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How to Measure Office Hoteling Software ROI

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Of the many workplace changes to cement themselves in the wake of COVID-19, office hoteling is among the most prominent. To make hoteling work, companies have turned to desk booking software and hoteling systems to facilitate a seamless transition to this free-assign concept. Now, as businesses seek to refine their hoteling approach, they’re looking close at office hoteling software ROI and how to expand on those benefits. It begs the question: how do you measure hoteling software ROI?

To gauge any sort of ROI on hoteling takes a firm understanding of the variables at play. Are you tracking the right metrics? Do you have context for costs associated with office space? Is the software you’re using smart enough to report on trends and utilization to provide actionable insights? Here are a few of the finer points to consider when measuring office hoteling software ROI.

Establish hoteling metrics

What is hoteling without a clear set of metrics attached to it? This agile desking concept needs to produce clear and consistent data for facility managers to validate its effectiveness. Simply having desks and a booking system isn’t enough. Metrics need to show the nuances of when, how, and why employees book desks. Some of the most common metrics to track include:

  • Total desk bookings per hour and per day
  • Duration of desk reservation
  • Occupancy rate of available desks (real-time)
  • Types of desks and their utilization rates

The purpose of collecting this information and more is to understand the true ROI behind hoteling software. Given trend lines and data points there’s opportunity to recognize need, make adjustments, and improve utilization. These metrics not only shed light on ROI, they also illuminate how to increase it.

Track data and utilization trends

With the right benchmarks and KPIs loaded into office hoteling software, it becomes easier to understand utilization trends and how they contribute to ROI.

For example, say your established cost per workstation per day is $120. Then, say the average revenue generation capability per employee per hour is $40. Easy math says the breakeven point of each workstation is three hours. If you have desks that aren’t booked for more than three hours per day, you know automatically that those desks represent inefficiency.

Likewise, if you see that a certain type of desk books for an average of six hours per day, it can signal demand (and profitability) for that style of workstation. It may mean converting other desks to a similar style to spread out occupancy and improve broad utilization.

These are very basic examples. Facility managers need to look at the metrics they’re tracking to see how the context of hoteling compares to them and what that means for ROI potential.

Understand hoteling costs

The other side to understanding hoteling software ROI is understanding the costs inherent to hoteling. What does it cost you to operate an agile environment? There are two factors to consider. First, is the cost that goes into hoteling software and any IoT buildout that supports it. Second, is the cost of maintaining space used for hoteling.

It’s best to think about hoteling in binary. If there’s someone at the desk working, it’s reasonable to assume they’re generating profit. Likewise, if the seat remains unfilled, it’s an expense. For hoteling to be a profitable desking concept, companies need to understand the cost per seat and the breakeven point for each seat. Then, they need to orchestrate a hoteling solution that creates revenue beyond the fixed cost of a seat.

Hoteling costs vary for every company. An organization with 30,000 square feet of space and a mix of 250 hoteling options may have lower hoteling costs than a company with 10,000 square feet and 100 hotel workstations. Hoteling costs depend on factors such as cost per square foot, productivity output per employee, COGs, and other fixed overhead expenses that factor into the cost of operations.

To truly generate an ROI on hoteling software, do your best to find the fixed cost of an unoccupied desk and the revenue-generating potential of occupants at those desks. The breakeven point will tell the tale of hoteling ROI.

Adopt an ROI-driven mindset

One of the primary reasons behind calculating office hoteling ROI is to understand the costs of the workspace in a post-COVID-19 world. Employee work habits are different and so are their demands for space. Tracking and managing hotel desks is a realization of new trends. As these become the new norm, facility managers need benchmarks to let them know how efficient their facilities are. It starts with understanding cost.

With clear figures governing the ROI of hoteling software, facility managers can do a deep dive into opportunities for optimization. In the early phases of COVID-19 and a return-to-work, it might’ve been enough to pair people with desks. In the future, it’s going to revolve around how efficiently this occurs. That means looking at hoteling ROI as the benchmark for improvement.

Keep reading: Guide to Office Hoteling Best Practices

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Blog

Eight Major Benefits of Smart Buildings (and How to Capitalize on Them)

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Building intelligence has grown at a rapid pace over the past few years. Beyond the aftermarket sensors and beacons of an ever-expanding IoT, more and more buildings are built smart, bridging the gap between physical and digital. It’s easy to see why. The benefits of smart buildings are numerous, and companies are quickly learning how to harness smart tech into better insights and decision-making for facility operations.

