Make Strategic Facility Management a Focus

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Strategy is important in everything from board games to business planning. In the latter, strategy is often the key to success—a concentrated effort toward a measurable goal. If your goal is to leverage facilities into business success, strategic facility management is paramount. It’s a combination of facility management and facility planning, stitched together with a set of clear-cut outcomes in mind.

Strategic facility management is all about focusing on the long-term. What can you do to your facilities today that’ll pay dividends next quarter, next year, or in the next decade? Applying strategy to facility management gives purpose to the workplace, making it a focal part of broader company initiatives. But, like all strategies, one involving facilities management needs clear motive.

Manage with a set of goals in mind

Strategic facility planning starts with clearly defined goals. What are the broader goals of the company and what role do facilities play? Or, what’s important to your business that’s impacted by facilities. Goals can take many forms. Examples include:

  • Improve cash flow to support the expansion of the business
  • Establish the company as a steward for a cause
  • Attract and retain top-level talent
  • Improve the company’s eco-friendly profile
  • Make the transition to a more flexible, remote work arrangement

Decide what’s important to your business. Then, link it to facility management. For example, if your primary goal is to attract and retain top-level talent, consider the workplace’s role and make a list of strategic focuses:

  • Offer perks that entice candidates to work for you
  • Make your facilities centrally located to a diverse workforce
  • Leverage the workplace as part of company culture

These three goals funnel upward into the greater goal of attracting and retaining top talent. They’re all facility-related, serving as focus areas for workplace improvements. As you hone in on each, the greater goal of luring prime workers benefits. This is strategic facility management—action with a greater goal in mind.

Implementing strategic facility management

Strategic facility management takes discipline to execute. According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), there are four steps to implementing a successful strategic facility plan:

1. Understand

Understanding strategic facility management hinges on knowing what elements dictate it. What are your goals? What is the capacity of your facilities to support these goals? Do you possess the resources—time, money, manpower, stakeholder buy-in—to make change happen? Is there a timeline or a clear path to execution? This initial phase helps you take stock of the desired concept, which gives it context. It’s important to understand the strategy before attempting to execute it.

Read: Facility management software ROI.

2. Analyze

This is the experimental and understanding phase of strategic facilities management. By now, you should know the goals and have a comprehensive grasp of the situation, which allows you to turn your attention to the how of executing your strategy. There are several experimental and analytical tools involved in building out a facility strategy. Scenario planning is a big part of facilities management, as is systematic layout planning. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis helps qualify certain focus areas. Combined with Brainstorming and Strategic Creative Analysis (SCAN) sessions, ideas for facilities improvement should begin bubbling to the surface.

3. Plan

A strategic facility space plan is built on conclusions formed in the understanding and analysis phases. Once you know what you’re working toward, and the steps needed to get there, you can begin constructing the roadmap. Often, this is the physical plan a facility manager presents to the C-suite for approval. It outlines core facility changes and the reasons behind them. It lays out action plans for making said changes. It puts everything on a timeline, delegates duties, and qualifies the metrics used to measure success. Think of it like a business plan specifically for the workplace—it should be a comprehensive plan detailing the path to success.

4. Act

You have a plan in-hand and approval from leadership. All that’s left is to act. Strategic facility management needs leaders who understand the vision—both at the facilities level and how it contributes to broader business goals. These leaders must execute changes according to the strategic facilities management plan, then document improvements and changes to understand the effect they’re having on the business. As the workplace shapes itself into the asset it’s meant to be, you should measure its impact on finances, personnel, culture, and other metrics that align with your goals.

Make strategic facility management an ongoing focus

What is facility management without goals to focus on? Even after you reach your strategic facility management endpoint, it’s important to continually redefine it. Ask yourself how facilities can improve and lend themselves to larger business goals.

Take the time to consider the ramifications of investing in facilities—whether it’s a monetary push or new strategy. Keep the approach strategic and the outcome is sure to reflect the move toward clear, well-defined business goals.

Keep reading: Innovative ideas for facility management.


Quick Facts from the Coworking Space Industry

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

The coworking space industry is growing by leaps and bounds. A growing remote workforce and rise of the gig economy are pushing the demand for workspaces to new heights. It’s not just happening in the United States, either. The coworking trend is a worldwide phenomenon. Wherever people work, there’s coworking.

Though still an emerging industry, coworking has surged over the last decade. In the last few years, coworking has reached the mainstream. Coworking statistics show strong advancements across important metrics, such as total industry growth and demand, customer trends, and profitability.

Look at some of the eye-popping statistics surrounding the coworking boom and what they mean to the future of commercial real estate and the workforce.

