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What is Space Utilization and How Can You Measure it?

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
SpaceIQ

Is your workplace feeling cramped? Too many employees jammed in one area while other spaces go unused. You might be suffering from improper space utilization. But what is space utilization, exactly? Depending on context, it could be the most important metric you’re not measuring—one with the power to bring harmony to your workplace and everything in it.

What is space utilization?

Space utilization is how well you’re using your space. Do employees have enough space to productively work, or the right spaces to do it? Workplace space utilization is all about function.

Note: Workplace space utilization and space occupancy are not the same. There’s a big difference between how a space is used (utilization) and how many people are in it (occupancy). The two are separate in terms of measurement, but affect each other:

There’s a balancing act between how many people occupy a space and utilization. Low utilization indicates inefficient use of space. Likewise, low occupancy indicates underutilized space. The goal is to pair high occupancy with high utilization, and recognize when these variables don’t align.

Many forms of utilization measurement

There’s no single way to measure space utilization. Accurate utilization data comes from a variety of space utilization metrics. Depending on the workplace information a company needs, it may use one or all of these different metrics:

Time

Time-based utilization how is a space used at a given time. It’s usually plotted over the course of a day or week to generate patterns on peak utilization and how employees use the space. For example, it may show that a conference room is occupied the most on Monday, Thursday, and Friday at 45 minutes per meeting.

Space

Are employees using the workplace to its fullest potential? Tracking space utilization by type is the easiest way to find out. Data may show your massive conference room is going unused, while a smaller one sees constant use. Or, it may denote high demand for individual, quiet workstations vs. the current open office floor plan. How often a space is used (and unused) sheds light on how well it’s utilized.

Group

Who’s using specific spaces and how often is a great way to gauge effective utilization. Are there unused desks in Accounting that Human Resources might need? Is Marketing using conference rooms more often than other business segments on the same floor? Pairing groups with spaces shows utilization in a practical sense.

Location

The locations of specific space types in relation to where employees sit play a big role in efficient utilization. Measuring utilization by location is a great way to reverse engineer the effective use of that space. Do the people on the second floor use their conference room? Are employees choosing hot desks on the fourth floor more often than on the fifth floor? Is your workforce best spread between two regional locations or one central location? Looking at facility usage by location paints a clearer picture of utilization trends.

Rather than hand-calculate utilization, it’s best to run everything through space utilization software. Not only will software deploy the proper algorithms to measure various utilization metrics, managers can flip back and forth between datasets depending on what approach they’re taking for utilization.

Why measure utilization at all?

Measuring space utilization is important for planning for growth, understanding facility costs, preventing workplace friction, and making data-backed decisions about workplace management. It’s an important step in understanding the real estate you have and how to maximize ROI. Unlocking optimal utilization is the secret to cultivating business success, starting from within.

Keep reading: Space planning software buyers guide.

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Solve Seven Problems with Coworking Management Software

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

Running a successful coworking space presents many unique challenges. Not only does it come with the usual duties of managing a traditional office, there’s also a strong degree of uncertainty concerning patronage. It’s not always clear how many people will show up on any given day, how long they’ll stay, or what type of space they’ll need. Thankfully, workplace management software alleviates these uncertainties and challenges.

Workplace management software generates real-time occupancy information, streamlines communication, and provides a system of checks and balances to avoid coworking-specific problems like these:

