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Work Experience Gleaned from an Agile Environment

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

When you vet résumés for potential job candidates, the skills section can be telling. Your company might look for industry-specific skills or mentions of commonly used software or equipment. But what about experience working in an agile environment? Is that a skill you’re looking for? Is it even worth mentioning on a résumé?

In the era of agile work, experience in free-assign and flexible workplaces is important. Like any other trait in the skills section of a résumé, it speaks to that person’s ability to thrive when put in certain situations. Workplaces play a big role in how people do the job they’re hired for. Just because they have the qualifications doesn’t mean they’re equipped to do a good job in an environment they’re unfamiliar with. Conversely, someone who knows what it’s like working in an agile environment might not have any trouble getting up to speed.

Not only is experience with agile working a skill, it’s one worth looking for on incoming résumés. The newest addition to your team is likely someone familiar with the work styles and culture already present in your agile environment.

Why is prior experience important?

Consider someone who’s only ever worked in a traditional office. They have their own desk and personal private space with a phone extension and computer. Now, imagine taking these things away from that person and telling them to do the same job they’ve always done, only in an agile environment. It’s apples vs. oranges; Mac vs. PC. Say goodbye to what they know.

For most people, adapting to a new workspace is stressful enough. Change the entire dynamic of what a workplace is and your new hire may feel even more out of their element. This isn’t to say they can’t learn to embrace agile working—they’re just at a disadvantage.

What does agile workplace experience say about someone?

Experience working within an agile workspace translates into many other traits. Think about what an agile workplace represents, then track these traits back into skills:

  • Workplace agility teaches a person to adapt quickly to new situations.
  • Using different types of workplaces imbues workers with strategic understanding.
  • Collaborating in agile environments develops strong communication skills.
  • Self-managing in free-assign workplaces teaches accountability.
  • Familiarity with agile workplace systems promotes critical thinking.

All these traits come secondary to working in an agile work environment, but come with real ramifications when it comes to developing productive habits. Agile work experience shows a person’s ability to function at a high level, in an environment that’s ever-changing. This type of person is an asset to the business and someone who can continue to adapt to the demands of a growing, changing business.

If it’s not on the résumé, ask about it

Not every employee will think to put “experience working in an agile environment” in the skills section of their résumé. Employers shouldn’t overlook it during interviews and applicant surveys. Like any other skill a candidate brings to the table, agile work experience is an asset.

If your company hiring process involves a questionnaire, focus one or two of the questions on workplace experience or willingness to adapt to an agile workplace. For in-person interviews, ask pointed questions about it. “How do you feel about working in an environment that changes every day?” or “How do you adapt to environments that force constant change?” Make it clear that you operate an agile workplace and talk about what it means for your company.

Workspace conversations are much more productive in the interview phase, as opposed to after a hire. The last thing you want to do is hire the perfect candidate, only to find they’re incompatible with the workplace culture of an agile environment.

Make the transition into agile work simple

Every agile workplace has its own degree of dynamism. A workplace with 10 employees has a much different feel than one with 100 coworkers. Likewise, adapting to different types of breakout spaces, a new floor plan, and different workplace protocols is all part of easing into a new environment.

Whether they have agile work experience or not, take time to ease a new hire into your workplace. Immersion time is often lower for workers familiar with agile workspaces, but a well-run workplace will foster inclusion for anyone, experienced or not. The smoother you make the transition, the easier it is for your new hire to integrate.

Keep reading: Understanding Agile Workplace Pros and Cons

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How to Structure a Facilities Manager Résumé

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Planning to apply for a position as a facility manager? You’re in luck—there’s more demand than ever for facility professionals. Like any in-demand job, you’ll need to stand out from your peers. The best way is through a well-crafted résumé, structured to show why you’re qualified. A facility manager résumé isn’t difficult to create; you need to illustrate value with the right skills, approach, and fundamental comprehension of the position.

