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What’s Average About Office Space Per Employee?

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
SpaceIQ

Ever wonder why there are different ticket classes when you fly? It’s because space is scarce on an airplane and people are willing to pay for it. You can buy an economy ticket for $600 and sit with your knees pressed against the seat in front of you. Or, you can fork out another $300 for a first-class ticket with room to sprawl. Employee workspace sizes ascribe to the same concept.

There are guidelines governing average office space per employee. Sure, you can pack people in economy-style or give them a first-class experience. But there are tradeoffs to both. It’s better to find a happy medium—the average amount of space employees need to work comfortably.

Why space-per-person matters

There are many different ways to look at commercial real estate. Most businesses take a financial approach—total square footage vs. lease cost. Increasingly, facilities managers look at space type vs. utilization to determine the best space use. The problem is, these viewpoints look at the value of space, not its relationship to the people using it.

One of the most important—and often overlooked—space metrics is space-per-person, also called personal Usable Square Footage (USF). It’s the measure of how much space an employee needs to work comfortably and productively. When facilities managers understand USF, they can effectively design workplaces made up of welcoming spaces.

Given the right amount of space, it takes workers less time to transition into different areas of an agile environment. Productivity comes more naturally. Employees don’t need to adjust to their workplace; it’s always ready to accommodate them.

How much office space is needed per employee?

Recognizing the office space requirements per employee involves looking at the type of workspaces you currently have. According to a landmark report by Gensler in 2012, Workplace Standards Benchmarking, the amount of USF employees need depends on the work they do. Moreover, there’s no single data point per employee type—rather, a scale to determine minimum and maximum USF levels.

Here’s a profile of eight different fields and the USF benchmarks identified by the Gensler study:

  • Call center: 50 to 175 USF
  • Technology: 115 to 155 USF
  • Finance: 110 to 245 USF
  • Engineering: 150 to 185 USF
  • Law enforcement: 100 to 240 USF
  • Social services: 175 to 235 USF
  • Biotech and science: 125 to 410 USF
  • Legal: 245 to 525 USF

This data illuminates several important findings for facilities managers, specifically how to delegate personal USF across a floor plan.

  • The less mobile the workforce, the less USF employees demand. Call center employees spend their days at a desk on the phone, much in the same way technology and finance employees spend time in front of a computer or doing heads-down work.
  • Often, the average USF delegated to employees is less than the mean. This hints at the tendency of some industries to conserve personal USF—most often to make way for more collaborative space, as evidenced in the Gensler report.
  • The range of USF per employee presents scalable opportunities to either increase USF per person when space is available or shrink USF as companies bring on more employees.

The most important takeaway is that there isn’t a magic number when delegating personal space per employee. It depends on the field, type of work, and broader workplace floor plan. A call center employee doesn’t need as much space as an engineer because their daily work capacity doesn’t demand it. Likewise, the average office square footage in a biotech lab is likely much more than a financial firm.

Industry benchmarks, total square footage measurements, and workspace demand types ultimately drives work area sizes that keep people comfortable and productive.

Give people their space

Packing people in may reduce the amount of space you’re leasing, but it’ll create friction and kill productivity. Letting people spread out comes at the expense of a heftier lease, but you’ll get more options in the spaces you create. How do you want to pilot your company? Beyond economy vs. first-class concepts, remember that there’s a happy medium: business class. It’s the right amount of space someone needs to stay comfortable and content.

Keep reading: 9 Workplace Trends You Should Embrace

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Workplace Thought Leadership

Workplace Automation is a Triple Win

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
SpaceIQ

What is the most profound shift that’s occurred in the workplace in the past 30 years? In a word: automation. When you request a ride on Uber, you realize it’s happening all around us in our personal and professional lives—not just in factories.

As workplace automation spreads, companies need to identify its quantitative and qualitative benefits before implementing a solution. The most powerful automation delivers a triple win for your company, your people, and your customers.

The Metamorphosis of the Workplace

Today’s college students wouldn’t recognize the office of the 1990s. Dilbert™ cubicles, PBX phone systems, and desktop PCs ruled the workplace. At the time, work was typically done within an arm’s reach of your desk. The dual forces of technology limitations and corporate culture effectively chained employees to their desks.