A look at industry fundamentals

Fundamentally, the coworking industry is fascinating. It’s a strong departure from the traditional office concepts, yet serves the same role for the people using it. While coworking operates outside the bounds of usual workplace governance, it’s still held to some of the same rules.

Things like the average size of coworking space must correlate to traditional office metrics. Likewise, variables like occupancy and workspace type play a big role in the success or failure of a coworking space. Consider these general industry facts that paint a picture of coworking:

The growth of coworking

The space-as-a-service business model is growing rapidly. Coworking growth is evident in nearly every relevant metric, including the number of new leases, number of seats, dedicated square footage, and growth rate. Tailwinds propelling coworking growth include the increase in remote workers, rise of gig economy, decentralization of work, and prevalence of startups and small business cultures.

This model originated about a decade ago, but has seen breakneck expansion over the last three to five years. Forecasts show the next few years are likely to see even more emphasis on coworking as the model for adapting work styles.

  • Flexible space has grown at an average annual rate of 23% since 2010.
  • Coworking spaces account for ~30% of new total U.S. office tenants since 2017.
  • The total number of global coworking spaces is expected to reach ~50,000 by 2020.
  • By 2022, more than 1.08 million people will use coworking spaces regularly.

Coworking’s social impact

The rise of coworking hasn’t strictly been a benefit to commercial real estate. There are also rippling social advantages to coworking. As businesses shift away from traditional office concepts, many people miss working alongside peers. Coworking allows for more contact with other professionals from different backgrounds.

Many coworkers use these unique workplaces to increase their social and professional circles. Others see coworking as a lead-generation opportunity. Partnerships form and referrals mount. Coworking is as much a professional networking opportunity as a space to get work done.

  • 82% of members say coworking has expanded their professional network.
  • 64% of members can trace a referral or business opportunity to a coworking connection.
  • 89% of people say they’re happier while working after joining a coworking space.

Global coworking stats

How big is the coworking market? Though difficult to quantify, coworking appears to be a part of a broader, global paradigm shift. In major global metropolitan areas, coworking is fueling massive property grabs and changing the work habits of urban professionals.

Coworking is poised for continued growth in the United States, Great Britain, Asia-Pacific, and other hubs. On a global scale:

Coworking is the new way to work

The perfect storm of rising real estate costs and a cloud-enabled workforce set the stage for the space-as-a-service business model. Now, coworking isn’t just here to stay—it’s here to thrive. Demand for coworking spaces will likely increase in the coming years. As remote workers realize the benefits of coworking, so too will the companies that employ them. Coworking as a business model stands to benefit as the solution to new-age workspace demands.

Keep reading: Why coworking space in the modern workplace?


Modern Office Planning and Layout Types

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

We’ve entered the age of custom. People forgo mass-produced, standardized commodities in favor of tailored solutions. Cookie-cutter homes are out; unique remodels are in. Off-the-rack clothes are waning; personalized subscription boxes reign supreme. Even modern office planning and layout types fall within the realm of custom. No two workplaces are the same, so why should the office layout be generic?

As with all things custom, the benefit comes from a tailored solution—not just unique for the sake of being unique. Rearranging desks into an obscure layout doesn’t make for a modern workplace. Instead, it’s about utilizing available workspace in creative ways to meet employee demands.

Coordinating a modern workplace floor plan takes work. More than anything, it requires a comprehensive understanding of new-age workspace types—their benefits and drawbacks, and what they offer your workforce. Here’s a look at some of the most common:

1. The conventional office

Let’s start with the benchmark: the traditional office. It’s a workplace filled with barriers—cubicle walls, individual offices, and tucked-away conference rooms. It doesn’t promote socialization and tends toward the higher end of the utilization scale—dangerously close to overcrowding. After all, the solution to maximizing space in a conventional office is to pack more people in, while isolating them to give the illusion of space.

2. Benching (open office)

The open office layout is a 180-degree change from the conventional office. There are as few walls as possible, which promotes consistent socialization and camaraderie. Open offices foster collaboration and inclusion, while dissolving the hierarchy of conventional offices.

Their drawbacks? Open offices can be open to a fault. Distractions are plentiful and noise pollution is a problem. Benching is best supplemented by private space for days when people feel more introverted or need to buckle down.

3. Activity-based environments

Activity-based spaces—a popular modern office floor plan—serve the needs of the people using them. They’re highly versatile, easily configurable, and instantly accessible. Activity-based spaces are also agile and support rapid changeover. Because they’re used when needed, activity-based environments are smart paths to efficient space utilization.

The downfall of activity-based environments is a lack of personal space. When employees are constantly on the move or adapting to changing workspaces, they need to plant roots somewhere. Personal lockers or cubbies are a great solution.