It’s a smart idea to take a résumé refresher before you compile yours. Format, structure, and formalities all matter. Once you’ve got the basics down, comb through section by section and highlight relevant information aligned with facilities management. Here’s what to focus on:

Objective

Your facility manager résumé objective is arguably the most important part of the CV. Put it front and center at the top of the page, right below your name and contact information. It shouldn’t be long—a couple of sentences—but it should encapsulate the ideas you want to communicate about your candidacy. Here are a few points to address:

  • Why you’re qualified to be a facility manager
  • What skills you bring to the table
  • How you plan to add value if given the position
  • What opportunities you see professionally

Think of the objective as a quick explanation for everything else to follow. Grab the hiring manager’s attention and get them to explore further. Here’s an example:

Recent graduate and newly credentialed FMP® seeking an opportunity to apply an inclination for strategic problem-solving in an established company environment. Aiming to supplement extensive education with practical experience, bringing long-term value to an organization that allows me to grow with it. Passionate about data, technology, and building positive relationships. 

Your résumé should speak to your skills, education, and abilities in a way that backs up your objective. You’ve stated what you’re looking for—now, show them how you’re qualified to achieve it.

Work Experience 

List your work experience from your most recent job through the last two or three positions you’ve had. Don’t overwhelm the hiring manager. Just show that you’ve had reliable employment going back the last few years. Even more important, list the duties and achievements from your most recent positions.

Emphasize duties and accomplishments that align with facility management objectives. For example, if you created a new system to file and retrieve documents at your old job, list it. It’s a good parallel for problem-solving something like workplace arrangement. Likewise, show real data improvements wherever possible. You need to make it clear that you understand the nature of facilities management: organization, improvement, problem-solving, and balance.

Education

Facility management is traditionally a job that requires higher education. Most companies want a Bachelor’s Degree in business—usually general business administration. Other degrees are cross-applicable, but should focus on the fundamentals of business management. You should feel comfortable with the basic ins and outs of business, and understand the impact of business policy on production and the workforce.

List your degree, the institution you received it from, the dates attended, and any accolades you graduated with. It’s also smart to list your minor if you studied one, even if you don’t think it applies. Many companies want to see not only a relevant degree, but that you were a capable and successful college student. College is tough! Don’t sell yourself short on accomplishments. Show that you buckled down and came out the other side with a well-rounded skill set—not just what it takes to do one specific job.

Certifications, Accreditations, and Memberships

Last, but certainly not any less important on a facility manager résumé, is a section for certifications, accreditations, and memberships. Here’s where you’ll list your IFMA certifications, facility management or building accreditations, and any industry memberships related to facility management.

It’s an important section that can boost your reputability as a seasoned FM or show your tenacity as a budding professional. If you have experience as a facility manager, this section shows you’re an active participant in this evolving industry. If you don’t have the work experience, emphasis on this section shows your dedication to the pursuit of a fruitful career in the field. Either way, make sure you’ve got certifications, accreditations, and memberships specific to the industry.

Don’t forget a cover letter

When finished, you should have a résumé that speaks to one specific thing: your desire to work as a facility manager. Read it, re-read it, and let a friend review it to make sure your message and qualifications are clear. A good rule of thumb? Your résumé should sound out of context for any other job other than a facility manager—that’s how you know it’s specific and tailored. Want to make sure you’ve got the right tone? Check out a few facilities manager sample ideas to get a sense of tone, buzzwords, and structure.

And don’t forget a cover letter. Your cover letter is a personal introduction and one of the best ways to stand out from other applicants with your same skill set and desire. It’s your shot to put a personality to the list of work experience and qualifications attached. Good luck!

Keep reading: The Modern Facilities Management Job Description

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Coworking vs. Traditional Office Pros and Cons

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Professionals have a lot of choices in how they work these days. Not only is the workplace environment changing, remote working is also popular. Employees now have the choice to come into work for a traditional day at the office or check into one of the many established coworking spaces in their city. It presents an important choice, which in turn prompts a moment of introspection.

Given the options of coworking vs. traditional office work, which suits you better?

It’s easy to jump to conclusions and take stock in emotions when making your choice. But it’s worth first looking at things logically. What kind of worker are you? What kind of environment do you need? What professional traits do you have that lend themselves to one work environment over the other? Look at the pros and cons of each situation before making a choice.

Coworking: Pros and cons

What are the pros and cons of coworking space vs. traditional office? It comes down to a greater level of autonomy and a person’s ability to adapt to that freedom. Coworking tends to attract workers who have good time management and organization—they need to set (and keep) their schedules to stay productive outside of being directly managed. Coworking also means getting out of your comfort zone and normal routine, so it’s not for the skittish or those who prefer rigid structure.

