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CMMS vs. EAM: The Benefits of Using Both

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

The realm of software for building and facilities management is growing to include more specialized, targeted platforms. While you can still find most major facility management tools inside an IWMS and most space planning tools in a CAFM platform, you’ll need to look beyond when it comes to asset management and building maintenance. It comes down to a question of CMMS vs. EAM, and how to best-leverage them both into better operations.

While they may just seem like two more acronyms, a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system are two very different pieces of software. They offer completely different suites of tools and resources to facility professionals. That said, they’re often used in tandem, to produce results that keep facilities and everything in them running smoothly.

Here’s a look at the differences between CMMS and EAM, how they function independently, and what the benefits are to using both of them together.

What is a computerized maintenance management system?

A CMMS system is a platform for managing work requests, service tickets, upkeep responsibilities, repair projects, and more. It’s an organizational system for asset management that’s feature-rich to ensure quickness, cost efficiency, and better outcomes from asset maintenance.

On the surface, a CMMS acts as a queue. Support tickets or manual tasks appear with relevant information for in-house maintenance teams to field. The system allows managers to assign these tasks to appropriate craftspeople or vendors, and track the status of the job through completion. Afterwards, it’s archived and sorted as part of a comprehensive record-keeping system.

The entire CMMS system—from ticket submission to archival—creates a documented record of maintenance and upkeep, which informs a better approach to everything from budgeting to asset decision-making. Facility maintenance professionals have access to job-specific and historical data which informs them on better, more cost-efficient asset upkeep in the future.

What is an enterprise asset management system?

An EAM gives facility professionals a complete overview of assets under management. This can include the building and its capital systems, as well as individual assets that are part of everyday operations. There are also varying levels of EAM sophistication, ranging from full digital twins to simple records of each asset as a cost center.

The primary function of EAM software is to better-inform asset managers of the status of assets. This can include the service record and service information, annual cost of ownership, age and condition of the asset, and much more. The purpose is to provide an at-a-glance understanding, with the option to drill down into specific information that might be useful for decision-making. Do you buy a new company car or maintain the one you already have? When was the elevator last serviced? What is the total cost of upkeep for the break room appliances?

EAM systems are increasingly robust, and can go beyond informing managers about the pertinent facts of an asset. For example, machine learning can glean upkeep data from EAM software to help create a preventive maintenance schedule for a particular asset. Or, IoT integration can make real-time asset tracking possible. The result is a new level of asset oversight, resulting in better ROI.

What’s the difference between CMMS and EAM?

The primary difference between CMMS and EAM is their function. While both pertain to facility assets, they deal with different perspectives of asset management. EAM focuses more on understanding assets and learning about them in the context of their use, cost, and needs. CMMS focuses more on the action of upkeep, to ensure they’re well-maintained and properly serviced. Both are imperative for maximum ROI; they’re adjacent in asset management.

For example, an EAM with machine learning may recognize the need for HVAC service every 68 days (average). The EAM will establish the service record of the building’s HVAC stack and organize the information associated with prior maintenance and costs, as well as any other information needed to facilitate better upkeep. The actual task of upkeep will occur through the CMMS, in the form of a recurring support ticket every 68 days (or sooner), to ensure there’s a system of record.

If it wasn’t already apparent, there’s significant integration opportunity for CMMS and EAM. Both can use the data of the other system, and leverage it into better asset management and ROI.

The benefits of CMMS and EAM together

CMMS and EAM software naturally complement each other. When you consider buildings and their systems as assets, and the need for upkeep across all assets managed within that building, these platforms go hand-in-hand to facilitate a continuum of care and maintenance. EAM tracks the condition of the HVAC system, or the elevator, or the A/V projector—CMMS ensures these assets get the regular and routine upkeep and repair they need to stay functional.

The result of using CMMS and EAM together is a workplace that stays functional ta the highest levels. Less downtime, fewer unexpected problems, and better longevity are all direct results of understanding and attending to assets. CMMS and EAM link understanding to action when it comes to building and asset upkeep.

Keep reading: How the Top CMMS Software Providers Stand Out

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How to Measure Digital Twin Cost

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

With an increased push toward smarter facilities comes the all-important question every executive needs to ask: how much will it cost? Cost is such an important variable to understand because it sets the tone for ROI. In understanding cost, you also gain insight into things like break-even point, expected ROI, and other important fiscal metrics. Unfortunately, measuring cost isn’t always easy. Case in point: how do you measure digital twin cost?

Digital twins are purely digital investments. While there are software and sensor components that contribute to their architecture, twins themselves aren’t tangible. They live in the cloud and integrate broadly across the organization. How do you measure the invested cost of something so prolific? And, more important, how do you set the benchmark for ROI and other forward-looking metrics?

Though it may seem far from probable, there are ways to measure the cost of a digital twin. Here’s a look at some of the costs that factor in.

What is digital twin?

First, a quick refresher. A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical asset—in this case, the workplace. It provides context for aggregated data about the workplace. Data from the IoT, user input, and integrated applications all flows into the digital twin, where it’s given context as a frame of reference. For example, the on/off stream of data from a seat sensor feeds into the digital twin to represent utilization of that workspace.

Digital twins take all of the data about the workplace, contextualize it, then feed insights to facility managers—usually through a dashboard, like an IWMS. This allows for better understanding of facilities not just as a static asset, but as a dynamic ecosystem. Facility managers and other stakeholders use digital twin insights to better-shape the workplace, in order to cater to the needs of the employees using it.

The cost of building a digital twin

The costs associated with a digital twin come largely from the infrastructure needed to generate the data that comprises one. Here’s a comprehensive look at the key components in architecting a digital twin and how they come together from a cost standpoint.