  1. Overcrowding: There’s a difference between a packed house and an overcrowded workplace. Properly managing coworking space makes a difference. The right coworking software prevents overcrowding by ensuring maximum space utilization and proper space occupancy. This is particularly useful in managing open-air spaces that can accommodate a range of people, not just a standard 1:1 person-to-chair ratio. Real-time space utilization and occupancy metrics help prevent overcrowding and the resulting friction.
  2. Underutilized workspaces: Coworking facilities make money by filling seats (read more on what is coworking). Every empty workstation is an untapped revenue stream. Coworking management software, in its simplest capacity, helps managers see unused spaces and ensure they’re filled throughout the day. In addition to real-time utilization, workplace management software also produces historical data to show how often spaces go unused. This fuels pricing directives, marketing initiatives, revenue maximization.
  3. Poor space design: If a coworking facility doesn’t include the types of spaces people need, patronage will suffer. Using historical data from a workplace management platform, managers can see what types of spaces are most in-demand. Forcing change to comply with demand will improve workplace utilization, thus maximizing revenue from each workspace. Failing to recognize and offer the type of space people need is a recipe for failure.
  4. Overlapped booking: People come and go throughout the day. Coworking software is integral in tracking who’s present and what spaces are occupied and available. This prevents booking overlap, like assigning someone to a space that’s already occupied or over-promising certain types of spaces. Reducing booking conflicts not only standardizes a smooth customer experience, it creates potential for better total facility utilization.
  5. Miscommunication: A visit to a coworking space needs to be a complete continuum of satisfaction—otherwise, a patron might not come back. The secret is in setting a standard for good communication. Running all communication through a space management platform standardizes and streamlines information exchange, minimizing the risk of miscues. After check-in, a customer gets an email with information about their workspace. If they have questions, they message the system for automated and personalized responses. When they check out, they get a thank-you email with options for future visits. Coworking management software makes it succinct, controlled, and efficient.
  6. Improper cost analysis: How do you know if what you’re charging for a seat is enough to keep your coworking business model afloat? That’s where utilization data from workplace management software comes in. Algorithms break down hourly rates, individual space utilization trends, workplace capacity, and other metrics for a fiscal picture of current operations. It’s a great way to know if what you’re charging is enough—and if it’s not, what you need to charge to stay in business. Likewise, knowing your numbers may lead to discounts or special member pricing that keep patrons coming back.
  7. Missed customer opportunities: You may see familiar faces in your coworking space, but what about the people you only see once or twice? Why aren’t they regularly coming back? Finding the answers means understanding your audiences. Workplace management software can extract data that segments customers by labels like “recurring” or “one-off.” Then, you can maximize the value of each customer by offering return patrons with upsell packages or solicit feedback from a one-off visitor. Knowing and acting on your customer base is imperative.

Coworking spaces see success based on an ability to provide workers a comfortable, enjoyable, stress-free environment (read the benefits of coworking). Coworking’s main obstacles can be hurdled using workplace management software. Workplace managers have the tools and insights they need to keep up with demand, satisfy expectations, and avoid friction.

Keep reading: Why coworking space?

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Blog

How Can Space Optimization Software Help Your Workplace Grow?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

Growth can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, your company is bringing in more business and making more money. On the other, you need to keep pace with the influx. Growing companies are often put in a bind: embrace the situation, yet struggle to get ahead of it. Nowhere is this more evident than in the workplace, which makes space optimization software a must-have at any blossoming business.

Nothing stunts growth like a hampered workforce. It’s hard to work when employees are tripping over themselves or can’t find a few square feet of real estate to get their work done or conduct a private meeting. Predicaments like these often force companies to make poor decisions about their workplace—decisions that may stagnate balance sheets and slow growth for years to come.

Instead of adding more space as a quick fix to accommodate growth, consider optimizing around available commercial real estate. Not only is it often more cost effective, it’s a smart way to embrace business expansion instead of chasing after it.

Recognize the space you have (and the space you need)

Space planning software allows companies to see the space they have and what they’re doing with it. When you know what you have and what you’re doing, there’s a starting point for where you want to be and how to get there.

How many desks vs. employees are in your workplace? How many conference rooms or collaborative spaces are there? What kinds of spaces do employees want right now? Are there unused spaces? With a full, visual floor plan, company leaders can make informed decisions about space utilization.

Understand costs and practice cost control

A growing workplace directly correlates to a larger fixed lease cost on the balance sheet. There are two schools of thought surrounding space optimization:

  • Keep lease costs consistent by maximizing the space you already pay for
  • Maximize the value of additional space by optimizing profits to offset lease costs

Choosing the right option comes down to understanding space utilization vs. space occupancy. If space utilization is low, the first option is often the smartest. If occupancy has peaked, the second choice may be more practical. The goal in either case is to unlock more space at the lowest possible cost to the business, which accommodates sustainable growth.

Experiment with the right desking arrangement

Once a company understands the type of workplace it needs and what’s available, space management software helps piece together the right optimization solution. Generally, this involves charting the ideal floor plan—whether you’re optimizing existing space or adding more.

Space optimization software allows a company to put the pieces of the complex workplace puzzle together. You know you need different types of spaces and each requires consideration for proper proximity and density. Charting different floor plan iterations helps contextualize the delivery of in-demand spaces.

