By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
Some say technology is eliminating human interaction but, in reality, new tools improve communication in the workplace. The latest workplace collaboration trends help bring top talent together—and keep them engaged—for increased productivity.
So, what is a business collaboration? It’s any activity that brings workers together to achieve a common goal. Software for business collaboration offers four core values:
- Cost savings: Use tools to reduce labor costs, prevent errors, and make data-driven decisions
- Flexibility: Platforms work across multiple locations on desktop or mobile
- Scalability: Easily change the number of active users; only pay for services you use
- Usability: Applications have intuitive graphical interfaces and built-in support
The pillars of virtual collaboration are a communal workspace and communication tools. The future of workplace collaboration is a world where distance doesn’t hamper productivity. Well-designed communication tools are essential to providing a good employee experience. You must stay on top of collaboration trends to make wise decisions about new features that will benefit your company and which tools have outlived their usefulness. Here are some recently developed features that expand and enhance basic collaboration tools:
A phone and Rolodex used to be the communication tools for a functioning office. As tech advanced, they gave way to cloud-based software built for modern workplace collaboration. Email, chat, video, and file-sharing drive peer-to-peer contact—often in a single solution that saves money and scales to your needs. The best options make it easy to add or remove entire groups of users and require no special equipment. Support costs disappear once users direct queries to the SaaS provider instead of your help desk.
Wireless meeting rooms will soon become the standard for group discussions. Users join or present meetings without logging into another platform—a huge improvement over speaker phones and projectors. The most-impressive applications use augmented reality to increase engagement. Co-workers communicate via 3D avatars, closing global interaction gaps in an instant. Virtual meeting rooms are quickly replacing physical spaces, which reduces workplace costs.
Chatbots have been supporting customers for decades, with increasing success as artificial intelligence improves. Some employee interactions don’t require a human touch, so why not apply the same cost-effective principle to the workplace? Automated systems free IT from answering similar questions and performing repetitive procedures. The same applies to human resource tasks like recruiting, onboarding, and managing benefits. AI improves several aspects of intra-office support:
- Faster response times
- Trend analysis
- Consistent service
- Improved security
The future of workplace collaboration wouldn’t be possible without cloud-based files. They’re secure, easy to access, and infinitely simpler to update than their predecessors. However, the cost of storing digital files can escalate quickly. Central file storage can change from a miracle to a burden when repositories are not diligently managed . Complete file synchs are costly and unnecessary for many assets. The best file management platforms let users customize synching requirements and user permissions to eliminate unnecessary data processing and reduce costs.
Content collaboration platforms are a must-have. Enhancements to graphical, drag-and-drop file spaces now allow for rich metadata that facilitate even better collaboration with tagging, comments, and version history.
Time are changing
When new trends arise, old practices are laid to rest. Cloud-based infrastructures are replacing legacy hardware. Emerging business collaboration technologies remove the physical, social, and psychological barriers to collaboration. That paves the way for more and better employee collaboration. Cloud-based business collaboration tools make local teams more efficient and make virtual teams more organic.
Keep reading: Collaboration Software for Modern Workers.
By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
One of the biggest points of contention in coworking is the lack of personal space. Your desk is only yours for as long as you occupy it—when you leave, it becomes someone else’s workstation. Even while you’re there, the space you occupy is communal. Unfortunately, not everyone operates the same way with regard to office etiquette. We know why coworking space is important, but when you get enough people in the same space and personalities will clash over things like cleanliness, noise, and habits. This is why established coworking space etiquette is paramount.
Giving everyone the same baseline expectations for how to behave in a coworking space goes a long way toward alleviating friction and tension. The rules can be as specific as they need to be, but simply providing guidance for good behavior is often enough to keep the peace. Think about a library, for example. Every person knows to keep a reasonably quiet volume and not bother the people around them. The concept is much the same for coworking.
Whether it’s noise, distracting habits, area organization, or other specific issues, make sure everyone knows the guidelines. Getting people to follow coworking space etiquette is critical for the success of the workplace.
