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CMMS for Schools Promotes Functional Facilities

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

More and more, a school or university is a dynamic environment. Kids aren’t sitting idle in classes anymore, watching teachers at the front of the room. In the age of flipped classrooms and immersive learning environments, students are on-the-move, using more of the facilities around them. They rely on educational institutions for support, which makes it imperative for administrators to answer this expectation with CMMS for schools.

CMMS software enables rapid action from in-house maintenance and facilities staff to ensure the school’s resources, amenities, and facilities function as-expected. From IT support to janitorial and beyond, CMMS aligns the school’s support staff with the needs and expectations of the people using facilities—students, teachers, parents, and administrators alike.

Here’s a look at the role CMMS platforms play in facility maintenance and building upkeep, and the role these services ultimately have in the educational experience.

What is CMMS school maintenance software used for?

Whether it’s an elementary school with a couple hundred students or a college campus that plays host to thousands of learners, educational facilities face daily wear and tear. Facilities need upkeep to stay functional day in and day out. CMMS software helps maintenance and support staff stay on top of these needs as they arise, in order to minimize downtime and ensure resources are always available for the people who need them.

CMMS platforms serve as a single source of intake and organization for support tickets and routine maintenance tasks. When a teacher submits an IT support ticket to have her projector fixed or the janitorial staff needs a replacement set of recycling bins for a classroom, these tasks queue into the CMMS, where they’re sorted and processed, and eventually addressed. The system itself makes sure services get assigned to the right person, billed to the right cost center, and archived accordingly.

In simplest terms: a school CMMS system ensures the many maintenance needs of facilities get taken care of in a cost-efficient, timely manner.

The benefits of CMMS for colleges and schools

A CMMS platform is a central management system for the broad maintenance and upkeep tasks present in educational facilities. As a result, it’s also the best place to look for cost-saving opportunities, efficient approaches to upkeep, and data for improving maintenance operations. Here’s a look at some of the broad benefits associated with CMMS:

  • Better budgeting for recurring and routine repairs and maintenance
  • Better cost allocation and expensing to different cost centers
  • Expedited time to repair for support tickets and maintenance requests
  • Improved planning for capital improvements and large projects
  • More organized ticketing and task allocation through a CMMS
  • Archived repair and maintenance tickets for reference in the future
  • Access to prior servicing data and notes, to facilitate better future service
  • Automations to reduce time, cost, and manpower affiliated with repairs

There’s an expectation that the assets and amenities within the learning environment will be accessible when teachers and students need them. CMMS makes it easy to track and monitor service tickets and requests, to ensure they’re well-maintained and available at all times. The result isn’t just a better educational experience—there’s also school pride and satisfaction to consider, especially at the university level where tuition and enrollment costs tend to be top-of-mind.

How to implement CMMS school maintenance software

The approach to implementing CMMS software depends on the scale. The rollout for a single elementary school or satellite building is much simpler than for an entire college campus. Facility managers need to first understand this scope, then identify the features and capabilities of software that ensure it meets expectations.

For schools with existing CMMS software or some other form of maintenance request management, look for ways to automate data transfer to a modern CMMS. This can include extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL) data into the new software, or importing critical maintenance data and tweaking it manually. There may also be the ability to directly port data from a legacy system into a new cloud-based environment.

If the CMMS and digital maintenance management are brand-new concepts for a school, it’s important to focus on setup and establish the system correctly from day one. This means establishing rules and hierarchies, and ensuring data get sorted, logged, and aggregated accordingly. It’s also important to consider integrations and automations that can assist in auto-populating the CMMS, from incoming ticket submissions to the archival of complete requests. Over time, thorough setup will coalesce into a system that works as-intended to provide support to facility professionals at both the building and campus levels.

The bottom line on CMMS software for schools

Educational facilities are only as effective as they’re maintained to be. If resources and amenities aren’t functional, students can’t take advantage of them, which hinders the learning experience. Conversely, well-maintained facilities empower educators and enable students. From in-classroom technologies to common-area facilities, it all needs to work for students to benefit.

CMMS platforms for schools put facility maintenance teams at the forefront of addressing problems where and when they arise. And, with as much traffic and use as educational facilities see, CMMS gives them a much-needed edge in planning for and budgeting against the ever-present needs of these facilities.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools

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Blog

Six Major Functions of CMMS for Schools

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

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

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

What is CMMS?