But that structure gave way as new work styles emerged, prompting office layouts to follow suit. In the past decade, we’ve seen cubicle walls not only come down but morph into benching systems and open offices. And now the pendulum is swinging toward agile workplaces based on neighborhoods, free address, and flexible spaces.

Technology is driving these changes. Consider something as simple as an office phone. We all used to have landlines at our desks. They never dropped a call, but they were only convenient if you were physically nearby. Then we went through a Blackberry phase, which effectively cut the phone cord. Once we were permanently untethered from a workstation, those devices evolved into smartphones.

The same technology shift can be seen in workplace management platforms. Traditional legacy systems were great at handling important back office functions, they are like your parents’ landline—they fulfill their primary purpose but don’t have the same power as a smartphone. Integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) and cloud-based solutions are fast-forming an ecosystem that’s sweeping away legacy solutions on the next wave of workplace automation.

The Triple Win of Automation

Let’s be real—people are still nervous about automation. There’s a persistent perception that artificial intelligence and machine learning will eliminate jobs. And yet the only industry that’s completely disappeared is the iconic elevator operator. In truth, automation is making the workplace more productive and enjoyable while saving companies money.

The secret is to be intentional about what type of automation you adopt. Don’t implement a solution because you want to appear cool or edgy. Automation must offer real and quantifiable benefits. A successful digital transformation is finding the sweet spot we call The Triple Win: a success for clients, your company, and your employees.

These three examples show the real-world advantages of using automation to satisfy customer expectations, employee engagement, and the bottom line:

1) Airline Booking 

Remember having to call an airline to reserve your tickets or change a flight? About 90% of your interaction was over the phone with a human being. Between websites and mobile apps, everything is now self-service. You can book a flight, change a reservation, pick your seat, and get flight notifications, which gives you a better, more efficient, and satisfying experience. Automation also allows representatives to perform strategic customer management instead, like a last-second flight change. That’s a bonus for travelers, airline personnel, and the airlines.

2) Receptionists

There was a time when you had to write your name in a book when visiting a company…then wait for a receptionist to call the person you were meeting. And then wait. Manual check-in is a waste of time, even if there’s a live receptionist who is warm and welcoming. Automation allows you to register on a tablet and sign an NDA while a message is simultaneously sent to the person you’re meeting. The process is not only smoother and more cost effective, but the receptionist is freed up to handle more complex tasks.

3) Nursing

Nurses are highly skilled and educated individuals, so why are they spending time delivering ice and blankets? Enter a robot assistant that fetches and delivers commonly requested items. Patients get better care because nurses can concentrate on their primary job, avoid the frustration of menial chores, and help hospitals improve patient outcomes.

Now, consider how automation can produce a triple win in the workplace. If you have 1,000 employees but want to maximize your office layout, you need hard data to make real changes. Imagine if occupancy data shows that only 700 desks are used on a given day. Workplace managers could convert underutilized square footage into huddle rooms or lounges. Automated solutions like a modern workplace management system help reimagine the workplace you have today by optimizing existing space, boosting employee productivity and morale, and delivering better products to customers.

That’s a true triple win for your workplace.

Keep reading: Space As A Service: A Workplace Competitive Advantage

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Blog

Do Offices Without Assigned Desks Work?

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

Offices without assigned desks can be a jarring experience for employees. Assigned seating is ingrained in almost everything we do. Think about buying tickets to the theater or a sporting event. Assigned seating creates structure and order. Many people are uneasy about picking a random seat.

Anxiety and discomfort over picking a random seat happen for several reasons. For some, it’s the paradox of choice—What if I don’t pick the best seat? For others, it’s a mindfulness of peers—What if someone else needs this seat more than I do? Given an assigned seat, there’s no anxiety—This is the seat I’m given; this is where I sit. Taking this structure and certainty away disorients the people who rely on it.

Offices without assigned desks can work, but they need to be mindful of employees’ need for structure, order, and clarity. Before diving into desk sharing, get familiar with how to make the transition easier on employees.