Most importantly, space optimization software helps companies plan not just for immediate needs, but future scenarios, as well. One floor plan may be the best fit for the current phase of growth, but another option may solve space issues as they arise.

Explore agile workspace solutions

Workspace optimization during a growth period involves looking at creative solutions for problems your company has yet to face. It’s about adaptation. To adapt in a conventional workplace requires agile, sometimes unconventional spaces.

Space optimization software is critical in exploring flexible workspaces, including hotel desks, hot desks, and activity-based stations. Touted for their ability to maximize space, these workspaces simultaneously keep costs low and create a dynamic workplace culture. Utilization software helps companies plan for, deploy, measure, and adapt agile workspace solutions as business grows.

Plan before deployment

Growing companies can ill afford mistakes. Space optimization software safeguards against catastrophic errors. Not only does it provide critical data for good decision-making, the software can model those decisions before they’re deployed.

A new desk arrangement or lease terms are easily plugged into workspace management software, allowing facility managers to get a sense of how they’ll affect the business. After analyzing the pros and cons, obstacles and opportunities, decision-makers then can choose to deploy changes or go back to the drawing board. Work isn’t affected until changes are made, and changes aren’t enacted until they’re understood. It’s the smart way to make growth-minded decisions.

Space optimization software plays a critical role in business growth by giving context to the role of the workplace as the company matures. It also allows workplace managers to adapt space in tandem with growth.

Keep reading: Make every space count with space management software.

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Blog

The State of the Facility Management Market

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
SpaceIQ

The facility management market could be worth as much as $59.33 billion by 2023, according to a report by B2B research firm MarketsandMarkets™. Already estimated at $32.21 billion in 2017, the industry is poised for impressive growth in just a few years.

The report pegs the industry’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) at 11.4 percent—an impressive leader within the broader segment of Office Administrative Services, which is expected to see 1.7 percent total employment growth over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Facility management is ranked among the industries with the fastest-growing demand and wage scales, alongside various healthcare services, software publishing, and positions within education.

The facilities management market size shows a direct demand for smarter workplaces—both in deployed technologies and management strategies.

What’s driving the market?

The surging facilities management industry comes on the heels of several key drivers. Namely, technology and shifting work habits in an environment where commercial real estate (CRE) costs consistently increase. Let’s take a look at what’s specifically behind the rise of modern facilities management.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT is perhaps the biggest driver of modern facilities management. It quantifies previously unknown variables and provides a constant, real-time stream of data. Insights gleaned from the IoT power better decision-making and emphasize optimization, instead of just accommodation. This newfound mode of improvement has prompted companies to rethink their workplaces and their role in supporting the business.

Rising CRE costs

Rising CRE costs are cutting into balance sheets for businesses big and small. To minimize the damage, companies are using better facilities management to maximize value and introduce economies of scale. Emphasis on lease management and CRE optimization call for qualified insights, which are delivered by a dedicated facilities manager.

Globalized economic growth

On a macro scale, the expansion of companies across borders and overseas has resulted in greater focus on asset management. Each business location becomes its own cost center, which demand proper oversight. Managing a portfolio of properties is crucial—especially when considering local building codes, safety standards, and permitting regulations.

Shifting office environments

The downfall of the traditional office layout has put major emphasis on space planning and workplace logistics. Managing open offices, activity-based workspaces, hot desks, hotel desks, and the broad conglomeration of spaces present in a modern workplace takes dedicated oversight. Moreover, workplace managers who are able to predict and oversee these diverse spaces help the company maximize the value of its lease through space utilization and optimization.

Other factors—Space-as-a-Service, the gig economy, and sustainable business practices—also fall within the realm of facilities management. So much of business success relates to the workplace. This realization has prompted companies to focus extensively on how they’re using and managing facilities.

Headwinds and hurdles

Despite the rapidly growing demand for better facilities management, pitfalls still exist. Facility management market analysis shows several headwinds within the industry.

Lack of managerial awareness

The benefits of facilities management aren’t entirely recognized by the C-suite. The problem stems from a lag in understanding and adopting prerequisite technologies. Many businesses are still making the jump to cloud computing systems and haven’t yet adopted an IoT ecosystem. Further, their transition from conventional office layouts is still in its infancy. As these factors congeal, understanding of the role facilities management plays will likely follow.