4. Desk neighborhoods

An intermediate desking option between benching and the conventional office are desk neighborhoods. They’re staples of modern office planning and layout. They bring small groups of coworkers together to foster collaboration, while still maintaining personal space for each person. Transitioning from individual work to collaborative projects is easy.

Desk neighborhood skeptics believe desk clumps make people too accessible to their coworkers. It’s important to establish etiquette with this type of arrangement. Privacy is also a concern, so provide areas where employees can retreat, if needed.

5. Hot desks

No creative coworking space design is complete without hot desks. These first-come, first-served workstations promote employee choice and offer opportunities as diverse as your workforce. Hot desks cater to individual work habits. Plus, employees can change their desking choice as often as they want to deter complacency and stave off the doldrums.

But be beware of hot desk territorialism! Encourage employees to vary their habits among different spaces, and make sure there’s a diverse array of hot desk locations and types. It’s also critical to use a space management system and define etiquette for hot desk use.

6. Hospitality and remote-worker friendly

Even when employees don’t come into the office, it’s still important to cultivate a welcoming, efficient workplace.

For part-time staff and occasional on-site visitors, hotel desks let them pick their seat and reserve it in advance. They’ll know exactly where they’re sitting and how to get there when they arrive. There’s no confusion about where to sit or accessing materials—hoteling takes care of everything.

For full-time, remote employees, consider the shape of your digital office. Are you providing the right cloud-based software and services? What about communication and networking apps? Some companies pay for their remote workers’ coworking space memberships. Remember, workplace is about enabling work—no matter where work happens.

Understand the work to shape the space

Shifting to a new, modern floor plan isn’t a small change. The goal: make sure it’s the right one. Take workplace planning by the horns and approach redesign with employees in mind. What kind of space do they need? What modern workspaces fit the bill? How can you make it work within the facilities available to you?

Your business is unlike any other, and your employees are unique individuals with their own needs and wants. In the age of custom, cultivating a unique, modern workplace isn’t an extravagance—it’s a necessity. Success demands an understanding of workplace planning and the prototypical types of spaces used today.

Keep reading: Best office layout for productivity.


The State of the Facility Management Market

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

The facility management market could be worth as much as $59.33 billion by 2023, according to a report by B2B research firm MarketsandMarkets™. Already estimated at $32.21 billion in 2017, the industry is poised for impressive growth in just a few years.

The report pegs the industry’s Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) at 11.4 percent—an impressive leader within the broader segment of Office Administrative Services, which is expected to see 1.7 percent total employment growth over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Facility management is ranked among the industries with the fastest-growing demand and wage scales, alongside various healthcare services, software publishing, and positions within education.

The facilities management market size shows a direct demand for smarter workplaces—both in deployed technologies and management strategies.

What’s driving the market?

The surging facilities management industry comes on the heels of several key drivers. Namely, technology and shifting work habits in an environment where commercial real estate (CRE) costs consistently increase. Let’s take a look at what’s specifically behind the rise of modern facilities management.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT is perhaps the biggest driver of modern facilities management. It quantifies previously unknown variables and provides a constant, real-time stream of data. Insights gleaned from the IoT power better decision-making and emphasize optimization, instead of just accommodation. This newfound mode of improvement has prompted companies to rethink their workplaces and their role in supporting the business.

Rising CRE costs

Rising CRE costs are cutting into balance sheets for businesses big and small. To minimize the damage, companies are using better facilities management to maximize value and introduce economies of scale. Emphasis on lease management and CRE optimization call for qualified insights, which are delivered by a dedicated facilities manager.

Globalized economic growth

On a macro scale, the expansion of companies across borders and overseas has resulted in greater focus on asset management. Each business location becomes its own cost center, which demand proper oversight. Managing a portfolio of properties is crucial—especially when considering local building codes, safety standards, and permitting regulations.

Shifting office environments

The downfall of the traditional office layout has put major emphasis on space planning and workplace logistics. Managing open offices, activity-based workspaces, hot desks, hotel desks, and the broad conglomeration of spaces present in a modern workplace takes dedicated oversight. Moreover, workplace managers who are able to predict and oversee these diverse spaces help the company maximize the value of its lease through space utilization and optimization.

Other factors—Space-as-a-Service, the gig economy, and sustainable business practices—also fall within the realm of facilities management. So much of business success relates to the workplace. This realization has prompted companies to focus extensively on how they’re using and managing facilities.

Headwinds and hurdles

Despite the rapidly growing demand for better facilities management, pitfalls still exist. Facility management market analysis shows several headwinds within the industry.

