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What is IT Facilities Management?

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

Every business in the modern age benefits from digitization. The ability to track, automate, gather data, and learn is what enables us to get better—whether you’re a tech startup or an established ecommerce firm. This universal digitization trend has also given rise to new business responsibilities that support an influx of data—including IT facilities management.

While many businesses rightfully prioritize hiring data engineers and technology experts, you can’t overlook the fundamental need for IT facility management. This doesn’t always mean hiring another person; rather, it requires facility management staff who understand the nuances of managing a technical environment.

Understand the role of IT facilities management 

What is IT facilities management? It’s the comprehensive oversight of a business’ IT infrastructure from a facilities standpoint. Where an IT specialist ensures the operability of networked systems, an IT facilities manager ensures facilities support those functions. In simpler terms: an IT professional wires the server rack, while an IT facility manager ensures the room it’s in has proper ventilation, temperature controls, and air handling.

Also called Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), the role takes the principles of general facilities management and marries them to an array of important IT demands. The objectives of IT facilities management are clear:

  • Optimize synergy between digital assets and workplace facilities
  • Cooperate with IT support to install and service IT assets
  • Manage the physical environment of vital IT infrastructure

General facilities management enables a productive, supportive workplace; IT facilities management keeps the workplace connected.

Optimize synergy between assets and facilities

IT assets take many forms: simple routers, modems, computer workstations, commercial copy machines, servers, and various Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Just as these assets support the daily needs of employees, facilities themselves need to support IT assets. The copy machine should be accessible in an area where the most staff will benefit from it. IoT devices need to coexist with the spaces they monitor and collect data in.

IT facility managers need to examine the relationship between IT assets and facilities to understand their synergy. How can facilities enable IT assets and what can these assets do to improve facilities? It starts with careful consideration of the relationship between them.

Cooperate with IT support teams

A big part of IT facility management is collaboration with IT service techs. Facility managers know how employees interact with their tech-enabled workplace, but they don’t handle the administration of that tech. Likewise, IT teams cover all aspects of administration, but don’t gauge the need.

IT personnel get digital networks and systems up and running, but it’s the job of facility managers to provide the framework. IT managers don’t decide where to set up the server room or how many workstations go on the third floor. It’s up to facility managers to provide an IT blueprint to the support teams that set up and maintain assets. From there, it’s a collaborative approach that allows the digital and physical workplace to operate in harmony.

Manage the physical environment

At larger companies, demand for IT facilities management is sometimes enough for a full-time job. These companies maintain secure server rooms, data centers, and complex IT infrastructures. The sheer amount of cabling and racked hardware puts the onus of maintenance on the facilities themselves.

  • Are these assets getting enough power?
  • Are there redundant backups?
  • Is climate stringently controlled?
  • Is air quality monitored?

These IT management questions have solutions rooted in facilities management. Utilities, HVAC, and air quality are broad functions of facilities management. IT environments almost become facilities within facilities and demand their own specialized oversight. If the server room temperature needs to stay within 68 degrees to 71 degrees and your employees prefer temperatures between 72 degrees to 75 degrees, both standards need to coexist in harmony.

Security is also important here. Digital security is a cornerstone of modern business operations, and that includes at the point of physical storage. Coordinating access control, alert, and monitoring systems for IT environments is of paramount concern—another duty of facilities managers.

IT is the backbone of business

This is the age of IT facilities management. Employees need a supportive work environment and nothing ensures that more reliably than IT infrastructure. Well-maintained IT hardware and systems result in the digital reliability and accessibility employees rely on every day. As businesses digitize more aspects of operations, emphasis on good IT facilities management grows. If you want your workplace to support employees, make sure it supports a robust IT infrastructure too.

Keep reading: How to Select the Right Facility Management Software for Your Company

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Work Order Management: From Submission to Solution

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

The everyday aspects of facilities management are a group effort. When the bathroom’s motion sensor lights don’t work or a computer needs IT attention, it’s the responsibility of employees to report problems. From there, work order management is the duty of a facility manager, and the team servicing work orders depends on the nature of the problem.

There’s a chain of custody for maintenance tasks and facility maintenance is only as good as this chain enables it to be. Breakdown at any point in the work order management process likely means the problem isn’t resolved. Myriad other problems arise where the disconnect occurs.