Understand the role of desks

Before you take away assigned seating, it’s important to understand why they are important to the workplace:

  • They create a record for each person (where to find them)
  • They maintain organization within a business unit
  • They anchor employees to a familiar space
  • They offer a comfort zone of personal space

To avoid instability from the top-down, you’ll need to find ways to “brace” your workforce. For example, if you remove assigned seating, how will people know where to find each other? How can you give people privacy and comfort in an ever-changing environment?

Before any change, offer alternatives to employees. For example, build a desk-booking system that gives them the power to create their personal space for the day, while also making it easy to find them. Or, create collaborative open spaces that provide ways to work how, when, and where they want.

Analyze workplace functions

One of the reasons people hold so dearly to assigned desks is because that’s how they’ve learned to work. But that’s not necessarily how we still work. Depending on the function of their job, a person may need any of a handful of different workspaces to accomplish their tasks. Helping them see the benefits of flexible seating can reacquaint them with the many facets of their job.

For example, an employee spends 50% of their time doing heads-down individual work, 30% collaborating with peers, and 20% meeting with clients. Their individual desk can’t (and shouldn’t) account for 100% of their workspace. They need the freedom to move from place to place into environments that meet their needs.

With such variety, there’s less need for an assigned desk. And technology makes it even easier to work just about anywhere. Laptops, cloud computing, and meeting apps don’t require an assigned seat to be effective. Many employees have all but given up assigned seating without realizing it.

Space management is paramount

The quickest way unassigned desking may fail is to let it fall into chaos. Flexible office space design needs a system of order—one that includes desk booking, move management, and space allocation tools. It’s one thing to give people freedom of mobility; it’s another to encourage a free-for-all.

Introducing a framework for space management is a nice way to soften the blow of unassigned seating. It assures employees that you’re not removing the system of order they’re used to, rather changing the oversight. It’s not abandoning them to uncertainty—it’s more like letting go of their hand and letting them explore new work habits for themselves.

From an administrative side, space management tools are a must-have. Understanding your workplace’s capacity for agile working can make or break the transition to unassigned seating.

Set a precedent for etiquette

Don’t make etiquette and rules afterthoughts in an agile workplace concept—put them front and center. Rescinding assigned seating may make people edgy, which can turn even simple disagreements into powder kegs. Hold everyone to the same set of standards and rules, and you’ll reduce incendiary incidents that might spoil unassigned seating for those willing to try it.

Discuss privacy, noise, hygiene, distractions, and general etiquette. Create a way for people to file complaints and ask questions. It’s also good to offer private workstations that employees can use to transition themselves into the greater open-seating concept.

Don’t focus on the desking concept itself so much as how it affects your team. Make sure shared desking is conducive to operations and the work your people do. Check its benefits against your space utilization metrics and goals. Set the standard for etiquette. The better you prepare your workplace for unassigned seating, the less jarring it’ll be for employees to adapt.

Keep reading: Space Planning Software Guide

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Blog

Office Hoteling Etiquette in Five Simple Steps

By Nai Kanell
Vice President of Marketing
SpaceIQ

Etiquette is a sensitive topic because the deeper you dive into it, the more people’s differences become apparent. We can all agree that “please” and “thank you” are etiquette standards. But do you take your shoes off when entering someone’s house or hold the door open for the person behind you when leaving a building? Everyone’s etiquette expectations are different, which is why defining office hoteling etiquette is so important.

Without a baseline set of etiquette standards, you risk turning your neat and orderly hoteling system into a battlefield. What’s acceptable to some may be appalling to others, and each disagreement adds a little more tension to your workplace. Left to their etiquette differences, employees will be at each other’s throats, invalidating the hotel desking concept and injecting toxicity into your workplace culture.

Here’s a set of five core hoteling etiquette rules to get everyone on the same page. We recommend using these as a starting point to build a more complete code of conduct everyone can agree on.

1. Reserve based on need 

There’s a difference between need and want, and even between need and might need. Giving employees access to desk hoteling software to book a workspace is convenient…but not if etiquette standards are muddled. Here’s a great example:

Jim knows he’s scheduled to work on a new project this week, but he’s not sure when the collateral will come through. To be safe, he books a workstation every day this week. Unfortunately, his project doesn’t come in until Thursday, and he didn’t use the workstation he booked for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Meanwhile, Cynthia needed the same type of workstation on Tuesday, but didn’t couldn’t access one because reservations were full. 