  • Digital twin software. Digital twin software is the most essential upfront cost, as it’s what will power the digital twin itself. While it’s possible to license pure digital twin software, most companies will want to opt for an integrated digital twin platform such as Archibus. This means also benefitting from IWMS and CMMS features.
  • The Internet of Things. Digital twins thrive on data. The IoT sensors that stream that data represent a significant cost in building a digital twin—and one of the most important costs to justify to stakeholders. From motion sensors to seat sensors, floor sensors to proximity beacons, the data offered by an office IoT is the single most important aspect of digital twin construction. Moreover, it comes with a scaling cost as the need for more sophisticated software becomes apparent.
  • Integrated software. IoT data isn’t the only place digital twins glean information from. Integrated software from room booking systems, maintenance ticketing software, and more all yield crucial data for digital twins. Each software license comes at its own cost, and there are sometimes additional costs in interfacing them—such as if you need to use an integrated platform as a solution (iPaaS) to sync data.
  • Training and education. Digital twins require no small amount of education to set up and manage effectively. These costs factor into their construction, and it’s worthwhile for every company to consider them. Remember to account for upfront training and onboarding, as well as continuing education as technologies evolve.

The actual cost of building a digital twin varies by company and the sophistication of the twin. Companies should observe the cost of architecting such a system and break it down by the individual expenses associated with software, IoT hardware, and training to get a clear understanding of investment expense.

Beyond the cost, look at benefits and ROI

Digital twin technology can be costly to implement—especially for businesses only just beginning to build out their IoT. Unfortunately, these upfront costs tend to suffer criticism from executives who only see a price tag and not an investment. It’s up to motivated facilities managers to deliver a proposition that contextualizes costs with benefits and ROI.

Digital twins are an investment that can help both the top- and bottom-line performance of a company. They’re useful as cost-saving and optimization tools, as well as for productivity enablement. When evaluating the cost of a digital twin, don’t forget to stack up these cost savings and potential revenue improvements alongside it. Remember, the purpose of understanding cost is to contextualize it, which makes it easier to chart a path to justifying it.

Keep reading: Digital Twins – A Revolution in Workplace Management

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Blog

Six Major Functions of CMMS for Schools

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

With all the activity college campuses see on a daily basis, upkeep becomes a major priority. From the buildings themselves to the assets and technologies within them, things are subject to breaking. Whether by age, malfeasance, or freak accident, it’s important to facilitate repairs as quickly as possible, to keep the campus accessible and safe. To do this requires nothing short of a full CMMS for schools.

Considering the sheer volume of support tickets colleges see on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, a CMMS provides invaluable benefits. From digital logging of tickets to automatic assigning to craftspeople, campus managers get plenty of mileage out of a well-managed CMMS.

What is CMMS?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a digital system for processing maintenance requests. Ideally, it handles the complete life cycle of maintenance from request, to delegation, to execution, to archiving, and, if necessary, recall.

CMMS platforms are generally automated. Someone submits a maintenance ticket through a web portal, which enters a queue. Within the queue, it’s delegated to the right department via a tag, such as “IT service” or “general repair.” Once jettisoned to the right department, it becomes a work order and goes into the daily work log. From there, it’s either handled by an in-house craftsperson or outsourced to a vendor based on a service-level agreement (SLA).

When a craftsperson fulfills the work request, it’s archived accordingly. If it’s integrated with a digital twin, that record becomes part of the life cycle maintenance profile for a particular asset. If it’s a standalone system, it’s easy to search and recall service requests within the CMMS for future reference.

Functions of CMMS for schools and colleges

While many campuses have some form of support ticketing and work request strategy, the shift to CMMS is invaluable—especially on larger campuses. Here’s a look at some of the ways universities benefit:

  1. Maintain facilities. The most obvious benefit of CMMS is that it is a more efficient way to maintain and repair facilities. Instead of being passed from person to person across departments, CMMS provides a point of access for anyone who needs to submit a ticket.
  2. Keep tech accessible. CMMS that accepts IT support tickets is especially invaluable. Campuses are increasingly technology-driven, and faster attention to items that need repair means learners can continue to use them as-needed.
  3. Improve campus safety. Some maintenance items are downright hazardous—think downed power lines or a shattered window. The ability to flag urgent repairs in a CMMS ensures they receive the attention they need to keep the campus population safe.
  4. Reduce distractions. The warped door that keeps banging shut. The buzz from a damaged projector. Untended maintenance items are distractions. CMMS expedites time to fix and allows for more complete fixes—especially for repeat offenders.
  5. Boost spirit and pride. A well-maintained campus is an enjoyable one. Students and teachers want to feel like the facilities around them are well-kept and cared for, not derelict and damaged. Beautiful, maintained facilities evoke a sense of pride.
  6. Coordinate craftspeople. Most campuses don’t have a “maintenance department.” Instead, they have a team of craftspeople tasked with addressing specific types of maintenance. CMMS makes it easier to coordinate people and projects by skill.

These functions come together in one big benefit: a campus that meets expectations. When everything works as-expected and as-intended, fewer obstacles stand between teachers, students, and their education. The benefit of CMMS for schools comes from its ability to provide an environment that’s accessible, functional, safe, and comfortable.

Keep facilities accessible to eager learners

Whether it’s a damaged door or a faulty projector screen, anything that doesn’t work the way it’s intended to becomes an inconvenience. In some cases, it impedes the education of students; in other cases, it’s a distraction—or worse, downright hazardous. In any case, the best way to make sure an issue gets due attention is to have a system for fielding requests and prioritizing them appropriately.