Integration of facility management with legacy ERP systems

Legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) software still reigns supreme in larger businesses. Unfortunately, legacy ERP platforms don’t account for the workplace as a value stream. Switching to an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) or Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software comes with resistance—and integration is difficult due to the walled-garden nature of most enterprise software solutions.

Lack of skills and expertise

Even seasoned facilities managers are catching up to the facility management tech boom. Most workplace management and space planning platforms are new and those with deep experience in culling analytics from them are few and far between. Moreover, there’s a lag in shifting philosophies—facilities management is no longer reactive. Approaching the workplace from a value-add standpoint is still gaining traction. Qualified professionals will soon flood the field, but it’ll take several years to educate and train them.

Despite these headwinds, facilities management is a thriving market. The benefits of good workplace management are simply too powerful to deny. And, as the call for facilities management grows louder, these headwinds will dissipate.

An evolving industry to watch

There’s no doubt facilities management plays a role in future economic development. Companies will be more strategic in how they run their businesses and manage their workforces based on how they moderate their facilities. With more technologies to quantify the workplace, the demand for interpreters of this data is also on the rise. Facilities management is becoming a crucial part of every business, and facilities manager is a position that’s highly coveted.

Keep reading: selecting facility management software.

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Workplace Thought Leadership

Cookie-Cutter Workplace Effect: Low Productivity

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder
SpaceIQ

Is your workplace helping or hindering productivity?

Companies have been grappling with this question ever since the rise of knowledge workers. Businesses first adopted cubicles, moved to open offices, and then shifted to shared desks—all with the objective of increasing efficiency. But the challenge is that there are no one-size-fits-all designs that work across every industry. In fact, one of the quickest ways to undercut productivity is forcing every office layout into the same configuration.

Your workplace design should be treated like a tool that’s just as critical to your operations as a computer network or WiFi. And like a good software program, workplace layout should be informed by data. With insights into utilization trends, companies can optimize their floor plans to support employee productivity.

Recognize Work Modes

We no longer live in a world where an employee punches in at 8 a.m. and works on the same task until 5 p.m. Over the course of an average day, a worker may alternate between six productivity modes. These can range from solo tasks such as reading, writing, and email, to collaborative ones like one-on-one meetings, group huddles, and brainstorming sessions.

With such a wide spectrum of tasks, it’s nearly impossible for an employee to maintain productivity by staying in one spot. It’s not that one type of layout is right or wrong, like everyone should use hotel desks or work in an open office. The problem is when your floor plan doesn’t provide the right combination of spaces to support productivity.

Take an open office. If I’m a sales person who spends most of my time on the phone, an open layout might work for 90% of my day. But if I’m an engineer who primarily does heads-down work, only 10% of my day might be compatible with an open office.

Space availability is also crucial for productivity. Your office might offer a variety of options for concentration and collaboration, but what if there’s not enough to go around? When people are competing for resources (i.e. space for a task) they are ultimately wasting time.

Imagine a company where most people don’t come to the office Monday through Thursday but it’s routine for them to come in every Friday. During the early part of the week, no one needs a permanent desk. But because Fridays hit peak occupancy, people might be frustrated by a lack of desks, conference rooms, or quiet spaces. Time spent anxiously searching for a space halts employee productivity in its tracks.

Measure Productivity with Space Data

Every company has to decide what productivity looks like to them. Sales is easy to measure, but what about the Marketing team? There’s always a qualitative side to productivity. But space utilization data can clarify the relationship between layout and productivity.

Start by managing your workplace in a modern, dynamic way. In the days of Dilbert-style cubicles when nothing ever moved, space planners only needed basic software. Open offices require little rearranging, except on the periphery. But for flexible floor plans, you need modern software like an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).

Then measure utilization. Look at the data you already have, like badging system information. It won’t provide details on what a person was doing during a given day, but you can establish when and how long they were in the office.

You can also tap into WiFi. Compare signal data that shows where devices connected to the network with badging data that denotes how many people arrived on a particular day. Were they grouped in a certain location or were they stationed at individual desks? If you want to get really granular, install sensors that track when people enter and exit a room.

The final phase is to use collected data to verify if your current layout supports employee productivity or should be optimized. You can ask detailed questions like:

  • Does everyone need a desk or can we convert to shared desks?
  • Do we need to add small huddle rooms or larger conference rooms?
  • Should we use a desk ratio of 1:1 or 2:1?
  • Can we replace a portion of shared desks with couches?