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

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

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

Functions of CMMS for schools and colleges

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

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

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

Keep facilities accessible to eager learners

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

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

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

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

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

By Danielle Moore
Director, Channel Marketing
SpaceIQ

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

What is the American Rescue Plan?

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

Government Agencies

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

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

Healthcare Facilities

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

Public Schools

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

Improving technology to repair and thrive

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

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

Navigating workplace changes with IWMS software

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

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

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

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

Easily access the tools and technology you need

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

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

Federal

CIO-CS, HHSN316201500012W

GSA Multiple Award Schedules GS-35F-267DA

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

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

Department of Defense ITAM ESI

State

GSA Multiple Award Schedules GS-35F-267DA

Commonwealth of Kentucky Multi-Vendor Master Agreement, MA758 070000217538

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

State of Maryland Multi-Vendor COTS IDIQ, 06B02490021

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

State of Ohio Multi-Vendor IDIQ, 534042

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

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

State of Texas DIR, DIR-TSO-4384

TIPS, 180503

TIPS, 200105

TIPS, 200102

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

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

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Blog

Space Planning for Schools: A Bird’s Eye View

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

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

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

What is space planning for schools, colleges and universities?

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

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

Examples of space planning on campuses

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

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

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

The benefits of space planning for schools

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

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

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

Tying space planning with campus operations

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

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

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

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools

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Blog

Move Management for Schools

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

College campuses are often compared to beehives for good reason: they’re continuously abuzz with movement and activity. Students travel to and from class, professors trek across campus to teach, support staff prepare facilities, and common areas are epicenters for everything that happens in-between. To coordinate it all and reduce congestion, move management for schools needs to be a priority.

While it might seem impossible to control the constant ebb and flow of bodies from place-to-place on campus, there are actually significant control factors. Where students attend class might dictate where they choose to adjourn to after. Likewise, the time of day influences how they’ll get to a particular area. Dozens of small factors like this congeal into the concept of move management. When you understand when and where people are traveling, you can influence how they get there.

Here’s a look at what move management means in the context of a college campus and how facility managers can take a more intuitive approach to alleviating campus friction.

What is move management?

Move management for colleges and schools involves orchestrating space so it’s accessible by those who need it. Nowhere is this more evident on a college campus than in the classroom itself.

Take, for example, an amphitheater-style lecture hall that seats 100 students. If the average class size is 30 students, it’s unlikely the school needs many amphitheater-style spaces. Instead, it’ll rely on a handful to house the more prolific undergrad classes with 80+ students in attendance. Facilitating a schedule that accommodates multiple classes in the same room during the day is a common form of move management.

Another common form of move management on campus occurs when dealing with multi-purposed facilities. Take the student union, for example. Today, there’s an art exhibition; tomorrow, there’s a job fair; next week, it’ll play host to a guest speaker. There’s a degree of prep and turnover associated with each instance, which falls under the purview of move management. How can facility managers get people into and out of that space in an orderly fashion?

Variables that influence campus movement

Move management on campuses is a tall order because it involves so many different dynamics, spanning thousands of people at any given time.

Take the amphitheater-style lecture hall example from above. To facilitate setup and transition of this space takes consideration for not only the room itself and the people using it, but also its context on campus. If facilities managers want to create a seamless interaction, they need to consider the space and all the reasons people have to interact with it:

  • Where a class is scheduled to take place
  • When a class is scheduled to take place
  • Amenities and conveniences in a particular location
  • Context of a particular location within the broader campus
  • Access options for a particular building or space

An easier way to look at the variables influencing campus movement is to run down the major Ws: who, what, where, why, and when. Clear answers to these questions can give facility managers the insights they need to dictate how students and faculty interact with their environment.

The benefits of move management for schools

A well-orchestrated campus ensures a frictionless environment for students, faculty, staff, and anyone else navigating from one space to another. This ultimately improves campus experience—including making it easier for students to settle in and learn, and to interact with campus resources more freely.

There’s also a facilities optimization component attached to move management. Classrooms and workspaces that sit idle are a drain on utilization. Facility managers that can finesse transitions from one class to the next in a single space do more to improve the utilization metrics of that space, and the ROI of campus buildings.

Finally, there’s order and organization to consider. These two variables are hard to come by on a college campus with so many independent individuals present. Move management creates structure in a fundamental way, which has a ripple effect on how people behave on campus. It’s less likely a student will visit Building A on Tuesdays if they don’t have any classes there. This translates to crowd control and better navigability for other students who do have a class there—and for the students after them who’ll occupy that same space.