For companies new to the idea of smart buildings or building out a small IoT network of devices, it’s worth understanding the scope of opportunity affiliated with smart buildings. Intelligent technologies enable insights that are becoming increasingly important for companies governing agile workspaces, a flexible workforce, and increasing demands for space versatility.

What is a smart building?

A smart building is one that generates data about itself and how it’s used. Typically, this occurs via the Internet of Things (IoT). Networked IoT sensors turn physical workplace action into digital data, which facility managers can use to make accurate insights about the physical workplace. As a simple example, a pressure sensor in the floor of a conference room can show when that room is occupied. This generates data for real-time insights as well as information about how often it’s used, for how long, and whether the ROI of the space makes sense.

Smart buildings operate on a scale. Sometimes, it’s just a few sensors that provide targeted facility data. Other times, it’s a wide web of IoT devices that paint a complete digital picture of facilities. Regardless of size, the purpose of a smart building is to provide digital data about the physical application of a building and everything that happens within it.

Eight major benefits of smart buildings

The benefits of smart buildings come from the data-generating systems that power them. It’s much easier to understand facilities when there’s data to inform how people use them. Moreover, this works in reverse—it’s easier to manage facilities when you understand them. Here’s a look at some of the benefits of smart buildings and why they’re so important:

  1. Automation opportunities. The more links there are between the physical workplace and digital management systems, the broader the opportunities for automation. Motion sensitive lights. Floor sensors for occupancy. Beacons to gauge workspace utilization. The IoT triggers powerful automations for a wide assortment of applications.
  2. Quantifiable building insights. Each data point generated by the IoT is a quantifiable part of the tangible workplace. That means understanding more about how the workplace functions—who’s using it, how they’re using it, and when they’re using it. Data points add up to trends, which add up to actionable insights.
  3. Predictive maintenance. Through digital twins and similar technologies, buildings and workplaces become managed assets. It’s possible to engage in proactive maintenance and asset upkeep to ensure maximum ROI from these investments. Preventive maintenance becomes a core function of facility upkeep, powered by insights from the IoT.
  4. Better resource utilization. Consider the resources of the workplace. Space. Manpower. Technology. Smart buildings take these resources and quantify them within the context of broader facilities. The result is a better understanding of how people use those resources and information about how to make them more accessible or available.
  5. Reduced energy consumption. A product of automation and quantifiable building insights, green initiatives become simpler through smart buildings. Whether it’s motion-sensitive lighting or better HVAC management through a sensor-controlled system, lower energy costs benefit businesses and the environment.
  6. Real-time building insights. In workspaces with agile desking concepts, real-time insights are paramount. Good governance of these spaces relies on data to see what’s occupied vs. open and what the current status of a workspace is. Smart buildings offer the power to see the workplace as it is in a given moment. It goes beyond workspace occupancy, too. Real time insights extend to every digital representation of the physical building.
  7. Reduced operational costs. Why make the investment in the IoT? For most companies, it’s about ROI. The insights generated by a smart building need to add up to cost savings through better decision-making. If you can use data from X to make Y conclusion that save $Z, there’s power in leveraging smart building technologies.
  8. New workplace opportunities. In the new age of evolving work styles, change in the workplace is unavoidable. As flex work and agile workspaces become the new norm, there’s demand for systems to help manage them. This oversight is much easier by smart networks and systems that generate data to support the new workplace and its utilization.

The key takeaway here is data. Data about previously unquantified systems that sheds light on how the physical workplace operates. These insights lead to more meaningful management, both in terms of space and operations. Smart buildings and the IoT have opened the door to better use of buildings, no matter the purpose.

The office: the final corporate data frontier

The benefits of implementing a smart building plan are virtually boundless. There are as many opportunities to benefit as there are avenues to integrate software, processes, workflows, and reporting systems, and to use the information a smart building provides. This information is imperative in adapting the workplace to real-time demands.

As buildings get smarter, they open the door to better workplace agility. Whether your facilities are inherently smart or you’ve augmented them with a growing IoT network, harnessing the power of facilities information leads to better decision-making and more streamlined operations. Every data point counts, and every data point is useful.