Data collected through an IWMS helps take the guesswork out of productivity questions. You can use the same data to test layouts and make changes if they aren’t fruitful for productivity.

For example, you provided couches for impromptu meetings. It turns out no one uses them because teams prefer conference rooms with A/V technology. Data also shows that your four meeting rooms are constantly booked. Those insights verify that replacing the couches with another conference room is a more productive use of space.

We recently had one customer who went to 100% hot desking. After tracking space utilization, they found that only 100 out of 200 employees are in the office on a typical day. Rather than maintain 200 desks, they kept 110 desks and added extra meeting and huddles rooms.

When one team makes a productivity improvement, the benefits are limited to that team. But if you make even a 1% improvement across the entire company, the payoff is massive. This is exactly what optimizing your workplace design based on data trends can yield.

Keep reading: what’s the best office layout for productivity?

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Blog

What is a CAFM Specialist?

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Any job title containing the word “specialist” likely describes a position that’s in demand. A person specializing in a niche aspect or high-value area of a broader position distinguishes themselves as someone who will add value to an organization through focused expertise. In the world of workplace management, few positions demand the prestige of a CAFM specialist.

What is a CAFM specialist? It’s someone with significant experience and expert understanding of Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM). More than knowing a single specific platform or software, they have a full understanding of the complex hierarchy of digital building systems and how to manage them. They know workplaces in a digital sense.

As workplaces go digital, demand for CAFM experience grows exponentially. A person able to harness the power of a CAFM platform is better-equipped to help a business meet its operational goals through exceptional workplace management.

What does a CAFM specialist do?

A CAFM specialist has two roles. First, they oversee and maintain facilities. Second, they use digital workplace data insights to drive precise improvements. In a nutshell, a CAFM specialist needs the skills of a facilities manager and a workplace software expert. Other required skills include:

  • Previous AutoCAD or CAFM program experience
  • Experience working with building drawings/floor plans
  • Sensitivity to the needs of multiple stakeholders (employees, C-suite, vendors)
  • Procedural space planning experience
  • Ability to simultaneously manage multiple work streams
  • Ability to translate workplace needs into effective space planning
  • Analytical assessment and data interpretation skills

A CAFM specialist will take their experience with facility software and apply it to a deeper understanding of facilities management. Done right, the result can be anything from quantifiable workplace improvements to more confident, data-driven decision-making.

What are the benefits of CAFM?

CAFM software quantifies the workplace. A CAFM specialist interprets available data to make intelligent conclusions, which leads to more effective facilities management.

Consider a workplace redesign. A general facilities manager can quantify important variables and the available space. Then, she can formulate new layout that maximizes efficiency and space utilization. But can she quantify it? Are they able to iterate other floor plans and compare them? Maybe—but not with the quickness and insight of a CAFM specialist. What might take a general facility manager days or weeks to do, someone with CAFM experience can do in minutes or hours.

CAFM enables quicker, smarter workplace management. They make decisions that affect positive change and continuous improvement. In addition, there are cascading benefits resulting from proper CAFM deployment and use, including:

  • More efficient facilities management
  • Better organization of FM streams and duties
  • Asset lifecycle tracking insights
  • Facility metric tracking and reporting
  • Cost conservation across the workplace
  • Improved workplace project support

As the benefits compound, it becomes clearer why CAFM specialists are so in-demand.

At home in a digital ecosystem

What is CAFM without a robust network of connected apps and devices that are supported by automation? An unsung benefit of hiring a CAFM specialist is tapping into their knowledge of the digital workplace—everything feeding into the CAFM platform.

As a workplace explores the office IoT and cloud computing, workplace management will naturally trend digital. Each digital facet needs its own oversight. Tying them into a singular platform and bridging the digital workplace with the physical building opens the door to more complete workplace management. A CAFM platform is exactly what’s needed, and a specialist at the helm makes the digital transition smoother.

Adopting and integrating digital aspects also empowers a workplace manager to implement economies of scale. CAFM data modeling powers smarter business growth, particularly as it involves space and individual workstations. Measuring data, modeling growth, and pinpointing supporting technology are all required to meet the needs of an evolving workplace. They’re insights found in a CAFM solution.

Hire for the future

Companies hiring a workplace manager aren’t just looking for someone to maintain the status quo. Increasingly, they need someone to continuously streamline the workplace and plan for the future. And while a tenured workplace manager can certainly do the job, CAFM specialists are wanted for their digital experience.