Make sure people are only booking workspaces they need. You’ll avoid inevitable conflict and equally respect the needs of all employees .

2. Leave it better than you found it

One person’s standards for cleanliness, hygiene, and organization will vary drastically from another’s. This becomes a major concern for shared desks.

Make cleanliness and hygiene a strong pillar of desk sharing etiquette. The best policy is “Leave it better than you found it.” Outline explicit hygienic standards and don’t leave them open to interpretation. Keep sanitary wipes, paper towels, and environmentally friendly cleaners on hand.

3. Don’t overstay your welcome

One of the fundamental concepts behind hoteling and hot desking etiquette is temporary occupancy. Workers occupy a desk for as long as they need it, then vacate for the next person. Hoteling software keeps track of what’s open vs. occupied to ensure those who need a desk get one. But things don’t always stay on schedule and employees may need a desk longer than they booked it for.

The first instinct of most people is to squat—use the desk until the very moment they’re kicked out by the next appointment. Encourage employees not to do this. Not only does it disrupt the transition from person to person, it hinders the next desk occupant by giving them less time to get set up and established.

One solution is a system for runoff time. If someone severely undershot their time estimate, make re-booking that space or booking a new desk easy. If they only need a few minutes to wrap up, offer transitory or touchdown spaces.

4. Be mindful of noise

Noise is a constant concern for hoteling. Just because an employee books a singular workspace doesn’t mean it’s subject to their own standards for noise and volume. Hotel desks are part of the larger workplace and are subject to its rules.

Set rules like “Phone on vibrate” and “Please use headphones” to control noise. If individual disruptions are a recurring problem in your hoteling scheme, privately address the issues with offending employees.

5. Respect and expect privacy

Make privacy expectations a central part of your hoteling etiquette standards—namely, reminding people to respect the privacy of others.

Much of the privacy in an open office needs to come from design. Arrange desks so people aren’t inadvertently looking at someone else’s screen. Provide designated private areas for phone calls. Post “Do not disturb” signs at each workstation. And, of course, encourage employees to  respect privacy rules and features.

Etiquette doesn’t need to be tricky

Etiquette standards focus on things that frequently disrupt hoteling desk users: noise, privacy, desk availability, and personal space. Keep these problems in-check and employees will reap the benefits. Make sure everyone understands and observes the office etiquette standards, and you’ll maintain a civil, tranquil environment where everyone feels respected.

Keep reading: A Quick Guide to Office Hoteling Best Practices

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Blog

Coworking vs. Traditional Office Pros and Cons

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Professionals have a lot of choices in how they work these days. Not only is the workplace environment changing, remote working is also popular. Employees now have the choice to come into work for a traditional day at the office or check into one of the many established coworking spaces in their city. It presents an important choice, which in turn prompts a moment of introspection.

Given the options of coworking vs. traditional office work, which suits you better?

It’s easy to jump to conclusions and take stock in emotions when making your choice. But it’s worth first looking at things logically. What kind of worker are you? What kind of environment do you need? What professional traits do you have that lend themselves to one work environment over the other? Look at the pros and cons of each situation before making a choice.

Coworking: Pros and cons

What are the pros and cons of coworking space vs. traditional office? It comes down to a greater level of autonomy and a person’s ability to adapt to that freedom. Coworking tends to attract workers who have good time management and organization—they need to set (and keep) their schedules to stay productive outside of being directly managed. Coworking also means getting out of your comfort zone and normal routine, so it’s not for the skittish or those who prefer rigid structure.

Check out some of the top pros and cons of coworking to understand why it works for some, but not others.

Pros

  • The freedom to work where and when you want
  • Change of scenery can be good for mental stimulation
  • Ability to book different types of workspaces for different lengths of time
  • Choice of many different types of coworking spaces and themes
  • Opportunities for socialization with other professionals

Cons

  • Open office environment makes it hard to find privacy
  • Can be louder or more distracting than a traditional workplace
  • No face-to-face, in-person access to peers and coworkers
  • Not guaranteed a seat or any seating consistency
  • May not include perks like parking or break room

If you’re not willing or able to create your own framework for productivity, coworking might not be for you. If you prefer predictability and do better with a clearly defined path to travel, there’s no shame in preferring a traditional office workplace.