A college CMMS system provides a complete, efficient ecosystem for facilities maintenance across campus. From tech support to trade-related repairs, a CMMS makes it easy to identify and understand a problem and get to work on a repair. CMMS not only expedites the time to repair, it keeps the campus functioning as it’s meant to, so that students, faculty, and visitors can continue to have a positive experience.

Keep reading: Space Planning for Schools: A Bird’s Eye View

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

Future-Proofing the Workplace with Data-Driven Strategies

By Ian Morley
Chief Product Officer
SpaceIQ

There are many short-term questions for company owners to consider as they reopen for business and welcome employees back to the workplace. Do I have enough space to bring back my entire workforce? Will employees feel safe returning? Do I have too much space and what should I do with it?

The bigger picture is more complicated. There is no crystal ball to say what will happen in two, five, or 10 years. With such an unclear future, businesses must plan for as many scenarios as possible. This “future-proofing” takes data and technologies to analyze it in ways that shed light on how to best plan for all possible scenarios.

During a recent webinar, Ibrahim Yates, Industry Analyst with Verdantix, and I discussed the important roles data and workplace technology play in both making plans to return to the office and long-term planning.

Painting a Workplace Picture

Workplace data provides leaders the insight necessary to truly understand their people. Whether the focus be on productivity, space upgrades, or future-proofing. Data is essential to minimize damage, and unnecessary expenditures.

When data paints the picture, businesses are free to move past the phase of situational analysis. Qualified and quantified information enables better decision-making based on how the workplace functions. Leaders can then prioritize and plan for transitioning employees from home to office.

With a steadfast plan and the initial return underway, the value of workplace technology becomes two-fold. It serves as a means of communication and data collection. The communication component builds employee confidence to return in a safe and effective manner. Data gathering and analysis empowers workplace managers to proactively address issues, forecast impending changes, and plan how to improve processes and interactions down the road. That is future-proofing.

Hoteling as a Strategy

During our discussion on future-proofing, Ibrahim and I immediately thought of hoteling as a key component of an agile workplace. Hoteling provides employees with an easy and intuitive way to reserve space when and where they need it. By collecting usage data, workplace managers can see if additional hotel desks are needed and who is using them. A clearer utilization picture allows for more accurate and impactful planning as workforce levels fluctuate and a company grows.

At a time when health and safety are in the forefront of everyone’s mind, the monitoring feature of hoteling applications creates a solid foundation for contact tracing. “Even when the pandemic comes to a close, people will still care about the health and safety of their workplace,” Ibrahim said.

Contact tracing systems provide concise data through real-time utilization of spaces. Once technology of this caliber is in play, business leaders can move to the last phase of future-proofing by utilizing the tools to monitor and adjust based on data reports from areas such as space demand, employee needs, and safety.

Data to Determine Office Demand

So, are you ready to bring your entire workforce back in office? Before answering this question, you first need to understand the space you have to work with. Are there enough collaborative spaces? Is the office well equipped for social distancing and safety guidelines? Above all, is the workplace environment able to cater to the demand of the people who work there?

Throughout our discussion, Ibrahim stressed the important role quality data plays in ensuring business continuity and building resiliency. Business leaders need data and analytics to prepare for the next crisis or company growth initiative. Data makes the difference between adapting quickly and merely surviving.

The data made available via tools like hoteling take the guess work out of return-to-work planning. The communicative properties within such applications reveal employee behavior like how content they are working from home, who is anxious to return to a physical office, and what scheduling structures they believe best suit their work styles.

Are You Future-proof Ready?

As much as we all may want a crystal ball during these uncertain times, workplace technologies are grounded in reality. A crystal ball shows what the future would look like. Workplace technology culls information from the past and present to help predict future needs.

Before you jump into a new workplace strategy, there are questions you should consider:

  1. What is our new definition of “work”? – It is important to ask why your company works the way it does and how leaders, employees, and external sources can best work together. A great starting point is evaluating what you learned about your business during the COVID pandemic.
  2. How can I make the office important to employees? – The past year proved people can work from anywhere. But a physical workplace offers employees elements they may not get in a home office. According to a McKinsey report, offices provide collaboration, social interaction, connection, and creativity options. Your goal should be to design a workplace that accommodates those needs and more.
  3. Should I embrace a hybrid work model? – A Forrester Research report showed 60% of companies are moving toward hybrid schedules where employees work partly from home. COVID gave many people a taste of remote work they never had. A 2020 survey published by Forbes revealed 97% of people don’t want to return to the office full-time. New workplace designs should support more activity-based structures where employees can easily choose or reserve areas to gather and work while in the office.
  4. How do I get employees involved in future planning? – One of the best ways to gauge effectiveness of future-proofing is through measuring employee sentiment. How? Listen and communicate often. Use surveys to determine how hybrid schedules are working and whether activity-based designs are efficient. Make extra effort to include remote employees in all communications and act on their requests/suggestions to the same level as on-site staff.
  5. Do I have the right technology to future-proof my workplace? – Employee needs are the primary drivers behind how and why you manage a “next normal” workplace. Anticipating and adapting to those expectations takes smart technologies like WiFi sensors, mobile apps, reservation systems, and badging data to quickly adjust to new demands and create spaces that allow people to do their best work.

With companies across the world mapping their path back to the workplace. The technology and data tools available today can encourage employee engagement and a sense of safety. As important is the simultaneous reporting insights necessary for company leaders to move from a position of reactive tactics to proactive, future-proofed strategies.

For more information on how workplace technology can help future-proof your workspaces, visit request a demo.

Keep reading: Hybrid Workplaces are the Future of Work

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Blog

How to Design an Office for Space Utilization

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

The workplace is in the throes of another period of upheaval. As work-from-home becomes a mainstay and flex work the new norm for physical workplaces, the office itself needs to change to accommodate employees better. Specifically, facilities managers need to optimize the workplace for usefulness. The question at-hand is how to design an office for space utilization.