  • Unheard employee concerns continue to affect morale, comfort, and productivity
  • Misdirected work orders don’t make it to appropriate problem-solvers
  • If tickets don’t generate and prioritize work orders, there’s no system for servicing them
  • Unseen or unserved work orders mean the problem continues to linger

The list of potential problems is endless. Every step of work order management is important, from submission to solution. It’s why more companies use a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to ensure better facilities management at its most basic level.

What is work order management software?

A CMMS is work order management software. It’s the software used to structure work request automations—from processing employee input data to routing the work order to the right place.

More importantly, a CMMS serves as an all-in-one framework for work order management. Rather than coordinate the transfer of information between different inputs/outputs and through makeshift automations, it all happens in the CMMS. All facilities managers need to do is build the right processes.

Step 1: Ticketing systems and portals

Employee input is an essential first step in any work order management system. This means either one clear point of entry or many methods of submitting data in a uniform way.

John’s scheduled to work at Desk 22 for the day. When he arrives, he finds a broken chair. He can report the problem to facilities in several ways:

  • Use the command/report in the #facilities channel of the company Slack workplace
  • Submit information about the problem through the company’s intranet platform
  • Send a templated email and subject line to facilities@company.com
  • Open the company’s wayfinding software app to take a picture of the problem, then submit it

No matter how John reports the problem, the information goes through the CMMS. The CMMS grabs the information from each channel: map descriptions, images, keywords, submission info, timestamps, etc.

Step 2: Directing the ticket through the CMMS

After creating a ticket from incoming information, the CMMS needs to direct the ticket to the right destination. Is it an IT problem? Furniture issue? Active hazard? The CMMS uses machine learning to direct and prioritize tickets. This ensures problems like a downed WiFi report goes to IT, while spills go to Maintenance.

This is a critical stage of the work order management process because it ensures timeliness. What would happen if Maintenance got WiFi-related tickets? Would they ignore them? Forget to forward them to IT? Even if they did forward them, how long would it take for IT to wrangle the problem? The whole system devolves into chaos without proper delegation through a CMMS.

Step 3: Automating the work order

Support tickets need a way to become official work requests once they’re routed to the right place. Moreover, support staff needs to know how to keep track of work orders once they get them. Here again, a CMMS is instrumental. The system can prioritize tasks based on time received, proximity, severity, and even specific keywords. Work orders show up in the appropriate queue, in the best order, with information organized in an actionable way.

Step 4: Facilitating the solution

Work order management doesn’t just notify facility support staff about problems and prioritize those issues—it also informs the solution. This means a biohazard spill takes priority over a spilled yogurt, and janitorial knows what they’re walking into before they get there. Less time to identify the problem means a quicker response and resolution to it.

This works especially well in large facilities where multiple people may submit the same maintenance request in a short timeframe. If 10 people report downed WiFi in the span of 15 minutes, the CMMS is smart enough to move that problem up the queue. It can also attach new details to the work order from each new submission. IT support staff knows when the initial problem occurred, what symptoms it shows, and the scope of who’s affected. The action plan becomes clear in real-time.

Work order management for seamless solutions

Breaking up work orders into four basic custody checkpoints creates a path to seamless solutions. Employees report problems, a CMMS routes the support ticket, work orders queue in the right department, and the right party solves the problem. Whether it’s a burnt-out light, crashed workstation, or a prominent hazard in the workplace, good work order management is what gets it fixed.

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

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Blog

What is Empowerment in the Workplace?

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

Empowerment is a strong pillar of social conversation these days. We often hear about movements to empower different social groups—all of which have suffered some form of oppression, setback, or other disenfranchisement. In this context, empowerment involves giving these groups and their members the support, rights, and justice they deserve. Workers, as a social class, are also included in this conversation. But what is empowerment in the workplace?

Worker empowerment focuses on ensuring employees get the rights and respect they deserve in the workplace. This includes everything from protection against discrimination to forums for discussing injustices. But beyond bottom-line cases of treating workers with basic human decency, empowerment in the workplace has also taken on many other meanings.

Here’s a look at a few empowerment examples of modern workplaces and how they’re paving the way for a major shift in workplace culture.

The trust to work autonomously 

As the workforce grows ever more mobile, the number of remote workers is also growing. Unbeknownst to many, this is actually a form of workforce empowerment. It shows increased trust by employers in allowing employees to create their own conditions for responsible working.