Traditional offices: Pros and cons

In deciding between a coworking space or traditional office, many people gravitate toward the idea of “more freedom” with coworking. But there’s a catch: less predictability. That difference in perspective is why many people are keen on traditional office work.

If you’re someone who likes having a clear, specific roadmap for the day and values routine, look to a traditional office. A structured workplace also gives you access to peers and amenities in ways remote working can’t offer. For many, choosing a traditional office is a prime example of the adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Here’s why traditional offices appeal to some and why others choose to embrace remote working:

Pros

  • Familiar working structure and expectations
  • Direct, in-person access to peers and managers
  • Inclusive amenities including parking, IT help, etc.
  • Comfort from a routine, including commute
  • Feeling of inclusion and not “missing out” on workplace happenings

Cons

  • More rigid oversight and management
  • Susceptible to monotony or “brain drain” from the same routine
  • Much higher leasing and facilities upkeep costs
  • Can be harder to adapt to changes in real-time
  • Feeling of isolation that comes with a 9-5 schedule

Is there a right answer?

Given the choice between a coworking space vs. office work environment, which suits you better? There is no right answer—only an individual one.

If you’re a driven, independent worker with great time management and a mastery of digital communication, coworking is likely an appealing proposition. If you like structure and order, and feel more confident when you’re collaborating with your peers face-to-face, traditional office work likely suits you. If you’re somewhere in-between, take the opportunity to work fluidly between the two.

The great thing about the workplace is that there’s no longer a norm—only what works.

Keep reading: 7 Reasons to Use Coworking Software

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Blog

Facility Management or Facilities Management?

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

A bookkeeper keeps the books. A salesperson makes sales. You wouldn’t say “bookskeeper” or “saleperson,” adding or dropping the plural—it’s not how we talk. So why are “facility manager” and “facilities manager” interchanged so frequently? What are the differences between facility management and facilities management?

For the uninitiated, it might seem like writer’s preference, but there’s actually guidelines for using one over the other. Knowing when and why is the key. Here’s what you need to know about facility vs. facilities in the context of managing them.

A question of semantics

Looking at facility management vs. facilities management from a purely grammatical standpoint, the difference is obvious. It’s singular vs. plural. That’s the basis for understanding correct usage of both words.

  • Facility management involves one aspect of the broader facilities. Painting the break room, repairing the elevator, and repaving the parking lot are all examples of facility management—one task, focused on one part of the greater facilities.
  • Facilities management pertains to your complete facilities. Changing the entire building’s light bulbs to LEDs, installing an access control system, and stack planning are all examples of broad facilities management. They affect the entire building.

It’s easy to get confused. For example, if you change the desking concept on the fourth floor, is it an act of facility management or facilities management? That depends on the context—if you’re viewing the task holistically or in isolation.

Wondering how and when to use the singular vs. plural form? If you’re referring to a specific area of the facilities, use the singular; if it’s encompassing, use the plural.

  • “We’re upgrading our facilities by installing motion sensor lighting in the hallways.”
  • “Adding a smartboard to Conference Room A is our next facility project.”

Can you use facility and facilities interchangeably without too much confusion? Sure. It’s not going to cause a lot of trouble and most people won’t likely notice. If you’re a stickler for grammar and want to set an authoritative, professional tone, you’ll want to make the distinction.

Read more: What is Facility Management?

Is there any real difference?

While there’s a clear semantic difference in the two terms, they’re conceptually the same thing. Whether you’re engaged in facility or facilities management, you’re improving the building in some way. Case in point: there’s no deciding between facility management software and facilities management software. They’re one in the same. Whether you’re dealing with a specific aspect of facilities or addressing them as a whole, you’ll use the same software.

The only time semantic difference really becomes important is at a macro scale. If your business spans multiple facilities, facility vs. facilities has larger ramifications. Saying “we’re going to reinvest $100,000 in our facility” has a different meaning than “we’re going to reinvest $100,000 in our facilities.” In this example, $100,000 in upgrades means much more in the context of a facility than across several facilities.

What about property managers?

To make things more confusing, many companies throw the word “property” into the mix. They mean facility manager and say property manager. Unfortunately, these two aren’t the same, and it goes beyond a simple semantic difference.