As the movement to digitize the workplace grows, CAFM specialists bring increasingly important skills to the mix. Experienced workplace managers are wise to pursue formalized training with popular CAFM platforms and become educated on the digital side. Not only does it lead to a better understanding of new-age workplace management practices, it’ll likely lead to better employment under the title “CAFM Specialist.”

Keep reading: What’s the Difference: IWMS, CMMS, CAFM and EAM?

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Blog

Modern Office Planning and Layout Types

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
SpaceIQ

We’ve entered the age of custom. People forgo mass-produced, standardized commodities in favor of tailored solutions. Cookie-cutter homes are out; unique remodels are in. Off-the-rack clothes are waning; personalized subscription boxes reign supreme. Even modern office planning and layout types fall within the realm of custom. No two workplaces are the same, so why should the office layout be generic?

As with all things custom, the benefit comes from a tailored solution—not just unique for the sake of being unique. Rearranging desks into an obscure layout doesn’t make for a modern workplace. Instead, it’s about utilizing available workspace in creative ways to meet employee demands.

Coordinating a modern workplace floor plan takes work. More than anything, it requires a comprehensive understanding of new-age workspace types—their benefits and drawbacks, and what they offer your workforce. Here’s a look at some of the most common:

1. The conventional office

Let’s start with the benchmark: the traditional office. It’s a workplace filled with barriers—cubicle walls, individual offices, and tucked-away conference rooms. It doesn’t promote socialization and tends toward the higher end of the utilization scale—dangerously close to overcrowding. After all, the solution to maximizing space in a conventional office is to pack more people in, while isolating them to give the illusion of space.

2. Benching (open office)

The open office layout is a 180-degree change from the conventional office. There are as few walls as possible, which promotes consistent socialization and camaraderie. Open offices foster collaboration and inclusion, while dissolving the hierarchy of conventional offices.

Their drawbacks? Open offices can be open to a fault. Distractions are plentiful and noise pollution is a problem. Benching is best supplemented by private space for days when people feel more introverted or need to buckle down.

space-management-software-buyers-guide

3. Activity-based environments

Activity-based spaces—a popular modern office floor plan—serve the needs of the people using them. They’re highly versatile, easily configurable, and instantly accessible. Activity-based spaces are also agile and support rapid changeover. Because they’re used when needed, activity-based environments are smart paths to efficient space utilization.

The downfall of activity-based environments is a lack of personal space. When employees are constantly on the move or adapting to changing workspaces, they need to plant roots somewhere. Personal lockers or cubbies are a great solution.

4. Desk neighborhoods

An intermediate desking option between benching and the conventional office are desk neighborhoods. They’re staples of modern office planning and layout. They bring small groups of coworkers together to foster collaboration, while still maintaining personal space for each person. Transitioning from individual work to collaborative projects is easy.

Desk neighborhood skeptics believe desk clumps make people too accessible to their coworkers. It’s important to establish etiquette with this type of arrangement. Privacy is also a concern, so provide areas where employees can retreat, if needed.

5. Hot desks

No creative coworking space design is complete without hot desks. These first-come, first-served workstations promote employee choice and offer opportunities as diverse as your workforce. Hot desks cater to individual work habits. Plus, employees can change their desking choice as often as they want to deter complacency and stave off the doldrums.

But be beware of hot desk territorialism! Encourage employees to vary their habits among different spaces, and make sure there’s a diverse array of hot desk locations and types. It’s also critical to use a space management system and define etiquette for hot desk use.

6. Hospitality and remote-worker friendly

Even when employees don’t come into the office, it’s still important to cultivate a welcoming, efficient workplace.

For part-time staff and occasional on-site visitors, hotel desks let them pick their seat and reserve it in advance. They’ll know exactly where they’re sitting and how to get there when they arrive. There’s no confusion about where to sit or accessing materials—hoteling takes care of everything.

For full-time, remote employees, consider the shape of your digital office. Are you providing the right cloud-based software and services? What about communication and networking apps? Some companies pay for their remote workers’ coworking space memberships. Remember, workplace is about enabling work—no matter where work happens.

Understand the work to shape the space

Shifting to a new, modern floor plan isn’t a small change. The goal: make sure it’s the right one. Take workplace planning by the horns and approach redesign with employees in mind. What kind of space do they need? What modern workspaces fit the bill? How can you make it work within the facilities available to you?