Common courtesy and coworking
Before formulating coworking space rules, consider common courtesy. What should you reasonably expect from people, and what do they reasonably expect from each other? Much of your open workspace etiquette comes from these expectations.
For example, if your coworking space is more of a social environment, can you reasonably expect people to talk in whispers? Probably not. The good news is a social atmosphere likely won’t create that expectation for visitors. They’ll expect to chat at normal volume with fellow workers and group-mates.
Now, consider the other end of the spectrum. With 20 to 30 people in a space, the volume is liable to get a little loud. Again, this is a reasonable expectation. That said, there’s an implied etiquette of not yelling. People chatting at a regular volume are still working and not bothering others around them doing the same. Someone yelling across the room is a disruptor and such outbursts shouldn’t be condoned.
It sounds like common sense…and it should be! Good etiquette is common courtesy in most cases. It’s a matter of looking at the reasonable expectations for your coworking space and setting standards based on them. Whether it’s noise level, behavior, or a dress code, when you set etiquette guidelines, you’re also implying the standard.
Respect for others and the workplace
Addressing collaboration space etiquette standards can be more difficult than it seems. It’s easy to post rules and hope people follow them. But sooner or later there’s bound to be a disruption. Someone talking too loudly. A person bothering others. An issue with behavior or hygiene. These situations don’t resolve themselves just because you post rules.
Enforcing coworking etiquette rules shows you’re committed to the standards of the space—posted or implied. Unfortunately, addressing them can mean confrontation. Even in the wrong, some people will push back on being asked to observe common courtesy. In these situations, take the following approach to preserve the integrity of the environment:
- Reiterate the etiquette standard they’re violating
- Emphasize the communal nature of the space
- Explain how their disruption affects others
- Politely recommend a better habit or solution
No one likes confrontation. This approach shows reason and upholds the established etiquette of the workspace for the greater good of everyone in it. It’s often as simple as saying:
“I see you’re on the phone. Unfortunately, your conversation is a bit disruptive to those around you. Are you able to talk a little quieter, so everyone is able to concentrate? Otherwise, we do offer a lobby where you can take your call at full volume.”
Set the etiquette. Enforce the etiquette. Preserve the integrity of the space. It’s an imperative approach to ensuring a collaborative space stays accessible, comfortable, and usable by a broad population. Letting a few etiquette rules slide could snowball into a deviation of expectations. When people aren’t sure of expectations, how can they be expected to meet them?
A few simple etiquette tips
How do you develop shared office etiquette everyone can abide by? Go back to common courtesies and the expectations people have for your space. While etiquette standards will vary by space, there are a few baseline expectations that’ll never change. Here are a few tips for kicking off etiquette rules:
- Leave the space just as you found it and remember every occupant is temporary
- Match your volume to those around you or lower it to avoid disruption
- Maintain an acceptable level of personal space around the area you occupy
- Keep electronics and personal devices silenced or on vibrate mode
- Don’t bother others and if you need to get their attention, be respectful
- Don’t monopolize space or resources; remember everything is communal
- Be friendly and respectful to those around you
Again, every coworking or collaborative space will come with its own etiquette expectations. These serve as the baseline for keeping people etiquette-minded and cognizant of their place in a communal space.
Create a standard for coworking behavior
Every public place has rules of etiquette—some posted, some assumed, and the rest implied. A coworking space needs the same to succeed. Establishing etiquette helps bring everyone to the same understanding for what’s acceptable and what’s not. A code encourages good behavior and reduces friction, allowing everyone to focus on getting the most out of their coworking experience for as long as they occupy their space.
Keep reading: Solve Problems with Coworking Spaces.
By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer
Who would have thought, only a few years ago, that workplace managers would have to worry about battling cyberattacks and corporate sabotage. Data is now integral to every facet of your business, which means there’s more of it to protect, in more places, than ever before. It’s imperative to protect your systems and data against malicious hackers, information theft, and even accidental leaks. To mitigate this risk, business leaders must implement best practices for data security and evaluate third-party vendors for privacy compliance.
How Vulnerable is Your Workplace Data?