A well-utilized workspace means it’s meeting employee demands. To shape the environment around those demands, facility managers need to understand them. This is easier said than done. It’s not enough to look at what did work or what appears to work. Reinventing the office in a major way means relying on clear and present insights that are data-driven and verifiable.

Here’s how to understand workplace utilization and design around it, to shape a new office that supports employees through the current period of change and beyond.

What is space utilization?

Space utilization is best defined in conjunction with space occupancy. If occupancy is the capacity of a space to accommodate certain people or objects, space utilization is a measure of the degree of use within that space.

For example, if a conference room has occupancy for 10 and only eight people are in it right now, it’s at 80% utilization. A more practical example would be utilization over time. If a hotel desk is available 40 hours per week and is only occupied for 20 hours per week, its utilization rate is 50%. There’s also relative utilization to consider. If Conference Rooms A, B, and C are all available 40 hours per week and see utilization rates of 75%, 80%, and 20% respectively, it’s reasonable to say that Conference Room C’s utilization rate is much lower than the average.

The bottom line on space utilization is that it’s a measure of how much use a space gets. It’s often a reflection of demand, which makes it conducive to observe which spaces see high utilization and model the workplace after them accordingly.

The role of space utilization software

Monitoring and measuring utilization are largely functions of software. Most workplaces have different types of spaces: individual desks, breakout spaces, conference rooms, etc. Utilization software will track how often employees occupy these spaces, for how long, and when. The result is a clear picture of utilization trends. Examples include:

  • Conference rooms see the most use on Thursdays and Fridays
  • Three-person breakout spaces are the most popular flex spaces
  • Hotel desk utilization averages 68% utilization week over week
  • The hours of 10am-1pm see the most room booking activity

Data from room booking software, the IoT, and manual inputs come together to paint a picture of the office as an ecosystem. With information about how employees interact with it, facility managers can better-shape it to their needs, wants, and expectations.

Tips for office space design

The golden rule of office space design is to leverage the data you have. Anecdotal evidence alone won’t tell the whole story. You might think there’s strong demand for hot desks because you see people using them, but what you see might only represent a small percentage of demand. In fact, people may prefer a different type of space altogether—one they don’t have access to because there isn’t enough optionality in the office.

Data provides great insight, but it requires critical thinking to make it actionable. Facility managers need to take insights and put them into practice with context. For example, if there’s demand for more breakout space, you can’t plop it in the middle of a hotel desk cluster—you might risk disrupting a desking concept that works. Instead, use a critical eye to assess space availability and deploy new concepts without disrupting ones that work.

Finally, consider micro and macro scale when making changes to the workplace. For large changes, view the stack plan to better-understand available space and occupancy levels. For space-specific changes, understand the effect on the immediate area of the office. There’s ample opportunity to make change at both levels, but you need to know how your changes affect access to the office and how this will impact utilization rates.

Keep utilization at the forefront of a redesign

The old way of designing offices focused primarily on making use of the space available to you. It was about finding the best way fit people within a space, maximize productivity and minimize friction. Now, the approach has changed to a people-first mindset. It’s not about fitting people into space; it’s about conforming space to fit the people who need it.

Designing with utilization in mind means understanding how employees interact with space and what they expect from it. Then, it’s about using data to shape and allocate space based on those needs. It’s a process that’s more and more data-driven as the workplace becomes more intelligent. Facility managers should use all data available to them to understand utilization and make a concerted effort to create space that aligns with how employees will use it—whether they’re in-office full-time, flexing in and out of spaces, or working remote 90% of the time.

Keep reading: 5 Space Utilization Metrics Every FM Needs to Know

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

How to Use the American Rescue Plan to Update Your Workplace Management System

By Danielle Moore
Director, Channel Marketing
SpaceIQ

Businesses were hit hard during the pandemic. But with the trials, many businesses have discovered room for improvement and growth. Government agencies, healthcare facilities, and public schools are now in a positive position to rise above and come out stronger thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

What is the American Rescue Plan?

Millions of Americans recently benefited from stimulus checks, tax breaks, and extended unemployment benefits. This economic relief — totaling more than $242 billion — came as a result of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. In addition to aiding citizens on individual levels, this plan has stepped in to support businesses and organizations — and leave them stronger than ever before.

Government Agencies

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, agencies had to adapt to stay afloat. Government duties were halted as buildings turned into emergency medical facilities. Revenue was lost and employees were laid off. To remedy these issues, the American Rescue Plan set aside $350 billion in emergency funds to help state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments.

We quickly learned how essential technology is to the health and success of businesses during the pandemic. And now, moving forward, technology continues to support and protect organizations. Because of this, the General Services Administration (GSA) now manages two funds geared to strengthen agencies’ digital operations. The $1 billionTechnology Modernization Fund aims to fortifythe federal government’s cybersecurity while developing cutting-edge tools made to adapt to change. Additionally, $150 million from the Federal Citizen Services Fund will bring positive change to the federal technology workforce and bolster systems for better citizen experiences.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare workers were stretched to the limit as healthcare facilities became inundated with patients. However, vital lessons were learned, and, as a result,  the healthcare industry has improved. Ushering in further improvement, the U.S. Department  of Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering $7.5 billion to healthcare facilities for information technology assistance, enhancements to information systems and reporting, data sharing, and support of vaccine distribution.

Public Schools

Of the 1.4 million public sector jobs lost during the pandemic, 1 million of those jobs belonged to teachers. Schools underwent rapid changes to respond to the emergence of COVID-19, including the introduction of remote learning for many. Determined to help schools recuperate from the adjustments, the American Rescue Plan issued $122 billion for the U.S. Department of Education to serve K-12 schools and higher education institutions. These funds are intended to help prevent layoffs, provide internet access and devices to students without connectivity, and allow a safe return to in-person learning with resources for social distancing.

