. Light, greenery, and natural elements

Workplace planning is trending toward demands for more biophilic design and natural light. Not only do employees appreciate the incorporation of natural elements, they’re proven to increase mood, improve focus, and benefit health.

Considering workplace space planning (read more on space planning software) from a natural perspective ensures facilities don’t lose their connection to the human element. Incorporate elements like natural light from windows and skylights, greenery in the form of floor and desk plants, and other organic standouts like a water feature or rock garden.

3. Color, texture, and depth

Colors and textures aren’t a luxury—they’re essential elements of office space planning. There’s no stimulation amongst a sea of monotone colors and drab textures. A flat workplace drags down morale, energy, engagement, and quality of work. It may not seem like it, but workplace vibrancy affects business success through its effect on the workforce.

The best office space planning tips suggest color and texture throughout, following a familiar palate or theme. Use business brand colors to enhance workplace affiliation. Rely on complementary colors and textures to elicit emotional responses to the workplace. Many successful companies employ the psychology of color to their benefit, using texture to further create depth.

4. Acoustics and quiet

As a conglomeration of people, departments, and activities, the workplace is constantly an epicenter of commotion. Every person talking, typing, or playing music creates noise. Managing ambient noise is critical. Forethought to workplace design is one of the best ways to manage noise.

Controlling ambient sound depends on the type of office floor plan. It’s harder to solve noise issues in an open workplace than in a more segmented one. Common solutions include quiet workspaces, convertible work areas, and segmented floor plans. Creative design elements can also reduce ambient noise through acoustical manipulation—such as sound-deadening panels or large pillars or fixtures.

5. Comfort and accommodation

Employee comfort is crucial for so many reasons, not least of which is its effect on productivity. Workers who are comfortable and feel accommodated are more inclined to do their best work. And while core space planning plays a major role in creating employee comfort, true relief comes from what’s in the workplace.

Furniture selection plays the largest role. Ergonomic, supportive, and high-quality desks, chairs, and other furniture are no-brainers. Next comes a focus on amenities. Experiential spaces and “workfree” areas like the break room, yoga studio, or nap room focus specifically on employee comfort. Don’t forget the role of personal space. Wherever they are, no matter what they’re doing, employees need to feel comfortable and accommodated.

6. Diversity and inclusion

Modern workplaces face the difficult task of being both diverse and inclusive in the spaces they provide. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all work environment, space planning should focus on understanding the needs of workers and meeting them with options. The core theme of an office may be one thing, but that shouldn’t be exclusionary to other concepts. The open office floor plan can include private workspaces; the hot desk-focused office also needs conference rooms.

The trick of being both diverse and inclusive is walking the fine line of utilization. In an ideal world, employee demand matches up with utilization, which meets the goals of office space planning. Things aren’t always seamless, though. The best solution is to work from both sides of the equation: Use employee demand for specific types of space to fuel better overall utilization.

Put it all together into an effective plan

When planning a spatial redesign or a brand-new office concept, consider these six factors. Each plays a fundamental role in the workplace, including on the success of key variables like worker satisfaction, productivity, efficiency, and space utilization.

Keep reading: office space management software tips.


Photo by Trish H-C on Unsplash


Four Types of Wayfinding Signage

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering

There are four types of wayfinding signs: identification, directional, informational, and regulatory. As standalone signs, they serve a specific role; as part of the greater wayfinding system, they inform each other.

Here’s what facility managers need to know about deploying each of the primary wayfinding types of signage.

1. Identification

Identification is the most common type of wayfinding signage. They tell a person when they have arrived at their destination. They also serve as general wayfinding landmarks.

Need to get your bearings? Identification signage is there for you. If you’re looking for Sales and you keep seeing signs for Human Resources, you know you’re in the wrong place.

Make identification signs uncluttered and straight to the point. What does the sign signify? Someone should understand it in seconds.

General examples

  • Door plaques (Assistant to the Regional Manager)
  • Departmental markers (Accounting and Finance; Sales)
  • Landmark signage (donor plaque; historical marker)

high performing workplace tips

2. Directional

Directional signage helps people get to where they’re going. It’s an invisible hand guiding them from wherever they are to their destination, one step at a time. They’re best used at junctions and areas without a clear traffic flow.