Jake, Amy, and Charles aren’t forced into the same rigid work environment and expected to produce the same results. Jake can start his day later, work through lunch, and close his laptop when his wife gets home from work. Amy can work in a social coworking environment, surrounded by resources. Charles can work from home a few days each week and come into the office periodically. They’re still held to the same standard, but allowed to meet expectations in their own way. Employer trust empowers employees.

The recognition of effort and excellence

Recognition of effort and excellence is a simple form of employee empowerment that requires no real change on the part of employers. It’s not about creating competition or putting down those who didn’t meet expectations—It’s simply the affirmation of employees who work hard to achieve results.

Recognition empowers employees by distinguishing them. Think of it in juxtaposition with reprimanding them. If they do something wrong, they’re reprimanded as negative reinforcement to dissuade future missteps. Conversely, they deserve accolades when they go above and beyond, to encourage that type of behavior. Employers who only reprimand teach their employees how not to get in trouble. Employers who award their employees empower them to do their best.

The support to learn and grow

One of the growing demands of Gen-Z workers is an opportunity to continue their education while advancing their career. Companies that support learning are empowering their employees to get better at what they do, which invites opportunities for personal and professional growth. It’s an important example of workplace empowerment.

With as fast as technology evolves and markets shift, continued education is essential for survival. Employers advocating continued education empower their employees to pace new innovations, so they don’t stagnate or fall behind on the skills that make them employable. Whether it’s the funding to go back to school or access to continuing education credits through industry organizations, employees demand the means to stay educated. Employers who deliver are employers who empower.

The ability to contribute meaningfully

A simple, straightforward example of workplace empowerment is giving every employee the chance to communicate meaningfully. It seems obvious, given that companies hire employees for their utility. But that doesn’t stop many employees from feeling alienated by a workplace that may not jive with their personality or abilities.

Bob is an introvert in an office full of extroverts. Linda is analytical in a meeting surrounded by emotional thinkers. Tina is a 19-year-old new hire in an office of 50-something career professionals. Despite their differences, these people should feel welcome, heard, and appreciated for what they bring to the workplace, beyond their ability to complete tasks. Empowering workplaces celebrate these differences and capitalize on diversity to create solutions beyond what’s possible in an echo-chamber. Not only do these employees feel appreciated and empowered, they lend their differences to a greater culture of inclusion.

Empowerment is a cornerstone of culture

Employees want more than a desk to work at and the freedom to earn a living in a safe environment. Today, empowerment in the workplace looks at a broad scope of examples. Empowerment is synonymous with concepts like trust, support, appreciation, and inclusion. Companies seeking to attract and retain top talent need to recognize the hallmarks of empowerment and engrain them into the culture of their company.

As more companies reap the benefits from an empowered workforce, ripples of change will become even more evident in the broader economy.

Keep reading: Four Workplace Culture Predictions

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Workplace Thought Leadership

Automating the Workplace with AI, AR, and IoT

By Noam Livnat
Chief Product & Innovation Officer
SpaceIQ

A trio of technologies is revolutionizing the workplace: artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). Their ability to deliver never-before-realized efficiencies is quickly making these software tools office mainstays.

Automated advancements are freeing employees from rote tasks so they can focus on more valuable and engaging work. It’s a competitive advantage that businesses are increasingly turning to as digitization becomes the new normal.

A Trifecta of Winning Technologies

AI, AR, and IoT can be used to automate and optimize processes that once required hours of costly human labor. These technologies yield efficiencies that can markedly improve the bottom line.

  • AI – Artificial intelligence has become so ubiquitous in the workplace, it’s often hiding in plain sight. We routinely depend, for example, on AI applications like voice-to-text, chat bots, and automatic meeting scheduling, but think nothing of it. Conversely, we need to remember that AI is an umbrella name for a spectrum of technologies; remember, however, that just because a computer is involved doesn’t mean a program has artificial intelligence. AI’s strong suit is automating data analysis to identify patterns. For example, there’s software that can evaluate whether a customer is annoyed or upset on a phone call, determine behavioral patterns based on sales, or flag cybersecurity issues such as hacks or identity theft.
  • AR – Because augmented reality is laid over an existing environment, it is effective at helping users envision a space. AR has already been adopted in warehouses, where it can show workers the next steps in a repair sequence or direct them to a part’s location. But AR is also beneficial in corporate settings when used with training modules and wayfinding. It even offers a way to visualize office design and space planning, like seeing how new wallpaper or flooring might look.
  • IoT – the Internet of Things bridges the digital and physical worlds. An IoT device may have a sensor, an actuator, or both, but it will always have connectivity that allows it to send and/or receive data and instructions from other devices. Sensors can monitor occupancy, lights, flow in a pipe, or carbon monoxide, among many other things. An actuator enables the device to change something in the physical environment: dim a light, open a valve, or lock a door. Combining IoT with AI can be very beneficial. For example, if AI detects a certain vibration pattern in a piece of machinery, it can tell the actuator to alter the motor’s speed to prevent a failure.

