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Factors That Affect Meeting Room Booking System ROI

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

The need for conference room reservations existed long before the rise in flex work. Many companies already have some system for reserving group spaces. Now, as they need to expand the capabilities of existing booking and reservation processes, they’re turning to more robust software. As with all software investments, meeting room booking system ROI is top of mind. Is the cost of new software justified by the value it provides?

Consider the capabilities modern booking solutions offer. Not only do they coordinate in-office space reservations, they also make it easy for off-site employees to find and book space. With workspace sanitization still prevalent, new booking software can also help automate cleaning schedules. Let’s not forget about the insights booking software offers. These features come together in numerous benefits, and it’s up to companies to determine their value.

Here’s a look at some of the factors that affect meeting room booking system ROI and the role they play in justifying its cost.

Integrations and usability

The ability of employees to book rooms is the biggest factor impacting meeting room software ROI. If the software isn’t accessible or easy to use, employees won’t use it. If they don’t use it, ROI potential falls significantly.

Look for software with broad integration capabilities. Beyond a web portal, employees need the ability to find and book spaces in a variety of settings, including on-the-go, through an app. Some key integrations include through a messaging app like Slack or via calendaring software like Outlook or Google Calendar. The more integrations there are, the more accessible and useable booking software is. As it becomes a mainstay in workplace operations, companies will see the ROI they expect from it.

Number of rooms available

ROI for booking software depends on the scale of the rollout. If you’ve got 20 shared spaces that need a centralized booking system, you’ll quickly see ROI from an efficient system. Conversely, if you only have two conference rooms, you might not need a robust booking system, and ROI could take longer to manifest.

The true ROI of a meeting room booking system comes from its ability to turn chaos into order. This tends to happen at-scale. Coordinating dozens of spaces among hundreds of employees comes with instant benefits. It’s easy to gauge the man hours saved by addressing wasted time caused by conference room uncertainties. The more variables at play, the higher the ROI potential for the system that brings order to these variables.

Booking fluidity and ecosystem

The intelligence of room scheduling software has an impact on its ability to generate ROI. For example, does the software simply show an occupied space—or does it recommend a different space? Simple features like this can improve workspace utilization, instead of dead-ending it. Software that provides solutions (options) will generate a higher ROI than software that’s only smart enough to return a static answer.

There’s also the software ecosystem to consider from the back end. Is the system smart enough to recognize booking dynamics, or does it only read-write data? For example, if someone wants to book a room at 3:30pm and there are no available rooms, will it show opportunities for space at 3:45pm when several meetings end? While much of this is programmable, companies need to invest in software that’s smart enough to create ROI.

Broader IoT capabilities

Beyond the room booking software itself, do you have the peripheral components that enable its full ROI potential? For example, are your meeting rooms equipped with occupancy sensors that govern the availability of that room? Are reservations augmented by a CMMS ticketing system, to ensure the space gets sanitized between uses? While not direct features of a meeting room booking system, these adjacent investments drive the ROI of the system.

There are plenty of opportunities to augment room booking software—but not all of them lead to better ROI. Companies need to look at peripheral tech that improves the usability and automation capabilities of booking software. How can you make booking and hosting meetings simpler, and what opportunities are there to streamline the process in cost-efficient ways?

Make the most of smarter booking

Booking system costs can seem high at the outset, but the potential for ROI is great. Facility managers need to identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of finding and booking shared spaces to fully realize returns. To do that, it’s important to look at the factors that could drive (or limit) the efficiency of booking software. Consider the integrations and usability of software, as well as the parameters of your office when establishing ROI benchmarks.

Keep reading: How Does Conference Room Scheduling Software Work?

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How to Utilize Cloud-Based Tools for Maximum Efficiency

By Danielle Moore
Director, Channel Marketing, Archibus
SpaceIQ

The mass exodus from centralized workplaces caused by COVID-19 was an extreme shakeup for business operations. It set the stage for flex work by testing the limits of decentralized teams and remote workers. It also changed the way wedo business: the rise of video calls and virtual collaboration. As these practices become the new norm—even as businesses return to work—they offer an important lesson about readiness and the role cloud technology plays.

Behind the scenes, a cloud infrastructure is the unsung hero supporting these changes. If the pandemic showed us anything, it has never been more important for businesses and the people who run them to make an investment in sustainable, cloud-based tools.

What kind of cloud-based tools?

The cloud is much more than a buzzword. Today, just about any digital tool a business might need comes with some connection to the cloud. The cloud offers security, reliability, accessibility, and integration capabilities. They give businesses the means to nimbly adapt to business changes.

  • Space management tools show a real-time picture of space allocation and utilization.
  • Maintenance tools generate work orders automatically based on specific needs.
  • Fintech platforms connect business operations with revenue streams to show viability.
  • Communication tools bring a high level of transparency and interaction to businesses.
  • Asset management tools enable proactive insights and promote maximum asset ROI.