Keep reading: The Top Challenges for Creating Smart Buildings

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Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

Making a Confident Return to the Workplace

By James Franklin
Chief Customer Officer
SpaceIQ 

For more than a year, uncertainty has been a common theme in our daily personal and business lives. Lockdowns shuttered businesses of all types and sizes and forced most employees to work from home. With vaccinations underway, many company owners and business leaders are determining if now is the time to return to the workplace. 

The pressure to have staff come back to work is being felt across the globe, especially as more companies publicly announce their returntotheoffice plans. Some countries, like Australiamoved back months ago, and other countries are using its plans as a guide for how to make it happen. As North America and Europe will likely delay their returns to fall 2021 or even 2022, the amount and speed of change is expected to grow. 

Australia’s success shows the workplace of the future is being defined by activity-based working (ABW) strategies and more diverse choices in where employees work. Space planning analytic tools are also evolving. Platforms, such as those offered by SpaceIQ, are essential for businesses to not only devise what workplace return methodology best meets their needs, but to also stay current with evershifting office space trends.    

Will Employees Want to Return? 

For some companies, it has been more than a year since employees were in the workplace. There was fear that work-from-home would hinder productivity. That is not the case. According to a Mercer study, 94% of 800 employers surveyed said that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely. 

So, the time has come to welcome employees back to your workplace. What if some do not want to come back? A recent study published by TechRepublic showed 29% of employees said they would quit if forced to return in-person. Work-from-home offers flexibility not seen with an office job. Parents have reaped the benefits of consistent childcarethe freedom to make doctor appointments on their schedule, and not spending valuable time commuting to and from work. 

Because finding and retaining happy, engaged employees is difficult enough in today’s tight labor market, keeping top talent on board means more than good pay and a few in-office amenities. Employees, especially new ones, want flexibility in how and where they work. Implementing an ABW approach is another way to show your employees the value of being in the office by showing it is more than just a static space. Dynamic workplaces provide employees options. They can select where they work based on that day’s activity. 

ABW is all about flexibility. But that does not mean every employee will embrace new office structuresPeople are naturally averse to change and ABW is a big one. Some employees likely will resist more flexible environments. For CyberArk, an Israel-based information security company, most employees prefer static or designated seats as defined by the country’s prevailing work culture. Many global companies also discover that because workers don’t have assigned desks, they may lose the “personal” touch afforded by individual spaces. 

Fortunately, workplace technology can be used to implement a safe environment upon return and help managers to gauge how many of their employees are willing to return to the office. Better understanding employees needs will help you establish an approach that makes staff want to return to the office. In turn, they may be more productive and help foster a more positive workplace culture. 

Workplace Data and B2W 

Regardless of when a return is planned, it is unlikely all employees will come back all at once. Some elements of remote work will remainBut many companies are opting for flexible schedules of mixing inoffice and remote work.   

Workplace technology offers a seamless approach to both planning for and implementing a back-to-work strategy. Activity-based work is a shift from providing generic workplace that fits typical types and styles of work to designing space that is purpose built for certain activities. This means more productive space as it is tailored to the work it supports.   

This level of planning is not possible, at least not in an effective and timely manner, without technologies that support space planning and utilization, hotelingemployee health checks, contact tracing, social distancing, and other measures to keep staff as safe as possible. 

Workplace analytics are critical to implementing the what and how of your return to work. For global companies, implementation plans for one region may require only opening one office at 50 percent, while bringing 15 percent of employees back in another location. What if another surge hits? Are you ready to shutter one location, set up employees for remote work, and shift critical tasks to offices in another state or country? 

Return with Confidence 

If COVID has taught us anything, it is to be agile and confident in every decision. Employee safety is paramount when considering a return to the office. There is no room for error. That is why technology is key to managing every aspect of a back-to-work plan. 

Platforms such as those offered by SpaceIQ allow HR, Facilities, IT, and company leaders to weigh the pros and cons of their back-to-work strategies. We recently shared a return-to-work template to help guide your every move as employees come back. 

But a post-COVID return is only the beginning. Once the initial move is done, you should focus on contingency plans. Planning for inevitable contingencies is a smart, agile strategy. As Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, said: “…we’re all living some form of Option B.” 