Anyone unfamiliar with their surroundings benefits from diverse directional signage. It can be as simple as a plaque at each junction sending people left or right. Or, it may be as comprehensive as colored lines on the floor leading people directly to their destination.

Continuity is key for directional signage. If a person becomes lost anywhere between two points using directional signage, it’s immediately invalidated. Picking up the trail again means backtracking or getting lucky.

General examples

  • Junction signage (left to cafeteria; right to an exit)
  • Colored lines on the floor (blue for marketing; red for sales)
  • Directory signage (CEO, 8th floor; HR)

3. Informational

Whereas identification signage marks a particular area, informational signage pertains to the overall facilities. These signs give people broad information they need while navigating.

Informational signage is best placed in an area with broad exposure. Lobbies, waiting rooms, building entrances, and atriums are popular examples. Signage should answer questions before they’re asked. Where are your bathrooms? How late are you open? Do you have an elevator?

Informational signs should be universally understandable at a glance—signs and symbols anyone can understand.

General examples

  • Amenities and accommodations (free Wi-Fi; elevators)
  • Facilities signage (bathrooms; exits; cafeteria)
  • Business information (hours of operation; address numbers)

4. Regulatory

Regulatory signage is a proactive form of wayfinding. It’s focused on safety and liability concerns and sets boundaries—what is and isn’t acceptable in your facilities. It’s used to establish and reinforce rules, safety standards, and privacy expectations.

Regulatory signage is generally big and bold. No frills—only a clear, concise, prominent message. Someone probably won’t open a closet if there’s a “Caution! High Voltage!” sign on the door. Similarly, displaying a “No Pets Allowed” sign means Fido isn’t welcome.

Use regulatory signage wherever it applies and leave no room for ambiguity. A handicap sign sets a clear precedent, just like an “Employees Only” sign on a locked door.

General examples

  • Rules and regulations (no smoking; no firearms)
  • Compliance standards (ADA accessibility; high voltage sign)
  • Access control (no entry beyond this point; employees only)

Combining wayfinding signage

Every type of wayfinding signage can and should be used with every other. Regulatory signs should keep people out of restricted areas as they follow directional signage to their destination. Identification signage should tell someone where they are, so they can follow directional signage to where they want to be. Informational signage—coupled with regulatory signage—needs to set behavior expectations in your facilities.

Additionally, all signage should be simple. Regardless of its purpose, someone should be able to look at a sign and known in seconds what it says, as well as what it means in relation to wayfinding.

Whatever the information, make sure you have the right mode of delivery. The simpler your signage and the more cohesive it is across all four types, the more effective it will be for anyone using it.

Keep reading: wayfinding best practices.

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Office Space Planning Guidelines

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager

Before approaching an office space redesign, consider the variables that govern the process. What are the core office space planning guidelines? More importantly, how do you assess them as part of your plan to organize your office?

There’s more to office space planning than moving one piece at a time and seeing how things fit together. It’s less of a puzzle and more of an equation. The patchwork process is too disruptive to be practical, making it all the more important to look holistically at the variables involved in workspace planning.

Here are 10 important factors shaping office space planning guidelines and why they’re integral to the process. Assess each carefully as a standalone variable, as well as how they fit into the greater space planning concept you’re working toward.