Your business is unlike any other, and your employees are unique individuals with their own needs and wants. In the age of custom, cultivating a unique, modern workplace isn’t an extravagance—it’s a necessity. Success demands an understanding of workplace planning and the prototypical types of spaces used today.

Keep reading: Best office layout for productivity.

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Facilities Management Software for Schools

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

We talk a lot about dynamic workspaces and agile business environments. But there’s no better example than a school when it comes to a space in flux. Schools show space diversity not just in the type of space—classroom, cafeteria, computer lab—but in how it’s used. This diversity makes facilities management software for schools imperative.

Facility management software has broad applications throughout a school:

  • Classrooms with shifting desk arrangements
  • Multiple groups using the gymnasium at the same time
  • Rotating classes in the library

Space utilization software highlights the broad potential of a school’s diverse spaces, while maintaining order in how and when those areas are used.

Space management prevents class overlap, keeps teachers in control, and maximizes the potential space utilization. Using space in ways best-suited to lesson plans ensures schools remain dynamic learning environments.

Optimizing the agile classroom

Over the past 20 years, the classroom has gone from rows of front-facing, orderly desks to an environment with no standard layout. Flipped classrooms, small-group learning, activity-based education, and other teaching philosophies have turned the classroom on its head.

School facility management software is essential in keeping up with the constantly changing demands of the agile classroom. For educators to deploy teaching strategies, they need to know if their space can accommodate activities. Can you fit 32 desks in a complete circle? How many desk clumps fit comfortably in a classroom? What are the logistics of changing the room from one floor plan to another?

Agile classrooms contribute to engagement and learning. Supporting students means ensuring the classroom is comfortable and organized—no matter the teaching philosophy.

Making shared spaces truly shared

How schools use facility management software depends on the space in question. It’s often most necessary in multifaceted spaces.

By day, the cafeteria serves food. By night, it might host parent-teacher conferences, PTA meetings, or faculty gatherings. It’s the venue for science fairs, study groups, extracurricular clubs, and any other school-based activity requiring a large, versatile space—even general election voting for the public. Each event requires specific planning and accommodations, which is where school facility management software shines.

At the same time, a school’s space is finite. Often, a single area needs to accommodate multiple groups at once without infringing on the learning opportunities of each other. Planning for coexistence—not overlap—is important. How can Class A make use of the library computers while Class B works on a research project? Is it possible to accommodate volleyball and basketball practice in the same gymnasium, at the same time? Schools don’t have space (or time) to waste, which makes space planning software the smart, efficient solution.

Facilitating migration within the school building

Learning doesn’t stay in the classroom. It migrates from room to room, into libraries and computer labs, the theater and band rooms, and just about every space. Kids and teachers are always on the move. Planning movement from space to space requires software assistance—usually in the form of IWMS solutions for schools.

Two key variables drive successful lesson planning: smooth transitions between spaces and the proper accommodations for each activity. Facility management software solves both. Move management handles preparation and relocation, while space planning ensures areas are appropriately prepared for the lessons ahead. Teachers are shown the quickest route between destinations. And when they get there, the space is ready for learning. Space planning software takes the headache out of moving a group of kids and saves precious time.

Most importantly, space planning software prevents logjams, overlaps, and friction in a school where dozens of teachers and hundreds of kids are all on the move, heading to different areas at different times for different durations. Facility management software brings order to what would otherwise be chaos.

Maximizing every potential space

As mentioned, space in schools is finite and precious. Maximizing every square foot is important. It’s why the gymnasium is more than a place for sports and why classrooms frequently evolve around lesson plans.

Facility management and space planning software for schools maximizes the potential of every space. Are students benefiting from a well-formed learning environment? Do teachers have the resources and space to execute their lesson plans? Is there enough space for all activities? Recognizing the needs of students and teachers—and optimizing available space to meet it—doesn’t happen by chance. It takes careful planning, which is easier and more inclusive with the right digital platform.

Keeping schools agile and organized

Classroom floor plans change. Students constantly move from one room to another. Shared spaces are part of the everyday routine. Keeping track of spaces and how they’re used is a full-time, logistical job that’s hard to accomplish without a little help. Like workplaces, facility management software is the answer for schools. It’s the smart way to stay organized in an environment that presents the ultimate test of space planning.