Consider the campus ecosystem

While comparing it to a beehive is often a jest, it’s actually an apt comparison. Beehives are surprisingly organized, and every bee knows exactly where it’s going and how to get there. It’s chaos, but organized chaos. The same is true for college campuses. Move management can turn the everyday erratic movements of students and faculty into carefully designed ebbs and flows that make life on campus easier for everyone.

By controlling the factors that influence how people move on campus, facility managers can ensure freedom of movement for people to get where they need to go, when they need to get there. Instead of getting stymied at a major thoroughfare or clogging up the hallway outside a popular lecture hall, move management ensures proper utilization with minimal overlap—so the entire campus can stay busy as bees.

Keep reading: Move Management Checklist

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Blog

Seven Benefits of Wayfinding for Colleges

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Every year, colleges across the country welcome a new crop of students. They join upperclassmen, faculty, maintenance staff, support workers, and dozens of other groups present on campus. And, for the first few weeks of the year, campus is relatively chaotic as everyone figures out their new routine. Universities looking to ease this chaos benefit enormously from wayfinding.

Wayfinding doesn’t just help the new crop of students get their bearings; it’s useful to anyone on campus, no matter how well they already know the environment. It’s important to remember that wayfinding isn’t only about knowing where things are or how to get to them—it’s also about navigating the space fluidly. As campus operations directors and facility managers seek to improve the campus experience for everyone on it, wayfinding stands as a great opportunity.

What is wayfinding?

Wayfinding is a support system that helps students, faculty, staff, visitors, and anyone else on a college campus understand where they are, and help them get to where they want to go. It can be as simple as a digital campus map or as complex as turn-by-turn directions to a specific room in a particular building. Whatever features it offers, the goal of a wayfinding solution is to make navigating campus simpler and more efficient.

These days, most wayfinding solutions come in the form of an app or a cloud system. This allows users to unlock their smartphone and instantly access the campus information they need. Look up a professor and find directions to their office. Look up a class to figure out where it’s meeting today. Chart a course from your dorm room to a building you’ve never been in before. It’s all possible through wayfinding—that, and simply being able to see where amenities or emergency services are at a glance.

The benefits of wayfinding for schools

The robust capabilities of modern wayfinding for schools and colleges come with many benefits that make it a great investment. Here’s a look at seven of the most prominent benefits associated with campus wayfinding:

  1. Alleviate congestion. With thousands of people walking around campus at any given time, it’s important to modulate traffic. Wayfinding can ease congestion by suggesting alternate routes at certain times of the day, or even providing real-time updates on areas where overcrowding is an issue.
  2. Improve navigability. Whether they know where they’re going or have no clue where they are, wayfinding makes navigating large campuses simpler for everyone. Condensing the sprawl of campus to a smartphone-sized map enables better decision-making by students—especially when they’re racing the clock.
  3. Reduce disruption. Nothing interrupts a class like someone walking in because they have the wrong room. Likewise, not everyone has time to stop and give directions to a hurried passerby. Wayfinding reduces these types of disruptions by giving everyone the power to get to where they need to go.
  4. Ease transitions. Professionals and students alike have places to be after class ends. Wayfinding helps them chart the way so that they can arrive on-time composed and ready for the next item on their itinerary. It’s a simple way to reduce instances of flustered faculty and winded students so that class can start on-time.
  5. Familiarize campus. College campuses are privy to a number of visitors—everyone from pizza delivery drivers to visiting friends and family. These individuals need a way to get familiar with campus instantly, so they can find the people and places they’re looking for. Wayfinding provides necessary context.
  6. Emergency action. Where’s the nearest first-aid station? Where are campus police located? Where’s the emergency exit in this building? These are important questions that wayfinding can answer, to empower greater safety on campus. It’s an instant way for someone to get their bearings in a dire situation.
  7. Improve accessibility. From wheelchair-bound persons to those with special needs, wayfinding is a tool for making life on campus easier. It can show where handicap access is or where certain facilities are, to empower those with accessibility needs to better-navigate campus in a way that supports them fully.

Wayfinding’s numerous benefits make it something anyone on campus can and should use. Universities that encourage a wayfinding-first approach to acclimating on campus will find themselves with a campus population that’s more adept at navigating and more comfortable with the environment.

Everyone on campus benefits from wayfinding

For new students, wayfinding is a vital tool for getting familiar with campus. For returning students and seasoned faculty, it’s the key to finding the quickest route to wherever they need to be. For visitors, it’s an abundance of information that makes finding specific people and places easy. Everyone can use a campus wayfinding app to improve their interaction with the university and the many buildings under its purview.