Improving technology to repair and thrive

Undoubtedly, the American Rescue Plan has — and will continue to — lift and support businesses that underwent adversity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this plan does more than simply help businesses recover; it helps them thrive. The key to this persistent success is technology.

Equipped with technology that improves standard processes, workplace management, and overall organization, organizations become smooth-running machines. This efficiency is what saves resources and protects companies from future disasters. The American Rescue Plan has created a unique opportunity for public sector organizations to update or invest in vital technology, such as an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).

Navigating workplace changes with IWMS software

A company’s facilities and infrastructure comprise 25 to 50 percent of its fixed assets and operating costs. Help your business succeed in a globally competitive market by properly managing these precious resources. This is where SpaceIQ can help. Our Archibus platform has helped companies return to work with innovative features that offer solutions to the many negative impacts of COVID-19.

As people return to work and school, there are many variables in question, such as how to follow social distancing protocols, schedule offices, and classrooms, and track the phases of students and employees coming back to work. The Archibus system has clarified these questions and allowed organizations to function at their full potential.

Take a look at some of the ways that Archibus can simplify your workplace management:

  1. Space Inventory. Assign employees to safe seats that meet social distancing guidelines.
  2. Occupancy. Track and manage which employees are working remotely, in cohorts, or coming back to work in phases.
  3. Hoteling. Let employees select a desk from a pool of pre-approved, socially distanced spaces.
  4. Corrective Work. Automatically schedule room and desk cleanings between reservations to promote a safer work environment for employees.
  5. Reservations. Allow pre-approved room reservations that incorporates time before and after a meeting for proper cleaning.
  6. Workplace. Help employees find resources, book meetings and workspaces, access services, and request moves through a convenient desktop or mobile experience.
  7. Space Planning. Forecast and plan for large space and occupancy changes at all levels, including portfolio, city, site/campus, and building and room levels.
  8. Moves. Streamline your move/add/change processes to support employee safety with minimal organizational disruption.
  9. Preventive Maintenance. Schedule daily or periodic “deep clean” work orders for specific locations.
  10. Health & Safety. Reduce workplace safety incidents and better manage personal protective equipment (PPE), training, medical monitoring, and work restrictions.
  11. Asset Management. Provide an integrated view of where to find key assets such as personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, and other equipment.
  12. Emergency Preparedness. Implement life-saving and general safety procedures by planning for potential future outbreaks and other disasters.
  13. Waste. Track and manage COVID-19 hazardous waste from point of generation to final disposition to mitigate errors, omissions, and accidents.
  14. Hazard Abatement. Protect employee health and minimize organizational liability by quickly and accurately locating, tracking, and abating hazardous materials.
  15. Compliance. Reduce the chance of virus spread and potential shutdowns that result from inadequate compliance practices.
  16. Condition Assessment. Evaluate the condition of critical assets and buildings, initiating remediation work where needed.
  17. Projects. Provide a central location for employees to manage COVID-related project details, including schedule tracking and budgeting.

Easily access the tools and technology you need

Whether you serve a government agency, healthcare facility, or public school, there are several options available to fund the technology you need to bring efficiency and clarity to today’s changing workplace. The American Rescue Plan has brought relief and security for the future to many organizations who request funding.

If this plan doesn’t cover what your public agency is looking for, there are still several federal and state contract vehicles that can help. Simplify the procurement process by purchasing Archibus through our valued partners found at the following links:

Federal

CIO-CS, HHSN316201500012W

GSA Multiple Award Schedules GS-35F-267DA

Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – Software2 (ITES-SW2), W52P1J-20-D-0047

SEWP V, Group A: NNG15SC07B; Group D: NNG15SC98B

Department of Defense ITAM ESI

State

GSA Multiple Award Schedules GS-35F-267DA

Commonwealth of Kentucky Multi-Vendor Master Agreement, MA758 070000217538

State of California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS), 3-16- 70-1047B

State of Maryland Multi-Vendor COTS IDIQ, 06B02490021

State of New Mexico Multi-Vendor IDIQ, 60-000-16-00075

State of Ohio Multi-Vendor IDIQ, 534042

State of Texas DIR Multi-Vendor Software IDIQ, DIR-TSO-3400

State of Texas DIR Multi-Vendor Software II IDIQ, DIR-TSO-4236

State of Texas DIR, DIR-TSO-4384

TIPS, 180503

TIPS, 200105

TIPS, 200102

The world may still be recuperating from the effects of COVID-19, but your resilient organization is capable of returning to work stronger. Try a demo of SpaceIQ products to learn how you can safely reopen your workplace and boost your organization’s productivity.

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

Categories
Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

Impacts of Remote Work: Five Hidden Costs Employers May Overlook 

By Pat Clark
Chief Financial Officer
SpaceIQ

Many states have begun loosening restrictions as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. Employers are now grappling with the decision of what the future of their offices will look like – and how much it will cost to adapt to a new business normal.

In the past year, companies observed how remote work impacted their internal operations, employee productivity, and overall business performance. Now, when paired with a practical cost/benefit plan, these observations can help companies determine the best path forward: bring all employees back, go with an all-remote workforce, or create a hybrid of the two.

Understanding employees’ workplace needs

Our employees’ well-being has always been a priority, regardless of the pandemic. As we look at transition plans, understanding employee needs and maximizing their engagement is at the forefront of our decision-making. For some SpaceIQ employees, a work-from-home setup is a dream. Others are counting down the days until they can return to a physical office. Many fall somewhere in between – hoping for flexible options to alternate working remotely and in a physical office space.