These tools and dozens of others like them are what enabled businesses to pivot during COVID-19. And, because they’re cloud-based systems, they function the same for every person, across distributed teams and locations.They’re useful no matter where you are.

Not only were cloud-based tools the key to getting everyone back on track under new circumstances,but they are also key in streamlining new processes and protocols.As work continues to evolve, cloud tools are powering this evolution.

How to create new efficiencies

The many features of cloud-based tools have been key in creating efficiency out of chaos. The simplest, most evident example is in the shift to remote work. Instead of shutting down, workplaces went digital. Businesses took the many processes and practices of the workplace and digitized them. Desks, conference rooms, and the general workplace became secondary to their functions—which now live in the cloud.

Jordan doesn’t go to work anymore. He saves his commute time by working in his home office.He logs into his CMMS to seethe schedule of which crafts person will be onsite to complete routine maintenance on the HVAC system on the HQ building. Once the job is done, he receives a notification and can report to the team via a Zoom call.Then, before his day ends, he delivers assets through a cloud repository before marketing his tasks complete.

This new mock workday takes place in one place. Or it could take place anywhere. The setting isn’t important—the cloud-based tools that make it possible are the important factor. This employee, and millions of others, can create their own work experience that is still uniform to the company based on the cloud-based tools they use.

Removing the physical workplace creates opportunities for efficiency across operations. For employees, it is as simple as time saved by not driving to work or the ability to catch a cat nap after lunch and revitalize their brains for the afternoon. For businesses, everything from meetings to collaboration becomes more efficient because it is all virtual.

Cloud-based systems leverage their reliability, accessibility, and integrations into efficiencies,whether naturally or through data that yields insight into improvements: 77% of corporate real estate professionals agree that it is this data that is key in cost-saving efficiency improvements.

Measure efficiencies and make improvements

Efficiency improvements aren’t a one-and-done endeavor. Cloud-based systems make them ongoing, and their potential exponential.

Businesses need to think of cloud-based systems as “always on.” They’re always collecting and generating data and aggregating it into analytical insights. For example, a cloud system can use data from communication channels or project management logs to highlight the most productive time of day for your team. You might choose to schedule virtual meetings around that time for maximum productivity. This example and others like it represent the power of cloud systems to streamline businesses as they evolve.

It is also vital to use cloud data to set the standard for your teams and operations. For example, if you’re maintaining a flex workspace, get employees into the habit of using cloud-booking software. It doesn’t matter when they decide to work in-office; what matters is that they have a seat and that their decision is part of a managed system. They’ll have a desk and facility managers will have the insights and trend data they need to coordinate a flex work environment that’s always changing.

Data generation is part of what makes cloud systems so practical. And the ability of companies to link those many data generating systems together in the cloud is key to reimagining the workplace as an efficient digital construct.

Cloud-based tools will outlive COVID-19

Many businesses hesitated to make investments at the outset of the pandemic. Who knew how long it would last? Then, as it became clear businesses were in for protracted challenges, there was a rush to adapt. It’s important not to make the same mistake when it comes to an investment in cloud-based tools.

Cloud-enabled business tools aren’t just a solution for COVID-19 work challenges—they’re the gateway to more efficient operations in the future. The pandemic is merely a use case. Digital business technologies like IWMS, CAFM, CMMS, and digital twins have innumerable uses beyond managing the chaos of the pandemic. Moreover, their ability to create order and efficiency in the middle of chaos and uncertainty are proof enough of their ROI as a long-term investment.

The pandemic is finally coming closer to an end. The cloud-based tools and systems businesses used to get through it are only just beginning to make their value apparent.

Keep reading: 9 Advantages of Cloud-Based Facilities Management Software

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Blog

What is Corrective Maintenance in Facilities Management?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before, and one that makes sense on the surface. It’s the mantra of corrective maintenance evangelists—people who believe in fixing problems as they arise, before they result in total failure. They’re not going to disrupt something that’s working fine, but they’re apt to spot inefficiencies and correct them before problems develop.

What is corrective maintenance and how does it differ from preventive or reactive maintenance? Think of it as an intermediary between the two: a way of fixing problems on-the-fly. In the scope of facilities maintenance, it’s a way to keep everything running as-intended, which allows companies to balance maintenance costs and avoid disrupting employees hard at work.

An overview of corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance lives in the space between preventive maintenance and reactive maintenance. It’s about addressing small inefficiencies. Corrective maintenance looks at the factors that lead to failure and resolves them, to prevent the larger problem from forming. Think of it like getting an alignment for your car. Misalignment isn’t a problem per-say, but it can lead to all manner of them: everything from damaged tires to suspension issues.

Within the context of facility maintenance, there are ample opportunities for improved maintenance. Corrective maintenance seeks to use the clues from past problems as a means for preventing them in the future.