Lack of managerial awareness

The benefits of facilities management aren’t entirely recognized by the C-suite. The problem stems from a lag in understanding and adopting prerequisite technologies. Many businesses are still making the jump to cloud computing systems and haven’t yet adopted an IoT ecosystem. Further, their transition from conventional office layouts is still in its infancy. As these factors congeal, understanding of the role facilities management plays will likely follow.

Integration of facility management with legacy ERP systems

Legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) software still reigns supreme in larger businesses. Unfortunately, legacy ERP platforms don’t account for the workplace as a value stream. Switching to an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) or Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) software comes with resistance—and integration is difficult due to the walled-garden nature of most enterprise software solutions.

Lack of skills and expertise

Even seasoned facilities managers are catching up to the facility management tech boom. Most workplace management and space planning platforms are new and those with deep experience in culling analytics from them are few and far between. Moreover, there’s a lag in shifting philosophies—facilities management is no longer reactive. Approaching the workplace from a value-add standpoint is still gaining traction. Qualified professionals will soon flood the field, but it’ll take several years to educate and train them.

Despite these headwinds, facilities management is a thriving market. The benefits of good workplace management are simply too powerful to deny. And, as the call for facilities management grows louder, these headwinds will dissipate.

An evolving industry to watch

There’s no doubt facilities management plays a role in future economic development. Companies will be more strategic in how they run their businesses and manage their workforces based on how they moderate their facilities. With more technologies to quantify the workplace, the demand for interpreters of this data is also on the rise. Facilities management is becoming a crucial part of every business, and facilities manager is a position that’s highly coveted.

Keep reading: selecting facility management software.


Facilities Management Best Practices

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Facilities management is a continually evolving discipline for the simple fact that facilities themselves are constantly changing. As the two grow in tandem, facilities management best practices must adapt at the same time.

As contemporary workplaces enter a more digitally connected era, facilities management practices focus more on using data and analytics to improve decision-making. The result is a more thorough, encompassing, tailored approach to managing buildings and the systems that govern them.

New facilities managers and seasoned professionals alike will benefit from learning modern best practices and incorporating them into daily duties. There are seven top facilities management best practices to incorporate into your workplace.

1. Centralize facility management through software

Siloed data has long been the bane of proactive facilities management. Real estate in one basket; building upkeep in another; space utilization in yet another. Today, it’s the opposite. Holistic data and analytics help FMs better understand how different parts of their facilities affect one another, and what broad trends are present.

Breaking down silos in a typical facilities management structure requires technology that provides a top-down view:

  • An Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) manages everything from real estate portfolios, floor plans, and space management.
  • A Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) platform ties together the everyday needs of workplace management, including usage and utilization oversight.
  • A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) manages maintenance requests and coordinates building-wide upkeep and improvements.
  • An Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) platform serves as the system of record for assets within a workplace, tracking everything from worth to maintenance schedules.

2. Stay abreast of technology and the office IoT

Workplaces are getting smarter. New technologies are constantly introduced, new iterations of existing tech frequently roll out , and updates improve legacy devices. It’s a facility manager’s job to stay abreast of advancements.

Facility managers look for ways to use office Internet of Things (IoT) tech to improve their workplaces. How can tech help you do your job better? How can new options support or supplant your current systems? What facility challenges will the IoT solve? The more you know about tech, the better chance to capitalize on the office IoT.

3. Collect as much information as possible

Many of today’s best practices in facilities management revolve around data and analytics. IoT device data provides facility managers with decision-making power to positively shape the workplace and care for their buildings. This starts by recognizing challenges and pinpointing data streams that hold answers. Quantifying as much of the workplace as possible is the first step in hypothesizing solutions.

4. Recognize and capitalize on trends

Collecting data is an essential best practice, but equally important is learning to read and utilize that data. Not only will data interpretation inform you about the fundamental workings of your facilities, it’ll validate (or ify) your facilities management improvement ideas.

In the age of office IoT and robust workplace management software, every decision should be a data-driven one. Recognizing and capitalizing on trends through data collection and interpretation is one of the most important best practices to get comfortable with.

5. Automate facilities processes

Streamlining operations is a cornerstone of good facilities management. Automation takes that one step further, improving workplace structure from both cost and quality perspectives.

Automated lights reduce utility costs. Automated data collection improves decision-making. Automated support ticketing expedites facility repairs. The list goes on and on. Automation creates facilities that are supportive and accommodating to workers and the business itself.

6. Make budgeting a priority

Proper budgeting is critical as facilities management more closely aligns with mitigating business costs. Workplace data and analytics empower facilities managers to more effectively budget. Recognizing opportunities for cost saving, eliminating extraneous costs, and appropriately planning for upcoming expenses contribute to a company’s fiscal health.

