Here’s the Skinny on Office Hot Desking

By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist

Office hot desking is a divisive topic in the world of workplace design. Many companies tout the benefits of this flexible desking solution, while others just can’t seem to make it work. The difference in opinion often stems from a lack of understanding. Hot desks aren’t a panacea for office congestion or a set-it and forget-it desking solution. They demand planning and active management.

When considering hot desks as a viable option for office design, make sure you see the full picture. Knowing what hot desks are and how to properly deploy/manage them will help you reap the benefits they offer.

Hot desking

What is hot desking? Hot desks are a type of flexible workspace. Where a traditional desking arrangement accounts for one person per desk (1:1), hot desking accommodates multiple people per desk at different times (1:X).

Hot desk flexibility is scalable. Several people may use the desk each day or across the span of a week. In fast-moving environments, desks may only be occupied for a couple of hours at a time before they change occupants. What makes the hot desk useful is its ability to serve as a home base for more than just one person.

Beyond accommodating a higher desk-to-person ratio, hot desks also conform to the concept of a dynamic workplace. Employees may not need the same type of workspace throughout the day. As they move from place to place, hot desks “reset” to seamlessly accept the next occupant .

How many hot desks?

Hot desks aren’t meant to replace every seat in your workplace. Instead, they add flexibility to individual workstations to stretch capacity and improve utilization.

When discerning how many hot desks your workplace needs, consider current capacity and available space. If you have (or are adding) more employees than desks, hot desks come into play. Likewise, if you’re reducing the number of individual workstations to accommodate collaborative workspaces, hot desks are an option.

Subtract available seats from total personnel to get the “deskless” figure, then determine the desk-to-person ratio that best fits your workplace. Create as many hot desks based on that ratio vs. deskless employees. If converting existing desks into hot desks, account for displaced employees.

Example: 20 employees – 16 seats = 4 deskless. A hot desk ratio of 1:2 means two people per hot desk, requiring two hot desks in this example. 

Hot desk arrangements

Hot desking office space needs to be arranged in a way that preserves the individual nature of the workstation, yet doesn’t isolate it. Consider the core philosophy of the office. Is it an open-air concept? Traditional cubicle arrangement? Workplace design dictates where hot desks fit in.

In an open-air concept, hot desks may occupy the perimeter of the larger office—close to the group, yet distinguished as an individual workspace. Traditional offices may have hot desks clustered in offices, deemed quiet work spaces. The beauty of hot desks is that they’re as flexible in design as they are in execution. For example, some companies even use mobile standing hot desks to accommodate roaming employees.

Arrange hot desks so they’re accessible, yet clearly separate from the established desking concept. More importantly, position them as temporary workspaces to prevent territorialism.

Assign and govern

Without a system to assign and manage occupancy, hot desks will fail. Open-office hot desking, in particular, demands a system of order. Thankfully, this system is easy with a central software platform like an Integrated Workplace Management System (read more on what is IWMS software) or a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) program (read more on what is CAFM).

First, create a point of check-in or reservation. This is instrumental in tracking real-time occupancy and utilization over time. That keeps employees from simply sitting down and occupying a workspace for an indeterminate amount of time.

The key is to make it possible for employees to find and identify open hot desks near them. This should also include a schedule of when certain desks will be available again. Just like a facility manager needs a clear picture of occupancy, employees need the ability to plan ahead for desk usage.

Finally, set up a system for pinpointing who’s at each workstation. Then, dynamically link to the employee directory. Hot desks turn employees into nomads, so it’s best to create some way of finding a person no matter where they may be working at any given time.

Hot desk etiquette

Friction and tension can mount when there’s a lack of clear-cut rules governing hot desks. This includes etiquette. Remember, employees give up static personal space under a hot desking arrangement. The way they use a workstation may differ from their peers.

Outline the tenets of good hot desk use. These include cleanliness, respectfulness, due process, and common courtesy. Keeping friction low or nonexistent is crucial to hot desking success. Just as important, have consequences for employees who fail to follow the rules.