Examples of corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance can occur at any scale. The process of vetting catalysts and preventing future problems isn’t limited by the size of a problem. Here are a couple of examples:

  • The building’s furnace breaks down in the middle of a cold snap. During the course of repairs, the HVAC tech spots a severely clogged filter that likely contributed to the failure. He changes the filter and recommends cleaning it every three months.
  • During a routine servicing of the copy machine, Cheryl notices a buildup of toner in the feed mechanism, which has been jamming lately. She clears it out and runs a few test pages to make sure it works fluidly. She adds “clean feed mechanism” to the SOP.
  • Nassim works on the ninth floor. He hears a squeaking noise every day when the elevator doors open on his floor. He submits a support ticket. During the next routine elevator service, maintenance checks the ticket and adjusts the cable and pully to prevent duress.

These scenarios illustrate the core tenants of corrective maintenance. Each involves a catalyst, investigation, and a peripheral service that prevents a larger problem from developing. Because it goes hand-in-hand with preventive and reactive maintenance, it’s best used in conjunction with them, as part of a continuum of service excellence.

Preventive vs. corrective maintenance

What makes corrective maintenance different from a preventive approach? In many ways, correcting is a form of preventing. That said, preventive focuses more on routine maintenance and upkeep—items you can schedule. You schedule fire suppression system maintenance quarterly so that it’s always ready in the event of a fire, for example.

Preventive maintenance comes with fixed costs that you can anticipate. Corrective solutions aren’t typically budgeted, but fall under discretionary maintenance spending. And, perhaps the biggest difference is that preventive maintenance anticipates problems; corrective maintenance mitigates them.

Reactive vs. corrective maintenance

By the time you get to reactive maintenance, a problem has already occurred. Nevertheless, reactive maintenance serves as a foundation for corrective maintenance. Why did the problem occur and what can we do to prevent a similar situation in the future? A reactive approach isn’t necessarily a bad one—it depends on context. For example, you wouldn’t change a lightbulb before it dies as a form of preventive maintenance.

Corrective maintenance is a way of ensuring reactive maintenance doesn’t keep happening. Learning from problems and addressing their catalysts is the corrective mindset at work. And while reactive maintenance works for some things, corrective action needs to follow it where a preventive approach might be possible.

When does corrective maintenance make sense?

Corrective maintenance is just one mode of maintenance in a broader strategy that includes preventive and reactive. It’s important to know where and when to apply it vs. other modalities.

Consider something like a plumbing leak in this context. Preventive doesn’t make sense: you wouldn’t replace a component that appears to work perfectly. Reactive is too late: if the leak goes unaddressed and the system fails, it’s a major disruption. Corrective maintenance is the right approach: a specific solution to an inefficiency.

Facility maintenance leaders need to understand the role of corrective maintenance and how it factors into a more complete strategy. Executed effectively, it plays a critical role in keeping facilities chugging along smoothly from day to day.

Keep reading: What is Facilities Maintenance Support Services?

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Blog

Do You Need Enterprise Facility Management Software?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Enterprise means more than “big.” It means complex and nuanced, and demanding of robust solutions to meet multifaceted challenges. One of the biggest challenges of any enterprise company is how to scale the physical business. Especially in a time of global commerce and the shift to flex work, large companies need a way to make sure their physical workplace is productive, cost-efficient, and exactly what employees need it to be. Enterprise facility management software can help.

What is enterprise facilities management?

As the name implies, “enterprise” facility management involves overseeing workplace operations at a complex level. This usually means a high volume of employees, diverse workspaces, multiple facilities, and tiered levels of access, among other variables. Together, the complexities of these variables create an enterprise-level need for facilities management tools.

Managing hundreds or thousands of workstations is magnitudes more complex than managing even a couple dozen. Likewise, it’s next to impossible to direct traffic in workstations across a campus without an enterprise software component. These often-unique challenges demand resources that allow companies to build their own solution, rather than accepting the parameters of software made for simpler scenarios.

In short, enterprise facility management is the act of identifying and coordinating the complex and varied activities of robust facilities.

Consider your growing company

How do you know if you’ve reached a level that requires enterprise facilities management solutions? It depends on the demands of your facilities and workforce. There is no set number of employees or scope of workspaces that signals the need for enterprise facility management. Instead, it’s worth asking a few important questions:

  1. Do you have the means of tracking core workplace metrics right now?
  2. Is there a system in place for managing workstations and utilization?
  3. Can you currently quantify the workplace to accurately determine costs?
  4. Are there integration options that would allow you to augment the workplace?
  5. What unrealized opportunities are there for facilities management?

As facility managers question their ability to oversee and manage facilities, the need for an enterprise solution becomes apparent. For example, simple freemium products aren’t going to have the integration capabilities to be truly effective. Likewise, simple solutions only built for scale might not come with the robust reporting tools you need to optimize a complex workplace.

Explore enterprise facility management options

As with all enterprise-level software solutions, there are options for enterprise facility management software. It’s vital for companies to explore them and the features they offer, to better-address the challenges of a growing, multifaceted facility. It’s also important to realize that businesses in different industries will have different desking challenges. The ability of software to meet these needs with customizable solutions is paramount.