  • A facility or facilities manager coordinates support services to ensure buildings meet the needs of the people using them. They’re in charge of building workplaces to support workers and maintaining the building to ensure productive use. Think of a facility manager as serving the needs of people.
  • A property manager oversees real estate operations from a day-to-day perspective. They work for the building owner to ensure the building maintains its safety and value, and that tenants’ needs are met. Think of a property manager as serving the needs of the building.

The peripheral nature of facility managers and property managers causes a lot of confusion for businesses. A company may work with one or both of these professionals.

The distinction here is even more important to make than between facility and facilities, because there’s an entirely different objective involved. Facility managers see the employees within a building as an asset; property managers see the building itself as the asset. Both professionals understand the importance of working together, but their focuses differ.

Distinctions are important

Still not sure what distinguishes facility from facilities in the context of management? The simplest way to remember the correct usage is to think about plural vs. singular. Are you managing one aspect of your facility or overseeing changes that affect all facilities? The distinction may be simple, but it’s important.

Keep reading: How to Select Facility Management Software

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Blog

Five Reasons to Invest in an Online Space Planning Tool

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

Space planning isn’t a new concept, yet many companies still use legacy products to govern their workplace. They’re entrenched in familiar software that’s “good enough” instead of looking for a modern application. The time has come to make the leap to an online space planning tool. Not only is it more efficient, the modern features and capabilities of an online space planning platform provide the competitive edge needed to thrive in today’s agile environments.

Looking for reasons to upgrade? Here are five to justify making the leap. Take a look at how these features lend themselves to everyday workplace optimization.

1. Birds-eye workplace view

While a legacy space planning tool may give you a top-down view of the workplace, it likely does so in silos, looking at businesses by segment, instead of holistically. But this isn’t how we look at space today, and it’s not an effective way to govern the workplace.

Online space planning software evaluates the entire workplace and how different business segments interact with each other. How often was Conference Room C occupied last month? According to the stack plan, which floors have open seating? How can you arrange facilities to put Marketing and Sales together for better synergy? Online tools provide the insights a workplace needs to stay efficient.

2. Mobile space planning

These days, a facility manager isn’t chained to a desk. They’re out on the floor making adjustments in real-time. They need space planning software that’s as adaptable and mobile as they are.

Online space planning software is accessible for any mobile device—be it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. When a facility manager stands in the middle of a busy, buzzing workplace, they’ll have the power of data-backed decision-making in their hand. Whether it’s coordinating space reservations or adapting to a change in workflow, mobile space planning helps facility managers adapt the workplace on-the-fly. It’s a necessity in today’s agile workplaces.

3. On-the-go oversight and adaptability

Manage multiple locations? Have a workforce that’s split between remote employees and in-house staff? This diversification and workforce fragmentation factors heavily into space planning. A modern space planning app accounts for these complexities and gives space planners the ability to seamlessly identify the needs of various workgroups and locations.

A manager at Facility B can quickly assess the floor plan of Facility A to help this location adapt. A space planner can even work remotely themselves, providing off-site advice for critical oversight. Online planning tools open the door to better space efficiency, no matter where or when they’re needed.

4. Easy ecosystem integration

Space planning tools aren’t the only software helping the workplace evolve—however, they’re often governing the digital office ecosystem. The problem is legacy products don’t always play nice with others. Modern software is better-engineered to integrate and collaborate with essential applications and digital processes.

Consider integrations like messaging apps, sensor and beacon data streams, and other facility management resources. A centralized space planning platform that ties these applications together is a valuable tool in greater workplace management goals. For example, you can design a floor plan, share it to the business’ cloud for collaboration, and message stakeholders for their input—all through a common platform.

The more digital the workplace becomes, the more essential integration among digital systems becomes. Companies can’t afford to keep finding workarounds for legacy products. They need software solutions that seamlessly integrate and don’t impede collaboration.

5. Collaboration across teams

To keep facilities running effectively takes team effort. Facility managers may be the driving force behind action and adaptation, but they’re far from the only decision-makers and stakeholders shaping the workplace. Department heads, executive leadership, and employees all have a voice in the modern workplace. They need a way to effectively collaborate. When everyone’s voice is heard, better changes take root.