Is Technology Making Humans Redundant? 

While machine learning applications are evolving quickly, nothing happens overnight. Technology moves more slowly than the hype would have you believe. Or, as Roy Amara, a futurologist, put it “We overestimate the impact of technology in the short term and underestimate the effect in the long run.” Just think about automatic teller machines (ATMs).

Once upon a time you had to physically go into a bank and ask a teller to make a deposit or withdrawal on your behalf. The process relied on two humans to complete. Now, you can go into any gas station or grocery store and access your funds via an ATM. However, we forget that it took years after the first ATM was introduced in 1967 before these machines became a common part of our banking experience. And even more than 50 years later, tellers haven’t disappeared. Today they spend their time helping customers with more complicated tasks than withdrawing cash.

We can see a similar evolution with workplace automation. There’s always a fear that automation will replace jobs; a Pew study found that roughly half of people think automation hurts workers. It’s true that these technologies replace some work functions, especially in low-wage jobs with predictable physical and cognitive tasks, but they also create new roles and responsibilities.

Imagine the effectiveness of a marketer who doesn’t have to spend time generating a prospect list. Instead, they receive an automated list and spend their time analyzing the contacts. The role of the human hasn’t been diminished by automation—it’s been empowered by it. That’s why it’s important for businesses to help employees see the advantages of automation and prepare them through education and training for new roles in a digitized work environment.

AI, AR, and IoT are forms of automation that generally work hand-in-hand with humans. Rather than supplanting jobs, they mostly manage repetitive tasks, enable sophisticated data analysis, and streamline complex processes. Their most valuable contribution is empowering employees to focus on what they do best.

Keep reading: Office IoT – A Gateway to Smart Facility Management

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Blog

Implementing Change in the Workplace with Minimal Resistance

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
SpaceIQ

Implementing change in the workplace is something every company has to face as it grows and evolves. No matter how big or small, change is necessary to preserve momentum and adapt to external forces. Unfortunately, change at any scale is difficult and often met with resistance.

Companies face a proverbial rock and a hard place—force change on a resistant workforce or stick to what’s familiar as it becomes antiquated. Because the latter isn’t always an option, companies often choose the former and pray their employees learn to adapt.

The downfall comes from thinking there are only two options to implementing change in the workplace. There’s actually a third: empowering employees in the change process. Where the prospect of change can make people feel powerless, giving workers a level of control over how to make changes can garner their support.

Resistance to change is natural

Bucking change is a natural reaction for most people. We’re creatures of habit and change is inherently the opposite of habit, which makes it immediately uncomfortable. Even change for the better can make people balk. There’s an entire field of psychology focused on understanding the knee-jerk reaction to resist change.

All this is to say, don’t expect employees to embrace change—at least not outright. Expect them to oppose it in varying degrees, from expressing simple concern to outright refusing to comply. Your reaction to their reaction is important. Don’t escalate or infuse negativity into the situation or it’ll make employees even more resistant.

Introducing change is the epitome of fighting an uphill battle. What can you do to make it seem less a Sisyphean task and more the means to a positive end? Here are a few tips:

Make change transparent

Regardless of your strategies for implementing change in the workplace, make them transparent. Don’t simply mandate change—introduce the concept, explain it, and give the practical reasoning behind it. It may seem like you’re opening the process up to scrutiny, but the transparency in sharing is exactly what employees need to quell their initial fears. It demystifies the change and shows your concern for their input and involvement.

The simplest way to introduce transparency in change is to cover the five Ws:

  • Who does this change affect?
  • What is the nature of the change?
  • Where does this change come into play?
  • When will the change take place?
  • Why are you changing things?

These questions and their answers will spark scrutiny and criticism. That’s okay. The purpose in answering them is to create transparency and show you’re not undertaking change in haste. Fielding pushback, criticism, questions, and suggestions comes as part of the next step.