There are still challenges, even after you determine the best software solution. Be mindful of the effort that comes in selling stakeholders on it, getting it up and running, training staff, and integrating it into an established ecosystem of products. Have a plan for conquering these challenges and you’ll reap the benefits of facility management software at an enterprise level.

Do you need an enterprise solution?

How do you currently manage and coordinate facilities? If you’re using multiple programs and tools, an enterprise product might eliminate the need to cobble together a solution. Likewise, if there are gaps in your understanding of facilities, more robust management software could cast a light on them. It’s all about evaluating need. Consider the factors an enterprise solution can address:

  • Floor plans and stack planning
  • Hoteling, hot desks and agile desking
  • Support ticketing and demand maintenance
  • Live data and workplace analytics
  • Wayfinding and desk booking

An enterprise solution does more than deliver these capabilities to facility managers. It also works to de-silo facilities management and provide a more holistic field of view. At an enterprise level, this translates to facility efficiency and cost savings, as well as better portfolio management.

For many companies, the question isn’t if they need enterprise facility management software—it’s a question of finding the right enterprise solution.

Invest in software that generates solutions

From a stakeholder perspective, facility management software needs to generate clear ROI. The good news is, at an enterprise level, there are many opportunities to do this. It could take the form of bottom-line savings or new top-line growth enabled by facilities. It might show up in the form of better culture and employee sentiment. Whatever the ROI of better-managed facilities, enterprise software is likely to be a core driver of the changes that herald them.

Keep reading: Selecting the Right Facility Management Software

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Blog

How to Measure Office Hoteling Software ROI

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Of the many workplace changes to cement themselves in the wake of COVID-19, office hoteling is among the most prominent. To make hoteling work, companies have turned to desk booking software and hoteling systems to facilitate a seamless transition to this free-assign concept. Now, as businesses seek to refine their hoteling approach, they’re looking close at office hoteling software ROI and how to expand on those benefits. It begs the question: how do you measure hoteling software ROI?

To gauge any sort of ROI on hoteling takes a firm understanding of the variables at play. Are you tracking the right metrics? Do you have context for costs associated with office space? Is the software you’re using smart enough to report on trends and utilization to provide actionable insights? Here are a few of the finer points to consider when measuring office hoteling software ROI.

Establish hoteling metrics

What is hoteling without a clear set of metrics attached to it? This agile desking concept needs to produce clear and consistent data for facility managers to validate its effectiveness. Simply having desks and a booking system isn’t enough. Metrics need to show the nuances of when, how, and why employees book desks. Some of the most common metrics to track include:

  • Total desk bookings per hour and per day
  • Duration of desk reservation
  • Occupancy rate of available desks (real-time)
  • Types of desks and their utilization rates

The purpose of collecting this information and more is to understand the true ROI behind hoteling software. Given trend lines and data points there’s opportunity to recognize need, make adjustments, and improve utilization. These metrics not only shed light on ROI, they also illuminate how to increase it.

Track data and utilization trends

With the right benchmarks and KPIs loaded into office hoteling software, it becomes easier to understand utilization trends and how they contribute to ROI.

For example, say your established cost per workstation per day is $120. Then, say the average revenue generation capability per employee per hour is $40. Easy math says the breakeven point of each workstation is three hours. If you have desks that aren’t booked for more than three hours per day, you know automatically that those desks represent inefficiency.

Likewise, if you see that a certain type of desk books for an average of six hours per day, it can signal demand (and profitability) for that style of workstation. It may mean converting other desks to a similar style to spread out occupancy and improve broad utilization.

These are very basic examples. Facility managers need to look at the metrics they’re tracking to see how the context of hoteling compares to them and what that means for ROI potential.

Understand hoteling costs

The other side to understanding hoteling software ROI is understanding the costs inherent to hoteling. What does it cost you to operate an agile environment? There are two factors to consider. First, is the cost that goes into hoteling software and any IoT buildout that supports it. Second, is the cost of maintaining space used for hoteling.

It’s best to think about hoteling in binary. If there’s someone at the desk working, it’s reasonable to assume they’re generating profit. Likewise, if the seat remains unfilled, it’s an expense. For hoteling to be a profitable desking concept, companies need to understand the cost per seat and the breakeven point for each seat. Then, they need to orchestrate a hoteling solution that creates revenue beyond the fixed cost of a seat.

Hoteling costs vary for every company. An organization with 30,000 square feet of space and a mix of 250 hoteling options may have lower hoteling costs than a company with 10,000 square feet and 100 hotel workstations. Hoteling costs depend on factors such as cost per square foot, productivity output per employee, COGs, and other fixed overhead expenses that factor into the cost of operations.

To truly generate an ROI on hoteling software, do your best to find the fixed cost of an unoccupied desk and the revenue-generating potential of occupants at those desks. The breakeven point will tell the tale of hoteling ROI.