Managing expectations for a return-to-work plan should be No. 1 for companies seeking to ensure the safety of their employees. Globally, employees have shown that remote work is viable and even preferable for productivity and engagement. Of the estimated 48 million full-time employees in the U.S. who hold a remote-work-compatible job, 82 percent say they would like to work remotely at least weekly. The challenge lies in developing a budget-appropriate plan that offers opportunities to work remotely while resuming uninterrupted operations in a physical office.

Five hidden costs of remote work

Companies often overlook the hidden costs of remote work that should be addressed when considering a work-from-home or hybrid environment. Additionally, these costs can increase with the fiscal requirements of maintaining a physical location.

1. Developing a centralized network infrastructure

Beyond the use of laptops, cables, and monitors, office technology harbors additional costs for communication. Using platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams has become more critical than ever for businesses that have reduced face-to-face interactions. Companies that continue to leverage these platforms need to consider the maintenance and security of their network infrastructure.

2. Understanding the soft and hard costs

Nurturing an internal culture with remote workers is critical for employee engagement. The hard costs of remote work are easily calculable, but soft costs surrounding employee connection, team-building activities, or all-hands meetings may be more challenging to pinpoint. Remote work will require additional effort to keep employees connected. For example, our Human Resources and Marketing teams collaborated and coordinated a global gift distribution for employees in Q4 2020. SpaceIQ CMO Nai Kanell led the effort and explained, “It was no small feat and expensive, but it was worth every penny. We want people to know personally, ‘Hey, we’re one team working together regardless of location. We care about you.’”

3. Maintaining data integrity and security after turnover

Data integrity is a critical issue for virtually every company.  One data loss survey conducted by TechRepublic indicated that 95% of the participating organizations say they suffered data loss in 2020. Remote work has led to an increased reliance on email, which increases the potential of unintentional sharing of sensitive information. Moreover, 60% of survey participants reported working in a shared home office or communal spaces where distractions are unavoidable. In addition to confidentiality concerns, distracted employees are more likely to make errors that result in the loss of sensitive company and/or customer data. Increasing employees’ focus on the criticality of maintaining data security through on-going communication and training is critical.

Additionally, companies need to plan well in advance regarding how they will protect their confidential data when employees leave the company. When an employee leaves an organization, companies should take immediate action to collect equipment and protect sensitive information. Many companies choose centralized system control to enable immediate termination of employees’ access to confidential information and company applications, reducing the likelihood of data loss.

4. Budgeting for the costs associated with relocating employees

Many employees chose to relocate during the pandemic.  It is critical that employers know where employees are moving to ensure that the company is not unknowingly becoming liable for income taxes, property taxes, and employment taxes in new states.  Also, where employees choose to live could impact their tax bill if it is somewhere other than where they were working before the pandemic.  Employers and employees should expect that depleted state budgets might prompt states to go on the offensive when it comes to collecting tax revenue from employers and their  employees working remotely, even if it is only temporary. Generally, under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are not required to reimburse employees for work-related expenses incurred working remotely. Even if your state does not require your company to foot the bill for remote work expenses, companies may want to offer reimbursement for the cost of internet, ergonomic equipment, or technology purchases. These can be marketed as company perks but will add to the bottom-line impact of supporting remote work.

5. Adapting operations for geography

For managers with teams now in multiple time zones, shuffling meeting times and juggling schedules is part of the reality of a geographically dispersed team. The amount of time it takes to coordinate moments for team collaboration can place an additional strain on managers who are already struggling to meet day-to-day demands, develop team culture, and adhere to company-wide policies. Organizations that rely on managers to balance these different facets of remote work should be aware of burnout and turnover that may affect their leadership teams.

Remote work options also is pushing many employees to relocate to new cities and countries. A 2020 DSJ Global survey revealed 69% of those polled would move to a different location for a better job. This choice can create complex issues for employers. Business registration in multiple states or countries can be costly and time-consuming. Local tax and labor laws aren’t consistent across borders. Unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance coverage typically is governed by the state where the employee works, not where the company is headquartered. If your business covers relocation expenses, plan to spend upward of $97,000 for current employees and $72,000 for new hires.

Additionally, recruitment is another element that may require additional investment. Kanell says, “We are spending a lot more money on recruiting than we did in the past. We also need to be more flexible in terms of where people can work from. This flexibility entails business registration in the multiple states where we have found top talent to join our team.” Going through the registration process requires administrative costs and time, along with gaining an understanding of the local pay rates for that talent.

Remote work and the agile office

Regardless of the framework businesses choose, remote work has evolved from a loose trend to commonly sought benefit by employees. The post-COVID workplace will be focused on longer term, agile workplace development. Last year has shown us that more companies are going to be embracing a hybrid structure versus the “normal” office that so many of us have grown accustomed to. There is no “normal.”

The benefits of having a remote structure and the need for recognizing the potential additional costs are clearly present, but we also have to remember: It’s not all or nothing. Employers are considering the productivity benefits of staying remote while also understanding the need to keep employees safe in a collaborative, in-person environment.

Companies can embrace better workplace agility by understanding both the financial costs and the employee productivity and job satisfaction implications of remote work.

Keep reading: Boost Team Collaboration with 10 Remote Working Tools

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Space Planning for Schools: A Bird’s Eye View

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

To the untrained eye, a college campus can seem to offer limitless space. Everywhere you look there’s an empty classroom, an unoccupied study nook, or a spare table waiting for someone to sit at it. But just because that space is vacant now doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way for long. To anyone familiar with campus operations, there’s tremendous forethought that goes into space planning for schools. Though space is available in abundance, that doesn’t make it any less of a precious commodity.