Are hot desks right for your business?

Getting hot desks to work effectively in your workplace is about setting the right expectations and taking the time to deploy and manage them correctly. Hot desks offer numerous benefits to businesses, but it’ll take some effort to reap them. Keep these tenets in mind and be diligent in addressing problems as they arise.

Keep reading: The pros and cons of hot desking.


Six Reasons a Facility Management App is Essential

By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist

In the business world, apps are a critical part of everyday operations. Because everyone has a smartphone in their pocket and a laptop or tablet handy, apps are the quickest way to get everyone on the same platform. There are apps out there for just about everything, including facility management.

The larger your company is, the more essential a facility management app becomes. It’s something every employee can use. An FM app provides a bevy of vital information and resources, and does so wherever and whenever it’s needed. Take a look at six reasons a facility management app is such a crucial part of business operations.

1. On-the-go access to personnel information

The company directory is a core component of a facilities management mobile app. A well-maintained directory offers instant access to everyone working at the company. On a smartphone, the capabilities are even more pronounced.

  • Click-to-call employee phone numbers and extensions
  • Integration with wayfinding for point-to-point directions
  • Click-to-email links for easy emailing or calendar invites
  • Messaging app or social media integrations for quick chatting

Popping open the company directory on-the-go makes communication seamless when people are away from their desks. It’s also easy to see exactly where people sit and what they do.

2. Wayfinding tie-ins

Mobile wayfinding benefits larger businesses sprawled out over multiple locations or campuses. The best facility management apps have wayfinding tie-ins that meet the needs of employees and visitors.

  • Point-to-point, step-by-step directions to a specific destination
  • Facility maps and markups to help contextualize location
  • Admin tie-ins, so facility managers can send directions to users
  • Facility information, to help people find exits, restrooms and other essentials

Wayfinding tie-ins are essential for people who need instant information about where they are or where they’re going within facilities.

Read more on features of powerful wayfinding software.

3. Push alerts and updates

Even a free facility management app will offer push alerts and updates that make it easy to connect employees to their workplace. This includes user-to-user communication, admin-to-group communication, and broad company updates.

  • Emergency alert and notification messages, pushed in real time
  • Messaging alerts, helping employees connect with each other
  • Broad employee directory updates, pushed by admins to all users
  • Group-specific messaging about space reservations, events, or meetings

A facility management app needs to be an extension of the physical facilities. That means tying people to their workplace through clear, concise alerts about factors affecting their ability to do work.

4. Spot reservation capabilities

More and more, business happens on the fly. You need to book a conference room while walking back from your lunch break. You remember to reserve a hot desk for tomorrow while sitting in a cab. A good facility management app connects people to facilities where and when they need them.

  • Locate the nearest or most applicable space and reserve it for a specific time
  • Create reservation confirmations and invites for all parties involved
  • Provide step-by-step directions to a reserved desk or space
  • Dynamic updating, so other users can see what’s booked vs. available

Allowing app users to book space on-demand makes it easy to improve space use and utilization. This leads to better productivity and ROI, and encourages employees to maximize their workplace in ways that best fit their dynamic working needs.

5. Service requests on-demand

Facility maintenance is supported by the ability to submit support tickets and problems in real-time. Often, this happens when employees are away from their desks. An app makes service ticking simple and ensures problems don’t go overlooked or untended.

  • Simple forms and one-click submission to send support ticketing
  • Ability to include location or map attachments to support tickets, for clarity
  • Camera access, to include documentation of problems, for clarity
  • Automatic identifier information, for easy follow-up with employees

Facility apps essentially crowdsource maintenance. Snapping a picture and sending a quick message expedites the ticketing process and elicits a quicker, more informed response from maintenance teams or facility managers.

6. Company information, on-demand

It doesn’t matter if they’re long-tenured employees or first-time visitors, people will have questions about the facilities they’re in. Where’s the nearest bathroom? What floor is the accounting department on? Who’s the Director of Personnel? An app that can answer these questions is useful to anyone, at any time.