7. Customize management to your facilities

The rise of tailored best practices shows there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to facilities management. And, in an era where workplaces are becoming more complex, there shouldn’t be. Adhering to best practices means meeting the demands of your workplace in a way that positively shapes and contributes to the business.

Keep reading: how to ensure you’ve selected the best facility management software for your company.


Photo by Unsplash


Top Five Benefits of Facilities Management

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

For a business to run effectively, every cog needs to provide support. But the larger and more complex your workplace becomes, the more cogs there are to manage. It’s the role of a facility manager to keep track of them all. The benefits of facilities management are easy to see throughout the business—from the balance sheet to the company culture.

Overseeing workplaces gives facility managers plenty of insight into opportunities and inefficiencies. Take a look at the biggest benefits of good facilities management and how they help a workplace run at maximum efficiency.

1. Asset tracking and management

Tracking assets and budgets through spreadsheets is about as convoluted as it gets.

Take something like determining the cost per year of a copy machine. Here’s a snapshot of how you might’ve figured this out before modern Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) or Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) platforms:

  • Look up annual maintenance logs
  • Compare maintenance logs to invoices
  • Review purchase orders for copier supplies

In this example, there’s three different spreadsheets or document archives to search through—all to ballpark the annual operating cost of a single asset.

Today, there’s a better way. Using an IWMS (read more on what is IWMS) or EAM platform, top-down asset management is efficient and easy. Repairs, maintenance, supplies, and other costs are coded to a specific cost center. The system provides instant insight no matter what’s being measured.

2. Space optimization

Your lease may be 4,200ft2, but how much of that are you actually using? One of the biggest benefits of facility management software is knowing what you’re actually getting for your money and how to make the most of it.

Let’s say you’re only using 3,200ft2. That’s 1,000ft2 going to waste. Facility managers can look at data to figure out A) why that space isn’t being used; and B) what it might be purposed for. FM data outlines the best way to recoup your cost per square foot and capitalize on it to improve revenue.

There’s also the opposite situation to consider. If you’re using 4,000ft2 and the walls are closing in, should you upgrade to a larger space or repurpose your current floor plan? Again, facilities management data will show the way. Adopting a new floor plan or flexible desking solution may save you thousands each month, while giving you the extra capacity you need—all without upgrading your total square footage.

The physical workplace is your largest single overhead cost. Maximizing value is the difference between your facilities being a cost center and a competitive advantage.

3. System of record

Your facilities’ needs evolve over time, making a system of record crucial in understanding and meeting these demands. Tracking historical costs, trends, and changes over time is one of the key benefits of facility management systems. Take a look at a few of the hundreds of data points a facility manager needs to track:

  • Space occupancy growth over time
  • Employee locations or assigned workstations
  • Asset costs and life cycles
  • Utility costs
  • Building repair and capital improvement costs

This small portion of data represents the ebb and flow of a workplace’s needs, as well as those of the people within it. Understanding change over time helps with everything from budget planning, productivity analysis, and real estate forecasting. Well-managed data is at the center of accurately predicting effective facilities management.

4. Cost analysis

Cost governs everything in the workplace. Knowing how much something costs or what recurring costs your company faces is important, but these amounts are far from the total cost of operating a business.Facilities management analysis provides keen insight into the real costs of keeping your workplace running.

For example, knowing how much space you’re effectively using versus the cost of your lease will show the real cost per square foot. From there, you can determine other outlays, like the cost per hot desk as opposed to utilization. Insights abound when you start looking at specific costs versus their contribution to the business.

Understanding and analyzing various workplace costs drives effective business planning. You’ll know how much you spend annually on utilities. You’ll be able to plan for expansion costs when the time comes to get a bigger office. And, you’ll know how to properly budget something like IT service for the year.

5. Integration

Your workplace is getting smarter. The benefits of integrated facilities management support a growing office Internet of Things (IoT). Investing in and managing connected devices is a recipe for even better facilities management and decision-making.

Office IoT is a rapidly growing segment of facilities management. In many ways, it’s also making facilities managers’ jobs easier. Take something like an occupancy sensor. Installing one in every conference room can immediately signal if the room is occupied. Sensors provide insights without manual intervention. This is the case for most integrated, automated technologies…but only if they’re properly integrated and well-managed. Facility managers play an essential role in making the most of the IoT.

Culminating in a better workplace

Each of these benefits contributes to a workplace that’s well-run, efficient, and productive. Through proactive facilities management, business executives know more about the most important part of the company: the workplace. And with that insight comes the ability to make better decisions about how to improve it.