While the financial and healthcare sectors are often primary targets for hackers, the information that can be gained from corporate and customer data is astonishing. Businesses of any size and industry are tempting targets because they collect and analyze vast quantities of data that can be used for monetary gain.
Because data touches virtually every corner of your operations, addressing data security goes well beyond email. Even your IoT-enabled building equipment, such as smart thermostats, IP security cameras, and automation software, is at risk. Legacy systems, as well as the latest generation of apps, require layers of data protection. Otherwise, these digital tools can be turned into an attack vector that hackers exploit for system access.
Once inside, cybercriminals can mine your data for trade secrets, commit identity theft, or leak information to competitors. Sensitive information that is susceptible to attacks includes:
- Workforce: Head count, payroll, and staffing forecasts are prime targets. Even access to an employee directory can be tempting to headhunters looking to poach your talent or for even less scrupulous actors trying to “spear phish” or use social engineering against your employees.
- Financial: Operational costs, leases, growth projections, loans, transactions, customer lists, sales numbers, and vendor contracts are vulnerable data sets. Imagine what a competitor could do after peeking at how much your customers pay you or your pricing models.
- Privacy: Records containing birthdates, compensation, Social Security numbers, home addresses, cell phone numbers, and dependent info are always at risk as they can be used to conduct identity theft or financial fraud. And don’t forget bank account numbers used for direct deposit.
- Location: Because workplace violence takes many forms, data generated from badging, WiFi, conference room or desk reservations, seating charts, and other sensor data should be protected.
The good news is that your IT security managers have vast resources at their disposal to safeguard data. For example, data loss prevention (DLP) tools can flag a potential breach from an insider threat, cyberattack, or negligent exposure. A virtual private network (VPN) can protect your remote or traveling employees internet usage from prying eyes.
Such measures should stem from a comprehensive data security governance framework (DSGF) that assesses risk and ensures proposed controls will satisfy business objectives. DSGF is listed by Gartner®, a research and advisory firm, as one of the top security and risk management trends for 2019.
Take extra precaution to ensure your DSGF extends to all cloud-based software and third-party applications. With the proliferation of software as a service (SaaS), businesses are externally sharing a wider range of sensitive data. It’s critical to hold vendors accountable for data security.
Privacy Compliance and External Vendors
Before engaging vendors, you should ask new and existing third-party software providers one question: “How will you handle and protect our data?” You wouldn’t hire a building management company without asking about their service policies—extend this same due diligence to any digital vendors. Here are best practices to protect your workplace data and vet data processors for security governance:
- Limit Access: Don’t give an external vendor carte blanche access to your data. Take a minimalistic approach and only provide access to what is necessary for them to deliver expected outcomes. For example, SpaceIQ needs a person’s name, email, title, and department, but we don’t need to know Social Security numbers or birthdates for them to use our platform. While this information is housed in the same HR system, we need access to just a small portion of an employee’s profile. Work with your vendors to pull only the data that is fundamentally integral to executing their processes.
- Request SOC or GDPR: Industry audits, reports, and certificates are a great way to evaluate the safety and security of a vendor. Voluntary third-party verification programs such as SOC 2, Privacy Shield, or ISO 27001, help evaluate the trustworthiness of a company. While these are optional, GDPR and California’s Consumer’s Privacy Act are laws that may apply to you and your vendors. If a software provider carries any of the aforementioned certifications, ask to review their documentation and note any expiration dates.
- Include a DPA: A data processing agreement (DPA) is a legal obligation that specifies what a vendor is allowed to do with your data. More importantly, it can also stipulate what they are not allowed to do. A DPA ensures that the data processor guarantees it will protect your records and what its contractual responsibilities are in the event of a breach.
Whenever you share data outside your organization, it’s necessary to balance convenience with security. The key to finding equilibrium is to ask: “How do I minimize the risk of allowing a vendor to access my data without sacrificing the rewards and benefits their services offer?” Controlling not only who has permission to use your data but how much they can access is the first step.
By Reagan Nickl
Customer Success Senior Manager
Is your workplace functioning at a high level? Are you maximizing real estate and balancing it with productive work habits? Does your floor plan complement employees and their needs? There are endless questions you can and should ask about your workplace, but it’s hard to know which ones are relative or important. Moreover, you might not know how to measure them. That’s where a workplace consultant is key to evaluate and optimize your workplace.