Check out some of the top pros and cons of coworking to understand why it works for some, but not others.

Pros

  • The freedom to work where and when you want
  • Change of scenery can be good for mental stimulation
  • Ability to book different types of workspaces for different lengths of time
  • Choice of many different types of coworking spaces and themes
  • Opportunities for socialization with other professionals

Cons

  • Open office environment makes it hard to find privacy
  • Can be louder or more distracting than a traditional workplace
  • No face-to-face, in-person access to peers and coworkers
  • Not guaranteed a seat or any seating consistency
  • May not include perks like parking or break room

If you’re not willing or able to create your own framework for productivity, coworking might not be for you. If you prefer predictability and do better with a clearly defined path to travel, there’s no shame in preferring a traditional office workplace.

Traditional offices: Pros and cons

In deciding between a coworking space or traditional office, many people gravitate toward the idea of “more freedom” with coworking. But there’s a catch: less predictability. That difference in perspective is why many people are keen on traditional office work.

If you’re someone who likes having a clear, specific roadmap for the day and values routine, look to a traditional office. A structured workplace also gives you access to peers and amenities in ways remote working can’t offer. For many, choosing a traditional office is a prime example of the adage, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Here’s why traditional offices appeal to some and why others choose to embrace remote working:

Pros

  • Familiar working structure and expectations
  • Direct, in-person access to peers and managers
  • Inclusive amenities including parking, IT help, etc.
  • Comfort from a routine, including commute
  • Feeling of inclusion and not “missing out” on workplace happenings

Cons

  • More rigid oversight and management
  • Susceptible to monotony or “brain drain” from the same routine
  • Much higher leasing and facilities upkeep costs
  • Can be harder to adapt to changes in real-time
  • Feeling of isolation that comes with a 9-5 schedule

Is there a right answer?

Given the choice between a coworking space vs. office work environment, which suits you better? There is no right answer—only an individual one.

If you’re a driven, independent worker with great time management and a mastery of digital communication, coworking is likely an appealing proposition. If you like structure and order, and feel more confident when you’re collaborating with your peers face-to-face, traditional office work likely suits you. If you’re somewhere in-between, take the opportunity to work fluidly between the two.

The great thing about the workplace is that there’s no longer a norm—only what works.

Keep reading: 7 Reasons to Use Coworking Software

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Who Should Sit Where in the Office?

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

It’s a question that occurs in businesses of all sizes: “Who should sit where in the office?” On the surface, it seems to be a simple question, albeit one that’s usually motivated by people with their own ideas of how things should be. And, it’s often followed by a barrage of negativity. Why should Jim get the big office? How come Karen gets a window? Does Marketing really need all that space?

The office seating arrangement doesn’t have to be a divisive topic. Everyone will have their own preference and ideas about how things should be. Businesses shouldn’t ignore the individual voices—but also shouldn’t be held hostage by them when it comes to optimizing seat allocation.

Developing a seating arrangement that works for everyone takes a top-down approach, macro to micro. Businesses that consider seating from a hierarchical standpoint will have a better understanding of who should sit where and why.

Full-time employees vs. variable workforce

The first consideration of any sitting arrangement in offices is who, specifically, is “in the office.” Plan for the variables you know and can control: the people who come to work each day and consistently occupy space. Planning around contractors, remote workers, consultants, and other variable workers is fruitless. Their in-office capacity can change on a whim. While these folks still need space, their needs are secondary to in-house employees.

Accounting for in-house workers looks different depending on your general office concept. For assigned seating, each person needs a desk or workstation to call their own—a 1:1 desking ratio. In flexible, collaborative work environments, it’s better to look more at general capacity—10 seats to accommodate 10 people.

Once you guarantee a seat for each in-house employee, turn your attention to figuring out the balance between remaining space and an acceptable number of flexible seats.

Consult your stack plan

Once you know the total number of needed seats, consider where to locate them. It’s the best way to see, on a macro scale, where groups are, how many seats they occupy, and where within the building they can be accommodated is through your stack plan.

Stack planning informs more granular decisions. There’s no sense planning space for 25 Marketing employees on the third floor when there’s only space for 15. Likewise, before you designate seats for 25 Marketing employees in their current space, you might decide to move them to the fourth floor, where there’s seating for 30.