Involve employees in the process

Communication needs to be a two-way medium whenever there’s change in the workplace. If employees feel like they’re forced into a change without a voice for their ideas or concerns, they’re more likely to dig in and fight it—or worse, suffer from it. It benefits companies to give their employees the floor and incorporate them into the process of change.

Knowing how to implement change in the workplace is a multifaceted problem. How does it affect processes? People? Outcomes? Systems? Sure, managers can model change and simulate outcomes, but it’s the people executing change that’ll deliver the best insights. Involving employees in the process serves to soften them against impending change and gives employers important, valuable information when planning.

Resistance to change quickly erodes when employees have a hand in shaping their own destiny, with some control over how change affects them.

Showcase the benefits of change

Evangelize the benefits of any proposed changes before, during, and after their rollout. Employees should clearly see how they benefit from proposed changes and how those changes are an improvement from their current routine. A benefits-driven rollout helps companies implement change in the workplace when there’s uncertainty about why change is necessary.

Benefits should directly correlate to the frustrations and headwinds of employees in some way. Recognize and frame these benefits plainly. This is another reason to involve employees in the change process—to get a better understanding of how to tailor workplace change in the best way.

Think of change as a give and take. Employees don’t want to give up their habits and familiar processes unless they’re getting something in return—something better than what they’re giving up. If the benefits outweigh fear of change, employee buy-in is a lot more amicable. Focus on delivering real, evident benefits as compensation for change.

Ease the process and encourage adoption

Empowering employees to not only accept change but embrace it is the best way for companies to stay nimble without resistance. Taking the unknown out of changes, showcasing the benefits, and providing a clear path to adoption makes employees more receptive to inevitable transformations. Seeing the benefits after only serves to solidify the idea that change isn’t as bad as it’s built up to be. From there stems a culture that welcomes change, making it easier for companies to grow and evolve.

Keep reading: Checklist for Addressing Employee Workplace Complaints

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What is Office Space Efficiency?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

Efficiency statistics drive many of the decisions we make in life. Would you rather buy the car that gets 22mpg or 40mpg? It’s not just cars, either. We measure efficiency in everything from the performance of our appliances to the batteries in our smartphones. It’s no surprise that office space efficiency is important for facilities managers.

Space efficiency—like all other efficiency comparisons—plays an important role in reducing waste. In the case of workplace planning, it’s about eliminating wasted space and maximizing productivity from usable real estate. Or, in simpler terms: how can you create the ideal environment for maximizing lease return on investment (ROI) and productivity?

Defining and finding space efficiency

Office space efficiency it tells us whether employees have enough space to be productive. It’s measured as square footage per employee and usually tracked against an industry average of square footage per employee. The equation is simple: divide the total usable square footage (USF) of your workplace by the number of employees to get the average square footage per person.

There are actually two variants of space efficiency: total space efficiency (described above) and actual efficiency, which uses the number of present employees for a real-time look at space efficiency. Both of these variants are useful and often easy to program into space utilization software for planning and coordinating tasks.

Office space utilization vs. efficiency

Though they sound interchangeable, there’s a big difference between office space utilization and efficiency. Efficiency is the measure of how much space employees have to work productively. Utilization is a measure of how often employees use spaces. Facilities managers often use both to get a better understanding of employee interaction with the workplace.

Take a conference room, for example. If it’s booked for six hours of a possible eight-hour workday, the utilization rate is 75%. If it has a 12-person capacity and there are nine people using it, its efficiency rate is 75%. Both numbers tell us a different story.

It’s important to note that both utilization and efficiency metrics are scales. Utilization runs from 0% to 100%; if no one ever uses the space, utilization is zero and you can’t occupy a space for more than 100% of its availability. Efficiency operates on a bell curve; you can have either too much or too little space per person. That detracts from ROI or productivity, respectively.

What can efficiency statistics tell us?

Whether by itself or in conjunction with utilization, efficiency tells us a lot about how employees interact with their workplaces. A critical insight it gives us is whether employees physically have enough space to do their job. If the USF range per person is 115 sq ft to 155 sq ft, and your efficiency calculation shows an average of 90 sq ft, your employees don’t have the necessary space to do their job. Likewise, if each employee occupies 220 sq ft, you likely have too much space.

Efficiency is a jumping-off point for office space planning. It provides a baseline for how your current floor plan performs and ways to finesse efficiency to better align with industry benchmarks.