The workplace experts
What is a workplace consultant? For starters, they’re the expert on how the workplace touches every part of the business. They’re trained to understand the workplace and how it serves employees, as well as how its costs and benefits stack up on the balance sheet. Consultants evaluate and improve core concepts, and often introduce new ideas and practices to shape a better work environment.
In short, they’re the experts in workplace optimization.
What does a workplace consultant do?
Workplace consultants primarily focus on the process of identifying and implementing strategic improvements. They assess the office, identify opportunities for improvement, and formulate a plan to execute those changes. Their chief objectives are to develop workplace support for employees and reduce overhead. This process breaks down into key phases:
- Evaluate. The consultant examines workplace functions to understand how they operate on a day-to-day basis. This can include process review, employee interviews, standardized material evaluations. Their goal is to glean a comprehensive understanding of the way the workplace works.
- Analyze. A workplace consultant thrives on data. This includes looking at workplace costs, sifting through sensor data, and modeling utilization based on key metrics. The objective is to quantify as much as possible to inform and benchmark changes.
- Propose. With a comprehensive view of function and costs, workplace consultants are poised to drive specific improvements. These are generally data-driven suggestions to improve efficiency and productivity, lower costs, and strengthen the company culture. They’re often presented as direct solutions to problems discovered in the evaluation and analysis phases.
- Implement. Once key stakeholders review proposed changes, a workplace consultant oversees execution and implementation of improvements. This is the final, actionable phase in positive workplace transformation. It’s only possible through the data-backed insights and suggestions of the consultant.
Like a marketing consultant might assist a branding strategy, a workplace consultant focuses on producing results through a single area of expertise. The workplace is their medium.
What workplace consultants don’t do?
There’s a lot workplace consultants can do to improve facilities. But there’s a lot they don’t do and things companies shouldn’t expect them to handle. While they focus on fundamental workplace improvement, it doesn’t make them an end-all be-all for transformation. Here’s what they don’t do:
- Interior design. Consultants focus on improving the core function of the workplace, not necessarily how it looks. Their proposals may include a change in décor theme, but they don’t possess the finesse of professional interior designers when it comes to implementing it.
- Maintenance. While they can help create a process for maintenance, repairs, and improvements, don’t expect a workplace consultant to get up on a ladder and start replacing light bulbs. Here again, consultants can identify maintenance issues and systems to manage them.
- IT. A consultant might suggest a new desking layout or recommend workplace sensor installation for better utilization tracking. They might even recommend specific brands or equipment. But that’s where it stops. Count on your IT department to take care of integration at the behest of a consultant who knows how the final result should work.
- Budgeting. Consultants may spend a lot of time combing through budgets to understand workplace costs, but that doesn’t qualify them to write your company budget for next year. Most likely, a consultant will propose changes and improvements with cost estimates attached. It’s up to your finance department to make the numbers work.
Workplace consultants are diverse experts, but there are clear lines between what they assess and what they do. It’s best to think of it this way: a consultant provides the roadmap to improvement; it’s up to companies to follow it.
When is it time to hire a workplace consultant?
How do you know if you need a workspace consultant? For starters, take a look at your workplace. Do employees have the resources they need to work well, including space, processes, and technologies? Beyond that, look at costs. Is your business weighed down by massive overhead stemming from your lease? Are your facilities cost-efficient?
The less you know about the fundamentals of your workplace, the most important it is to hire a consultant. If you already have data, it’s worth seeing how the model might be improved. If you’re heading into a period of growth, belt-tightening, or transformation, hiring a workplace consultant is especially imperative.
Put your workplace in expert hands
Just as a factory might bring in a lean manufacturing consultant to improve processes and results, any company can benefit from working alongside a workplace consultant. If you want to learn more about your workplace and its function, there’s no better equipped to show you. And, when it comes to optimizing your workspace for efficiency, productivity, and culture, workplace consultants are an invaluable resource.