Whether it’s a campus spread throughout a city or one with sprawling grounds, wayfinding helps students get to class and everyone else get to where they’re going. Moreover, it does so with experience, efficiency, ease, and expedience.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools

Categories
Blog

12 Benefits of Wayfinding for Campus Environments

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

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

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

What is wayfinding?

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

12 benefits of wayfinding software on campuses

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

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

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

Make navigation simpler

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

Keep reading: The Five Major Pillars of a Wayfinding Program

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

School’s In – For Educational Facility Improvements

By Danielle Moore
Director, Archibus Marketing
SpaceIQ

The pivot to distance learning during COVID-19 has left many schools empty. For some students, it’s been over a year since they’ve seen the inside of a classroom. Since the onset of the pandemic, educational institutions of all types have been looking for ways to safely restart classes.

But those silent halls and rooms are not being ignored. Educational facilities managers are taking advantage of vacant buildings to perform routine upkeep and make structural, system, and aesthetic improvements. A powerful integrated workplace management system (IWMS) can help organize, schedule, and manage these projects start to finish.

Most educational facilities wait until the summer months to begin construction, renovation, and maintenance projects. Improvements and upkeep projects can be complex and difficult to manage while class is in session. With distance learning, facilities managers are finding plenty of opportunities to get jobs done outside the typical eight- or nine-week summertime window.

COVID-19 fuels introspection

School administrators are looking within to prioritize projects, specifically health and wellness improvements. HVAC system upgrades are top of mind for many. The forced air infrastructure in schools works overtime to deliver clean air to classrooms, study areas, cafeterias, gyms, and offices. Unfortunately, HVAC is likely one of the most under-maintained, antiquated systems in a school. According to a recent study by Lawrence Berkeley and UC Davis, only ~15% of classrooms in California meet the state’s ventilation standards for schools. Empty school rooms mean facilities managers can orchestrate much-needed updates and maintenance.

There’s also the future to consider. COVID-19 has forever marked how education is delivered. We’ll likely see ongoing sanitization standards and public health measures to help keep schools open if another crisis hits.

Now is the perfect time for schools to install hand sanitation and washing stations, realign floor layouts to accommodate social distancing, when needed, and create new facility protocols that foster health and safety for students and staff. That also can mean creating new strategies for teaching and how they affect the physical learning environment.

Highlight referendum projects

School closings are a prime opportunity for referendum projects. These plans—which have already been funded by taxpayers—are generally large and protracted. They can be disruptive to students when noisy construction work spills over into the school year.

Vacant buildings mean facilities managers can make vast headway-or even complete-bigger buildouts before classes resume. These projects can include everything from gymnasium and auditorium renovations to new campus buildings or the decommissioning of shuttered facilities. Even sport complex and parking lot improvements are more feasible.

Referendum projects across the country are gaining support as distance learning drags on. The Madison County School District in Wisconsin saw more than $350 million approved for school infrastructure in 2020 during the peak of the pandemic. It was not alone. Districts in TexasCaliforniaIllinois, and dozens of other states passed coronavirus-fueled school construction and renovation projects ranging from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. The bane of distance learning quickly rolled into opportunities for school improvements.

Small improvements matter, too

Those big, taxpayer-funded projects are just a beginning. Now is a perfect time to tackle the backlog of support requests from educators, administrators, and students. When classes are in session, many  repair-or-replace projects are backburnered. It’s not easy to resurface the gym floor when basketball games are scheduled. Nor is repaving the parking lots when spots are filled with student and staff vehicles.

With space to work, facilities managers can divide and conquer to empty the support ticket queue. No cars in the parking lots makes repaving a breeze. Canceled sporting events means a fresh coat of lacquer for the gym floor can dry and cure. Though small in scope, resolving support ticket requests will make a huge difference to teachers and students when classes resume.

The silver lining of distance learning

School facility projects accomplished during COVID-19 come with a greater sense of purpose. Instead of a race against the clock to complete projects before students return to class, administrators can focus on coordinating projects from a value standpoint. It means looking at improvements and maintenance from a long-term benefits perspective, as opposed to strictly a cost-benefit or time-sensitive approach. It’s not “Which projects will be less disruptive to students?”; it’s “Which projects will deliver the most benefits?”