And it goes even deeper. Efficiency statistics paired with other relevant benchmarks unlock a clearer picture of workplace performance. If utilization is high and efficiency is low for a certain space, it’s reasonable to conclude there’s unmet demand for that type of space. If efficiency is high but productivity is low, the space might not be conducive to people’s work habits. Overlaying efficiency as a lens against other core metrics can tell a story of whether the workplace offers enough space as-designed or if there’s unmet need.

Strive for workspace efficiency

There are many metrics that help facilitate positive change to the workplace, each telling a different story. Office space efficiency is an indicator of how well a company uses its current space, and it’s linked to other metrics like utilization, productivity, comfort, and happiness. Make sure space efficiency is the core metric by which you strive to create these traits. A bonus: understanding space efficiency helps improve the value of your lease, enabling higher ROI.

Keep reading: Pillars of Office Space Planning

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Five Elements of a Successful Business Relocation Plan

By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
SpaceIQ

Packing up and moving an office doesn’t happen in one day. If you’re lucky, the physical move might—but it’s usually preceded and followed by staggered breakdown and setup. All told, an office move might actually take weeks to complete. Following a business relocation plan ensures that everyone remains on-track and coordinated before, during, and after the physical move, no matter how long it takes.

Charting a successful relocation is more complex than you might think. For first-time office move coordinators, it’s the epitome of “harder than it looks.” Even the smallest businesses face countless variables and the sheer scale of an office move leaves plenty of room for setbacks and mistakes. Thoroughly planning all phases of the relocation may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it’s well worth the time saved by a smooth, error-free move.

Check out the SpaceIQ Guide for Relocating Employees for a comprehensive look at office moves. As you’re creating your own relocation plan, keep these five vital elements top-of-mind:

1. Cost breakdowns and timelines

Regardless of the reasons behind an office move, make sure the move itself makes financial sense. The relocation plan needs a budget with line items and costs delineated, and those costs attributed to the right cost center. Without a budget, your move can quickly rack up costs, stunting cash flow, and making it difficult to get operations up and running in the new facilities. Create a budget and stick to it, with contingencies in place for overages.

Equally as important before a move is a comprehensive timeline. A move timeline provides a great framework for a broader relocation planning checklist. It’s also important when tackling the move incrementally under a coordinated strategy. For example, your timeline might outline IT setup on Thursday before the broader employee move on Friday. That way, everything’s arranged as people begin moving their workstations.

Cost and time represent the two variables most likely to get out of control during a move. Focusing on both helps to set safeguards against expensive setbacks.

2. Personnel relocation strategies

People are the biggest variable in an office relocation. Everyone needs a point-to-point solution during an office move, or they might not know what to do when the time comes to pack up and go. Beyond a desk-to-desk relocation, every employee needs an exact understanding of their part in the migration.

Some employees might move from one desk to another. Others might go from a stationary desk to an open free assign, concept workplace. Some might transition to flexible work modes, working remotely part-time. Whatever the case, make sure each employee has clear direction and that you’ve answered all questions before the move.

3. IT infrastructure planning

Workplace relocation is a physical action, but it’s built around digital demands. The IT demands of your workforce deserve their own attention in a relocation plan, and they’re generally ahead of employee migration. You need the new workplace connected, configured, and accessible by the time people need to start using it.

In many ways, planning the IT infrastructure is its own separate plan—something greater that’s included as part of an office relocation. Consider tasks like network cabling, workstation setup, A/V cabling, Wi-Fi setup, rack rooms and server setup, and VoIP phone setup. Prioritizing data and telecom migration and setup ahead of employees and assets paves the way for an effortless move and avoids the chaos of everyone requesting IT support at the same time.

4. Task delegation and team leaders

Whether you’ve got 10 employees or 100, doling out responsibility is a priority. Task delegation on the management level organizes and creates accountability before, during, and after the relocation, while creating accountability. For employees, task delegation solidifies their involvement in the move and creates expectations for how it’ll go. If something gets left behind or confusion occurs, it’s easy to figure out what went wrong and how it happened.

Identifying team leaders is also important. These individuals have the authority to make decisions and adapt the plan as needed. It’s rare that a move goes exactly as planned. Team leaders make the right adjustments to avoid messy setbacks and advocate cohesion during the move. It’s also easier for facility managers to communicate with team leaders, who then pass relevant information to the broader staff. This hierarchical approach creates vital clarity during the relocation.

