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Office Manager vs. Facilities Manager: What’s the Difference?

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Job titles exist for a reason. Not only do they define a role, they signify responsibility. You wouldn’t ask a lead accountant for help designing a flyer—that’s a graphic designer’s job. But job titles aren’t always so clear. What’s an office manager vs. a facilities manager?

Office. Facilities. To most people, the words are synonymous. To someone familiar with the roles and duties of each, they’re quite different. An office manager facilitates the work employees do; a facility manager oversees the place in which that work happens.

What does an office manager do?

An office manager is akin to an administrator. Their primary duties involve managing the needs of employees and, sometimes, the employees themselves. Office managers typically facilitate work in the workplace, ensuring people get what they need—supplies, accommodations, or information. Some of the universal job duties of an office manager include:

  • Managing various office budgets
  • Organizing meetings and arranging appointments
  • Supervising clerical staff and liaising with management
  • Creating and implementing office standardizations and processes
  • Ordering and organizing office supplies

In a sense, office managers fill in the gaps within the workplace. Much of what they do enables others to work without interruption—ensuring the office is well-supplied or arranging meetings with clients.

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How to become an office manager

An office manager can be an entry-level position; however most companies choose someone with management experience to fill the role. Office managers usually hold a degree in business administration or similar. Companies may choose to hire a new graduate to manage their office or promote from within, giving the job to someone who already understands the demands and expectations.

Office managers need organization and communication skills above all else. Attention to detail is of critical importance—especially since office managers typically handle sensitive tasks, like balancing the office budget or filing proprietary information. Leadership skills are a definite plus, as the office manager is frequently the point of contact when people need help. Finally, analytical skills are a must-have trait, since problem-solving is a central aspect of the job.

What does a facility manager do?

Facility managers focus on the big picture: the workplace itself. They’re responsible for providing employees with a place to work—one that’s safe, comfortable, and accommodating. If an office manager is responsible for employees, facility managers are responsible for everything that surrounds them. Their duties are immense, spanning facilities at both the macro and the individual workstation levels. Some of the most prominent duties of a facility manager include:

Facility managers also handle employee interaction with the workplace. Things like wayfinding and support tickets fall into the realm of facilities management because they involve the actual building itself. Similarly, facilities managers also oversee space utilization and workplace analytics.

How to become a facility manager

Becoming a facilities manager is less direct than that of an office manager. Currently, there aren’t any formalized facilities management degree programs. Most facilities managers hold a bachelors in business, with a certificate in facilities management or advanced training on the subject.

Certification and training through an organization like the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is essential. There are several different distinctions. Most professionals opt for the Certified Facility Manager® (CFM) title, though titles like Facility Management Professional™ (FMP) also hold value. Once certified, professionals need ongoing accreditation and training to stay abreast of evolving facility trends.

Accreditations and certifications are also available from the Building Owners and Managers Institute (BOMI), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). All play a vital role in forward-thinking facilities management.

Both play an important role in the workplace

There’s often confusion between the duties of an office manager and a facilities manager. In name, they’re quite similar; however, in practice, they’re two sides of the same coin. A successful workplace needs both to function. Employees and the business at large benefit from the diligence of both professionals and their abilities to improve how work gets done. Through their combined efforts, employees enjoy a workplace ready to function as-needed on a daily basis.

Keep reading: Ins and Outs of Facility Management Certification.

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Blog Featured

Top 10 Workplace Areas

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

We canvassed our customers—from small software companies to global enterprises—to find the top 10 workplace areas where employees can relax, have fun, or spend time with their kids (both the human and furry variety). How does your business stack up?

Parent Rooms

 

The Parenting in the Workplace Institute estimates there are more than 200 U.S. businesses that allow working parents to bring their babies to work. Parent rooms (formerly called mother’s or nursing/lactation rooms) offer quiet, private spaces for breastfeeding, diaper changes, or bonding—for both Mom and Dad.

 

Locker Rooms / Showers

Companies know health-conscious employees like to sneak in a workout over lunch. Providing showers and secure lockers is becoming a common practice. But employers should follow the lead of athletic organizations when it comes to safety and cleanliness.

 

All Gender Restrooms

A 2017 study by Yelp revealed that 160,000-plus businesses in the U.S. offer gender-neutral bathrooms to employees, visitors, and patrons. Gendered restrooms are still the norm, but human resource professionals say eliminating men- and women-only designations can benefit a company’s brand and strengthen its talent pool.