The key: Place groups before you place people. Groups demands more space, so avoid breaking them up. Organize the stack plan in a way that promotes cohesiveness within groups and synergies across departments.

Seating by floor

With each group relegated to the correct floor, it’s time to arrange departments by floor. This is where seat allocation software is useful.

Look at a complete plan of a specific floor. Then, determine how many seats are in each business group on that floor. Try to place business groups in spaces conducive to how they work. For example, Marketing may be better suited for a benching concept in an open office, as opposed to Human Resources, which may require more conference rooms or traditional office space. Balance this with finding areas large or small enough to support the entire department’s seating needs.

The final piece of the puzzle is determining proximity to amenities. Put departments where it makes sense, not just where they fit.

Seating by space

Seat allocation in office happens at an individual level. Decisions will make the greatest impact on office morale and address individual concerns.

Seating by space is easier once you’ve established floor and area plans. But it’s still difficult because individual spaces have their pros and cons: Lots of natural light, but located near a fire exit; Room to stretch out and sprawl, but in a highly trafficked area. Balancing positives and negatives is the key to appeasing staff.

Office concepts also impact seat allocation. An open-air concept has less seat diversity than an agile environment. It’s best to commit to a desking concept first and let it predicate seating options. In most cases, employees will gravitate to seating that supports their workstyle. From there, it’s up to space planners to recognize what works and what doesn’t, then adjust the seating plan or seat allocation.

Make seat allocation a strategic priority

Seating matters whether you’re a handful of people in a tiny workspace or a multinational corporation occupying most of a skyscraper. Where people sit impacts how they interact with their workplace and coworkers.

Placing desks, groups, and individuals is a puzzle, but not an impossible one to solve. Follow these steps and look at seating from a broad-to-narrow perspective. Most importantly, make sure each group and every person has a seat conducive to helping them succeed.

Keep reading: Planning Your Workplace with Office Space Software

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Coworking Space Etiquette: Critical for Success

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

One of the biggest points of contention in coworking is the lack of personal space. Your desk is only yours for as long as you occupy it—when you leave, it becomes someone else’s workstation. Even while you’re there, the space you occupy is communal. Unfortunately, not everyone operates the same way with regard to office etiquette. We know why coworking space is important, but when you get enough people in the same space and personalities will clash over things like cleanliness, noise, and habits. This is why established coworking space etiquette is paramount.

Giving everyone the same baseline expectations for how to behave in a coworking space goes a long way toward alleviating friction and tension. The rules can be as specific as they need to be, but simply providing guidance for good behavior is often enough to keep the peace. Think about a library, for example. Every person knows to keep a reasonably quiet volume and not bother the people around them. The concept is much the same for coworking.

Whether it’s noise, distracting habits, area organization, or other specific issues, make sure everyone knows the guidelines. Getting people to follow coworking space etiquette is critical for the success of the workplace.

Common courtesy and coworking

Before formulating coworking space rules, consider common courtesy. What should you reasonably expect from people, and what do they reasonably expect from each other? Much of your open workspace etiquette comes from these expectations.

For example, if your coworking space is more of a social environment, can you reasonably expect people to talk in whispers? Probably not. The good news is a social atmosphere likely won’t create that expectation for visitors. They’ll expect to chat at normal volume with fellow workers and group-mates.

Now, consider the other end of the spectrum. With 20 to 30 people in a space, the volume is liable to get a little loud. Again, this is a reasonable expectation. That said, there’s an implied etiquette of not yelling. People chatting at a regular volume are still working and not bothering others around them doing the same. Someone yelling across the room is a disruptor and such outbursts shouldn’t be condoned.

It sounds like common sense…and it should be! Good etiquette is common courtesy in most cases. It’s a matter of looking at the reasonable expectations for your coworking space and setting standards based on them. Whether it’s noise level, behavior, or a dress code, when you set etiquette guidelines, you’re also implying the standard.

Respect for others and the workplace

Addressing collaboration space etiquette standards can be more difficult than it seems. It’s easy to post rules and hope people follow them. But sooner or later there’s bound to be a disruption. Someone talking too loudly. A person bothering others. An issue with behavior or hygiene. These situations don’t resolve themselves just because you post rules.