Keep reading: How to select the best facilities management software

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What Does CMMS Stand For?

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). That’s the simplest answer when asking, “what does CMMS stand for?” But a four-word answer doesn’t quite do justice to what a CMMS is or how it works to improve the results of facilities management.

It’s hard to imagine a facilities maintenance management strategy without a robust CMMS system. The CMMS creates a framework for ensuring facilities, assets, and installations are properly managed. Having the automation, data, and oversight of a CMMS can be the difference between reactive facilities management and a proactive plan.

CMMS vs. EAM software

Often, people confuse CMMS and EAM software. Other than being acronyms for workplace management software, the two share similarities that warrant the confusion. What is a CMMS? What is an EAM? How are they different? That all depends on how they’re used.

  • CMMS stands for “Computerized Maintenance Management System”
  • EAM stands for “Enterprise Asset Management”

The simplest distinction between them is that an EAM platform oversees and manages workplace assets, while a CMMS ensures they’re understood and maintained.

Take something as simple as the break room cappuccino maker, for example. A facility manager uses EAM software to manage it—keeping materials stocked, monitoring its condition, calculating the ROI, etc. When it breaks down and needs repairs, the CMMS kicks in. The CMMS generates the repair ticket and catalogs the repairs.

Now, instead of the cappuccino maker, imagine every major asset in the workplace! EAM and CMMS play distinct roles in keeping vital assets in functional condition.

Often, the two work in tandem. Overlapping features frequently make them interchangeable.

Creating maintenance processes

One of the biggest values of a CMMS—and the primary reason to integrate one into your workplace asset management approach—is process standardization.

CMMS platforms focus specifically on maintenance management. As a result, they offer maintenance infrastructures and automations. Features like support ticketing, preventive maintenance scheduling, and vendor management make CMMS software a must-have. The benefits available through maintenance standardization and automation are enough to pay for themselves:

  • Fewer, shorter instances of downtime
  • Longer asset lifespan
  • Better ROI through asset preservation
  • Lower proactive service costs (as opposed to reactive costs)
  • Improved vendor management
  • Quicker response to maintenance requests
  • Time savings through process automation

All these benefits stem from a drilled-down focus on asset management. With a CMMS platform, asset maintenance becomes a priority, not a passive response. Employees have a place to send support tickets. Maintenance gets executed faster. Assets are quantified and their ROI measured. In the same way Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software turns space into an asset, CMMS turns facility management into a competitive advantage.

The larger the workplace grows and the further it sprawls, the more essential it becomes. From a single floor, to the whole building, to multiple locations, and even mobile assets, CMMS scales alongside the workplace, accounting for everything requiring upkeep.

A look into facilities trends and events 

The secondary (and just as important) aspect of CMMS software is the data insights it provides. There’s categorical data for every asset under management. Understanding and using it is the job of the CMMS administrator.

What does a CMMS administrator do? They observe the data points associated with various assets to optimize management of those assets. An administrator might look at costs, timeframes, specific events, or maintenance history to determine the right course of action.

Should your company transition to LED lighting? A CMMS administrator can compile data about lighting costs, bulb replacement frequency, and retrofit costs to answer that question. Yes, we’ll save more money on lighting over the next year upgrading to LEDs. Or, no, upgrading isn’t worth the cost.

The same goes for questions about any other asset. How much money was spent on copy machine repairs and supplies last year? Which computer workstations have the most maintenance requests? How old is the fridge in the break room? CMMS quantifies as many aspects of an asset as possible, so companies have bearings when making decisions about them. It’s the difference between making impulsive, empirical decisions as opposed to confident, data-backed ones—and it affects everything from business operations to budget.

Delivering a broader understanding of facilities

The benefits of CMMS mirror other facilities management software, focused on maintenance specifically. CMMS quantifies the previously uncalculated, providing data about specific processes or assets within the office. Using this data, facilities managers make more informed decisions about how to run the workplace.

More importantly, CMMS provides process creation and control frameworks. Facilities maintenance touches so many avenues that it’s often a convoluted pain point for workplace managers. Funneling facilities maintenance requests and tasks into a CMMS organizes them. Depending on the action required, the software holds the automation capability to ensure it’s handled right.

Alongside Integrated Workplace Management Software (learn more about IWMS software) and a Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) platform, a CMMS solution completes the trinity of essential workplace management software.

Keep reading: Selecting the right facility management software