5. Digital move management software

Orchestrating an office relocation is a complex, involved task that’s made immeasurably easier by sophisticated move management software. Facility managers may not oversee everything directly, but they’re ultimately responsible for passing the orders that facilitate the move. Move management software gives them an essential top-down view of all moving parts. It’s akin to looking at the box while doing the puzzle. It may take some time to get all the pieces together, but you’re able to see exactly what you’re working towards.

Coordinating an office move may start to seem overwhelming, but it’s less intimidating if you break it down incrementally. Take a procedural approach to identifying the above five elements of your relocation plan. Remember that each piece of the puzzle informs the next step on the way to a seamless move. And, of course, you can always check your plan against SpaceIQ’s Guide for Relocating Employees to ensure you’ve covered your bases. Happy moving!

Keep reading: Move Management Tips for a Smooth Relocation

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Blog

12 Facilities Management Tips for Collecting and Using Workplace Data

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

Over the next five years, the office Internet of Things (IoT) market will grow to an astounding $57B on the heels of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2%. Safe to say, the age of digitally enabled offices is here. It’s easy to see why. The IoT quantifies physical workplace variables, turning them into digital data points that we can research, observe, and use in the pursuit of office optimization.

Looking for a few facilities management tips to get you there? You’ll need to tap into the power of the IoT first. It won’t be long until facility management strategy is heavily dependent on data gleaned from an office IoT network. Now’s the time to deploy data collection systems and learn how to utilize the analytics they provide. Here are 12 tips to get on the path to workplace optimization.

Tips for collecting data

How you collect data is as important as how you eventually use it. You need to implement reliable collection methods and develop funnels for useful data. Here are a few facilities management tips that revolve around data collection:

  1. Identify metrics: Before you start quantifying the workplace, figure out what elements are important to you. Are you measuring occupancy? Utilization? What’s your objective in gathering data and what metrics factor into measuring progress toward your goals?
  2. Trial equipment: Don’t throw money at an IoT investment because it has good reviews or incentivizes you to use it. There are hardware and software components to every data funnel—test and trial them before making a splash with your office IoT.
  3. Scale into the IoT: Start small and scale up. Taking the time to build a good data collection funnel saves you the hassle of reinventing the wheel with each new funnel you set up. Master the basics and scale into more robust data streams.
  4. Automate: The IoT and workplace data should make your workplace more efficient. Automation is a huge part of that. When building out your IoT, automate data collection and aggregation wherever possible. The goal is not to add more tasks.
  5. Develop an ecosystem: On the software side, leverage integrations wherever possible. Syncing everything through an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) or porting over data seamlessly between applications makes leveraging it easy.
  6. Be transparent: Employees will get nervous if sensors start showing up sporadically in their workplace. Be transparent in data collection initiatives and strive for data anonymity wherever possible.

Think of collecting data as a front-end process. This is where the bulk of the work comes from, and it’s crucial to establish proper data collection modes and means. The integrity of the data you get relies on how well you collect it.

How to use workplace data

Once you have data, it’s time to put it to work. Organizing and interpreting data are learned skills, which means investing time in learning how to apply a dataset to real concepts. Becoming fluent in data interpretation gives way to more confident facility management ideas. Here’s how:

  1. Aggregate data: Dumping all your workplace data into a single spreadsheet isn’t helpful. Break it out, delineate sources, and establish good reporting practices. Here again, an IWMS is a smart investment that can deliver dashboard views of unique data streams.
  2. Evaluate data: Learn how to dissect data. Establish mean, median, mode, and range for the data you’re looking at. Understand outliers. Learn to recognize trends and correlate them to physical events. Mastering data means spending a lot of time with it.
  3. Match data to KPIs: Remember those metrics you established for collecting data? Put them to work organizing data! Identify which data streams allude to specific metrics and observe that data through the lens of your objective for powerful insights.
  4. Generate reports: Establishing automated reports of data gives specific insight into the KPIs and trends most important to stakeholders. Best of all, different reports can quickly answer the questions of diverse stakeholders, from the CEO, to the COO, to the CFO.
  5. Identify real applications: What workplace trends does the data illuminate and what changes may improve those figures? Better still, what workplace demands aren’t currently met and how can you leverage data to make quantifiable improvements?
  6. Draw conclusions: Consider workplace improvement initiatives and look at data surrounding them. Using what you know from the data you’ve collected, establish a course for action, backed by fact.