Enforcing coworking etiquette rules shows you’re committed to the standards of the space—posted or implied. Unfortunately, addressing them can mean confrontation. Even in the wrong, some people will push back on being asked to observe common courtesy. In these situations, take the following approach to preserve the integrity of the environment:

  • Reiterate the etiquette standard they’re violating
  • Emphasize the communal nature of the space
  • Explain how their disruption affects others
  • Politely recommend a better habit or solution

No one likes confrontation. This approach shows reason and upholds the established etiquette of the workspace for the greater good of everyone in it. It’s often as simple as saying:

“I see you’re on the phone. Unfortunately, your conversation is a bit disruptive to those around you. Are you able to talk a little quieter, so everyone is able to concentrate? Otherwise, we do offer a lobby where you can take your call at full volume.”

Set the etiquette. Enforce the etiquette. Preserve the integrity of the space. It’s an imperative approach to ensuring a collaborative space stays accessible, comfortable, and usable by a broad population. Letting a few etiquette rules slide could snowball into a deviation of expectations. When people aren’t sure of expectations, how can they be expected to meet them?

A few simple etiquette tips

How do you develop shared office etiquette everyone can abide by? Go back to common courtesies and the expectations people have for your space. While etiquette standards will vary by space, there are a few baseline expectations that’ll never change. Here are a few tips for kicking off etiquette rules:

  • Leave the space just as you found it and remember every occupant is temporary
  • Match your volume to those around you or lower it to avoid disruption
  • Maintain an acceptable level of personal space around the area you occupy
  • Keep electronics and personal devices silenced or on vibrate mode
  • Don’t bother others and if you need to get their attention, be respectful
  • Don’t monopolize space or resources; remember everything is communal
  • Be friendly and respectful to those around you

Again, every coworking or collaborative space will come with its own etiquette expectations. These serve as the baseline for keeping people etiquette-minded and cognizant of their place in a communal space.

Create a standard for coworking behavior

Every public place has rules of etiquette—some posted, some assumed, and the rest implied. A coworking space needs the same to succeed. Establishing etiquette helps bring everyone to the same understanding for what’s acceptable and what’s not. A code encourages good behavior and reduces friction, allowing everyone to focus on getting the most out of their coworking experience for as long as they occupy their space.

Keep reading: Solve Problems with Coworking Spaces.

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How to Become a Facility Manager

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Until present day, facility management wasn’t really a distinguished career path. Large corporations and multinational conglomerates used facility managers, but it was more of a specialized need than a staple position. Today, it’s different. Facility management is projected to be a nearly $60B industry by 2023. Companies of all sizes understand the benefits that come from well-managed facilities. As a result, candidates for the positions are in high demand.

To meet estimates, the number of qualified facility managers needs to grow at an exponential rate. And it’s already happening. Facility manager hirings are booming, leading up-and-coming workplace professionals into the field. The problem is getting on the facility management career track isn’t always a clear path. Here’s what you need to know:

Institutional education

The path to facility management certification starts with a bachelor’s degree. A general degree in business will often do, however, more companies are looking for more specialized areas of study in the next generation of facility managers. Business administration is a smart choice, as is information systems management, and operations management.

Ideally, it’s best to pursue a business degree that emphasizes macro concepts and broad business ideals. Don’t worry if you leave school feeling like you don’t know too much about facilities management. The goal of institutional education is to provide you with the acumen to identify and address workplace operational needs.

Note: Some colleges and universities are offering facility management degrees. As of writing, these degrees aren’t widespread and not yet recognized by industry governing bodies like IFMA.

Continuing education

Continuing education for facility managers builds on the business concepts learned in school, with a specific focus on facilities. Industry organizations and accrediting bodies like the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) and other organizations offer continuing education and accreditation specific to facilities management.

IFMA has more than 50 training modules for aspiring facility managers. Depending on the certification you pursue, you’ll take many of them. Pass and you’re well on your way to walking away with a facility management certificate to go with your bachelor’s degree in business.

Certification and training

Facility management training comes down to each individual’s area of focus. There are several certifications that emphasize different aspects of facility management—from a general issues, sustainability, and analytics. Almost all major FM certifications come from IFMA, including the five most popular:

Most industry professionals opt for CFM or FMP certification, since they’re the most applicable when pursuing a facility management career. Some industries demand SFP designation based on company goals. MRICS and AssocRICS are extensions of CFM and FMP certification.