  • Access to location data about amenities spanning the facility
  • Access to public-facing personnel information
  • Information for emergency action plans and evacuation routes
  • Quick links for company information or assistance

In essence, a facility management app should bridge the many gaps between employees and the workplace when they’re not directly utilizing it. Wayfinding, support ticketing, directory access, reservations, and other features are always accessible via an app. Employees can make the most of their workplace because the app enables them to.

Keep reading: How to select facility management software?


What Does a Facility Management Salary Look Like?

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

One of the most important aspects of any job is the salary. How much you’re paid has a major impact on whether the job is worth taking. That said, there’s often a lot of variability in facility management salaries—especially in an up-and-coming job market like workplace management.

How much can you expect to earn as a facility manager? That depends on several factors. Your experience, the company you apply to, demand for the position, geographic market, and myriad other variables determine the minimum and maximum salary you can earn. Let’s take a look at some of the variables to keep in mind when evaluating facility management salaries.

Average facility management salary

It’s good to have a benchmark of the average salary or a full range of facility manager salaries. Not only does this give context to a position, it also helps determine potential for future salary growth.

The problem with “average” is that it varies. puts the range of pay for facility managers between $83,142 and $110,950 each year. Meanwhile, employment analytics firm Glassdoor suggest the annual pay may be closer to $41,000 to $100,000. That’s quite a variance.

The best way to get an average is to find a website or service that factors in the chief variables affecting salary. is a good example of a service offering these tools. Given the right information, it’s possible to parse down the min/max range of a salary to a single average number for someone in your position.

Factors determining salary

There are some major factors at play when determining a fair salary. Facilities management jobs vary in and of themselves, which can affect how much a company is willing to pay. Getting a sense of what’s appropriate comes down to dissecting the variables:

  • Geography: Cost of living varies greatly by state. In Salt Lake City, $1,000 is going to buy a lot more than it will in New York City. A facility manager in Utah may make great money at $65,000 a year. But that would be lackluster for someone in New York, where the same job may net $110,000 a year.
  • Experience: The longer you work, the more you know and the more you bring to the table. Someone with 10 years’ experience in facility management is going to jump right in and instantly know how to do things—opposed to someone fresh out of college with no tenure. Companies pay more to shorten the learning curve.
  • Company: A multinational company with a million-dollar facilities management budget can afford to pay a facility manager more than a small startup watching every penny. Moreover, the number of managed workspaces can change the role—and the pay—of a facility manager.
  • Education: Institutional education bumps earning potential higher depending on the type of degree. Someone with a bachelor’s degree in business administration will earn more than a high school graduate. More education means more practical knowledge and high-level thinking that drives workplace growth.
  • Certification: Specialized certifications and accreditations push the bar for salary higher because they indicate specialized knowledge. Companies will pay more to tap into that knowledge because it’s likely to generate a higher return on investment.

Other factors also influence salary, but are less impactful. Demand for the position can make the going salary more competitive. Similarly, the industry itself may drive salaries higher or lower. For example, an industrial plant facility manager may have more complex duties compared to someone managing an accounting office.

The potential to salary increases

Starting at one salary level doesn’t lock you into that salary. Like any position, upward mobility and tenure impact pay. An assistant facility manager salary isn’t the same as a facilities director salary. Recognizing opportunities to increase salary is important for professional growth. Some examples include:

  • Obtaining new IFMA certifications
  • Learning and mastering new facilities management software and applications
  • Spearheading smart office initiatives that produce measurable workplace ROI
  • Reaching certain periods of tenure with the company
  • Assuming more responsibility as the company expands and evolves

These situations are jump-off points for revisiting salary demands. Each demonstrates the importance of facility management and shows you’re a valuable asset to the company.

Industry trends and salary

Final topic to add to the salary conversation: industry trends. Companies are willing to pay for the knowledge and skills necessary to help them streamline their workplace. The facility manager is key to business success. As demand for qualified professionals grows and more companies start to realize the value of space management, salaries will also grow.