  1. Capacity: You can’t properly plan an office without knowing how many people you have to accommodate. This includes anyone with consistent space needs, including full- and part-time workers, contractors, consultants, and other worker classes. Capacity is the first and most crucial figures for space planning guidelines. It sets the tone for all decision-making that follows.
  2. Available space: What’s the total square footage available to you in your current facilities? Moreover, how is it delegated? Recognizing available space makes allocating it and planning for utilization a more informed process. Pay mind to whether you need all the space you have or if you ultimately need more than is available.
  3. Floor plan: Understand the floor plans conducive to your office space and worker capacity. Decide if your space planning guidelines will be governed by an open office concept, hot desks, activity-based workspaces, individual workstations, desk neighborhoods, or flexible workspaces. Odds are, it’ll be a combination of some or all of these.
  4. Demand: What types of workspaces is there immediate demand for? A need for group workspaces, quiet work rooms, and hot desks dictates how you allocate space. It’ll also ensure you’re building a workplace that’s supportive of employees, however they choose to work.
  5. Flow: Consider the dynamic areas of the workplace. How much space do walkways require? Where should the copy machine go? Will a desk in one area face too much disruption each day? The daily flow of a workplace is key to accommodating employees, without disrupting work itself.
  6. Culture: Culture drives employee engagement, making it a cornerstone of workplace planning guidelines. Consider elements like desk neighborhoods or collaborative workspaces that encourage camaraderie. Look carefully at design elements that reinforce core culture values, like fun and funky artwork or lots of greenery.
  7. Fixed variables: You can’t change what you can’t change—you can only plan around it. Map out fire exits, structural components, doors, and anything else affecting space utilization. Foresight for fixed variables keeps you from improvising wildly, which may affect your original office space planning standards.
  8. Cost: Cost constraints play a big role in what you’re able to accomplish with space planning. Prioritize your biggest initiatives—those affecting the most good—and execute on them first. It also important to be cost-minded when planning an office rearrangement. Know the total workplace redesign cost and the ROI you hope to achieve post-execution.
  9. Compliance: Don’t forget about workplace governance standards or safety compliance. You have no control over these standards, but need to incorporate them into overall planning to avoid hazards, fines, and lawsuits. They involve anything from not blocking fire exits to having GFCI outlets in the break room. Get to know OSHA standards and building code ordinances.
  10. Growth: You may be building the workplace you need today, but what about a year from now? Factor in growth planning to ensure your workplace isn’t antiquated in a few short months. This means not planning to 100% capacity and recognizing dynamic trends in how your employees use space. Better planning today equals less disruption to the workspace in the future.

One factor consistent across each of these variables is quantifiability. Each is measurable, making it easier to align them with goals and metrics. It means they can also be processed into other critical benchmarks: utilization rate, cost efficiency, and employee satisfaction.

Careful consideration of these 10 variables gives facility managers a well-rounded outlook at how to effectively plan their space. Many more factors can affect the final outcome of workplace design, but these governing factors are immutable. Forgoing any one of them can derail the entire planning process.

Keep reading: office space management software tips and guidelines.


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Facility Management Software ROI

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering

When making investments, responsible business leaders look beyond initial cost. They consider return on investment (ROI). How much their investment today will net them tomorrow, in a year, and a decade from now. This is the mindset workplace professionals should assume when lobbying for systems to help them do their job. What is the facilities management software ROI?

Calculating software ROI is never easy. For facilities management software, it’s even more difficult. To present the case for FM software in dollars and cents, workplace professionals should first understand costs, then recognize incremental ROI.

Calculate purchase and deployment cost

Determining software purchase and deployment cost is essential to calculate ROI of FM software. This figure is more than any one individual cost—it’s the sum of every charge involved in getting your software up and running.

  • Software: This is the initial cost of your software license or ongoing subscription. Many SaaS models employ one or the other. For example, a one-time upfront cost to activate the software at a specific tier or a low monthly flat rate for a fully unlocked version.
  • Implementation: The total cost of implementation is the sum of any costs required to deploy and use your software. This may include additional software, cloud services, and labor costs. Most importantly, factor in training costs.
  • Hardware: Often, FM software deployments occur in tandem with an Internet of Things (IoT) rollout. It’s a natural pairing, since FM software benefits dramatically from integrated hardware and vice versa. Consider any peripheral hardware costs and account for them. Sensors, beacons, switches, relays, hubs, and specialized equipment like access control all fall under this cost center.
  • Peripherals: What costs does your software incur outside of a SaaS subscription? Account for both recurring and one-time future costs. This can include fees for education and training, tech support, off-site backups, integrations, and access to premium features.

The objective is to understand the total cost of your software as a standalone investment. What will your company pay before it sees any return on investment from the software? You need to know the total upfront cost before you can begin to justify the cost of facility management software.

Breaking down segmented ROI

There’s no ROI savings until the software purchase and deployment cost exceeds the breakeven point. Once there, identify the value streams. Where is your software helping you save money?