 

Game Rooms

Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining”  wasn’t the only one to believe “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Companies of all types and sizes offer ping-pong, foosball, and video games as outlets for hard-working employees. But “fun” elements should align with business values to strengthen talent retention and boost employee morale.

 

Wellness / Yoga Rooms

Sometimes the burden of day-to-day work gets to you. Escaping to a quiet place is just the ticket. Wellness rooms staged with recliners, couches, plants, water features, and comfort items give employees privacy to decompress. Coupled with on-site yoga classes, employees can find the zen they need to make it to five o’clock.

 

Cafés

A study by Sodexo showed that more than 70% of employees believe food is a “critical workplace amenity.” Companies with enough space are moving toward on-site cafés where workers can choose from multiple options of snacks, drinks, and entrées.

 

Bike Rooms

The American Community Survey estimates 872,000 people (0.6% of all U.S. workers) ride their bike to work. Typically, riders have to store their bikes in their office or cube, or find an out-of-the-way place. Many businesses are now offering in-office racks or designated rooms for storage.

 

Gyms

There’s a ton of reasons businesses should build on-site gyms for employee use. Exercise reduces stress and absenteeism. Active workers get better sleep and are more motivated because of it. And no CFO will shun the health care costs saved by having healthier employees.

 

Libraries

Believe it or not, people still read books. At least they should…especially in the office. Workplace author Erika Hall believes giving employees access to a variety of books boosts underrepresentation of lesser-known perspectives. Most importantly, books nourish workers’ minds.

 

Pet Rooms/Areas

The emotional and mental benefits of having a furry friend around are well-known. And many businesses are realizing that allowing pets in the office reduces employee worry about their pup’s well-being. Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, and TripAdvisor are considered three of the most pet-friendly companies.

Keep reading: Increase Workplace Productivity By Relying On Your Senses

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Blog

Essential Conference Room Digital Signage Info

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

Alongside an automated reservation system, conference room digital signage raises the standard of convenience for meeting rooms. Beyond booking a space with a few keystrokes, employees can see at a glance that their room is ready and waiting for them. Passersby know the room is in use, which helps reduce double-booking conflicts.

But what information should meeting room signage display? That depends. How big are the screens and what information is most pertinent to your staff? In some cases, less is more; in other situations, the more information you can display, the better. Here’s a look at the essentials and what extra information people might appreciate.

Essential information

Conference room signage only has so much space to relay a message. The smaller the screen, the more utilitarian the information. If your conference room display signage is small, make sure it includes the bare-bones essentials:

  • Conference room name: This is a no-brainer, but important if there are multiple conference spaces clustered together. It’s smart to use a conference room naming convention and display the name statically at the top of the screen.
  • Conference room location: It’s easy to lose your bearings in bigger offices or on unfamiliar floors. Clearly state locations below conference room names.
  • Current date and time: Displaying the date and time on the conference room signage eliminates disputes over who has the space. You’ll know if you’re early, on time, or running late.
  • Current booking information: Is there someone in the room right now, or is it available? If occupied, who’s in there? How long is the meeting scheduled to run? Occupancy information tells the tale of the room’s impending availability.

At a glance, someone should get all the information they need from conference room signage. This information encourages inquiring parties to act accordingly—enter a conference they’re supposed to attend, book the next available time, look for another space, etc.

Read more on what is wayfinding and digital signage.

Additional information

Large meeting room digital signage offers more display options. Think about what people want to know as they approach the room and ask yourself if any of the following are important to display:

  • Meeting information: What’s the nature of the meeting taking place right now? “Quarterly sales analysis” or “Marketing team weekly meeting” clues observers into what’s going on inside.
  • Participant names: Need to locate someone? If you see their name on the meeting roster, it’s easy to see how long they’re busy or what they’re currently doing. Or, if it’s an emergency, you know exactly where to find them.
  • Next available time slot: All meetings must come to an end and if you’re waiting to book the room, you want to know when. Showing the next available booking time helps people plan ahead for reservations and coordinate attendee schedules.
  • Nearby open meeting rooms: Need a meeting room right now for a last-minute powwow? This room might be occupied, but the one down the hall or on the next floor is open.
  • Future booking information: If you work in a busy office, it helps to see a full roster of bookings for the day. Future booking information helps employees better plan to maximize their time.