Keep reading: The top facility management job titles.


FM Internships: Great for Companies and Aspiring Pros

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

As demand for qualified facility managers (FMs) rises, so do hands-on training opportunities. If online job boards are any indication, there’s been a recent uptick in facility management internship postings. It makes sense! There’s growing supply and demand in the FM market—more businesses are prioritizing space optimization and more professionals are willing to answer the call.

Internship benefits: Company

FM internships are a low-cost, low-risk, low-pressure way to explore the benefits of better facilities management. For companies with no practical workplace planning initiatives, FM internships are learning opportunities for both the business and the intern. Take a look at the benefits of hiring a facility management intern:

  • Internships are finite. This gives companies the option to experiment with a small investment in facilities management. If results are good, they can hire the intern. If ROI doesn’t stack up, it’s easy to move on.
  • Interns are moldable. Companies can mold an up-and-coming professional to their standards and expectations. It’s easier to create new habits and expectations than to change those ingrained in someone with years of on-the-job experience somewhere else.
  • Internships are controllable. They operate outside the realm of immediate impact. An intern can spend time learning, modeling, and exploring—without the pressure of having to make an immediate impact. Likewise, it protects the company from early missteps affecting operations.
  • Internship investment is manageable. The investment in an internship is easy to control. Interns won’t command the same salary as a tenured professional. Moreover, free trials and stripped-down software versions make it easy to get interns up and running at almost no additional cost.
  • Internships are motivating. For interns currently working toward FM certification, the prospect of a full-time position is motivating. Not only does it encourage them to secure certification, it prompts them to contribute and develop strong cultural ties.

Think of an FM internship as a learning experience. If things go well, everyone benefits. From the company perspective, it’s about finding someone who can take the lead on an important new initiative, helping to optimize one of the biggest businesses expenses. If they’re able to turn that expense into an asset, their internship becomes one of the best investments you can make.

Internship benefits: Intern

The growth of facilities management jobs has outpaced the talent pool. That means there are plenty of opportunities for new graduates interested in facility management. But there’s also a learning curve. It takes time to get familiar with FM expectations, software, best-practices, and duties. There’s also the path to certification to consider after getting a formal degree. To that end, it makes sense to start a facilities management career with an internship:

  • Real-world learning. Interns get on-the-job exposure to workplace operations. It’s a great way to familiarize themselves with real-world situations in a functioning workplace. Internships bridge the gap between institutional learning and real-world experience.
  • Low pressure. Interns have little “real” responsibility—that is, tasks that directly affect the business. This low-pressure scenario builds confidence, while allowing interns to familiarize themselves with expectations and tasks.
  • Opportunity knocks. An internship is a foot in the door at a company that may hire full-time when the internship ends. It’s an opportunity to build rapport and establish yourself as someone who can contribute meaningfully to the team as a salaried employee in the future.
  • Career experience. Internships are an inclusive path to a career as a facility manager. Instead of working at a coffee shop while you go to school or taking online FM certification courses, your entire professional focus is on what you want to be doing.
  • Career decision now. Internships go a long way toward confirming someone’s chosen career path. They’ll quickly realize this is (or isn’t) what they expected, helping them make more informed, confident decisions about their future plans as an FM professional.

Interns learn the ropes, encounter real-world situations, become familiar with expectations, and get a taste of what their career choice has to offer. More importantly, they’ll get the chance to illustrate their value to a potential employer.

Internship opportunities

Connecting interns with available opportunities means looking at several different channels. Not every company is going to take the same approach to offering their internship. Checking each channel will yield the best results in finding an opportunity.

  • Job boards are the easiest way to reach the broadest audience. Unfortunately, they also come with the most competition. This can make it hard for interns to distinguish themselves. Likewise, companies may fall victim to the paradox of choice.
  • The International Facility Manager Association (IFMA) hosts a collection of internships on its website. Usually, an IFMA internship connects distinguished individuals with Fortune 500 companies.
  • Partnerships between local companies and universities creates a pipeline for internships. A business that recruits from a local college won’t have any problem finding interns. They’ll also avoid the lengthy process that comes from job board postings.