  • Maintenance: Identify maintenance cost reductions. Have you consolidated vendors to save on maintenance fees? Are you engaging in cost-saving proactive maintenance? Or are you simply budgeting better based on data collected by your software ecosystem?
  • Assets: Examine how software helps you better manage assets to reduce costs or generate revenue. Are you assigning company cars to sales staff effectively, and is this helping them close more deals? What percentage of company laptops are used by remote staff and how is this contributing to lower workplace costs?
  • Labor: Look at how you’re using software to increase productivity and decrease waste—and what measurable costs are associated with it. Has a new hoteling system improved employee output? How do hot desks correlate to your workplace’s Net Promoter Score?
  • Utilities: Using your facility management software, track utility costs and identify ways to reduce them. Then, track the fiscal impact. How much money are motion sensor lights saving monthly? What are the cost savings from running HVAC systems differently during off-peak hours?

Facilities management software is all about looking at facilities data from a holistic view. However, for purposes of facility management software ROI, it’s best to measure cost savings in silos.

Calculate the total ROI

The equation for calculating facility management software ROI is simple. Take the segmented ROI of your workplace and subtract the total cost of deployment. Or, simply establish the breakeven point and designate every dollar above it as ROI.

There’s also ongoing costs to consider. In order to maintain its ROI, software performance must exceed the annual operational costs. This shouldn’t be hard, but it’s still important to measure. Over time, this data provides insight into total lifetime cost vs. total lifetime ROI—another important metric as your company grows.

If you’re planning to implement facility management software to govern, understand the associated costs. They’re essential in determining ROI and making the case for future advancements in facilities management.

Keep reading: top five benefits of facilities management.


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FM Industry Stats

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Data-backed analytics are the best way to see how the workplace is evolving. Facilities management industry statistics illuminate trends, concepts, pitfalls, and opportunities workplace professionals face in an economy more diverse and dynamic than ever before.

Take a look at some insightful FM industry stats across four important workplace management areas:

Workplace design

  • Open plan floor plans (33%) now outrank private, individual offices (23%) in prevalence among corporations. (Steelcase Global, 2016)
  • 45% of surveyed companies anticipate moving to an activity-based workspace curated to improve employee effectiveness. (CBRE, 2018)
  • By 2020, available office space will decrease by 17%, with 15% fewer desks per employee. (Frost & Sullivan, 2016)

From the stats, it’s evident the physical evolution of the workplace is in full swing. Traditional workplace hallmarks still exist, but the future is all about cooperative workspaces. Individual offices don’t offer the flexibility the modern workforce needs.

Mixed in with these stats for facilities managers is an underlying macro trend: The workplace is shrinking. Multipurpose spaces and flexible desk arrangements are a more efficient use of space. Why pay for double the square footage when you can optimize half that? There’s an active shift in the mindset of facility managers’ and executives’ from more to better space.

Worker habits and trends

  • 4.3 million employees (3.2% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time. (Global Workplace Analytics, 2018)
  • Researchers estimate as many as 30% to 40% of all U.S. workers today are contingent or affiliated with the gig economy in some way. (Jennifer Buchanan, 2018)
  • 14% of employees at large companies use coworking spaces and 40% of flexible workspace demand is forecast to come from these companies. (Instant Offices, 2019)

The most important facility management stats focus on employees. The workplace exists to support workers, so their needs, wants, and habits are central in shaping it.

Data shows employees no longer need a centralized workplace, but who appreciate one that accommodates their unique needs. As more time is spent outside a centralized workplace, workers gravitate to places they can comfortably work in. Namely, their own homes and coworking spaces. It’s a trend contributing both to the shrinking footprint of traditional office space and the growing acceptance of cloud computing technologies.

Culture and engagement

  • 88% of workers characterized themselves as “highly engaged” when given the ability to choose their workstation based on their current task. (Steelcase Global, 2016)
  • Job turnover at companies with positive culture averages 14%; job turnover in low company cultures is 48%. (Growth Everywhere, 2017)
  • 88% of employees say that a distinct workplace culture rooted in defined core beliefs is important to business success. (Deloitte, 2012)

It’s easy to say happy employees are more productive. But what makes them happy and keeps them that way? Positive company culture, for starters. From there, a well-managed workplace fuels engagement, which helps retain great talent. In simpler terms, employees want to feel valued and supported, and in return, they’ll do their best work.

These statistics are an important reflection of today’s social revolutions. Equality, respect, tolerance, and transparency aren’t just demands of socially conscious individuals—they’re benchmarks for success. Good culture is key in attracting, retaining, and maximizing top talent in an increasingly competitive globalized economy.