This opportunity for improvement to school facilities spans every type of institution—from K-8 to high school to college campuses and even satellite learning centers. When the bell rings and students come back to class after the long hiatus, they’ll find themselves in a learning environment that makes that return seamless. It may not be the school they left, but it’ll be one they can learn to love.

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools

Categories
Workplace Thought Leadership

Technology Drives Safer Back-to-School Efforts Amidst COVID-19

By Ian Morley
Chief Product Officer
SpaceIQ

What is your new student capacity under social distancing?

This simple question can flummox even the most seasoned campus planner or school district facilities specialist. Many smaller universities and larger school districts don’t have a ready way to access this information, which can complicate efforts to ensure a safe school year.

With an integrated workplace management system (IWMS), education leaders can uncover important insights about their space inventory. This data empowers schools to quickly identify, modify, and repurpose square footage to satisfy COVID guidelines while supporting student learning needs.

Establish Usable Square Footage

Understanding revised building and classroom capacity based on COVID-19 impacts is a unique challenge. It’s not a simple mathematical formula run on a spreadsheet. Space planners need to aggregate data from multiple buildings across an entire district or campus. Educational leaders depend on accurate insights in order to safely bring back students—yet many do not have a system that can collect and analyze this important information.

The process starts with establishing a precise overview of your school’s space inventory. You need to know what type of space you have, how much square footage it contains, where it is located, and its condition. Even the American College Health Association (ACHA) recommends ascertaining “allowable occupancy in order to control workflow and/or establish maximum attendance.” But without being able to view space inventory in an easy-to-digest format, schooler planners have a difficult time implementing social distancing.

And it’s not just classroom spaces—schools are appropriating rooms that were once gathering areas and turning them into learning zones. Ancillary areas like gymnasiums, auditoriums, theater stages, and music rooms are prime spots to spread out students. Even a cafeteria can be transformed into a classroom under these circumstances. This strategy is echoed by the ACHA, which encourages schools to “post maximum occupancy in common break areas and configure to accommodate appropriate physical distancing.” This information is not only essential for applying physical distancing but also tracking areas that require sterilization and disinfection.

Real-World Education Applications

Bob Lawn, a CAFM Specialist with California’s Long Beach Unified School District, oversees 87 sites. His experience implementing social distancing underscores some of the unexpected complications that can arise. His department used a 20% reduction of classroom capacity to account for shelving, cabinets, etc. and estimate the usable classroom space across the district, which resulted in a decrease of students from 30 to 16. To gain a more accurate percentage, he calculated each room’s usable square footage by subtracting space occupied by woodwork, desks, and shelves.

“By making the necessary calculations in Archibus, we established that each student needs 46 square feet. That’s when we had to start thinking about alternative spaces beyond traditional classrooms. So we ran an analysis for spaces over 100 square feet to give us a new list of learning areas to work with,” Lawn explained.

Michael Chambers, a design and construction project manager for St. John’s University, ran into the same challenge of calculating class capacity. He stresses that it’s not enough to assume seat count will be reduced by a fixed 30%. For example, an architectural feature like a column could easily affect the layout.

“We also needed to locate all common spaces on campus, especially since they will likely be empty through the fall. Using the [Archibus] Space Console solution, we could determine if those areas have the appropriate infrastructure, such as HVAC and electric, to accommodate a classroom or online learning resource,” said Chambers.

Locate and Mitigate Hot Spots

In addition to classrooms, COVID-19 is forcing modifications for faculty and support staff spaces. Everything from break rooms and reception areas to benching and shared offices need to be scrutinized for exposure risks. It is imperative to quickly identify where people are in close quarters and what solutions can reduce risk in these hot spots.

For example, new features in Archibus V25.2 allow users to put a 6-foot radius around each desk to determine where there are conflicts. This provides an accurate list of people who need to be moved. In many cases, layout modifications aren’t feasible because campus space is already near capacity pre-COVID.

“Based on the insights from Archibus, we decided to implement shift schedules for departments,” Chambers explained. “We classify spaces as essential, reservable, and work shifts. Now we have reservable spaces for touchdown spots, rotating schedules, and every day seats.”

Both Chambers and Lawn leveraged data from an IWMS to run space scenarios. Without this type of software, however, they would be forced to use spreadsheets, manual measurements, and other cumbersome methods—none of which ultimately provide the critical insights schools are depending on to modify their layouts.

“These tools are allowing us to solve needs,” Chambers stressed. “This has been essential to us feeling prepared and ready to welcome faculty, students, and admin back to some form of normal. We can leverage our data to answer and solve tough questions in preparation for reopening.”

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