Read: Eight facilities manager interview questions.

Industry trends and insights

Beyond institutional education and certification through an accredited body, it’s also good for budding professionals to develop a robust understanding of the industry they’re getting into. This can be as simple as following relevant blogs and newsletters. It’s also smart to join industry groups to get a feel for the dialog used by future colleagues and peers. Attending one or two events on the conference circuit isn’t a bad idea either—namely major events like IFMA World Workplace and the annual CoreNet Global Summit.

Remember that facilities management is in a renaissance and will continue evolving as workplace technologies develop. Staying abreast of industry trends and insights is smart for any aspiring facility manager and the duty of any established professional.

Recognize opportunities to apply your skills

Outside of following the right education and career tracks, it’s important to develop professional skills befitting a facility manager. Problem solving and the ability to examine macro and micro trends top the list. Analytical skills and organization aren’t far behind. It’s also important to have good communication skills—facility managers are often trailblazers for workplace change and improvement, which means communicating benefits to different groups (C-suite, managers, employees, etc.).

Cultivating these skills alongside proper education and training sets the stage for innovative facility management. Facility managers able to affect positive change in their workplaces will enjoy long-tenured careers doing what they love: solving problems.

Keep reading: What does a facility management salary look like?

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Why is Coworking Space Important?

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

As more companies embrace remote work options, coworking spaces help them fill a unique void. They look like an office without the rigidity of one. Coworking offers social opportunities, networking prospects, and general human interaction in place of the isolation of working strictly from home. There’s a lot to love about coworking. But why is coworking space important? What impact will it have as the workforce continues to evolve?

Coworking isn’t only about accommodating remote workers. It’s important to commercial real estate because it benefits both companies and their employees equally. Coworking takes the most important and expensive business cost—the workplace—and turns it into a service. The space-as-a-service model unburdens balance sheets and creates workforce flexibility.

Outside of cloud computing technologies, coworking stands to be the biggest driver in the next evolution of how, where, and when we work.

A quick look at coworking space pros and cons

The reason behind coworking’s growing importance has to do with its balance of benefits vs. drawbacks. Coworking space pros and cons are simple and equally proportioned, but the value of benefits significantly outweighs any drawbacks. Take a look:

Benefits

Coworking benefits both companies and employees. For companies, it’s all about cost savings. On the employee side, it’s about having the freedom to work in a way that’s best for every individual. As the demise of the traditional workplace creates more remote workers, benefits will increase:

  • Allows employees to work remotely in a professional setting
  • May prove more cost-effective for businesses, opposed to a larger lease
  • Improves networking opportunities for mobile workers
  • Zero maintenance involved in facility upkeep
  • Pay-as-you-go and membership models offer flexibility to professionals
  • Diverse space types, from individual workstations to group spaces
  • Accommodates almost all work hours

Drawbacks

Most coworking drawbacks revolve around the openness of the space. Diverse people working in an equally diverse space means distractions. Moreover, there’s a general lack of hierarchy and order, which takes some getting used to for both companies and employees. The good news is that many of coworking’s downsides simply require new habits and familiarity to overcome.

  • Lack of permanence and dedicated personal space for traditional employees
  • Lack of privacy and excess of noise and distractions can be hard to cope with
  • Potential for personality conflicts between random individuals
  • Cost prohibitive to companies with rapidly growing space needs
  • Issues stemming from decentralized workers and lack of direct oversight
  • Desk availability isn’t always guaranteed (even with reservations)

Are coworking spaces worth it? As demand for flexible work environments grows, commercial real estate costs rise, and employees enter the remote workforce, coworking becomes even more important. Based on the breakdown of pros and cons, many companies see them as an invaluable part of their business strategy.

Keeping pace with an evolving workforce

The benefits of coworking add up to something pivotal for the world’s workforce. It’s an opportunity to reinvent the workplace, giving workers the stability of a traditional work environment, and the flexibility inherent to remote work. It’s quickly becoming the new standard.