Space planning for colleges is what makes it possible for multiple classrooms to house different lectures at different times. It’s what ensures there’s always a spare study table in the union building. Careful space planning is the reason a 20-person sociology class meets in an amphitheater classroom that seats 60. And while not every spatial decision makes sense to students and staff, they’re often part of a grand plan that involves dozens of moving parts and pieces. The goal is to ensure that every learner feels accommodated.

What is space planning for schools, colleges and universities?

Space planning involves designating a space for a particular use. That could mean setting it up for a specific purpose, ensuring it’s available at a certain time, or making it available to a particular group. The core focus of space planning is to ensure the effective and efficient use of a space by the people and purpose it’s intended for.

Below the surface definition, space planning can become extremely complex and nuanced. On a college campus, it could mean anything from outfitting space with the right technology, to making sure spaces are reservable at optimal times. In the broader sense, space planning also means making sure a particular space fits the context of what’s happening around it—not just within it.

Examples of space planning on campuses

Space planning in schools happens at several levels. In a macro sense, shared facilities are open for general use—this means everything from the student union to the library. More specifically, there are classrooms and lecture halls that have specific purposes, but may not serve the same purpose all of the time. Finally, specialized spaces on campus such as labs or research facilities aren’t generally accessible, but still require forethought to plan.

  • General spaces need forethought to accessibility and adaptability. There’s a larger degree of variability in these areas because they’re often inherently multi-purposed. Space planning involves making use of square footage in the most natural way and coordinating accommodations to meet the expectations of those in attendance.
  • Classrooms are subject to space planning in the sense of pairing facilities with demand. For example, you can’t put a class of 50 in a room that only seats 30. It’s also important to consider special features of a room such as A/V equipment, stadium-style seating, a lab-style environment, and more.
  • Specialty spaces generally set a precedent for need. These spaces offer very little opportunity to change because they’re anchored by their design, such as a computer lab or a cafeteria. Space planning around these areas typically involves making them more accessible through techniques such as scheduling or access control.

Within each of these groups there’s a world of unique space types—from study nooks to workshops, labs to dorm rooms. Regardless of space type, it’s important for facility managers to have a plan for who will use the space, how they’ll use it, when they’ll use it, and what the criteria are for governing it.

The benefits of space planning for schools

The chief benefit of space planning for schools is an obvious one: the ability to accommodate learners in any education environment. From large lectures to intimate labs, presentations to guest speakers, marrying form and function into space planning strategy makes for more immersive learning opportunities.

Space planning also gives campus managers a handle on utilization and opportunities to improve it. If there are instances to reduce congestion, improve accessibility, or orchestrate shorter commutes for staff and students, space planning will bring them to the surface. When every space has a purpose, it becomes easier to understand that space in the context of its utilization.

Finally, space planning software is a cornerstone of campus management as a whole. There’s merit in coordinating where classes will take place, at what time, and how many people will attend. It paints a broader picture of the ebb and flow of traffic on campus and helps schedulers orchestrate classes conducive to the broader workings on campus.

Tying space planning with campus operations

To plan space use and availability accordingly, you need to know what you’re planning for. This is where space planning becomes a collaborative effort among campus ops personnel. There’s a concerted effort to coordinate space and schedule, and to do so in a way that’s conducive to accessibility by everyone involved.

It doesn’t make sense for students to trek back and forth with no time between classes, only to wait outside a room that’s occupied right up to the minute before their class begins. Likewise, it’s unwise to schedule certain types of classes in certain spaces that may not accommodate them. Form and function need to agree, which is why facility personnel and campus operations managers need synergy. Space and people need to come together.

While some students will inevitably need to sprint across campus occasionally and a few rooms might get a little crowded, what matters is that the campus as a whole runs like a well-oiled machine for a majority of people, the majority of the time.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools

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What is Asset Property Management?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

There’s plenty of overlap in the world of asset management and property management—after all, property is an asset. That said, asset property management is a confusing concept that overlaps with real estate and portfolio management. To make matters more confusing, there’s also the concept of “property asset management” to consider. It begs the question: what is asset property management?

Facility managers need to get familiar with the concept as part of a broader understanding of how to oversee facilities. Here’s a look at where asset property management falls into context alongside other forms of asset management and property management.

What is asset property management?

Asset property management is part of the spectrum of asset management. It trends toward the macro end of the scale:

  • Asset management involves oversight of assets
  • Property management involves oversight of property
  • Property asset management involves oversight of properties as assets
  • Asset property management involves oversight of assets within properties

The difference between “property asset management” and “asset property management” is largely semantic. Most companies practice both in conjunction with each other, which further adds to the ubiquitous nature of the definition. Moreover, most facility managers and portfolio managers see property and property assets as one in the same. For example, it’s difficult to separate the HVAC system from the building it’s tied to. For all intents and purposes, they’re managed together.

Asset management in the real estate market

There is one important distinction to make when looking at assets within properties and the property itself: one of value. The overall value of real estate comes from many individual factors. In commercial real estate, capital systems play a significant role in the value of the building.

For example, a building that is in great shape but has poor HVAC may cost more in upkeep, raising the total cost of ownership. Conversely, an older building with great HVAC may be worth less, but operates more efficiently. When it comes to evaluating these buildings, portfolio managers need to consider how the assets that govern each property play into the total value of the holding.

Put another way, asset property management plays a big role in portfolio management. If the sum total of capital systems in Building A costs more than the sum total of an identical Building B, it’s a sign of the need for better asset management. The decision to act (or not to act) contributes to the value of that building within the company’s broader real estate portfolio.

Tips for better asset property management

The golden rule for asset property management is to be proactive, as opposed to reactive. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money up front on maintenance, this ideology manifests in saving asset managers the cost of unanticipated, unexpected repairs.