Adopt an ROI-driven mindset

One of the primary reasons behind calculating office hoteling ROI is to understand the costs of the workspace in a post-COVID-19 world. Employee work habits are different and so are their demands for space. Tracking and managing hotel desks is a realization of new trends. As these become the new norm, facility managers need benchmarks to let them know how efficient their facilities are. It starts with understanding cost.

With clear figures governing the ROI of hoteling software, facility managers can do a deep dive into opportunities for optimization. In the early phases of COVID-19 and a return-to-work, it might’ve been enough to pair people with desks. In the future, it’s going to revolve around how efficiently this occurs. That means looking at hoteling ROI as the benchmark for improvement.

Keep reading: Guide to Office Hoteling Best Practices

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Blog

Eight Major Benefits of Smart Buildings (and How to Capitalize on Them)

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Building intelligence has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years. Beyond the aftermarket sensors and beacons of an ever-expanding IoT, more and more buildings are built smart, bridging the gap between physical and digital. It’s easy to see why. The benefits of smart buildings are numerous, and companies are quickly learning how to harness smart tech into better insights and decision-making for facility operations.

For companies new to the idea of smart buildings or building out a small IoT network of devices, it’s worth understanding the scope of opportunity affiliated with smart buildings. Intelligent technologies enable insights that are becoming increasingly important for companies governing agile workspaces, a flexible workforce, and increasing demands for space versatility.

What is a smart building?

A smart building is one that generates data about itself and how it’s used. Typically, this occurs via the Internet of Things (IoT). Networked IoT sensors turn physical workplace action into digital data, which facility managers can use to make accurate insights about the physical workplace. As a simple example, a pressure sensor in the floor of a conference room can show when that room is occupied. This generates data for real-time insights as well as information about how often it’s used, for how long, and whether the ROI of the space makes sense.

Smart buildings operate on a scale. Sometimes, it’s just a few sensors that provide targeted facility data. Other times, it’s a wide web of IoT devices that paint a complete digital picture of facilities. Regardless of size, the purpose of a smart building is to provide digital data about the physical application of a building and everything that happens within it.

Eight major benefits of smart buildings

The benefits of smart buildings come from the data-generating systems that power them. It’s much easier to understand facilities when there’s data to inform how people use them. Moreover, this works in reverse—it’s easier to manage facilities when you understand them. Here’s a look at some of the benefits of smart buildings and why they’re so important:

  1. Automation opportunities. The more links there are between the physical workplace and digital management systems, the broader the opportunities for automation. Motion sensitive lights. Floor sensors for occupancy. Beacons to gauge workspace utilization. The IoT triggers powerful automations for a wide assortment of applications.
  2. Quantifiable building insights. Each data point generated by the IoT is a quantifiable part of the tangible workplace. That means understanding more about how the workplace functions—who’s using it, how they’re using it, and when they’re using it. Data points add up to trends, which add up to actionable insights.
  3. Predictive maintenance. Through digital twins and similar technologies, buildings and workplaces become managed assets. It’s possible to engage in proactive maintenance and asset upkeep to ensure maximum ROI from these investments. Preventive maintenance becomes a core function of facility upkeep, powered by insights from the IoT.
  4. Better resource utilization. Consider the resources of the workplace. Space. Manpower. Technology. Smart buildings take these resources and quantify them within the context of broader facilities. The result is a better understanding of how people use those resources and information about how to make them more accessible or available.
  5. Reduced energy consumption. A product of automation and quantifiable building insights, green initiatives become simpler through smart buildings. Whether it’s motion-sensitive lighting or better HVAC management through a sensor-controlled system, lower energy costs benefit businesses and the environment.
  6. Real-time building insights. In workspaces with agile desking concepts, real-time insights are paramount. Good governance of these spaces relies on data to see what’s occupied vs. open and what the current status of a workspace is. Smart buildings offer the power to see the workplace as it is in a given moment. It goes beyond workspace occupancy, too. Real time insights extend to every digital representation of the physical building.
  7. Reduced operational costs. Why make the investment in the IoT? For most companies, it’s about ROI. The insights generated by a smart building need to add up to cost savings through better decision-making. If you can use data from X to make Y conclusion that save $Z, there’s power in leveraging smart building technologies.
  8. New workplace opportunities. In the new age of evolving work styles, change in the workplace is unavoidable. As flex work and agile workspaces become the new norm, there’s demand for systems to help manage them. This oversight is much easier by smart networks and systems that generate data to support the new workplace and its utilization.

The key takeaway here is data. Data about previously unquantified systems that sheds light on how the physical workplace operates. These insights lead to more meaningful management, both in terms of space and operations. Smart buildings and the IoT have opened the door to better use of buildings, no matter the purpose.

The office: the final corporate data frontier

The benefits of implementing a smart building plan are virtually boundless. There are as many opportunities to benefit as there are avenues to integrate software, processes, workflows, and reporting systems, and to use the information a smart building provides. This information is imperative in adapting the workplace to real-time demands.

As buildings get smarter, they open the door to better workplace agility. Whether your facilities are inherently smart or you’ve augmented them with a growing IoT network, harnessing the power of facilities information leads to better decision-making and more streamlined operations. Every data point counts, and every data point is useful.

Keep reading: The Top Challenges for Creating Smart Buildings

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

Making a Confident Return to the Workplace

By James Franklin
Chief Customer Officer
SpaceIQ 

For more than a year, uncertainty has been a common theme in our daily personal and business lives. Lockdowns shuttered businesses of all types and sizes and forced most employees to work from home. With vaccinations underway, many company owners and business leaders are determining if now is the time to return to the workplace. 

The pressure to have staff come back to work is being felt across the globe, especially as more companies publicly announce their returntotheoffice plans. Some countries, like Australiamoved back months ago, and other countries are using its plans as a guide for how to make it happen. As North America and Europe will likely delay their returns to fall 2021 or even 2022, the amount and speed of change is expected to grow. 

Australia’s success shows the workplace of the future is being defined by activity-based working (ABW) strategies and more diverse choices in where employees work. Space planning analytic tools are also evolving. Platforms, such as those offered by SpaceIQ, are essential for businesses to not only devise what workplace return methodology best meets their needs, but to also stay current with evershifting office space trends.    

Will Employees Want to Return? 

For some companies, it has been more than a year since employees were in the workplace. There was fear that work-from-home would hinder productivity. That is not the case. According to a Mercer study, 94% of 800 employers surveyed said that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely. 

So, the time has come to welcome employees back to your workplace. What if some do not want to come back? A recent study published by TechRepublic showed 29% of employees said they would quit if forced to return in-person. Work-from-home offers flexibility not seen with an office job. Parents have reaped the benefits of consistent childcarethe freedom to make doctor appointments on their schedule, and not spending valuable time commuting to and from work. 

Because finding and retaining happy, engaged employees is difficult enough in today’s tight labor market, keeping top talent on board means more than good pay and a few in-office amenities. Employees, especially new ones, want flexibility in how and where they work. Implementing an ABW approach is another way to show your employees the value of being in the office by showing it is more than just a static space. Dynamic workplaces provide employees options. They can select where they work based on that day’s activity. 

ABW is all about flexibility. But that does not mean every employee will embrace new office structuresPeople are naturally averse to change and ABW is a big one. Some employees likely will resist more flexible environments. For CyberArk, an Israel-based information security company, most employees prefer static or designated seats as defined by the country’s prevailing work culture. Many global companies also discover that because workers don’t have assigned desks, they may lose the “personal” touch afforded by individual spaces. 

Fortunately, workplace technology can be used to implement a safe environment upon return and help managers to gauge how many of their employees are willing to return to the office. Better understanding employees needs will help you establish an approach that makes staff want to return to the office. In turn, they may be more productive and help foster a more positive workplace culture. 

Workplace Data and B2W 

Regardless of when a return is planned, it is unlikely all employees will come back all at once. Some elements of remote work will remainBut many companies are opting for flexible schedules of mixing inoffice and remote work.   

Workplace technology offers a seamless approach to both planning for and implementing a back-to-work strategy. Activity-based work is a shift from providing generic workplace that fits typical types and styles of work to designing space that is purpose built for certain activities. This means more productive space as it is tailored to the work it supports.   

This level of planning is not possible, at least not in an effective and timely manner, without technologies that support space planning and utilization, hotelingemployee health checks, contact tracing, social distancing, and other measures to keep staff as safe as possible. 

Workplace analytics are critical to implementing the what and how of your return to work. For global companies, implementation plans for one region may require only opening one office at 50 percent, while bringing 15 percent of employees back in another location. What if another surge hits? Are you ready to shutter one location, set up employees for remote work, and shift critical tasks to offices in another state or country? 

Return with Confidence 

If COVID has taught us anything, it is to be agile and confident in every decision. Employee safety is paramount when considering a return to the office. There is no room for error. That is why technology is key to managing every aspect of a back-to-work plan. 

Platforms such as those offered by SpaceIQ allow HR, Facilities, IT, and company leaders to weigh the pros and cons of their back-to-work strategies. We recently shared a return-to-work template to help guide your every move as employees come back. 

But a post-COVID return is only the beginning. Once the initial move is done, you should focus on contingency plans. Planning for inevitable contingencies is a smart, agile strategy. As Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, said: “…we’re all living some form of Option B.” 

Employees expect business leaders to have the answers and create workplaces that allow them to feel both safe and productive. Contingency planning is a great start. The next step in a confident return is thinking about the future. 

Less Structure, More Social 

What we knew as business normal is anything but now. The future workplace will be defined by how agile it can be in response to employee needs and new crises. SpaceIQ is strengthening the ArchibusSerraview, and SiQ product lines with technology tools that allow for maximum agility while supporting day-to-day productivity demands. 

Companies realized early on that remote work did not hinder productivity. Large organizations like Twitter embraced remote work by allowing employees to work offsite indefinitely. Others are likely to scale back on their investments in physical workplaces as we adjust to this new normal. 

Workplaces will not disappear completely, but businesses will make smarter decisions about how they use space. Technology lets you to analyze historic space utilization data and how that measures against today’s hybrid work structure. 

According to a McKinsey study30% of companies are likely to terminate leases while 55% will reconfigure how existing space is used. Space allocation is also shifting. CBRE survey of 10,000 companies showed employees want to come to the office 62% of the time for team collaboration and face-to-face time and only 16% for workplace amenities. What this shows is individual space and support services/amenities are less important than collaboration and social spaces. 

An Agile Future 

We have already seen a significant shift toward agile workplaces. Demand for remote work during the coronavirus pandemic shed light on the need for modern digital resources and technologies. Overnight, companies adopted platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Asana to help teams work from home. Not only have those adoptions remained, but they have also become more robust as companies build out their agile, digital infrastructures. 

Business of all types and sizes are looking for ways to create workplaces where employees want to be and where they can do their best work. SpaceIQ is here to help. We have solutions to manage real estate, optimize current and new workspaces, structure hybrid work schedules, and maintain every aspect of your workplace. For more information on how to partner with SpaceIQ for an agile workplace future, visit us at https://space.iq.com. 

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How to Measure IWMS ROI

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

The shift to flexible work and the new desking concepts that support it has led to an even larger reliance on workplace software. Nothing provides support for workplace governance quite like an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). This comprehensive solution for digital workplace management gives facility managers the tools they need to manage a workplace in real-time. Not only that, it’s a window into workplace optimization on a broad array of levels. These benefits and more are evident in IWMS ROI.

IWMS ROI occurs at both top and bottom lines of a company’s balance sheet. The cost savings of an efficient desking concept vs. new opportunities for revenue by enabling employee productivity. Here’s a look at how to measure IWMS ROI through various lenses, depending on how your company utilizes this software.

What is IWMS?

First, a quick recap of the many ways IWMS software touches the different facets of a business’ operations. While IWMS applications vary greatly from organization to organization, the capabilities of these systems are broad. Some of the broad pillars its features encompass include:

  • Space planning and management
  • Workplace and employee experience
  • Real estate optimization and utilization
  • Facilities, maintenance and asset management

IWMS is the digital system through which facility managers can document, observe, oversee, and improve workplaces and facilities at large. It provides powerful reporting capabilities for whatever application it’s deployed to serve—which gives facility managers plenty of opportunity to track its ROI.

Space planning and management

The simplest way to measure the ROI of IWMS software in regard to space planning is to observe classic space-related metrics. Use available data to set the benchmark for these metrics, then peg improvements after IWMS implementation. Some of the core metrics to track include:

  • Capacity, occupancy and density
  • Overall and space-specific utilization rates
  • Cost per head and cost per seat
  • Mobility ratios

Historical data will tell the story of how IWMS insights help facility managers improve these metrics and do more with space. Especially as we enter the era of flex work and a mobile workforce, it becomes more and more important to make sure space meets the needs of companies and users in a cost-efficient way.

Workplace and employee experience

It can be difficult to put a price on employee experience and workplace culture. The best way to peg these benefits is through quantifiable metrics that have costs attributed to them. Say, for example, a company does a Net Promoter Survey and finds that happy employees are 26% more productive than the mean, and unhappy employees are 45% less productive than the mean. Apply these percentages to the revenue generation benchmark per employee to recognize the impact of workplace experience.

Quantifying emotion, opinion, sentiment, and other intangibles can provide insight for IWMS ROI. For example, if workplace sentiment averages 64 out of 100, the mean hourly revenue generated by a sales team might be $50.40. With IWMS improvements to create a more comfortable, supportive work environment, that average rises to 81 out of 100 and revenue of $64.50 per hour. Here, you can say that IWMS ROI in terms of workplace experience equates to $14.10 per hour in new revenue. Real change and real numbers make for meaningful ROI.

Real estate optimization and utilization

Calculating IWMS ROI at the real estate level is easy—chiefly because real estate management is inherently numbers-driven. Attributing ROI is a matter of understanding what changes an IWMS enables and how those changes trickle up to the macro level.

For example, if a new floor plan created through IWMS results in better cost per head, that’s reflected in the high-level ROI of the building within a portfolio. When the time comes to extrapolate positive changes across different locations, that location’s cost per head will come up as a model for broader company efficiency.

IWMS has a direct connection to lease costs and operations. Facility managers can gauge positive trends, cost savings, and new revenue tied to operations after implementing IWMS to see the value of software as a driver of improvements.

Facilities, maintenance and asset management

Asset management is one of the simplest avenues for IWMS ROI calculation. In many cases, it’s as simple as taking maintenance budgets or costs from prior years and comparing them to new strategies enabled by digital asset management tools. If the cost of facilities maintenance drops by 18% year-over-year thanks to proactive action through IWMS, the ROI is the dollar value associated with those saved costs.

There’s also ROI in each instance of smarter decision making. If IWMS data projects $1,000 in annual maintenance costs for a piece of equipment, the decision to use it for three more years makes more sense than to spend $6,000 on a new model. Or, at the very least, there’s an ROI in being able to budget for it.

IWMS ROI transcends dollar values

Calculating IWMS ROI requires companies to look at all the different ways IWMS enables better operations. In some cases, that means operational costs saved. In other situations, it’s the top-line growth made possible by IWMS innovations. Beyond even these facets of ROI, there’s one more to consider: the intangible benefits.

It’s difficult to put a dollar value on happy employees or comfortable workplaces—yet, these are major drivers of ROI. It’s essential to factor in not only the dollar figures that show up on the balance sheet, but also the intangibles that IWMS brings to a smooth-running, well-managed workplace environment.

Keep reading: 8 Benefits of IWMS for Smart Building Management

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Blog

The Many Benefits of Facility Preventive Maintenance

If you could prevent a headache from happening, wouldn’t you? Practically speaking, you can if you engage in preventive maintenance. Rather than waiting for something to break, companies are better off adopting a proactive mindset when it comes to facilities upkeep, improvements, and repairs. The benefits of facility preventive maintenance speak for themselves in not only headaches avoided but costs saved, liability prevented, and the continued status quo of the workplace.

It’s easy to see preventive maintenance as “jumping the gun” or fixing something before it needs repairs. The fact is, a well-calculated approach to preventive maintenance can undercut problems before they begin. Done right, it’s the perfect approach to asset management: planned intervention just before failure to create sustainable continuity.

What is facility preventive maintenance?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to maintenance of any kind: preventive vs. reactive. Preventive is a focus on solving problems before they require a solution; reactive waits for the problem to manifest before solving it.

In the context of facility maintenance, preventive simply means getting ahead of facility upkeep before it deteriorates to the point of affecting employees and productivity. As a very basic example, it might mean emptying all garbage cans every day to prevent accumulation, as opposed to waiting for the bin to get full, then emptying it. This simple concept applies to every part of facilities, from garbage cans to capital systems like plumbing and HVAC.

Buildings and their many subsystems need maintenance. Choosing a protective approach means getting ahead of maintenance before it erupts into problems.

The benefits of facility preventive maintenance

A preventive maintenance plan is complex to orchestrate but hugely beneficial when up and running. It can be the difference between waiting for a problem to erupt and preventing that problem from ever arising. That means reaping all the benefits that come from not needing to remediate an issue. Time spent not fixing something is time better spent being productive. Here’s a look at what this means in the context of facility preventive maintenance:

  • Better asset management. When assets like the copy machine, your server stack, or an elevator break down, they’re not usable. Preventive maintenance keeps vital assets up and running, so they can continue to serve productive uses—including facilities themselves.
  • Reduced liability. If something breaks down and becomes a hazard, it puts employee safety at risk. Fixing the leaky sink before it develops a pool of water and someone slips is a simple example of how preventive maintenance leads to reduced liability.
  • Improved cost control. It doesn’t take an expert to realize that the cost of preventive repairs is often much less than the cost of reactive service. Repairing before a cascade of problems is a smart way to save money on future preventable issues.
  • More accurate cost planning. Preventive repairs are accounted for. That means knowing ahead of time what the rough cost of service will be. Instead of waiting for a cost-inducing event, preventing maintenance enables better budgeting to preempt costs.
  • Better maintenance allocation. Planning for maintenance is also a great way to keep in-house craftspeople staffed accordingly. It prevents a deluge of work orders and instead, strings out routine maintenance and repairs over a more manageable timeline.
  • Streamlined facility services. As items come up for preventive maintenance, it becomes easier to assess peripheral systems and check upcoming logs. This promotes holistic facilities services that prevent even more troubles from arising unabated.
  • Improved company morale. It a small, yet meaningful benefit. When the workplace functions without problem, employees feel more welcome and at home in it. Reactive maintenance leaves employees waiting to use amenities they expect to be available.
  • Accurate facility oversight. Preventive maintenance means always knowing the status of facilities. What’s due for service? What’s recently been serviced? Are there pending issues to resolve? A preventive maintenance stance is part of proactive facilities management.

Preventing a problem always trumps remediating it after its already occurred. Facility managers who take a proactive stance against maintenance issues will reap the many benefits of facilities that work as expected and in a way that supports the activities within them. Whether it’s changing a lightbulb or scheduling HVAC cleaning, every small proactive step adds up to cumulative benefits.

Get ahead of problems, before they become problems

The benefits of implementing facility preventive maintenance show up in so many different ways. Fewer unexpected costs and better budgeting of facility upkeep. Better utilization and ROI from facilities. Enhanced employee safety and reduced liability. All this and more from the decision to prevent problems, instead of being content to fix them.

Companies that choose preventive maintenance will find that their facilities and everything in them run smoother on a day-to-day basis. Fewer headaches mean fewer problems, which promotes productivity and efficiency. It’s an investment in maintaining the status quo and choosing to contend with fewer disruptions to the workplace.