Keep reading: why you need facility management metrics


Top Five Facility Management Trends of 2020

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

As the workplace evolves and becomes more sophisticated, the job of a facility manager becomes more robust. Each year there are new facility management trends to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the top facility management trends of 2020:

1. The expanding IoT

It’s no secret that the number of connected workplace devices is growing. If you’ve been paying attention to facilities management trends over the past few years, you’ll know that the office Internet of Things (IoT) seems to have unlimited potential. And, as more devices come to market and brands begin to distinguish themselves, these devices are being picked up at a faster rate than ever before.

Companies big and small are building out their IoT ecosystems to varying degrees of sophistication. A smaller office may only have something like an Amazon Echo unit and a couple of smart outlets with basic synergies. Larger offices may have a complete array of connected devices powering their IoT.

Regardless of a company’s involvement with the IoT, it’s a sure bet these technologies will grow to new levels of importance in 2019. Soon enough, an office without an integrated IoT will be the anomaly.

2. Data-driven decision-making

Most trends in facilities management tie back to this one: Emphasis on quantification of the workplace. Data from IoT devices and facility management software helps facilities managers understand more about how their workplace functions and what employees need to do their best work. They’re taking data and breaking it down to recognize trends, then using those insights to affect change.

Data-driven decision-making is leading to revolutionary changes in facilities management—from optimizing available office space to changing the way a work environment is managed. The result is savings on overhead costs and smarter space utilization.

3. Integrated facilities management

With the new age of Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) comes emphasis on integrated facilities management. Facilities data has traditionally been siloed, allowing managers to focus on a single aspect of the workplace. Today, workplaces are the sum of their parts, which requires managing everything as a whole.

An integrated approach to facilities management means looking at how one aspect of work affects another. For example, understanding how an open office floor plan affects space utilization is one thing; understanding how it impacts employee productivity is another. Looking at the workplace through various lenses spotlights how one variable affects another.

As workplaces become more complex, integrated facilities management is more important than ever. Taking data and decision-making out of silos and approaching it holistically is more than a trend: it’s the new standard.

4. Emphasis on employee experience

The workplace needs to not only support employees, it should invigorate them. Inspire them. Accommodate them. Even excite them. A chief trend this year is the transition to experiential workplaces. From workstations to collaborative spaces, personal areas to recreational spaces, every part of the workplace should address the question: “How does this space benefit employees?”

This trend is borne on the idea that employees who feel valued and accommodated will produce their best work and develop a connection to their employer. Moreover, an employee-centric workspace helps attract and retain top talent.

By recognizing the importance of employee experience, facilities managers can unlock new purpose and capabilities from their workplaces. Everything from the décor to the physical layout of a space matters, and everything from mood to productivity can be influenced by good facilities management.

5. Focus on flexible workspaces

Commercial real estate costs are on the rise, with no signs of stopping. This upward trend is driving more companies toward flexible workspaces. But such moves requires more oversight from facilities managers.

Hot desks, agile spaces, and activity-based workstations make up the flexible workspace movement, including coworking spaces outside of the central office. Each space enables better utilization of workplace square footage, but comes at the price of centralized management. As facility managers adapt to their role as workspace administrators, modern IWMS platforms are fast-becoming key tools for success.

Flexibility goes beyond just the physical workspace. Facilities managers now oversee hot desks, nap rooms, phone booths, and other functional areas that make the most of the workplace. It’s a trend that’s only going to grow as the workplace continues to evolve.

Stay ahead of the curve

Continuing education and awareness about key trends help facilities managers stay on top of workplace needs. Industry publications and associations are great informational resources. Networking with peers at conferences and events also opens doors to new ideas and solutions. Regardless, the workplace learning curve continues to steepen. Staying ahead of the curve requires staying up on the trends that impact your workplace the most. Read next, why facility management is important for productivity.


Four Workplace Culture Predictions for 2020 and Beyond

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

It’s no secret the workplace is evolving. It’s been changing for years now. In the last decade, we’ve gone through numerous iterations of what the “ideal” workplace looks like. What makes 2020 different from years prior is the focus on workplace culture. More change is coming down the pike and there are several workplace culture predictions to examine.

The reason it’s so important to look at trends in workplace culture is because it has a huge bearing on productivity. Happy employees do better work, provide consistency, and attract similarly good workers to your business. Even the best office layout in the world won’t save your business from low morale, which is why shaping company culture is a critical part of workplace design.

Here are four up-and-coming workplace culture trends. Getting familiar with them now means understanding how your workplace can and should be shaped around the people in it.

1. Preserving and promoting work-life balance

Across the board, one of the top predictions for the workplace culture is preserving and promoting work-life balance. This is a trend largely fueled by Gen Z’s entrance into the workforce.