Technology and the IoT

  • 59% of surveyed companies intend to introduce mobile apps to their workforce to improve connectivity and navigation. (CBRE, 2018)
  • Investment in corporate real estate IoT sensor technology is expected to grow 79% by 2020. (Mahajan, 2015)
  • 48% of senior corporate real estate (CRE) executives now use office IoT devices to capture data in support of business objectives. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2015)

Some of the most insightful FM industry stats involve the Internet of Things (IoT). This rapidly growing workplace segment is powering many modern trends, including better space utilization, flexible workspaces, and integrated facilities management. The abundance of IoT data powers smarter workplace decision-making.

As ongoing statistical assessments mark trends and changes in the workforce, facilities managers should apply insights where it makes sense. Their firsthand experience in managing facilities and accommodating workers puts facilities managers at the crossroads of adapting their workplaces to modern demands.

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


Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash


FM Digital Solutions

By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer

Facility management challenges will always exist. But workplace professionals face new, more complex issues. How do you accommodate a growing number of in-office employees when space is limited. Or how can you manage remote workers who may need hotel desks for sporadic office visits? The answer: think digital.

Digital tech is the leading tool for solving FM challenges in the modern age. Here’s a look at ways technology, information management systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) and the cloud can help workplace professionals address their most important challenges.

Digital vendor management

It takes a host of vendor partners to maintain a building. Coordinating between landscapers, electricians, and HVAC specialists remains one of the biggest challenges facing today’s workplace professional. Thankfully, there’s an array of software to meet these needs.

Software has replaced file folders for storing maintenance contracts and work orders. Algorithms sort data by vendor, cost center, date, amount, and any other facility maintenance variable. Hierarchical data shows where the maintenance budget is spent and helps workplace professionals plan for future expenses.

Digitizing vendor management is also a first step toward streamlined operations—including an integrated facilities management approach. Seeing vendor rates and terms alongside frequency of service and scope of work provides better facility oversight. You can replace inefficient vendors, consolidate services to more capable partners, or renegotiate contracts—whatever it takes to improve efficiency.

Digital support ticketing

Typically, facility maintenance involves everyday repairs and maintenance not outsourced to vendors. Changing light bulbs, restocking paper towels, fixing computer connectivity issues—they’re small chores, but essential ones. Digital support ticketing is the automated system for staying on top of them.

But automation isn’t the most important aspect of digital ticketing; data aggregation is. On its way to IT, the support ticket goes through facility management software, where details are nabbed and aggregated into larger maintenance datasets. At a glance, workplace professionals see insights like average ticket response time, most common types of tickets submitted, and total tickets per day/week/month.

Digital floor plan management

Few modern workplaces are static. Incorporation of agile spaces, flexible environments, hot desks, and collaborative workspaces means the comprehensive workplace floor plan is always changing. Digital floor plan management enables this dynamic level of change. Every essential floor plan iteration is just a few keystrokes away.

Digital floor planning tools are also critical in growth management. As a company grows or strategically consolidates, its floor plan changes. Planning for the next expansion, a change in utilization, or a shift to new facilities demands floor plan modeling. Creating, sharing, collaborating, and revising floor plan concepts across stakeholders and the C-suite is immeasurably easier when it’s digital.

There’s also the convenience of utilization benchmarking to consider. Utilization rates are critically important in modern workplace management to compare before-and-after data points. It’s easy to see what works, what doesn’t, and what improvements may still be needed.

Digital asset management

Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software isn’t new, but it’s innovation is relatively recent. In workplaces with numerous physical assets, it’s a welcome system for workplace professionals.

EAM systems are the key to managing assets as revenue-generating items instead of cost centers. They account for assets like company trucks, computer workstations, the copy machine, and other high-value items. Thanks to individual digital profiles, you can track replacement cost, upkeep, return-on-investment, and how to budget for them.

Digital integration

Perhaps the biggest modern facility management challenge is bridging the physical and digital. This is where the IoT, cloud computing, and go-between protocols can close the gap.

Workplace professionals adept at connecting physical operations to the digital workplace will unlock new and creative ways to do their job better. Whether it’s learning to use sensors for collecting data or automating tactical processes, the potential promises great returns.

Intrepid facility managers have seen the digital transformation coming for years. Now, we’re in the thick of it. With every new innovation comes fresh opportunities to leverage digital technologies to solve modern facilities management challenges.

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


Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash