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Five Benefits of Stack Planning for Better Space Utilization

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Every square foot of space a company leases counts against the balance sheet. It’s because of this that utilization and efficiency are such important metrics. Are you using the space you have? Are you using it in the best way possible? There are many different ways to examine space utilization and efficiency, and a stack plan is among the best. The benefits of stack planning allow you to see space at a macro level, to get a real feel for how it’s allocated and used.

The ability to pull up a stack plan and see space throughout facilities at a glance is hugely helpful for facility planning and management. It’s an instant answer to understanding building makeup, as well as allocation by department or personnel. From portfolio management to day-to-day facilities oversight, stack planning is valuable.

What is stack planning?

What exactly is stack planning? It contextualizes space at a high level. It typically shows space allocation by macro variables: location, department, floor, etc. Facility managers can see, at a glance, how much space is allocated to X, Y, and Z. It’s a great way to gauge parts of a whole.

While stack planning doesn’t necessarily account for every individual seat, it instead shows the makeup of an office to promote higher-level decision making. For example, it might not matter what type of desks Marketing uses from a cost standpoint—what matters is that Marketing occupied 22% of all office space. These types of insights are particularly important for lease administration, portfolio management, and higher-level facility management.

What are the benefits of stack planning?

You don’t need to look too hard to see the benefits of implementing stack planning. From a facility perspective, it’s useful for seeing space allocation at a glance. From a portfolio standpoint, it contextualizes space at the company level. Take a look at the prime benefits of stack planning and its role in understanding space:

  1. Holistic facility view. Stack planning is a top-down view of space in facilities, which means it provides the broadest, most holistic representation. The ability to see space breakdowns by building, by floor, and by department makes it easy to understand facility makeup. If 60% of space at Building A is committed to sales, compared to an average of 40% across your other facilities, it may provide insights into the success or setback of this location vs. others. A top-down view of space offers quick context for broader questions.
  2. Departmental stats. Stack plans put departmental space into perspective. How many of the 100 allocated seats is Sales using? What percentage of total available seats does Marketing occupy? Department-level statistics show where, specifically, space occupancy and utilization pan out within your facilities. It’s a great way to contextualize the space as part of a larger whole.
  3. Macro insights. Stack plans are invaluable for portfolio-level management of properties. They provide macro insights at a glance that bring context to facilities and broader business operations. 70% of the product development workforce is at the Sacramento, CA facility. Total space allocation for Sales across all properties is 39%. Insights like these inform greater opportunities and decisions across the company’s portfolio. Stack planning makes them readily available without drilling down into more nuanced figures.
  4. Contextual allocation. The context offered by stack plans makes them an important tool in orchestrating workspaces. Is it conducive for Marketing to occupy 10% of the third floor and 15% of the fifth floor? If IT and Product Development work together regularly, how can you rearrange space to put these departments together on the same floor? Seeing space in the stack plan opens the door to configuring space more efficiently.
  5. Forecasting opportunities. Over time, stack plans make a great reference roadmap. If Marketing occupied 24 seats in 2018, 26 seats in 2019, and 28 seats in 2020, it’s reasonable to expect you’ll need a pair of seats in the year ahead. Likewise, if a company has begun the shift to flex work, you might see incremental decreases in space utilization by department. These changes over time provide valuable insight into lease administration and facility costing.

Stack planning is one of many useful tools in allocating and overseeing space in facilities. It’s a macro tool, which makes it great for broad insights and surface data about the who, what, where, why, and how of space.

See space in context, to better plan occupancy

The contact that a stack plan offers is invaluable in looking at space from a top-down level. It’s about knowing the number of workstations dedicated to a department or seeing the ratio of one space type to another. The stack plan can shed light on which people or departments have more intense space needs vs. which segments of the business use less or demand less. Above all, it’s a gateway to optimizing space utilization and efficiency.

At a time when the workplace is changing, stack planning becomes a valuable asset in planning for better building occupancy. It’s a tool every company should refer to when understanding the space they have and the changing demands of it.

Keep reading: A Crash Course in Stack Planning

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Blog

What to do With Extra Office Space After Layoffs and Remote Working

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Companies weathered the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. The prevailing approach for many was to transition to remote work and, in extreme cases, downsize their workforce. Now, as businesses consider bringing employees back to work, they’re left with a question. What do you do with extra office space after layoffs and remote working?

For some companies, it’s a question of repurposing a few unused desks and conference rooms. For others, it might mean taking a long, hard look at a lease to determine whether it’s still an efficient expenditure. Most companies will find opportunities to maximize their space through new desking concepts—especially those with a now-flexible workforce.

Here’s a look at the chief options for how to deal with extra office space in a world where traditional space concepts no longer apply.

Option one: Downsize space

For companies that plan to go completely remote or that have downsized significantly during COVID-19, trimming space is a simple, straightforward option. If there’s no intent to bring the workforce back in any meaningful way, space transitions from commodity to luxury. Companies need to ask themselves if the workplace is still essential to everyday operations.

In many cases, downsizing is a far cry from eliminating the workplace. For example, a company occupying 30,000 square feet of office space that’s now 70% remote may choose to cut its office footprint in half. Downsizing may even be less dramatic than that—a reduction in leased space of 10-15%. It’s about balancing the cost of maintaining facilities with the revenue generation they support. If no one is using the space, it’s not generating any revenue.

The primary benefit in downsizing is lease cost savings. And while many commercial building owners have renegotiated around COVID-19 to retain tenants, it doesn’t make sense for companies to pay for space they won’t use.

Option two: Repurpose space

Companies intent on reopening the workplace should consider repurposing space before downsizing. Reimagining office space can shed new light on ways to optimize space for new work habits and productivity.

Repurposing space is an endeavor that needs to happen at-scale for companies. It could be as simple as turning now-unused conference rooms into quiet workstations. In other cases, this change could mean remodeling and redesigning space to better-accommodate the needs of employees. However this transformation pans out, companies need to be aware of new social distancing norms and the space demands of employees.

Repurposing space comes with costs, but can save a company money in the long-run. For example, repurposing space vs. downsizing can help avoid the yo-yo effect when the business begins to expand again: downsize, expand, consolidate, expand, and so on. Learning to optimize the space you have and grow within the context of a new workplace concept is a sustainable option.

Option three: Consider new desking

The ideal solution to utilizing extra space is to find a desking concept that fits within new parameters. Instead of remodeling or repurposing space, redistribute the desks and seats within it. An open-concept benching office becomes a diverse hoteling area. Individual offices become pods for small group collaboration. A new desking concept can give the office new context and imbue space with more flexibility than it once had.

The key to a new desking concept—especially one built atop booking and reservations—is a system of management to back it up. Facility managers need to make sure the new concept is an efficient use of space, and that employees are getting the most out of the transformation. This is especially helpful for flex teams, in workplaces that have variable attendance each day.

New desking mimics the cost-saving opportunities of downsizing by creating new forms of productivity and revenue, similar to repurposing space. Often, new space design and new desking go hand-in-hand as an additive approach to utilizing space, rather than an outright subtractive one.

No matter the approach, think long-term

As companies consider how to best-adapt their workplaces, it’s important to act with mind for the future. Particularly, the future of remote working. How much of your workforce is already remote? Will that number increase in the future? As your company expands, will you bring people in-house or hire remote? And, as you make these moves, how does it affect your need for space?

COVID-19 may have been a catalyst for workplace change, but there are still rippling effects to consider. Remote work and distributed teams are the new normal. What new work arrangements will this change yield? What purpose does the workplace serve for your company? Identifying the workplace’s role in the future will help companies make smarter decisions about how they manage space today.

Keep reading: Five Empty Office Space Ideas for an Efficient Workplace

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

The Future Workplace: A Digital Way of Thinking

By Nai Kanell
Chief Marketing Officer
SpaceIQ

As I look back at the wild roller coaster ride that was 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be easy to reflect on the negative things that have happened. Countless lives lost. A politically and socially divided nation. The ongoing battle for equal rights. Despite the bad, I believe there are silver linings that without the pandemic we may have never seen.

Digital transformation in manufacturing, sales, governmental agencies, and other industries is changing how we do business. COVID forced companies to embrace remote work and find ways to engage customers in new, innovative ways. One of many examples: Restaurants shifted to online and phone orders with curbside pickup.

This digital way of thinking did not stop there. Let’s look at a few more positive digital changes:

Collaborative Manufacturing

In the United States, some companies paused day-to-day manufacturing and retooled facilities to build desperately needed ventilators. Doing so likely saved lives and proved that we can adapt in a crisis if we put our minds to it.

Last March as COVID began its rampage across the U.S., Ford Motor Company shut down 30 auto plants. Five days after conferring with federal officials, Ford partnered with GE Healthcare to manufacture ventilators. Several other old-school manufacturers followed, including General Motors and Xerox. They retrofitted existing technologies from building engines to filling a critical medical need.

This willingness to forgo profits for better national health was the largest combined effort outside of wartime to accomplish in weeks what typically takes months to years. That is agility at its finest.

Property Records

Prior to COVID, it was nearly impossible to obtain property records without physically visiting a county recorder’s office. That may not sound hard but imagine owning land in another state. Now, county clerks pull the records and titles for you (thank you, social distancing). There is hope local and federal governments will finally agree to digitize information and lessen the exorbitant title fees property buyers must pay.

Cashless Payments

Girl Scout Cookies – I absolutely love them! But I often found myself without a cookie seller in my neighborhood. COVID stopped door-to-door sales in its tracks. And it was not easy to know if any Girl Scouts lived in my neighborhood.

Now, I can order directly from the Girl Scouts of America website or online from a Girl Scout I know. No more written order forms and running to the ATM for cash to pay for my Thin Mints. Last year, I paid via Venmo; this year I can use a credit card. Cashless payments are not only much easier for both sellers and buyers, but also lessen the spread of germs and viruses.

Workplaces

Pre-COVID, telecommuting and remote work were viewed as perks by many companies and a new trend for others. That changed in the blink of an eye as COVID forced businesses to close office doors and send employees home to work.

We were already moving toward agile workstyles. The laptop unchained us from standard desks and Wi-Fi cut the cords completely. This freedom allows us to work from anywhere – a requirement during COVID. But what happens now that offices, stores, factories, and other workplaces are reopening? Will remote work continue at its current levels or drop off as pressure mounts to return to a physical office?

Some business owners may argue that productivity suffers when employees work remotely. A Mercer study says otherwise. Of 800 employers surveyed, 94% said productivity was the same or higher than before the pandemic. Great Place to Work canvassed 800,000 employees at Fortune 500 companies and found that 87% were productive in a May 2020 measurement, compared to 74% in 2019.

In an article published last year, I mentioned employees want to be able to do their best from environments that enable them to thrive. And that is relative based on each person’s unique circumstances. Some home offices may lack essential elements like giant monitors, plenty of plugs for personal devices, fast internet, and supplies. Remote work can be distracting, with children jumping into view during Zoom meetings or the siren call of trashy afternoon TV.

The workplace will evolve into areas or pods of places where people can create their best work given the task they have on hand. My workday ebbs and flows between needing focus time and collaboration with colleagues. Businesses that offer collaboration and private spaces – and allow employees to move freely between them – will see enhanced productivity.

Social Creatures

COVID made socializing hard, and I believe most employees are ready to get back to a physical workplace. This is especially true with new employees. I onboarded several new SpaceIQ employees during the pandemic and have not met many of them face to face. It would be great to meet my new colleagues in person to see how tall they are, what their natural voices sound like, and take advantage of collaboration time.

When COVID forced people into remote work, it was not meant to be permanent and was not an excuse to say, “Let’s never meet in person.” There is a fine balance we all must make in navigating the future hybrid workplace. It will no longer be “I have to work in the office” or “I can only work from home”. Workplaces will evolve into places where serious collaboration and creativity happens.

A New Normal

The onus of finding the “new normal” for future offices falls on workplace professionals who must think hard about how to reimagine their workplaces and create productive places employees want to work. The challenge will be finding ways to attract and keep top talent by building spaces with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in mind. Manifest a workplace that gives employees all they need to do their best work in caring, supportive environments and they will come. It is a dream that is quickly becoming reality.

Keep reading: What Is An Alternative Workplace? The New Norm

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Blog

How to Measure CAFM ROI

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

As companies begin to see the value of a Computer-Aided Facility Management (CAFM) platform, demand for the features it offers is on the rise. But before executive stakeholders green light buy-in for new software and the potential expenses that come with it, they need to understand the opportunity for CAFM ROI.

Communicating the benefits of a CAFM platform in dollars and cents isn’t always easy. For one, it means quantifying many aspects of facilities in terms of cost—aspects you might not track yet. It also means introducing new opportunities for top- and bottom-line savings that, at this point, are theoretical.

Facility managers need to take the time to contextualize features and benefits into real dollars, to sell the C-suite and other stakeholders on CAFM ROI. Here’s how to get started.

Introduce CAFM and new metrics

First, introduce this new technology to stakeholders. What is CAFM? What does it do? Why would the company benefit? Conquer the learning curve with simple, succinct, value-driven explanations of what CAFM is and how it applies to the workplace experience. Then, use these benefits as a jumping off point for qualifying new metrics.

Introducing new metrics accomplishes two things. First, it shows stakeholders that you have the means of tracking ROI already established. Second, it gives insight into how you’re measuring ROI and where those returns will come from. For example, if you point to CAFM as a tool for asset tracking, you can also point to metrics that gauge (and lower) total cost of ownership.

This introduction of the software and its metrics is a crucial first step in selling stakeholders on the investment. It shows a forward-thinking mindset that’s rooted in ROI.

Identify bottom-line cost savings

In showcasing the benefits of CAFM software, start with bottom-line savings. How can this platform help your organization do what it’s already doing, but more efficiently? This argument for ROI is particularly powerful, because it shows focus on improvement. The ask isn’t related to untapped opportunities—it’s related to optimization of known variables. Some of the ROI areas to focus on include:

  • Centralized, validated data insights
  • Reporting of defensible data
  • CAD capabilities for floor planning

These tools in particular integrate into aspects of operation many companies are already engaged in—and already-observed metrics. For example, it’s easy to explain the ROI of CAFM data when it informs energy conservation, driving lower utility costs.

Gather one or two specific examples for stakeholders. Demonstrate how specific CAFM features create bottom line savings, within the context of real dollars and costs.

Identify top-line revenue opportunities

CAFM software needs to do more than create cost-savings to offer justified investment. It also needs to create new revenue opportunities. Here, the formula for proving ROI is the same. Pick features from the software and connect them to theoretical opportunities to show diverse application for this investment. Some key areas to consider include:

  • Space planning and management
  • Capital project management
  • Building operations
  • Asset management
  • Environmental and risk management

Presenting opportunities for new revenue requires more imagination, but the approach is similar to showing bottom-line savings. Show that you’ve done the legwork to create revenue before the investment. For example, provide figures about how CAFM capital project management can facilitate a new data center buildout that saves the company hosted cloud costs year-over-year.

Something to remember when presenting top-line ROI opportunities is that it’s all theoretical. Use meaningful data to inform your hypothesis and presentation, and make it clear that you’re working from projections. Nevertheless, strive to illustrate value.

Use real numbers and projections

Calculating CAFM ROI can be difficult without real numbers to source for benchmarks. Before you make the investment, spend time getting familiar with workplace costs at both macro and granular levels. While the purpose of CAFM software is to make these numbers more accessible, it helps to have a fundamental understanding of what, specifically, you’re looking at and why it’s important.

As facility managers present use-cases and arguments for ROI, use real numbers and projections to inform these arguments. How much money will a shift to preventive maintenance save you compared to unanticipated repair costs for a specific asset? What’s your cost per head in current floor plan vs. a target cost with a more efficient space layout? Use examples like these and their real costs, as well as targets and projections that make the case for CAFM ROI.

Build a case for long-term ROI

Presenting the case for a large investment in CAFM and other smart facility software is an uphill battle. It’s not that these innovations aren’t useful—it’s that they have short-term costs and long-tail benefits. It takes a forward-thinking mindset to make long-term investments in spite of short-term costs. And while many executive leaders are willing to make that investment, they need to understand the long-term ROI. Facility managers need to provide that context.

If you’re in a position to pitch leaders on a CAFM investment, take a quantifiable stance and prove the investment is worth the outcome. If the money adds up with good reasoning behind it, it’s difficult for leaders to say no—especially when the ROI is attainable, quantifiable, and valuable.

Keep reading: How Can Smart CAFM Improve Employee Experience?

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Blog

12 Benefits of Wayfinding for Campus Environments

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Many companies operate on campuses. They have multiple buildings designated for different purposes, with staff fluttering between them. Akin to anthills and beehives, there’s constant activity on corporate campuses, with everyone working hard to get from one destination to the next quickly and without delay. Consider the many people, destinations, buildings, and routes this involves and it’s not difficult to see the benefits of wayfinding.

For seasoned employees, getting from one place to another on a corporate campus might be a breeze. Even still, these experts can still get tripped up attending a meeting in a room they’ve never been to in a building they rarely visit. Now, think about a new employee or a visitor—someone who’s never been outside of an admin building. For these folks, wayfinding is downright essential.

What is wayfinding?

Wayfinding in a corporate setting is the act of providing context for movements within facilities. It could be as simple as numbering rooms or as robust as an app that offers step-by-step directions for guests who’ve never visited the building before. The purpose of wayfinding is to make navigating easy—whether to find a person, place, or specific type of space. On a campus, this type of system is even more important, since navigable space goes far beyond a single floor or building.

12 benefits of wayfinding software on campuses

Not only does it take time for people to traverse campuses to get from one destination to another, there are more routes to use. Moreover, it’s easier to get lost or lose your bearings going from one building to another. The benefits of implementing a wayfinding system on a corporate campus are invaluable in saving time, improving experience, and even bolstering productivity.

  1. Space location and utilization. Marc needs a standing desk. Roselia prefers a quiet workstation. Emile needs a 12-person conference room in Building X. Wayfinding is the quickest way to connect need with space. It’s a direct route to the best available workspace.
  2. Efficient employee movement. Getting lost on a corporate campus can result in lots of wasted time and lost productivity. Employees avoid detours, reduce backtracking, and shave minutes off their route when the quickest path is right in the palm of their hands.
  3. Improved employee confidence. Wayfinding offers a straightforward path to the destination, to give employees confidence while they navigate new or unfamiliar areas of the campus. This is vital for new employees as they get acclimated.
  4. Welcoming to visitors/guests. Guests need to know exactly where they’re going on a campus. A wayfinding solution instantly improves the visitor experience. Guests won’t need to stop and ask for directions or spend time trying to call or text the person they’re meeting.
  5. Easy directory integration. If Lenore needs to meet with Rajesh, she can locate him via the wayfinding directory and get instant directions to his desk. This is particularly useful in flex spaces, where employee location hinges on personal devices or current bookings.
  6. Robust software integration. Need to book a hotel desk en-route to a building? Wayfinding integrations make space accessible on-the-go. Book the space from the wayfinding app and get instant directions to it.
  7. Employee autonomy. On free-assign campuses, it’s important for employees to own a sense of autonomy. Wayfinding gives them that freedom. Whether they want a quiet workspace, somewhere near the cafeteria, or a desk with a view, exploring is simpler.
  8. Increased productivity. Employees spend less time wandering the campus and more time getting settled into their workspace comfortably. There’s also a certain productivity in understanding your bearings—you’re less out of your element when you know exactly where you are.
  9. Better space utilization. Wayfinding opens the door to spaces employees might not know about or think to use. When they know where these spaces are and how to get to them, they’ll use them, which boosts campus-wide space utilization metrics.
  10. Contextualized campuses. Wayfinding puts the campus in context, no matter how large it is. As they navigate around, employees become more familiar with where spaces are, what utilities they’re near, how to use certain spaces, and what the best routes are.
  11. Improved safety. Intelligent wayfinding systems can account for campus construction, on-site hazards, and other obstructions. They’re smart enough to navigate people around the problem, so they get to where they’re going quickly and safely.
  12. Better traffic flow on campus. Every campus has common areas and high traffic thoroughfares. Like a car’s GPS, smart wayfinding can route and re-route people across campus to avoid pile-ups and bottlenecks in well-traveled areas.

Wayfinding on campuses is essential. Even for those who are intimately familiar with the campus environment, the ability to rely on wayfinding software for routing and quick answers is key in helping the campus environment feel smaller and more personal.

Make navigation simpler

Employees will eventually get to the point where they don’t rely on wayfinding. That said, wayfinding is still a tool available to them for specific uses—booking a desk, finding a person, or locating an asset, for example. Whether they use it daily or only as-needed, wayfinding is the backbone of any corporate campus and the ebb and flow of movement throughout it.

Keep reading: The Five Major Pillars of a Wayfinding Program

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Blog

Eight Benefits of IWMS for Smart Building Management

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Today’s workplaces operate under the governance of dozens of different devices, programs, and pieces of software. The growing web of IoT devices and their signals helps businesses run efficiently—from the ability to book hot desks to building energy efficiency controls. More and more, companies are tying these many programs into an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). The benefits of IWMS are too great to ignore and too beneficial to overlook.

As a business’ web of essential technologies grows—and its operations become more sophisticated—the IWMS acts as an anchor. It centralizes all the digital operations of the workplace and makes it easy for systems to communicate with each other. The result is what we get when we think of smart buildings: facilities that intuitively support the work that happens in them.

What is IWMS?

An IWMS is, in a sense, an aggregator. It’s a dashboard-based system that pulls information and data from various sources, to provide a clean look at a company’s facilities. This encompasses five core areas of focus (typically):

  • Real estate management
  • Capital project management
  • Facilities management
  • Maintenance management
  • Sustainability initiatives

In smart buildings with robust IoT networks, the IWMS becomes even more powerful. Rather than relying on user input or manual entry data, the IWMS pulls from as many inputs as there are data-generating sources. The result is a clear, real-time, comprehensive look at the many aspects of business operation.

The benefits of implementing an IWMS system

What are the benefits of an integrated workplace management system (IWMS)? Here’s a look at eight of the most important and their role in smart building management:

  1. Simplifies the IoT. The IWMS aggregates IoT data into a dashboard for meaningful insights. This not only de-silos critical workplace data, it also contextualizes that data in regard to the five core areas of operational focus. IoT data has meaning in an IWMS, which lends itself to powerful insights and better decision-making.
  2. Integrates digital processes. As the web of connected business technologies grows, IWMS centralizes the information it yields. IWMS can connect everything from a fleet of data-generating IoT devices, to a hoteling management platform, to processes for support ticketing.
  3. Highlight efficiency opportunities. Because everything flows through the IWMS, there’s data and metrics to support better facility oversight. Facility managers can identify trends, problems, or projections to understand opportunities for improvement. This, without needing to comb multiple different programs or datasets.
  4. Helps manage costs. One of the most important functions of an IWMS in a smart building is attaching fixed costs to dynamic action. For example, if you know how much a kilowatt hour costs, lighting sensors can show you how much you’re paying (and saving) through smarter operation.
  5. Streamlines new initiatives. Smart buildings are dynamic. Their needs and uses change frequently, which makes it important to chart these new initiatives in a system that tracks and manages the many measurable aspects of facilities. IWMS takes the information from a smart building and makes it easier to apply to action and new initiatives.
  6. Provides insightful reporting. As mentioned, IWMS is a dashboard. It provides vital operational insights at a glance—insights made more accurate and informative by smart building technologies. While the IoT quantifies the physical workplace, IWMS aggregates that data to qualify aspects of its operation.
  7. Improves business transparency. The more accessible information stakeholders can access about facilities and operations, the more transparency there is in managing them. Clear and present data in an IWMS provides a clear and present call to action for how to manage facilities and the people within them.
  8. Keeps companies compliant. From occupancy standards to emergency preparedness, companies need to stay compliant with worker safety mandates. Access to digital floor plans, scenarios, and workplace data in an IWMS delivers the insights necessary to maintain compliance.

IWMS software provides context for smart building management. The office IoT, digital twin, and integrated software all connect with the IWMS to create real value. Facility managers can collect data, sync processes, understand the workplace better, and take meaningful steps to improve it. The IWMS harnesses building management into one central system.

Smart buildings need smart management

The smarter a building is, the more support it’s able to provide to employees and operations. But that intelligence demands more oversight. An IWMS is a facility manager’s best opportunity to harness the complex processes associated with intelligent buildings and make sure they result in meaningful contributions to the workplace. From desk booking to climate control, support ticketing to vendor management, an IWMS makes managing smart buildings simple.

Keep reading: What is a Smart IWMS and What are its Features?

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Blog

COVID-19 Offers Opportunities for Workplace Improvements 

By Danielle Moore
Channel Marketing Manager, Archibus
SpaceIQ

The United States recently passed a year since the original shelter-in-place and work-from-home orders came with the onset of COVID-19. Today, once-teeming offices look quite different. Some companies still haven’t reopened. Those that have gone back have done so with emphasis on new policies and procedures to keep employees as safe as possible.

For many companies, the hiatus from office work or a soft return to the workplace opened the door for introspection. Namely, COVID-19 created opportunities to tackle capital projects without disrupting operations.

Not only has COVID-19 allowed businesses to make workplace improvements unabated it has also had a major influence on the types of projects companies are investing in. With the promise of mass vaccinations inching closer, employees may find themselves coming back to a workplace that looks and feels fundamentally different from the one they left.

The need for capital improvements

For many businesses, COVID-19 shutdowns presented an opportunity to start on projects already on the docket. Many of these projects were likely put off because of potential disruptions to normal workflow. For example, it is difficult to repave the employee parking lot or remodel the lobby when these spaces see daily use. Remote work instantly removed the primary obstacle: traffic.

Other capital improvements might be proactive, yet timely. For example, retrofitting the HVAC system in an old building becomes much more important when you consider the spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets and its ability to live in the air for three hours or more. Instead of putting this upgrade off for another few years, it becomes a clear and present priority.

And, of course, there’s the workplace itself to consider. It has becoming increasingly clear that work won’t be the same in a post-COVID-19 world. Companies have pivoted to adapt their workplace to bring back employees safely. But this is only a stopgap measure. Real change needs to support new work habits, which is urging many companies to think long-term and make capital improvements that redefine the workplace.

COVID-19 influences permanent workplace changes

There’s been ample opportunity for companies to reimagine their workplaces. In doing so, many have undertaken renovation projects in the wake of empty or partially staffed offices. Their focus? Creating floor plans and workstations that support new modes of work.

Close quarters are a thing of the past—as are tight conference rooms and space-deficient corner offices. For many companies, remodeling focuses on opening space and redefining how employees interact with and use space. Social distancing is now a mainstay, which means opening up the workplace to avoid cramped quarters and individual room occupancy limits. Some common remodeling changes trending in the workplace include:

  • More open spaces, for free flowing yet socially distant navigation
  • Hotel desking and rooms governed by reservation and bookings
  • Changes to floor plans to allow for navigability and better workplace flow
  • Different desking types, including standing, mobile, and minimalist
  • Partitions and moveable dividers to create makeshift enclosures

These changes all require some degree of renovation to make them a reality. Without employees relying on the space, it’s been much easier for companies to make these changes quickly and effectively. More important, it allows companies to make changes the right way—changes that’ll root the future of workplace operations.

Workplace improvements show a commitment

Companies taking advantage of COVID-19 closures to firm up the workplace of the future have put themselves in a hugely beneficial position. Not only have they shown a commitment to employee safety, but they’ve also proven themselves forward-looking and accepting of new workplace norms. Instead of sitting idly during the pandemic, proactive companies have realized the many opportunities of undertaking workplace improvements:

  • Improved health and safety standards for employees
  • Reduced liability from controlled remodeling
  • More efficient space utilization and floor planning
  • Accessible desking concepts for flex workers
  • Cost savings through better lease administration
  • Increased ROI from facilities as a managed asset

There are substantial benefits in upgrading the workplace, made even more pronounced by the idea that we’re going through a paradigm shift in work. Committing to evolving with the situation instead of after it instills confidence in employees. When the day finally does come to return to the workplace, they’ll find an environment already adapted to suit them.

Promote a seamless return to work

The past year has been jarring for employees. They’ve left behind a familiar workplace and adapted to remote work. Now, just as they’re getting settled, they might be coming back—but not to the same workplace. It’s another change of scenery and another period of transition. Employers need to be mindful of the disruption this can cause and take steps to support employees.

Welcome workers back slowly and help them get accommodated. Encourage social-emotional leadership from management and make it easy for employees to get settled. In the case of new desking concepts like hoteling, training is paramount.

Above all, the simplest thing an employer can do is to be communicative. Keep employees apprised of workplace changes and give them an opportunity to ground themselves. The workplace may look different post-COVID-19, but it should also feel more welcoming, supportive, and accessible.

Keep reading: COVID-19 Workplace Resources

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Blog

Seven Benefits of Move Management Software

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Nothing can disrupt the workplace quite like the chaos of an office move. One of the chief benefits of move management software is that it congeals the process of relocation, to keep everyone on-track and organized. But this is far from the only benefit of using software to govern your move. There’s value in using software to plan, execute, and assess your move, as well as delegate and communicate during it.

If your company is planning an office move—whether to a new space or within the context of your current facilities—it’s best-backed by move management software. Here’s a look at why it’s vital to have a digital roadmap for your office move.

What is move management software?

Move management software works to support corporate moves from one workplace to another—or even transitions between desking concepts in a workplace. It’s often a combination of project management, communication, task delegation, and accountability tools, all rolled into a platform specifically designed to oversee corporate relocation.

Move management software contains a variety of features to make planning, visualizing, and executing moves as simple as possible. This can include floor plans and maps, checklists, cloud document, and chat functions. The goal is to provide move managers with everything they need to facilitate a move with as few unexpected obstacles and problems as possible.

What are the benefits of move management software?

Even in the early stages of planning a move, the benefits of implementing move management software are clearly evident. Here’s a look at what businesses can look forward to if they plan their corporate relocation on the back of sophisticated move management software:

  1. Unified focus. Rather than multiple documents and shared files to govern the phases of a move, it’s all centralized in move management software. Everyone involved in orchestrating the move uses the same single source of collaborative information. Centralized move data becomes vital to enabling a unified focus on key objectives.
  2. Timeline-specific planning. Move management software puts the many moving parts of an office relocation on a timeline. Not only does this keep moves succinct, it allows for better planning. Looking ahead at upcoming next steps and seeing the move in phases helps facilitate a more seamless relocation effort.
  3. Checklists and prerequisites. Few things are as simple and effective as a checklist for staying on-task. In the lead up to a move and during each phase, checklists should govern each step of the project. Building checklists into move management software keeps collaborators on-track and allows everyone to see what’s already accomplished, what’s next, and who’s responsible.
  4. Contextualized moves. Thanks to floor plans and diagrams, office relocations have context through software. Checklist items match up to diagrams to provide better instruction to those responsible for each task. “Set up your new desk at workspace 34C” makes much more sense when the employee can open a map and quickly locate workspace 34C, with navigation instruction for how to get there.
  5. Streamlined communication. In-app chat or channel-based chat through an integrated app like Slack brings a world of transparency to office moves. It’s the best way to field questions, resolve problems, make adjustments on-the-fly, and keep tabs on the move. Best of all, this communication happens within the context of everything else—checklists, floor plans, other chats, and tasks.
  6. Digital integrations. Beyond chat apps, integrations with other vital software make moves smoother. Sync up the company directory so everyone knows where they sit in the new floor plan. Tie in facility support ticketing, so maintenance teams can tie up loose ends quickly. Integrate new IoT sensors to register real-time activity in both old and new facilities. Integrations are the key to completing a move efficiently.
  7. Accountability. At the end of the day, accountability can make or break an office relocation. If someone doesn’t accomplish their tasks, it can hinder others with peripheral responsibilities. Move management software brings transparency to every move and creates accountability, so everyone holds true to their duties and the move progresses swiftly.

Each of these benefits adds up to one ultimate goal: a smooth, hassle-free move that’s free of setbacks, errors, and obstacles. The simpler the transition from old to new, the less impact there is to operations.

Minimize the efficiency of office moves

While there’s no getting around some of the disruptions office moves can cause, there’s a lot companies can do to alleviate them. Move management software can remove barriers, minimize mistakes, and expedite the relocation process saving time, money, frustration, and uncertainty.

An efficient office move is one that’s fully accounted for. There’s no matching the accountability that comes from orchestrating a move using workplace move management software. From early-stage planning, to mid-move communication, to finalizations after it’s complete, move management software is all-encompassing and helps make the process smooth and effortless.

Keep reading: Move Management Checklist

Categories
Blog

Eight Benefits of CMMS for In-House Maintenance Support

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is something every in-house corporate maintenance team needs. Whether you staff one or two craftspeople or have an entire department of skilled trades waiting in the wings, the benefits of CMMS make it easier for these professionals to do their job. That job is to keep facilities safe, functional, comfortable, and accessible to the people who need them.

What is CMMS?

CMMS is the backbone of any facility maintenance program. It’s a system designed for asset maintenance, with the workplace as the largest asset a company will oversee. Typically, a CMMS has several core functions:

  • Provide a dashboard for managing maintenance tasks
  • Automate scheduling of routine maintenance tasks
  • Provide documentation and archival of maintenance
  • Improve work allocation across the maintenance team
  • Quantify and characterize types of asset maintenance

Think of CMMS as the backbone for total facility upkeep. From maintenance on capital systems to simple solutions to employee submitted support tickets, a CMMS system controls the framework for facility maintenance.

Eight benefits of CMMS software

Companies have various modes and methods for executing facility maintenance. The primary benefits of implementing a CMMS system include bringing these processes and practices together in a single, uniform platform. Here’s a look at some of the biggest benefits of CMMS software:

  1. Reduced time to repair. A cohesive support ticket and maintenance response system expedites solutions across facilities. A CMMS standardizes the intake and response of in-house maintenance tasks, to reduce confusion and improve response actions. The ticket comes in, it gets assigned, and the job gets done. There’s no word-of-mouth to remember or paper printouts to lose—it’s all digital, centralized, and available on-the-go.
  2. Better cost control. It’s not difficult to see that preventive, proactive, and rapid reactive maintenance leads to cost savings over lingering problems. Consider the cost of access control repair vs. the cost of asset theft or the cost to fix a damaged chair vs. the worker’s compensation claim when someone injures themselves sitting in it. Even simple preventive and routine maintenance comes at less of a cost than extensive, robust repairs.
  3. Increased facility efficiency. When your facilities run smoothly, everyone is more productive. More than that, a well-maintained workplace feels more comfortable and conducive to work. CMMS software expedites the quickness of service and leads to more targeted results. This due to the ability of employees to submit support tickets and the organized nature of a CMMS solution for in-house craftspeople.
  4. Insightful maintenance data. How many support tickets came in last week? Last month? What was the cost of repairs during that time? How many man hours went into the maintenance? What aspects of facilities were involved? The more data captured from a digital support ticket and CMMS software, the more context maintenance operations have. This feeds into more proactive approaches to facility upkeep, cost control, and decision-making.
  5. Maintenance automations. CMMS can give companies the ability to automate maintenance workflows. Delegate support tickets to the right personnel by the nature of the problem. Or, designate cost centers based on the type of maintenance and sync it up with the maintenance budget. As the need for automations becomes apparent, CMMS makes it possible (and simple), which affords facility maintenance teams more control over maintenance ops.
  6. Improved facility ROI. Remember that facilities themselves are an asset. Maintenance is part of asset upkeep, which contributes to ROI. CMMS can help contextualize the everyday maintenance operations within a facility as part of asset maintenance. The ability to see tasks and solutions in terms of dollars spent and reinvestment potential can help stakeholders realize the benefits of keeping maintenance in-house vs. outsourcing.
  7. Longer asset lifespan. Whether you lease or own, the quality of facilities matters. Pride of workspace translates into pride of work, and employees want facilities to live up to certain expectations. CMMS offers a complete solution to facility upkeep, which leads to better maintenance and longer asset lifespan—as well as better ROI from the employees using it.
  8. Facility compliance. Simple compliance issues can become big headaches for companies. Skipping a fire suppression inspection can get you in trouble with the local building inspector. Burnt-out emergency lighting can skyrocket company liability. Unfixed electrical issues could be negligent. With a CMMS system, these simple yet critical issues get the priority they need and can’t accidentally fall to the bottom of the support ticket list.

CMMS is extremely valuable for in-house maintenance teams. From task allocation to expense tracking, it collects all the vital components of a facility maintenance strategy into a single, unified dashboard.

Simplify in-house maintenance

As facilities grow more complex and the need for in-house upkeep grows, so does the need for a CMMS solution. The only way to approach broad facility maintenance efficiently is to centralize it. Modern CMMS offers all the integrations and capabilities maintenance teams need to understand building demands, coordinate a maintenance approach, and optimize the deployment of solutions. CMMS simplifies in-house maintenance, to help companies get more out of their asset.

Keep reading: How the Top CMMS Software Providers Stand Out