There are two ways to use workplace data effectively. You can pour over datasets to identify trends, formulating improvement initiatives from that data. Alternatively, you can weigh existing ideas against data to determine if they’re worth pursuing. In either case, the answers lie within the data.

Data leads to a better workplace

Establishing a good foundation for data collection is the first step towards office optimization. Learning how to evaluate and leverage that data is the second half of the equation. Facility managers who can combine the two will become invaluable assets for companies concerned about workplace optimization. Establish these fundamentals today to coordinate the workplace of tomorrow.

Keep reading: How to Select Facility Management Software.

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Blog

Identifying Facilities Management Goals and Objectives

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
SpaceIQ

There’s no understating the importance of the workplace for business success. Facilities touch every part of the business and impact key metrics like growth, revenue, cash flow, and productivity. Facilities should be an integral part of broader company goals and objectives.

Traditionally, facility managers have acted more as space planners and workspace governors. Now, facilities managers are increasingly tasked to set strategic goals using robust data and analytics from workplace management platforms and other systems.

The role of facilities in goal setting

There are three types of facility management goals: those supporting the company, those supporting employees, and those inherent to facilities themselves. It’s easy to think of these goals in a funnel, with broad support at the top and specifics at the bottom. The role of facilities changes depending on the goal.

Take a broad goal, like growing company revenue from $1M to $2M in 2020. Numerous variables go into this objective, each playing a role in its ultimate success (or failure)—facilities included. Because there are so many factors, the weight of the goal is evenly distributed. Marketing has to market more effectively. Sales has to sell better. Facilities need to support employees. It’s all hands on deck.

Now, think about a goal like implementing a digital conference room booking system. There are only a few required factors and the focus is narrow. It’s facilities-specific and may only involve IT. The onus in accomplishing this goal is on a few parties.

In both examples, facilities matter. It’s easy to consider the role of the workplace in workspace-specific, narrow goals; but the role of the workplace isn’t always apparent in broad goals. It’s up to facility managers to ensure the workplace plays a part in strategic initiatives, regardless of scale.

Broad goals: Company-wide objectives

Broad goals are those pertaining to the entire company. Top or bottom line growth. Branding and culture initiatives. Product or service developments. These goals touch every segment of the business in some form, including facilities.

When it comes to broad goals, the objectives of facilities management tend to be passive. The workplace serves a support role—the foundation for any and all contributors to the goal. It’s about preventing burnout and promoting comfort at work. Ensuring employees have the right workspaces and amenities to do their best work. Streamlining daily operations to conserve time, money, and effort. Bringing this stability to the workplace provides sound backing for company-wide success.

Intermediary goals: employee-specific focuses

Because employees directly interact with their workplace, intermediary goals generally involve facilities to a greater degree. One affects the other. Rearranging the stack plan or moving to a new building. Hiring, promoting, or parting with talent. Installing new workplace processes or practices. To see these objectives succeed, facility managers need to draw a line that connects facilities and people in a positive way.

In most cases, facility managers need to consider employee interaction with the workplace and how facilities support employees. How can workplace changes improve productivity? Enable better collaboration? Reduce friction? Changes may be significant, but they’re also purposeful. If you’re rearranging three departments over four floors, the outcome needs to achieve a specific goal that benefits employees in a meaningful way.

Narrow goals: targeted facilities initiatives

The narrower goals of FM support facilities themselves. Employees may benefit from them and they might contribute to broader business success, but the driving factor behind them is facility-specific improvement. Think about goals like reducing energy expenditures or improving wireless signal strength, for example.

Installing motion-sensitive lights. Developing a portal for maintenance ticketing. Porting over to a new Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). These are facility-focused goals, wholly tasked to facility managers. Consider them a reinvestment in facilities that support the intermediary and broad goals listed above. Their focus is specific, but the outcome is likely to be far-reaching.

Always factor in facilities

Facilities have gone from a line item on the balance sheet to a key instrument for goal-setting and objective planning. Facility managers aren’t just masters of space planning and allocation—they’re contributors to growth and optimization strategies. These strategies take place at every operational level—from mission-critical goals to everyday workplace improvements. Wherever it’s involved—and it’s always involved—the workplace deserves consideration.

Keep reading: How to Choose the Right Facility Management Software for Your Company