Younger workers are putting more of an emphasis on life outside of work, as much or more than they focus on work itself. Gen Z has made it clear they’re willing to work, but not at the expense of their freedom. Further, they want to work at a company that understands and embraces this ideology. They demand a workplace that offers flexible hours, lifestyle conveniences, and accommodation that aligns with life’s unpredictability.

Some examples of good work-life balance include simple amenities, like an on-site gym or a quiet workplace meditation room. Child care and kitchen areas are also rising in popularity at Gen Z-friendly workplaces. Among the intangibles, flexible working hours outside of the standard 9-to-5 are highly prized, as well as the ability to work off-site.

Modern employees want to live their lives as much as they want to hold down a good job. As more choose the former over the latter, companies need to adapt workplaces to meet those needs.

2. A clear focus on health and wellness

Wellness is central in today’s modern lifestyle. There’s more variety and information than ever about diets, supplements, exercise, lifestyle choices, and mental health. Employees are taking it to heart and their views are shaping modern workplaces.

Standing desks and alternative desk options are taking over, as more data about the health implications of sitting becomes mainstream. On the mental health front, workspaces are being adapted to meet different individual needs—quiet rooms for introverts, social areas for extroverts, outdoor areas, luxury spaces, and more.

Cramped, disorganized, and distracting workplaces won’t be tolerated by workers who demand space that’s comfortable, accommodating, clean, and interesting. For companies pondering an office redesign, factoring in mental health and physical wellness is critical to good office design.

3. Remote workers and in-house staff, working in harmony

The number of remote employees exploding (read remote working trends). And for good reason. The benefits of remote working extend to companies and workers alike, making it a win-win situation.

The biggest qualm about remote working is that it fragments the workplace, creating a gap between employees who occupy traditional desks in-office and those working from home or coworking spaces. While valid, this is a concern that’s going to change sooner than most people think. Thanks to hot desks and agile workspaces, remote workers may find themselves working alongside their office counterparts more often.

Hot desks and agile spaces are flexible enough to give remote workers the freedom they crave, with the structure they need to do good work. For employers, it allows for space consolidation or maximization of square footage. Remote employees can and will work off-site, but when projects or group work brings them in-house, the gap between them and office workers is dramatically lessened.

4. The demise of the traditional office

One of the boldest predictions about the future of workplace culture is the concept that the “office” may not exist for much longer. It sounds outlandish, but there’s evidence many companies may start to shrink or even eliminate their offices in the coming months and years. Traditional workplaces are already being replaced by coworking spaces, remote workforces, and other alternatives.

Without a traditional office, workplace culture becomes of instant importance. To foster a good team, companies need to create cohesion in new and innovative ways that don’t depend on watercooler chit-chat or break room birthdays. This may mean convening at new coworking spaces, collaborating via messaging platforms, or exploring new modes of communication like video chatting.

If your office is disappearing, pay close attention to communication amongst your staff. Building a good culture through communication is the way of the future for telecommuting and cloud-based companies.

Embrace the change

Company culture plays an important role in how efficiently your workplace functions and what kind of results you get from the people in it. Taking steps to foster a progressive, supportive culture means paying attention to the shifting demands of your workforce. Follow these trends as they continue to develop in 2020 and start thinking about how you can adapt your workplace in tandem with them.


3 Corporate Real Estate Trends To Focus on in 2021

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Business owners have exceedingly high expectations of their employees. With after-hours emailing and working across departments with little training, today’s workforce is juggling a lot. But why do company executives demand so much from staff without requiring the real estate they occupy to be just as flexible and high performing? The reality is corporate real estate has stagnated for too long. Start-ups outgrow their office space before leases are halfway to term. Workers seem to spend more time out of office than in.

Compounding problems are changes that take effect in 2019 in how real estate must be accounted for, reshaping a business’s profit and loss statement. Here are three corporate real estate trends and changes that business owners and operators should focus on:

Flexible Space & Leases

People are working differently now. In 2016, 43% of the American workforce reported spending at least part of their work week out of the office. This means the needs from an office space are constantly in flux. A company could have 90% of staff in office on a single day and 20% the next. How can you plan for this? Workplace design is crucial. Creating a space with a variety of seating options, often called activity-based or agile workspace, accommodates staff members who prefer to spend each day at their own desk as well as those who spend a few hours each week at the office.

Though before a company designs its space, owners should consider the structure of their lease. Rather than signing 10- to 20-year leases, businesses need to consider the rapid growth so many young firms are experiencing and how that affects the need for space. Lease contracts are now being written with shorter terms and flexible renewal options, making it easier for businesses to budget and remain nimble as employee needs shift.

Space Management Software

Data and analytics reign supreme in the business world. They tell operators everything they need to know about their costs, staff, and productivity. So, space management software needed to adapt to meet these needs. No longer is it enough to simply monitor heating and cooling usage, life of appliances, light bulbs, and furniture. Now, business owners want information on how their space is being used by people. This line of software has expanded from managing utilities to including people management.