Companies can also post internship opportunities directly to their website or offer opportunities to current employees.

Internships are a valuable part of developing talent for a new position. They benefit both companies and interns, and should be part of any growing business’ strategy for making space planning a priority.

Keep reading: Facility management certification (new guide).


Ins and Outs of Facility Management Certification

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management

Certifications are a great way to let potential employers know you’re up-to-speed and knowledgeable when applying for jobs. And the benefits don’t stop there. Certified facility management (FM) professionals are likely to net a higher salary and grab the attention of larger, well-established businesses.

But what type of certification do you need? How long does it take? What are the real benefits, beyond landing the job you’re applying for? Let’s take a look at FM certification and what it means for this industry—starting with where to get it.

Types of certifications

Someone has to set the standard for the industry. Accredited governing bodies and organizations award certifications based on universally recognized standards. These institutions have a hand in developing everything from the training curricula to the renewal standards for industry-focused certifications.

In the facilities management field, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is that organization. Almost all major FM certifications come from IFMA, including the five most popular and in-demand:

Depending on your professional focus, any one of these certifications is enough to pull your name to the top of the CV pile. But having the title isn’t enough. You also need the body of knowledge that comes with it. Like any certification in any industry, to get the title you need to undergo rigorous education and training.

Institutional education

Currently, a facilities management degree isn’t something offered by most colleges and universities. Though some do, such degrees aren’t recognized by industry governing bodies. Instead, most colleges offer a degree in administrative services—a catchall spanning broad topics like business, engineering, information management, and, of course, facility management.

Just because there’s no facility management-specific degree doesn’t mean institutional education isn’t important. Studying to be an administrative services manager is a crucial first step toward FM certification. Broad exposure to the many facets of business administration helps when the time comes to narrow focus on facilities. And, in today’s competitive workforce, a bachelor’s degree in business is a crucial prerequisite for any workplace management position.

Professional certifications

The real path to facility management professional certification starts once you have your degree. Using the knowledge gleaned from studying administrative services, an individual can enroll in IFMA professional development and certificate programs. This is the direct route to credentialing.

IFMA certifications come after passing modules that teach standard practice and specialized understanding of the modern FM role. The process is relatively low cost, however it requires engaged focus on learning high-level concepts, terms, and fundamentals. Modules span all facets of facilities management—building maintenance, energy management, employee safety, budgeting, and countless others. Examples include:

  • Annual and Capital Budgeting for Facility Management Operations
  • How Integrated Project Delivery and BIM Provide Value for Capital Projects
  • Fundamentals of Corporate Real Estate
  • Construction Management Delivery Options

As of writing, IFMA has more than 50 training modules. Not all of them are required for every FM certification, but all are useful in understanding modern-day facilities management.

Ongoing training

Like other professions with evolving standards and practices, facility managers should concern themselves with Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Because there’s no physical facility management school or steadfast degree programs, professionals must accumulate CEUs to show continued compliance with evolving standards.

Facility professionals earn CEUs by completing IFMA modules or attending conferences and seminars hosted by the organization. Each certification requires a certain number of CEUs to remain valid year-over-year. It’s a fundamental system for ensuring industry standards are upheld.

Certification goes beyond titles

Whether you’re a FMP, CFM, or SFP, what matters is the knowledge behind the title. Facility management certification represents more than time and money spent taking courses and completing modules. The certificate represents a definitive understanding of facility management expectations in today’s workplace. This is what’s most valuable to companies.

Your title may move your CV to the top of the applicant stack or net you a higher annual salary, but it also guarantees a great return on investment for the company hiring you. The knowledge and initiatives you bring to the table are instrumental in optimizing the workplace and everything it touches, including the balance sheet, employee satisfaction, productivity, and culture.

Keep reading: What is a CAFM Specialist?