The more information you display, the better. Again, employees will act based on what they know. Should they wait 15 minutes until the current meeting ends and the space frees up? Is there a nearby open room that can accommodate a group immediately? Is there someone in this room they need to speak with? More information means better decision-making.

Display the information employees need

No matter the screen size of your conference room display system, nothing is more important than conveying useful information. Make it easy to skim and organize the information in a natural way. It shouldn’t take someone more than a few seconds to know the skinny on any room.

Keep reading: The Six Pillars of Conference Room Etiquette

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Blog

Vacant Offices Open Doors for Workplace Improvements

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has turned once-bustling workplaces into ghost towns. Employees are under self-imposed or mandatory isolation as businesses join the cause to halt the virus’s rampant spread. Remote work is allowing many businesses to operate as usual, even with the office lights off.

Despite the impact COVID-19 is having on day-to-day business, those empty offices are a unique opportunity to improve the physical workplace. Facilities professionals can evaluate current space use, plan new designs, move employees or entire departments, and improve workplace technology—all without disrupting employees.

Optimize Existing Space

Revamping your workplace starts with understanding the space you have and how it’s used. The right technologies are a must. An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) and computer-aided facility management (CAFM) platform are valuable tools for space optimization and asset management.

Design options using data from an IWMS or CAFM provide a starting point from where you want your workplace to be and how to get there:

  • What’s the total available space utilization from this design?
  • How many total workspaces support how many total workers?
  • What is the breakdown of space type and occupancy?
  • What is the cost per workspace vs. the cost of your lease?

With that information in hand, you can determine whether to optimize the space you have or add more. New arrangements using hot desks, hotel desks, neighborhoods, or collaboration areas can maximize underutilized space and provide employees with activity-based options that fit their unique work styles.

Make Meaningful Moves

Moving individual employees from one desk to another is disruptive; not to mention the impact of uprooting an entire department to a new location. With employees working from home, facilities professionals can evaluate and make moves without interrupting workflows.

Regardless of move type, it’s imperative to plan each step. Again, technology is key. Move management software allows you to evaluate different scenarios, spot potential gaps, identify what new equipment is needed, and see the final outcome—all before packing the first box. When a move is planned, it’s important to communicate with affected employees. People may not want their belongings moved by someone else. Apps like Slack are great for keeping remote employees updated on what’s happening and what to expect when they return.

On a grander scale, facilities professionals can use stack planning for a macro view of the workplace and how to best use space on a floor-by-floor or campus-wide basis. Automated stack planning allows you to:

  • See high-level, current views of every floor, department, and team configuration
  • Drag-and-drop entire departments or teams from one floor—or building—to another
  • Accommodate for forecasted growth
  • Create and compare unlimited stack plans using live data from across your enterprise systems

Plan for Employee Productivity 

In many ways, office environments are like their own ecosystems. There’s a natural flow to how things move and change, and the environment tends to grow over time. But one thing never changes: your workplace should enhance productivity.

Productivity is a function of how well employees can do their jobs. The main driver of productivity is the workplace. Whether it’s a classic concept with individual offices or a modern amalgam of different workspaces, what matters is employee interaction. The workplace should be a support system—something that allows work to get done, no matter the circumstances (even a pandemic).

Look at your empty office as a blank canvas, of sorts. What types of workspaces do employees need to do their best work? Consider not just types, but where workers spend the majority of their time. Is it easy to find a quiet place to work or a collaborative area to brainstorm with colleagues?

Again, the key to uncovering productive designs is enterprise-wide data and analytics from your IWMS and CAFM system.

Turn a Negative to a Positive

For all the fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a silver lining for workplace managers. The opportunity to plan and execute workplace-wide changes without employee disruption is one that shouldn’t be passed up. This is a perfect time to tackle those onerous tasks every facilities manager loves:

  • Cleaning carpets
  • Scrubbing grime from air vents
  • Spackling dings in the walls
  • Installing furniture

Ultimately, it’s the time spent optimizing space that will have the deepest impact. It will take time for businesses to recover from lost revenue. An optimized workplace can lessen the financial burden by maximizing existing space in ways that address how employees want to work. In return, they’ll give you their best effort to breathe life back into your workplace.

Keep reading: Select the Right Facility Management Software for Your Organization

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Blog

What is an Employee Badge System?