Similarly, tracking the asset over time is an important part in managing it. Through inclusive asset tracking it’s possible to identify upcoming maintenance, budget for costs, understand cost of ownership, and more. All this factors into keeping capital assets in functional condition.

Finally, it’s important to understand assets in context. Consider a building with an antiquated HVAC system. While it might run smoothly, there’s no guarantee it’s running efficiently, which could cost building operators more than they realize. Moreover, it might contribute to a stuffy atmosphere within the workplace—or worse, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Looking at cost and upkeep alone aren’t enough. Asset property management needs to include context.

The goals of property asset management

The goals of asset property management are cost reduction and ROI optimization. Managers need to first justify the cost of an asset, then work to optimize its returns beyond the break-even point. For capital assets within real property, this means looking far ahead at the entire lifespan of an investment.

Take, for example, renovations that upgrade the efficiency of facilities. There’s an immediate cost to undertake these renovations, however, they’ll return value through both the efficiency upgrades and the productivity they enable. The goal of an asset property management approach is to reach that break-even point as quickly as possible, and to enhance the ROI beyond that. This means staying on top of upkeep costs in order to minimize them and understanding how to measure and record ROI.

Ultimately, the role of good asset property management is to extend the life and value of an asset, in order to ensure the ROI reaches the highest levels possible.

Software improves property asset management

As is the case for many modern-day facility metrics, asset property management is best tracked using software. IWMS or CMMS software provide critical insights about the cost of operating facilities—particularly their capital systems. These asset insights lay the groundwork for how much it costs to operate a property and set the benchmark for its performance against other real estate holdings. Moreover, they provide insight into how to better-manage individual property assets.

There’s significant opportunity in treating capital systems and properties like the assets they are within the context of facilities management. The more attention given to the cost, upkeep, ROI, and utilization of assets, the more opportunities are available to better govern them.

Keep reading: Property Asset Management Strategy Plus Goals and Benefits

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Where to Get a Healthcare Facility Management Degree

How to Become a Facility ManagerBy Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Healthcare is a booming industry for a number of reasons—an aging population, health epidemics, and the rising cost of healthcare administration among them. With rising demand comes an increasing need for optimization, specifically when it comes to facilities management. This, in turn, pushes demand for qualified professionals with a healthcare facility management degree.

What is healthcare facility management?

Healthcare facility management differs from general facilities management in numerous ways. While space allocation, optimization, and efficiency are at the core of the practice, there’s a much larger dynamic at-play. It’s important that, when they seek healthcare, people are able to get it with as few obstacles as possible—and that their experience is as positive as possible. Much of this experience comes from the availability and navigability of healthcare facilities.

For those who want to pursue a healthcare facility management program, there are plenty of options. Here’s a look at six of the top healthcare facilities management schools in the country and the programs they offer specific to healthcare-focused professionals.

1. Cornell University

One of the eight prestigious Ivy League schools, it’s not surprising that Cornell University offers a healthcare facility management degree. The certificate program is available through the college’s virtual learning program, which makes it highly accessible to anyone who wants to explore this modality while attending a top-rated school. Cornell’s healthcare facilities management program consists of four core courses and four electives, of which students need to select and pass two. It’s an affordable option that carries the prestige of the Cornell name with certification.

2. Brigham Young University – Provo

The Brigham Young University – Provo healthcare facilities management degree isn’t a standalone degree—rather, enrollees will end with certification as a Facility and Property Management (FPM) specialist. That said, healthcare facility administration is a core focus of the program. It’s a program that has won several national awards and it ties into key areas of the college, instead of teaching concepts in isolation. Participants need to be on-campus to participate at this time.

3. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University healthcare facilities management degree is an offshoot of its broader healthcare administration track. Those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration will study facility management intensively, to understand the relationship between facilities and patients, medical staff and visitors. This is one of the more robust programs on this list, as it’s a full 120-hour bachelor’s degree and not just a certificate.

4. Temple University

Temple University offers a full bachelor’s program for its facility management degree, and enrollees have the option to choose a specialty within the degree. Many choose Temple’s program because of the healthcare facilities management track, which leaves them with an opportunity to gain one of three designations upon graduation: Facilities Management Professional (FMP), Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP), or Certified Facility Manager (CFM).

5. Missouri State University – Springfield

Healthcare facilities management at Missouri State University – Springfield falls under its Hospitality Leadership degree program. This track offers broad-ranging insights that lend themselves to someone seeking a future in facilities management at a large healthcare facility, such as a major hospital or research facility. This bachelor’s program is one of the most well-rounded for those looking to immerse themselves in the prevailing concepts of healthcare facilities management—everything from clinical staff management to hospital IT and security.

6. Wentworth Institute of Technology

The Wentworth Institute of Technology offers both undergraduate certificate and masters’ programs for facility management. For those in pursuit of a career specific to healthcare facilities, the undergraduate track is more focused in this area (the masters’ program trends toward manufacturing facilities management). Graduates will find themselves with IFMA accreditation and the education they need to affect real change in healthcare facilities of the future.

Choose a program focused on healthcare

Facility management isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept—especially when it comes to healthcare. Each of the above schools offers a program designed to prepare graduates for the nuances of facilities management within the healthcare industry. More important, graduation from any of these programs will land you as a Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM)—a professional recognized by the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Is it possible for someone with a facility management degree or experience to transition into the realm of healthcare facilities management? Absolutely. That said, it requires no small commitment. For those looking ahead and considering healthcare facilities management, the smart option is to pursue a degree-specific program and graduate as a CHFM. Look into any of the programs above to get started.

Keep reading: How to Become a Facility Manager