Online space planning tools are great for collaboration—largely because they live in the cloud. Whether it’s getting feedback on an action plan, input on a potential workplace change, or general task delegation, cloud apps make broad communication simple. Integration with apps like Slack only add to information organization and help eliminate endless email chains and interoffice memos.

Move beyond “good enough”

When it comes to space planning software, “good enough” doesn’t cut it anymore. Legacy systems let companies map and manage their workplaces, but they can’t support the agile demands of a diverse work environment. Online space planning tools are the new norm and for good reason. They’re smarter, faster, and more efficient than we are at recognizing what makes the workplace work well.

Keep reading: Space Planning Software Buyers and Info Guide.

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Blog

What is a Move Management Consultant?

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
SpaceIQ

Packing up your apartment and moving is pretty simple. Even the most ill-prepared mover can stuff things in boxes, pile them into a pickup, and relocate. What’s a few broken pieces of dishware? Now, imagine moving an entire business department. Think of the chaos in trying to move 10, 20, or 50 people, each with their own boxes. Without a plan, the process can take weeks, causing untold business disruption and no shortage of headaches.

Starting to see the value in a move management consultant?

If you’re asking, “What is a move management consultant?” you’re not alone. Many growing businesses don’t think to consult with an outside expert before moving. How hard could it be to swap around a few desks or make two departments switch places? In theory, we like to think an office relocation is similar to an apartment move. But the reality is that it’s closer to redistricting a city. That’s why it’s worth hiring a professional.

A move management consultant’s role

Move management consultants plan, coordinate, and oversee office moves. They map each phase of a move and ensure it’s executed smoothly, with as few disruptions as possible. They’re typically called in to coordinate relocations with lots of moving parts, and their skills apply to both interbuilding and multi-location moves.

The move manager’s job starts with an overview of the situation. What is the objective or the reason for the move? What does the current workplace floor plan look like and how will it change? Understanding the starting point and the objective helps determine how to get the company from Point A to Point B—often in a literal sense!

Most move management consultants take this baseline data and plug it into an online move management system. This allows them to map out the move incrementally across different views. They can break the move into phases, put it on a timeline, and understand each phase’s relationship to the process. Eventually, the consultant will connect the dots to form a complete picture of the move, with start-to-finish instructions for everyone involved.

With a move plan in place, the consultant’s real job begins. They’re usually the de facto leader in executing a move. This means breaking the scope back down into increments and providing instruction to department heads and team leaders, so they know their roles in the relocation. The move management consultant helps each team leader understand when, where, and how to act, so each phase of the move goes smoothly.

After a move, the consultant performs their last duty: assessment. What went wrong, if anything? Were there any unexpected obstacles? Were any adjustments made mid-move? The consultant provides a status report to key stakeholders that shows how the move progressed and what the end result was.

Map complex moves with software

The more variables involved, the more complex a move becomes. It’s a relationship that’s often exponential. Moving two departments with 12 people to a new location is a difficult task, but it pales in comparison to one involving three locations, nine departments and 150 people.

Coordinating a smooth move on any scale comes down to organization, which is why reliable consultants use move management software. Software doesn’t just map the many variables of a move, it’s also a system of record that ensures no task is overlooked. Forgetting a single person or desk can derail an entire move, and often requires shoehorning them in at the end. It can disrupt the balance and undermine a well-planned move.

For larger moves, management software incrementally breaks down each step. Every leader involved in the move needs to know their responsibilities, as well as when and how to act. Linking decision-makers and leaders via software gets everyone on the same page about their role in the bigger picture.

The process is more involved than you think

It’s easy to think about office moves and space management at a macro level. Just because everything fits nicely into the stack plan doesn’t mean it’s the right solution. There’s a lot in flux during a move, and accounting for it all is paramount. Some key points to consider:

  • New desking arrangement vs. old desking concept
  • IT and technology infrastructure in the new space
  • Individual seating allocation and general space planning
  • The physical act of transporting assets and individuals
  • Move timeline, phases, and trigger actions
  • Team leader accountability

The number of steps required to get a person, department, or entire company from where they are to where they need to be is much larger than most company’s realize. Dropping them into a new environment can cause chaos. Each step demands careful planning.