By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

If you’ve ever worked on a big campus or in a secure building, you’ve likely had an employee ID badge. While they vary, most ID badges feature a few essentials: your mugshot, your name and title, the company name, an ID number, and a chip or magnetic strip. The ID badge is your all-access pass to the facilities, giving you access to some places and restricting movement to others. But what is an employee badge system really for? Why is access control so important?

Employee badging goes beyond dictating what areas you can and can’t access. It’s a framework for security, asset tracking, task management, and general facility management. While it might seem like a pain to swipe, scan, or insert your employee ID badge all the time, granting or denying access to certain spaces is an important mechanism of facility management.

Checks and balances

Think of a badge system like a series of checks and balances. Your badge gives you the freedom to access areas you can and should use—the parking garage, cafeteria, conference rooms, or entire floors of a building. It also keeps you out of spaces you don’t need. Unfortunately, most people overlook access points their badge allows, instead focusing on what it doesn’t allow.

Think of it like the grocery store. You’re free to grab a cart and stroll through the produce department, bakery, deli, dairy section, and up and down various aisles. Everything you need is there. You’re not allowed to go into the stock room, behind the registers, or on the loading dock. And why would you? Your purpose is to buy food from accessible areas.

Like the grocery store, office access control keeps you in familiar areas governed by clear expectations of what’s allowed. It’s not about putting up walls—it’s about creating routine, stability, and familiarity.

Reasons to restrict access

Prohibiting access to specific areas is easy with a badge system for employees. Here’s a look at why barring access to certain areas is advantageous for employers and employees:

  • Areas may house sensitive information or dangerous materials
  • Keeps different business segments from impeding on each other’s essential workspace
  • Prevents visitors from wandering aimlessly and getting lost
  • Reduces unwanted disruptions from people who aren’t familiar with certain areas
  • Manages workplace populations to improve space utilization through selective access
  • Prevents different business segments from poaching assets and materials

In many ways, restricting access enables employees. It ensures they can access the spaces they need and are free from disruptions and unknown expectations.

Reasons to grant access

Granting access to space seems like an obvious process, but it takes more consideration than you might think. Here are a few reasons it makes sense to give specific employees or groups ID badge access to different areas of the workplace:

  • Accessible areas contain people or facilities they need to do their job properly
  • These areas are part of greater office mobility and grant access to other spaces
  • To improve interoffice or interdepartmental synergy between business segments
  • Executives or managers may collaborate broadly, requiring broad access
  • To improve automation, quickly granting access to specific employees or groups
  • Encourages mindful use of particular areas or amenities within facilities

When access is as simple as swiping, scanning, or inserting an ID card, employees get into the habit of using the facilities accessible to them.

Badges are the gateway to mobility

It’s easy to see an employee ID badge system as restrictive—but in fact, it’s enabling! Badges aren’t meant to keep people out of the spaces they need to access. Rather, they create order within facilities. Visitors won’t stumble into your workspace. Coworkers won’t hijack your conference room. Temps won’t get lost and end up in the executive suite.

Think of an employee badging system as another layer of wayfinding or a function of office automation. It’s meant to make navigating the workplace easier and more fluid, giving employees access to the spaces and amenities they need.

Keep reading: What Are Wayfinding Kiosks and Digital Signage?

 

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Workplace Thought Leadership

The Next Frontier: Space Fusion and the Modern Workplace

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

People love a great mash up. We see “fusion” all the time in food, music, clothing, and even architecture. Food fusion gave us Korean tacos and BBQ chicken pizza. Musicians in the 1960’s combined their work with rock and R&B to create jazz fusion.

Now, the workplace is experiencing a fusion revolution of its own. The homogenous days of private offices, cubicles, and open-office layouts are fading as facility and workplace planners find new ways to use a single area for multiple purposes. That’s “space fusion.”

Reimaging existing space

Look around a typical home and wasted space is everywhere. How often do you use your formal dining room or guest room? With a few modifications—a Murphy bed and foldable treadmill—and that guest room used a couple times a year becomes a daily exercise area. The dining room transforms into a craft area by adding some stylish cabinets to store paper, scrapbooks, and fabric.

It’s the same in the workplace. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who sits at their desk for eight hours straight. Work doesn’t…well, work that way anymore. Physical meetings require a move to a different room. Need privacy and quiet for a client call? You’d likely head to a phone booth or smaller conference room.