Keep reading: Enhance Workplace Wellbeing.
By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
As workplaces abandon offices and cubicles, there’s no clear way to define what those spaces should embody. Should you invest in a benching concept, seating everyone side by side? Is hot desking or hoteling the way to go? For many companies, the answer lies somewhere in-between: a collaborative workspace design.
Collaborative workplaces marry the concept of an open-air design to the benefits of flexible workspaces. They give people a chance to move beyond desks and work together outside of a stuffy conference room. Designed right, collaborative workspace is a benefit and can fuel some of the best ideas and most productive teamwork in the office. Take a look at some of the top collaborative workspace trends and why they’re worth considering.
1. Say no to walls
Technically, a conference room is a collaborative space. People come together to talk about a topic and voice their unique ideas. But can you truly be collaborative in a space as restrictive as a conference room? Not likely. It’s not a stimulating setting and there’s little flexibility to sitting idly around a long table.
Modern collaborative office layouts look at the core elements defining team-focused spaces. Above all else, that means tearing down walls and letting people collaborate outside the box—literally and figuratively. The standard conference room or group workspace has shifted to an open-air, blended-style environment. Often, these spaces offer adaptable design and are centrally located to promote use. Think comfortable furniture arranged in a makeshift nook.
Walls keep people out. If you want people to come together, remove the physical barriers and make it easy for them to meet face-to-face.
2. Decentralize down to the furniture
One of the great values of collaboration is that it bucks natural order. Collaboration emphasizes freeform thoughts from multiple, unique perspectives—not linear thinking from the top down. A collaborative environment needs to reflect this. One of the simplest ways to incite individual participation is to remove subconscious constructs, like standard furniture arrangements.
Think of a conference table. Who sits at the head? Chances are, the team leader, which automatically creates a hierarchy in the room. Now, make that table round. There’s less hierarchy, but still rigid structure. The solution? Adopt a non-traditional, decentralized furniture layout. Mix bean bag chairs and couches. Scatter chairs throughout the room in no real order. Do whatever it takes to create comfort and shed implied hierarchy. This sends a message of equality and encourages everyone to confidently share ideas.
3. Kick back, relax, and collaborate openly
Experiential concepts have taken over collaborative workplace design, and for good reason. People tend to do their best work when it doesn’t feel like work. They’re prone to free-flowing ideas and nonconformist thinking when put in a stress-free environment. Deliver an experience and you’ll be rewarded with great ideas.
Experiential spaces vary greatly. Many companies broach the concept in a familiar way—create coffee lounges or rec rooms. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. An experiential space can take the form of any theme, so long as it brings people together and encourages collaboration. Some examples: art rooms with painting and pottery; zen gardens with flora and calming music; library-style rooms that stoke the fires of intellectualism. Provide an oasis from work and be amazed at how much work gets done!
4. Decorate for engagement and focus
Whitewashed walls and fluorescent lighting aren’t just bad for creativity—they’re soul-sucking. A drab office won’t inspire good ideas, even when multiple people collaborate on them. That’s why a core component of modern workspace design is engaging décor—especially in collaborative workspaces.
It’s easy to catch a spark of inspiration or ruminate on an idea when surrounded by vibrant colors, musing textures, and general eccentricities. Decorate with a flair for the creative and reap the returns of inspired brainstorming. Engaging décor can boost creativity. There’s a reason the world’s largest, most successful companies, like Google, have invested so much stock in interior design. Color, texture, depth, perspective, and oddities are all great backdrops for collaboration.
5. Integrate tech seamlessly
Collaborative workspaces foster face-to-face communication, but that doesn’t mean tech doesn’t play a role. Interactive areas need a tech touch as much as any other part of the modern workplace. The difference is that tech isn’t necessarily a focal point in a collaborative space—rather, a complement to the human element.
There are simple, effective ways to bring tech into a space without disrupting collaboration. For starters, going wireless keeps people from getting distracted by having to plug in or dodge cords. Tech-on-demand is also important in these spaces—TVs, tablets, smartboards, and projectors all play a role in helping teams visualize their ideas.