A move takes full-time dedication and a clear understanding of each variable and its relationship to overall goals. It’s worth hiring a move consultant to make sure things run smoothly and are coordinated, no matter the number of variables involved.

A smooth move is worth the price

Growing businesses are often strapped for cash. Forgoing a move management consultant for what seems to be a simple office move could be a mistake that costs more to fix in the end. Hiring a consultant isn’t just about delegating the task—you’re paying for a smooth transition that’s non-disruptive to crucial business operations.

To put it in perspective, you wouldn’t try to move an expensive grand piano from one home to another. Why risk tens of thousands of dollars when you can pay someone much less to do it for you? Look at your workplace. The same question applies.

Keep reading: Move Management Tips for a Smooth Relocation.

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Understanding Agile Workplace Pros and Cons

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
SpaceIQ

Workplace agility is a defining characteristic of modern companies. Without the ability to quickly adapt to change and boost efficiency, companies become stagnant and cumbersome. Agility starts in the workplace and it’s driven by thoughtful space planning, workplace design, and adaptive processes.

While the philosophy of agile working is important, companies need to realize that there are agile workplace pros and cons. An agile workspace isn’t automatically a successful one—it takes the right balance of stability and flexibility. Mastering this balance enables employees, removes roadblocks, encourages collaboration, and, ultimately, facilitates success.

Be flexible and adaptable, yet provide employees the consistency they need. Get familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of agile working. Bend, but don’t break.

There’s a lot to love about workplace agility…

The pros of workplace agility are prolific. At the most fundamental level, workplace agility is a form of adaptability. Adapting to the needs of employees, new business challenges, and unforeseen headwinds helps a business survive and thrive. It’s not only about flexible seating—it’s about giving employees space to do their best work.

Agility is also cost-effective. Agile workplaces use every space and each is adaptable in and of itself. Smart planning means you don’t pay for real estate you can’t use or waste money on space with poor utilization. A conference room doesn’t stay unused just because there’s no meeting—it becomes a collaborative workspace, project planning room, or countless other as-needed spaces. In this way, agility also reduces waste.

Beyond the spaces themselves, agility promotes better communication and collaboration among employees. It gets people out from behind their computer screens and away from their individual desks and puts them in situations where they can work face-to-face. There’s a human element to agility.

Cohesion and synergy are also hallmarks of agile workplaces. Because employees can get up, move around, and engage, they’re more likely to interact with people beyond their immediate workgroup. Sales can talk to Marketing. Finance can sit in on a Sales meetings. There’s a greater culture of inclusion in a workplace that’s less confined by walls and seating assignments.

…but there are also drawbacks

Agile work seems close to a perfect concept, but it’s not without drawbacks—mostly in execution. Pushing employees into a beehive-like environment with no stable foundation quickly breeds chaos.

Employees need a good diversification of spaces. Too much collaboration without enough personal workspace is just as bad as isolation. Similarly, tearing down all the walls to promote agility means there’s little privacy for more sensitive meetings or focused work time. While most agile workspaces are adaptable, not every workspace has to be an agile one.

Recognize that not every employee wants to be an agile one. Forcing them into a dynamic role might remove them from their comfort zone. While it’s okay to encourage new work habits and styles, introverts, quiet workers, and habit-driven employees need stability—not agility. Instead of mandating agility, make it an option. Employees will adapt to an agile work environment on their own time, as situations encourage it. Pressuring people into constant motion will only create negativity.

Finally, invest in proper workplace management software—it’s often the fine line between agility and chaos. Despite the free-flowing movement of a dynamic work environment, control is paramount. Booking rooms, finding employees, changing schedules, and adapting workflows require that everyone is on the same page. An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) ties the many moving parts of an agile workplace together.

Balance your agile working environment 

Agility implies quickness and speed, but that’s just one facet of what makes an agile workplace truly effective. For an athlete to be agile, they also need sure-footing and strong muscles—constant variables they can rely on. It’s the same for your employees. To thrive in an agile workspace, they need sure-footing and self-confidence. Ground the workplace in familiar processes and strong culture, and agility will naturally follow .

Keep reading: How Agile is Your Real Estate?