Space fusion practices ignore labels (conference room, cafeteria, etc.) and reimagine ways an area can be used. For example:

  • A cafeteria doubles as a stadium-style space for company meetings.
  • Conference rooms act as workspace for visiting telecommuters and guests.
  • Unoccupied private offices become small meeting rooms.
  • Couches in the lounge transform into team brainstorm seating.

Not all companies offer such a wide variety of workspaces. Smaller businesses likely don’t have a dedicated cafeteria or phone booths. But space fusion doesn’t have to be fancy. An unoccupied meeting room becomes a breakout space or a collection of bean bags in the lounge transforms into a team collaboration area.

A blend of quiet and collaborative

The move to open-office concepts was meant to increase employee collaboration. But in many ways, the lack of walls and private space resulted in the opposite. Employees need and want quiet areas.

According to a Harvard study, open offices may trigger a natural reaction for people to withdraw from others. Employees lost 86 minutes a day to distractions and saw face-to-face interactions decline. In another study, 95% of workers said working alone is critical, but only 41% had the ability to do so.

A growing number of companies are fusing private spaces with open-office designs. Phone booths and meeting pods are popular, lower-cost options to building walls. Some businesses are converting closets and small conference rooms into solitary workspaces. These quiet zones provide solace when needed without sacrificing collaborative areas meant to foster employee communication and connection.

Finding balance with space fusion

Ultimately, employees want a workplace that allows them to contribute when and where they want. It’s important to remember that the workforce consists of unique individuals from five different generations that demand different things to feel productive and valued.

Space fusion is all about flexibility and balance. When designing a space, consider the purpose of each area and how it will be used by employees from all walks of life. When done thoughtfully, fusing different spaces can meet the demands of a multigenerational workforce without compromising individual work styles.

Keep reading: What Is Flexible Workspace? The Ins and Outs

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Blog

The Many Connections Between Workspace and Productivity

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer
SpaceIQ

Workspaces are where people get work done. It seems like such an obvious statement, until you probe deeper and realize that calling something a workspace doesn’t guarantee work will get done in any capacity. You can put a computer in a broom closet and call it a workspace… but it’s highly unlikely someone will do productive work there. There’s a correlation between workspace and productivity, where the quality of the former affects the latter.

Many businesses may lack enough workspaces, but aren’t always looking at the other variables that define them. To encourage the best workplace productivity from employees, you need to build out workspaces conducive to how they work. Here are eight driving factors that connect workspace to productivity.

  1. Workspace type: Is this a workspace conducive to the type of work someone will do in it? For example, if there’s group work involved, the space needs to accommodate multiple people. Likewise, you don’t want to provide a quiet workspace when their task involves constant collaboration. Workspace type needs to match work type.
  2. Workspace availability: Without the right ratio of workspaces to employees, you risk leaving someone to fend for themselves in a space that’s not right for them. Consider the utilization rates of particular space types and create a system of order for controlling movement into and out of them. Order leads to availability, helping workers access the spaces they need to be productive.
  3. Atmosphere: Workspace design and productivity go hand in hand. Drab, gray walls, sound-deadening cubicles, and the constant buzz of a fluorescent light don’t inspire productivity. Create an atmosphere that’s stimulating and engaging—one that makes people want to interact with the workplace around them. Art on the walls, color accents, and floor plants breathe life into the space and motivation into the person occupying it.
  4. Culture: Happy people and upbeat attitudes are infectious, and that positivity impacts the workplace environment. If the workplace is a pleasant place, employees will be more inclined to do their best work. Consider the alternative—a place that drags down morale and encourages people to leave. A positive culture not only helps people enjoy the productive work they do, it reduces turnover and inspires innovation – plus fun offices increases workplace productivity.
  5. Amenities: Provide the amenities employees need and want and you’ll enable productivity. A cafe is a great place to start the day. An experiential space is perfect for kicking back and collaborating with peers. Workplace amenities don’t always directly impact productivity, but instead serve to encourage it organically.
  6. Comfort: Comfort plays a big role in productivity, and in workspace design. If someone can’t get comfortable at work, they’ll have a hard time focusing on the tasks in front of them. Introduce comfort and you’ll open the path to productivity. A comfy chair, natural lighting, calming design, and a generally harmonious workplace make it easy to settle in and get to work.
  7. Density: Imagine trying to work while simultaneously bumping elbows with people on both sides of you. If your employees are on top of each other, they’ll never be able to get any work done. Make sure people have space to be productive. It means paying attention to workplace density and space allocation, and organizing workspaces in ways that optimize utilization without sacrificing comfort.
  8. Accessibility: Can employees easily find, navigate to, and use your various workspaces? If not, utilization will fall alongside productivity. Space planners need to organize the workplace so that each individual workspace is accessible by anyone who wants to use it. Workspaces themselves also need to echo this accessibility by providing accommodations for all occupants.