6. Give employees a place to collaborate
Fostering collaboration should be a priority for every business. Free-flowing ideas and teamwork require the right kinds of workspaces. Keep these trends in mind when designing your collaborative workspaces and give your team every opportunity to come together in flexible, stimulating, and accommodating environments.
Keep reading: Collaborative Workspace Software Features.
By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
More hands make less work. Two heads are better than one. Teamwork makes the dream work. These popular adages roughly mean the same thing: collaboration is powerful.
That’s the idea behind a collaborative workplace. Desks and offices give way to collaborative areas that bring people together. And collaborative workspace software is instrumental in making it happen.
Fostering collaboration and teamwork means tearing down traditional workplace barriers. Good workspace management software provides the tools to do it. Take a look at eight must-have features of collaborative workspace software:
- Room booking and reservations. Employees need access to a collaborative workspace to use it. Room booking and reservation features ensure space is available where and when people need it. With calendar notifications, everyone knows where and when to show up. It’s a perfect integration that encourages teams to meet face-to-face instead of settling for virtual interactions.
- Space planning tools. A lot goes into designing a useful space. The best collaborative workspace software includes space planning software tools to create a space conducive to teamwork. Figure out how much space your teams need to work together and give it to them with a layout that fosters group discussion and engagement.
- Utilization metrics. Are people using the collaborative space in your workplace? You won’t know without measuring utilization. Paired with occupancy sensors or booking software, utilization data shows how often teams use collaborative spaces. It’s useful data for duplicating the experience in other spaces or removing teamwork barriers in underutilized spaces.
- Wayfinding integrations. In larger offices, finding your way to a collaborative workspace isn’t always easy. On large campuses, employees may have to travel to different floors or buildings to gather. Collaborative workplace software with a wayfinding integration helps get individuals to a group workspace, regardless of how scattered throughout the office they may be.
- Maintenance ticketing. Employee won’t use spaces that don’t meet their needs. Why would a group meet in a workspace that has burned-out lights, malfunctioning AV equipment, or broken chairs? Integrating maintenance ticketing into collaborative workspace software ensures work areas are welcoming and accommodating.
- Floor planning tools. How much of your workplace is collaborative? Floor planning tools will tell you. With a top-down view, it’s easy to see where group workspaces are plentiful versus where they’re lacking. Use floor planning to localize collaborative spaces near groups who use them most.
- Directory integration. If you’re going to book space and offer wayfinding through workplace software, directory integration is essential. It allows for more complete collaboration. Add individual employees to the room roster. Send booking confirmations to the team. Sync up wayfinding directions so every person knows how to get there.
- Slack integration. Slack is an invaluable communication tool used by 65 of the Fortune 100 companies and more than 10 million people daily. So many vital business communications and processes go through the platform—your office collaboration efforts should be among them. Whether it’s booking workspaces, establishing team channels, or delegating tasks, Slack integration extends the bounds of collaborative software. Slack was built for teams, which makes it a natural complement to collaborative workspace concepts.
Each of these features plays an important role in enabling collaboration. Together in a workplace management platform, they’re the keys for developing, overseeing, and improving collaborative spaces available to employees. The easier it is to find, occupy, and enjoy collaborative workspaces, the more beneficial they’ll be to the people using them.
Keep reading: Collaboration Software: A Must-Have for Modern Workers.
By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
All of the top computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) providers bring together features that save time and prevent human error. So how do you choose from all the options for maximizing profits?
You need to understand how systems differ in order to choose the best one for your individual needs and goals. That means understanding what applications are exceptional at automating tasks and utilizing data. Popular solutions have user-friendly interfaces and are reasonably simple to master, but it’s worth your time to compare options before you commit. The right platform will fit your industry and scale to the size of your company.