One key feature is analyzing space utilization and occupancy. Companies collect and use this data differently, but the result is the same. Some businesses add sensors to their offices, tracking how many people walk in the door on any given day, how much time they spend there, and how many desks are occupied. Others adopt hot-desking, in which employees reserve a desk or meeting room in advance, which shows how many employees are choosing to work remotely and how frequently. Are meeting rooms going unused? Are there not enough phone booths for private calls? Space management software answers these questions and more, which helps business understand how many bodies they need to accommodate and how to design offices to match their staff’s habits and needs.

Lease Accounting Standards

The Financial Accounting Standards Board introduced a new set of lease accounting standards in an effort to improve transparency among corporate real estate holdings. Previously, standards only required capital leases to be included in a business’s balance sheet. Now, a business must report assets and liabilities for leases that exceed 12 months. The new standards will also “require disclosures to help investors and other financial statement users better understand the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases,” including qualitative and quantitative data. With companies focusing on flexible leases and workspaces and utilizing space management software to constantly collect data, the new requirements won’t be challenging to meet.

It’s clear that all the advances in corporate real estate management are data heavy, which can only help businesses. Regularly collecting data on how a space is performing and how staff utilizes it will provide greater financial control over real estate assets and more accurate budget projections. We expect to see a more robust set of data collection tools on the market for businesses to better assess their real estate and staffing needs.


10 Largest Office Buildings in the World

By Shahar Alster
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

It would be unfair to categorize this list by tallest building because there are cities that prefer to build out than up. Based on their square footage, here are the most impressive and massive office spaces from around the globe.

  1. The Pentagon: As a government building, the Pentagon doesn’t immediately come to mind as office space. But with its 620,000 square meters, the building is home to the United States Department of Defense, serving as the frontline for innovation in strategy and technology.
  2. Place du Portage: Another government facility, but this one’s in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. The large complex contains 70 floors, stretched out over five towers holding roughly 10,000 office workers. The Ottawa River-facing complex includes pedestrian bridges that form its own type of “underground city.”
  3. Desjardins Complex: With Canadian complexes claiming the two of the top spots on this list, it’s clear they like to build wide, not tall in this North American country. With a greater number of overall floors than Place du Portage, the Desjardins Complex in Montreal, Quebec, is a mixed-use space for offices, a shopping mall, and a hotel, which is probably convenient for business travelers.
  4. Willis Tower: The name of this 110-story building might not be familiar, as it was built (and is still referred to) as the Sears Tower. Completed in 1973, it remained the tallest building in the world for nearly 25 years and the tallest in the Western Hemisphere until One World Trade Center was completed in 2014.
  5. CCTV Headquarters: Don’t worry, this Beijing building is not 389,079 square meters of closed-circuit television. CCTV is the China Central Television company located in the Beijing Central Business District. The building’s odd shape, with six vertical and horizontal stretches, earned it the nickname “big pants.”
  6. USAA Headquarters, McDermott Building: Founded in San Antonio, Texas, by 25 U.S. Army offices, the USAA is an insurance network for 12.4 million members, all of whom serve or have served in the U.S. military. Managing insurance for that many takes a lot of space, which is why the McDermott Building covers 362,322 square meters.
  7. Aon Center: The Aon Center has changed in name since its construction in 1974. It was originally the Standard Oil Building until Amoco took over. It served as headquarters for the oil conglomerates; Aon, an international consulting firm, rents space in the building for its U.S. operations.
  8. One World Trade Center: Outside of New York, it’s commonly referred to as the Freedom Tower. Within the city’s five boroughs it’s simply 1 World Trade. The skyscraper was built next to the former site of the Twin Towers and is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Underground tunnels connect the building to major transit hubs.
  9. Burj Khalifa: The United Arab Emirates prides itself on its skyscrapers, which is why the Burj Khalifa building (formerly Burj Dubai) is particularly special. The building broke multiple records, including its status as the tallest building in the world—213 meters taller than its closest competitor.
  10. Taipei 101: Formerly the Taipei World Financial Center, the Taiwan-based building was the tallest in the world until the Burj Khalifa topped out. The building is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, and is the location for China’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show.


WeWork: Now that coworking spaces are increasingly popular (learn which is better a cubicle or an open office) and a company’s workforce stretches across multiple time zones, it’s interesting to look at the total amount of office space a single company utilizes. WeWork is the biggest name in coworking and for good reason. The company currently manages 929,000-plus square meters of office space around the world. To give you a better sense, that’s more than 150 regulation soccer fields.