It’s not always easy to build a workspace that hits on all these variables. The goal is to create workspaces employees want to work in. Use office layout software to handle the spatial demands. Then, pay attention to key design elements as you create workspaces. Ask if it’s a space that invites people in and encourages them to do their best work or if it’s one that might hinder productivity.

Keep reading: 8 Apps for Remote Workers Productivity and Success

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Blog

Value of a Facility Management Magazine Subscription

By Nai Kanell
Director of Marketing
SpaceIQ

Professional organizations exist as beacons of information—resources where practitioners can find information, insight, data, news, and advice. For facilities managers, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is the gold standard. IFMA sponsors events, offers credentialing, hosts community forums, and publishes a well-voiced facility management magazine.

IFMA’s magazine is of particular importance to facility managers. When they’re unable to attend IFMA events or participate in professional development opportunities, IFMA’s FMJ magazine serves as a way to stay up-to-date and informed. Here’s a look at why every facility manager and space planning professional should subscribe to FMJ or a similar facility management magazine.

Up-to-date information on best practices

The most important role of a professional organization is maintaining the highest caliber of reputability within the industry. Often, the feature of a facility management journal focuses on best practices and evolving standards. Exemplifying these practices through features is the best way to align followers, ensuring they’re up-to-speed and acting accordingly.

Take a look at the January/February 2020 feature in FMJ magazine, titled Focus on FM Technology. It focuses on teaching facility professionals about the office Internet of Things (IoT) and the ways they can leverage it into better facilities management. Without features and articles like this, facility managers might fall behind on current industry trends.

News and highlights from case studies

Case studies help FM professionals immerse themselves in a different modality of facilities management. Innovation in one area of practice might not translate directly to another, but it could springboard new ideas and innovations. Cross-exposure to other facility concepts helps professionals further their own skills and understanding.

Check out the museum-specific case study about facility management from the May/June 2019 issue of FMJ magazine, titled Preserving Ancient Artifacts: How museums use advanced technologies to protect collections, staff, and visitors. It’s a niche look at facility management, highlighting successful strategies that others might adopt or use to better their own practices.

New research and data about workplace governance

Research provides backing for trends and informs decision-making within the industry. Contextualizing data in a magazine article helps readers to understand how it might affect them. Do they need to change the way they manage certain aspects of the workplace? Re-tool their approach to management? Brace for a new trend? Staying up-to-date through a magazine helps keep facility managers ahead of the curve, instead of behind it.

The March/April 2019 issue of FMJ magazine has a great example of this, in an article titled Is FM Prepared for a Technical Labor Shortage. It’s an insightful look at industry trends and how they impact the workplace. Backed by thorough research and factual data, it’s an educational piece facility managers can take heed of.

Educational tips and insights

Facility management is a rising profession, growing more in-demand by the day. Like any area of professional practice, education is key in training and maintaining a capable workforce. Even facility managers who’ve completed IFMA certifications or other formal education can benefit from education tips and insights laid out in an FM magazine. Think of it as a forum for professionals to share their secrets, so everyone can improve.

The standards section in the November/December 2019 issue of FMJ magazine offers a great example. Is Your Facility Passing its Annual Performance Review? focuses on learning how to set, monitor, and report KPIs to stakeholders and executives in a meaningful way.

Products and solutions

What type of motion sensor will work best with automated lighting in hallways? What standing desk features does X Brand offer that Y Brand doesn’t? What are other people saying about XYZ floor planning software? Facility managers look for answers like these in magazines and it often saves them the time and trouble of trialing products and solutions themselves.

Any magazine is going to attract advertisers. It’s worth paying attention to the ones in trade journals, since they tend to offer solutions specific to an entire industry’s needs. For example, look at the Innovative Products and Services section of the September/October 2019 issue of FMJ magazine. It’s a veritable showcase of solutions meant to improve facilities.

Upcoming event information and past event recap

There are facility planning events across the country throughout the year, and it behooves serious professionals to attend them. But not every person can attend every event, which makes facility management magazines an important resource. For events you can’t attend, recaps and coverages often surface as feature stories and spotlight articles in industry publications.