Here are the features to consider in the top CMMS applications:
Facility managers can’t expect to work efficiently when tied to their desks. That’s where mobile CMMS access comes in. The best CMMS systems offer the same functionality in a mobile app as a desktop version. Some basic monitoring systems send email or text notifications, but advanced CMMS software includes:
- Actionable alert notifications
- Wayfinding for specific equipment or employees
- Compatibility with tablets and phones in Android or iOS
- Offline access
- Messaging/chat capabilities
Optimized systems offer more than digital versions of analog tasks; they reimagine processes into streamlined workflows. Computerized systems exist to simplify tedious and data-driven tasks. But a digital system doesn’t automatically mean less work. For example, a calendar that offers recurring events and reminders is more reliable than a paper calendar. A truly intelligent CMMS mines specific kinds of information like dates, costs, or part numbers and integrates them into other processes:
- Automatic responses to security, hazard, and fire emergencies
- Work order processing
- Prepare and submit compliance reports
- Instant notification for meetings and events
- Service lifecycle calculations
- Intelligent inventory management
- Real estate planning
Cost management is an important duty, but it doesn’t have to take up a significant part of your time. The era of pouring over spreadsheets, manually creating each graph, and hoping you’ve selected good data is over. The best CMMS applications offer reports that are intuitive and easy to set up. Analytics compile objective information to generate actionable suggestions. Reporting features built with real users in mind make it easy to show others how well you’re managing company assets:
- Compliance statements by region
- Quality assurance statistics
- Return-on-investment (ROI) calculations
- Customizable dashboard interface
- Data-based suggestions
If you manage a specialized facility, look for software tailor-made for your industry. Some tools solve specific information needs like tracking emissions or preparing safety compliance reports. Others can communicate directly with instruments inside your equipment:
- Wireless links to equipment sensors
- Updates about regulatory changes
- Alarms for outages, changes in efficiency, hazards, etc.
- Access to frequently used information
Open application processing interfaces (APIs) enable limitless ways to connect information systems. Some configurations require IT for setup whereas other integrations come ready-made. Do your assets produce a specific kind of data? Look for applications that partner with your existing information streams to enable dynamic integrations:
- Data importing/exporting options
- Cloud-based files
- Office Internet of Things (IoT) data from equipment
- Social media profiles and messaging
- Company email, phone, calendars
Comparing CMMS Systems
The best choice for your individual needs depends on the characteristics of your network and the people using it. Here are some questions to answer before you start comparing CMMS systems:
- What are your reporting requirements? You might need more than summaries to make sanctioned decisions about when to call for repairs, which parts to replace, and when to decommission equipment. Bear in mind whether you report to regulatory bodies that require specific formats and/or to internal stakeholders with individual preferences.
- How many people need access? Some platforms base pricing on the number of individual logins; others are a flat cost. Labor costs for training and support influence the value of both flat and per-user licenses, so consider ease of use if you’re choosing a solution for a large user base.
- Does your network present any unique challenges? Check if there are any logistic or policy barriers to implementing new programs. Some aspects of your network, like a closed server or strict firewalls, may complicate mobile access or network information storage. Privacy regulations can limit data sharing.
As you compare CMMS options, look for a system that offers the access, automation, reporting, interoperability, and features that best fit your workplace and systems. Top CMMS providers can help take the tedious, manual tasks that consumer a facilities manager’s day and free up time to create and execute strategic workplace improvements.
By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software has revolutionized workplace maintenance. It automates maintenance processes and analyzes outcomes for future improvements. Using a single login, workplace managers can access a suite of intuitive features designed to eliminate tedious work.
CMMS software provides an objective view of what your facility needs to keep running, how it’s performing, and when it’s time to replace equipment. Automating labor-intensive and repetitive tasks frees up time and energy for activities that require face-to-face interaction and creative thinking, like a workplace move or upgrade.
What is CMMS in terms of workplace efficiency and what does CMMS stand for? Here are a few ways a CMMS simplifies facility maintenance:
- 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
CMMS software makes asset maintenance a priority. Its dynamic nature means employees have one place to send support tickets. From there, maintenance happens faster and workplace assets are quantified in ways that show their true ROI.
In many ways, a CMMS is like other workplace systems like Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software management applications like ServiceChannel®. But the real value of a CMMS is process standardization. CMMS platforms are designed specifically for maintenance management. They quantify specific processes and assets, which allows facility managers to make more-informed decisions about workplace needs.