Work is becoming something without borders or barriers. People work in shifts around the clock, 24 hours a day to earn a living. What’s more, anyone can work from anywhere to get their paycheck. Coworking supports every worker, everywhere, no matter their job description or duties. If they can work remotely, they benefit from coworking; and so do the businesses they work for.

The space-as-a-service model changes the way companies function, too. By taking the most expensive element of work and turning it into a service, coworking companies maximize the value of physical workspace. Companies spend no time worrying about how to arrange desks or what their space optimization is. Coworking providers do this for them. This leaves companies free to focus on investing in their people, instead of space. In turn, employees get the tools and assistance they need to do their jobs better.

Coworking creates flexibility

If there’s one trait prided above all in the workforce today, it’s adaptability. Being flexible in how, where, and when work gets done, without compromising on the quality and efficacy of that work, is invaluable to companies. Coworking spaces enable this flexibility, allowing more of the workforce to be adaptable to changing demands. In lieu of a traditional workplace, companies are realizing how vital coworking is in enabling their employees. It’s hard to overstate the importance of coworking in the shift to a more remote, autonomous workforce.

Keep reading: Why Use Coworking Space?

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

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

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

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

What does an office manager do?

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

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

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

How to become an office manager

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

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

What does a facility manager do?

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

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

How to become a facility manager

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

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

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

Both play an important role in the workplace

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

Keep reading: Ins and Outs of Facility Management Certification

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What Does a Facility Management Salary Look Like?

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

One of the most important aspects of any job is the salary. How much you’re paid has a major impact on whether the job is worth taking. That said, there’s often a lot of variability in facility management salaries—especially in an up-and-coming job market like workplace management.

How much can you expect to earn as a facility manager? That depends on several factors. Your experience, the company you apply to, demand for the position, geographic market, and myriad other variables determine the minimum and maximum salary you can earn. Let’s take a look at some of the variables to keep in mind when evaluating facility management salaries.

Average facility management salary

It’s good to have a benchmark of the average salary or a full range of facility manager salaries. Not only does this give context to a position, it also helps determine potential for future salary growth.

The problem with “average” is that it varies. Salary.com puts the range of pay for facility managers between $83,142 and $110,950 each year. Meanwhile, employment analytics firm Glassdoor suggest the annual pay may be closer to $41,000 to $100,000. That’s quite a variance.

The best way to get an average is to find a website or service that factors in the chief variables affecting salary. Payscale.com is a good example of a service offering these tools. Given the right information, it’s possible to parse down the min/max range of a salary to a single average number for someone in your position.

Factors determining salary

There are some major factors at play when determining a fair salary. Facilities management jobs vary in and of themselves, which can affect how much a company is willing to pay. Getting a sense of what’s appropriate comes down to dissecting the variables:

  • Geography: Cost of living varies greatly by state. In Salt Lake City, $1,000 is going to buy a lot more than it will in New York City. A facility manager in Utah may make great money at $65,000 a year. But that would be lackluster for someone in New York, where the same job may net $110,000 a year.
  • Experience: The longer you work, the more you know and the more you bring to the table. Someone with 10 years’ experience in facility management is going to jump right in and instantly know how to do things—opposed to someone fresh out of college with no tenure. Companies pay more to shorten the learning curve.
  • Company: A multinational company with a million-dollar facilities management budget can afford to pay a facility manager more than a small startup watching every penny. Moreover, the number of managed workspaces can change the role—and the pay—of a facility manager.
  • Education: Institutional education bumps earning potential higher depending on the type of degree. Someone with a bachelor’s degree in business administration will earn more than a high school graduate. More education means more practical knowledge and high-level thinking that drives workplace growth.
  • Certification: Specialized certifications and accreditations push the bar for salary higher because they indicate specialized knowledge. Companies will pay more to tap into that knowledge because it’s likely to generate a higher return on investment.

Other factors also influence salary, but are less impactful. Demand for the position can make the going salary more competitive. Similarly, the industry itself may drive salaries higher or lower. For example, an industrial plant facility manager may have more complex duties compared to someone managing an accounting office.