Take a look at the July/August 2019 issue of FMJ magazine, at the section about IgniteFM!, a hackathon-style event hosted by IFMA. It does a great job of recapping the event, delivering key takeaways and concepts to readers who couldn’t attend in-person.

Don’t forget, while IFMA’s FMJ magazine might be the gold standard for facility management periodicals, it’s not the only one. Facility Executive Magazine, Facilities Manager Magazine, and Buildings Magazine are all great reads. These publications tend to spotlight specific industries, products, and companies. Add one or all of these to your monthly reading list to stay in the loop.

Keep reading: How to Select Facility Management Software.

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Blog

Top 10 Interactive Office Floor Plan Software Features

By Aleks Sheynkman

Director of Engineering

SpaceIQ

The more dynamic workplaces become, the more employees need interactive resources. How does John know if Conference A is open or occupied at 2 p.m.? How can Jane locate Bob’s desk in a free address workplace? Dynamic workplaces need the best interactive office floor plan software to keep employees productive and grounded amidst ever-changing variables.

Thinking about investing in interactive office floor plan software? Make sure it has the features employees need to capitalize on their environment, as well as the tools necessary to govern them. Here are 10 of the best features to consider:

  1. Pop-up space information: An interactive floor plan’s chief purpose is to provide information. Make sure your software delivers pop-up room information when someone taps a space—information like location, occupancy status, IT amenities, and even photos of the room. Someone seeking the right space should get all the information they need from a single tap or click.
  2. Employee directory integration: A floor plan isn’t only about the space; it’s also about the people in it. Where does Jake usually sit? Who is Amy in Accounting? Showing employees in relation to the facilities is a top feature of interactive floor plans and a useful feature for keeping people connected—even across business units.
  3. Color-coded cues: Interactive office floor plan mapping is great for agile workplaces where spaces change hands throughout the day. Seeing booked vs. unallocated meeting spaces at a glance keeps the workflow moving along smoothly. Green means unoccupied; red means occupied; yellow means 15 minutes until vacant. Color cues are the quickest way for employees to plan their next move.
  4. Sensor integration: Sensor integration enables more robust floor plan interaction. Sensors can unlock things like real-time occupancy monitoring to enhance map features. The floor plan might show a room that’s booked; however workplace occupancy sensors may indicate there’s no one in it. Or, sensors may show facility managers what spaces are unoccupied so they can quickly flex a group into that area.
  5. Access control integration: Access control on a digital floor plan is useful when visualizing facilities from an accessibility standpoint. Tim and Tom can’t meet Kayla on the fourth floor because their badges restrict them to floors one and two. This prevents wasted time and helps facilities remain easily navigable, regardless of employee permissions.
  6. Wayfinding: Like access control, wayfinding integrations make an interactive map more of an asset for those on-the-go. Typing in destinations and getting directions is one thing; being routed by person, place, or amenity is another. Building robust wayfinding into an interactive map lets employees chart the best course to wherever it is they need to go.
  7. Searchability: Again, interactive floorplan software isn’t only about seeing the outlay of the workplace. It’s power lies in helping you find what you need within it. Interactive maps should allow searches by space types, assets, and people. Tie searchability, wayfinding, and access control features together and it’s impossible not to find exactly what you need.
  8. Desk booking integration: Employees may use an interactive map to find open seating and spaces, but do they have a way to book those areas? Desk booking integration adds the “interactive” element to a floor plan. Offering desk and space booking directly through a floor plan makes it an all-in-one useful tool to connect employees with the workplace.
  9. Macro-to-micro scaling: Floor plans are usually static representations of a floor. An interactive office map expands the usefulness of a floor plan through scaling. See the whole floor or expand outward to see a stack plan or complete building profile. Or, scale down to see a specific department or desking arrangement. The ability to zoom in and out adds versatility to a floor plan and meets the needs of the people using it at-scale.
  10. Real-time metrics: Metrics are important to both employees and facility managers using an interactive floor plan. For employees, it’s about having information to interact with the workplace. For facility managers, this same data plays a different role in helping to shape the workplace. What do people need and is the workplace delivering?

Whether it’s information, action, or education, each of these features plays a critical role in organizing the workplace. Combining them in an interactive office floor plan connects the physical space to the people using it. That way, they can capitalize on all it has to offer.

Keep reading: Five Problems Solved by Office Floor Plan Software