That’s crucial because facilities maintenance impacts so many parts of the overall workplace. A powerful CMMS ensures tickets are properly received and organized. Then, depending on the action needed, automated processes prioritize requests and make sure they’re handled right.
But perhaps the most important thing to understand about CMMS maintenance software is that the total package is more than the sum of its parts. A tool that manages all aspects of maintenance makes your job easier and helps your company lower operation costs. Without a central information hub, your assets cannot reach their full potential value.
Keep Reading: What’s the Difference Between IWMS, CMMS, CAFM and EAM?
By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
Commercial real estate (CRE) in the United States is valued at as much as $17 trillion. Within this massive industry there are diverse markets occupying different portions of the whole. One such segment—a rapidly expanding one—is coworking. Coworking market size has ballooned in recent years, firmly establishing itself as part of the traditional office-based CRE metric. But even though it’s categorized under the broad term “office space,” coworking stands apart.
CRE investors, landlords, and businesses all recognize coworking as a growing segment of the broader industry. It’s changing the landscape of traditional office stock, forcing building owners to think more about coworking as a long-term practice. The data speaks for itself. Check out a breakdown of the coworking market, its growth, and its projections for the future.
Current coworking market size
In 2019, coworking became a burgeoning industry. Coworking market size is hard to nail down because it grows with every passing month. It also depends on how you estimate the value of the coworking market itself. Is it the value of property and memberships? Or is it measured in gross revenue?
Coworking companies estimate the total addressable market size at $1.6 trillion. This includes the value of commercial leases. It paints a picture of the enormity of the coworking market, but doesn’t necessarily capture the true value—unless a company owns the building outright, it’s a leveraged capital asset. A fairer valuation of the coworking market is the value of its collective revenue. This number currently hovers around $26 billion.
Expected coworking market growth
While the current size of the coworking industry is impressive, what’s even more amazing is its projected growth. Coworking market growth from 2013-2018 measured an astounding 29%. This fast-paced expansion is set to continue with few abatements as commercial leaseholds transition to an “access over ownership” model.
Coworking’s growth is evident in a variety of metrics. These metrics include number of locations, seats, and memberships, as well as the amount of total office stock attributable to flexible workspaces. The figures are eye-opening:
- The number of coworking facilities will reach 36,000 by 2025, from 18,000 in 2019.
- By 2030, the flexible workspace market will represent 30% of U.S. office stock.
- More than 5.1 million people will have a coworking membership by 2022.
These numbers show a clear, upward trajectory across the board for coworking. More spaces, more members, and more of a role in CRE. Looking outside the U.S., the numbers become even more prolific. For example, England sees a new coworking space open, on average, every five days. China and India are also primed to contribute to global coworking, emerging as the largest markets for flexible space by as early as 2022.
Trends driving market growth
There are several major coworking trends driving the market’s rapid mainstream ascent. First among them is the shift to remote work. More than ever, full-time employees maintain part-time remote work schedules from home or coffee shops. While they appreciate the freedom and autonomy, these workers still prefer some of the trappings of a traditional office. They choose coworking for the business-casual atmosphere and the social opportunities.
Coworking statistics also suggest that rising CRE costs play a role in the prominence of the space-as-a-service business model. Companies have begun unloading burdensome leases. In turn, coworking companies have picked up the cost. They burden the lease by generating wider cash flow from patrons, while companies pay a fraction of the cost to ensure their employees get the space they need. It’s a partnership that makes sense, and the massive disruption coworking has caused proves it.
There’s also globalization to consider. As more companies do business abroad, traveling becomes a necessity. Travelers need a place to work on-the-go and companies need to be lightweight to accommodate this broad service. Coworking is the solution. As the global economy intertwines itself further and the world becomes closer, coworking will help make work just as agile.
No longer an emerging market
Emerging markets tend to be those gathering steam, poised for a breakthrough. Coworking has had its breakthrough into the mainstream—now, it’s an established market. With strong market share, the industry has room to grow as demand for coworking space increases. Based on how far it has come already, it’s possible coworking will dominate commercial real estate for years to come.
Keep reading: Benefits of coworking software.