The potential to salary increases

Starting at one salary level doesn’t lock you into that salary. Like any position, upward mobility and tenure impact pay. An assistant facility manager salary isn’t the same as a facilities director salary. Recognizing opportunities to increase salary is important for professional growth. Some examples include:

  • Obtaining new IFMA certifications
  • Learning and mastering new facilities management software and applications
  • Spearheading smart office initiatives that produce measurable workplace ROI
  • Reaching certain periods of tenure with the company
  • Assuming more responsibility as the company expands and evolves

These situations are jump-off points for revisiting salary demands. Each demonstrates the importance of facility management and shows you’re a valuable asset to the company.

Industry trends and salary

Final topic to add to the salary conversation: industry trends. Companies are willing to pay for the knowledge and skills necessary to help them streamline their workplace. The facility manager is key to business success. As demand for qualified professionals grows and more companies start to realize the value of space management, salaries will also grow.

Keep reading: The top facility management job titles.

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Ins and Outs of Facility Management Certification

By Tamara Sheehan
Director of Business Management
SpaceIQ

Certifications are a great way to let potential employers know you’re up-to-speed and knowledgeable when applying for jobs. And the benefits don’t stop there. Certified facility management (FM) professionals are likely to net a higher salary and grab the attention of larger, well-established businesses.

But what type of certification do you need? How long does it take? What are the real benefits, beyond landing the job you’re applying for? Let’s take a look at FM certification and what it means for this industry—starting with where to get it.

Types of certifications

Someone has to set the standard for the industry. Accredited governing bodies and organizations award certifications based on universally recognized standards. These institutions have a hand in developing everything from the training curricula to the renewal standards for industry-focused certifications.

In the facilities management field, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is that organization. Almost all major FM certifications come from IFMA, including the five most popular and in-demand:

Depending on your professional focus, any one of these certifications is enough to pull your name to the top of the CV pile. But having the title isn’t enough. You also need the body of knowledge that comes with it. Like any certification in any industry, to get the title you need to undergo rigorous education and training.

Institutional education

Currently, a facilities management degree isn’t something offered by most colleges and universities. Though some do, such degrees aren’t recognized by industry governing bodies. Instead, most colleges offer a degree in administrative services—a catchall spanning broad topics like business, engineering, information management, and, of course, facility management.

Just because there’s no facility management-specific degree doesn’t mean institutional education isn’t important. Studying to be an administrative services manager is a crucial first step toward FM certification. Broad exposure to the many facets of business administration helps when the time comes to narrow focus on facilities. And, in today’s competitive workforce, a bachelor’s degree in business is a crucial prerequisite for any workplace management position.

Professional certifications

The real path to facility management professional certification starts once you have your degree. Using the knowledge gleaned from studying administrative services, an individual can enroll in IFMA professional development and certificate programs. This is the direct route to credentialing.

IFMA certifications come after passing modules that teach standard practice and specialized understanding of the modern FM role. The process is relatively low cost, however it requires engaged focus on learning high-level concepts, terms, and fundamentals. Modules span all facets of facilities management—building maintenance, energy management, employee safety, budgeting, and countless others. Examples include:

  • Annual and Capital Budgeting for Facility Management Operations
  • How Integrated Project Delivery and BIM Provide Value for Capital Projects
  • Fundamentals of Corporate Real Estate
  • Construction Management Delivery Options

As of writing, IFMA has more than 50 training modules. Not all of them are required for every FM certification, but all are useful in understanding modern-day facilities management.

Ongoing training

Like other professions with evolving standards and practices, facility managers should concern themselves with Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Because there’s no physical facility management school or steadfast degree programs, professionals must accumulate CEUs to show continued compliance with evolving standards.

Facility professionals earn CEUs by completing IFMA modules or attending conferences and seminars hosted by the organization. Each certification requires a certain number of CEUs to remain valid year-over-year. It’s a fundamental system for ensuring industry standards are upheld.

Certification goes beyond titles

Whether you’re a FMP, CFM, or SFP, what matters is the knowledge behind the title. Facility management certification represents more than time and money spent taking courses and completing modules. The certificate represents a definitive understanding of facility management expectations in today’s workplace. This is what’s most valuable to companies.

Your title may move your CV to the top of the applicant stack or net you a higher annual salary, but it also guarantees a great return on investment for the company hiring you. The knowledge and initiatives you bring to the table are instrumental in optimizing the workplace and everything it touches, including the balance sheet, employee satisfaction, productivity, and culture.

Keep reading: What is a CAFM Specialist?