Employees expect business leaders to have the answers and create workplaces that allow them to feel both safe and productive. Contingency planning is a great start. The next step in a confident return is thinking about the future. 

Less Structure, More Social 

What we knew as business normal is anything but now. The future workplace will be defined by how agile it can be in response to employee needs and new crises. SpaceIQ is strengthening the ArchibusSerraview, and SiQ product lines with technology tools that allow for maximum agility while supporting day-to-day productivity demands. 

Companies realized early on that remote work did not hinder productivity. Large organizations like Twitter embraced remote work by allowing employees to work offsite indefinitely. Others are likely to scale back on their investments in physical workplaces as we adjust to this new normal. 

Workplaces will not disappear completely, but businesses will make smarter decisions about how they use space. Technology lets you to analyze historic space utilization data and how that measures against today’s hybrid work structure. 

According to a McKinsey study30% of companies are likely to terminate leases while 55% will reconfigure how existing space is used. Space allocation is also shifting. CBRE survey of 10,000 companies showed employees want to come to the office 62% of the time for team collaboration and face-to-face time and only 16% for workplace amenities. What this shows is individual space and support services/amenities are less important than collaboration and social spaces. 

An Agile Future 

We have already seen a significant shift toward agile workplaces. Demand for remote work during the coronavirus pandemic shed light on the need for modern digital resources and technologies. Overnight, companies adopted platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Asana to help teams work from home. Not only have those adoptions remained, but they have also become more robust as companies build out their agile, digital infrastructures. 

Business of all types and sizes are looking for ways to create workplaces where employees want to be and where they can do their best work. SpaceIQ is here to help. We have solutions to manage real estate, optimize current and new workspaces, structure hybrid work schedules, and maintain every aspect of your workplace. For more information on how to partner with SpaceIQ for an agile workplace future, visit us at https://space.iq.com. 

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Blog

How to Measure IWMS ROI

Eight Benefits of IWMS for Smart Building ManagementBy Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

The shift to flexible work and the new desking concepts that support it has led to an even larger reliance on workplace software. Nothing provides support for workplace governance quite like an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). This comprehensive solution for digital workplace management gives facility managers the tools they need to manage a workplace in real-time. Not only that, it’s a window into workplace optimization on a broad array of levels. These benefits and more are evident in IWMS ROI.

IWMS ROI occurs at both top and bottom lines of a company’s balance sheet. The cost savings of an efficient desking concept vs. new opportunities for revenue by enabling employee productivity. Here’s a look at how to measure IWMS ROI through various lenses, depending on how your company utilizes this software.

What is IWMS?

First, a quick recap of the many ways IWMS software touches the different facets of a business’ operations. While IWMS applications vary greatly from organization to organization, the capabilities of these systems are broad. Some of the broad pillars its features encompass include:

  • Space planning and management
  • Workplace and employee experience
  • Real estate optimization and utilization
  • Facilities, maintenance and asset management

IWMS is the digital system through which facility managers can document, observe, oversee, and improve workplaces and facilities at large. It provides powerful reporting capabilities for whatever application it’s deployed to serve—which gives facility managers plenty of opportunity to track its ROI.

Space planning and management

The simplest way to measure the ROI of IWMS software in regard to space planning is to observe classic space-related metrics. Use available data to set the benchmark for these metrics, then peg improvements after IWMS implementation. Some of the core metrics to track include:

  • Capacity, occupancy and density
  • Overall and space-specific utilization rates
  • Cost per head and cost per seat
  • Mobility ratios

Historical data will tell the story of how IWMS insights help facility managers improve these metrics and do more with space. Especially as we enter the era of flex work and a mobile workforce, it becomes more and more important to make sure space meets the needs of companies and users in a cost-efficient way.

Workplace and employee experience

It can be difficult to put a price on employee experience and workplace culture. The best way to peg these benefits is through quantifiable metrics that have costs attributed to them. Say, for example, a company does a Net Promoter Survey and finds that happy employees are 26% more productive than the mean, and unhappy employees are 45% less productive than the mean. Apply these percentages to the revenue generation benchmark per employee to recognize the impact of workplace experience.

Quantifying emotion, opinion, sentiment, and other intangibles can provide insight for IWMS ROI. For example, if workplace sentiment averages 64 out of 100, the mean hourly revenue generated by a sales team might be $50.40. With IWMS improvements to create a more comfortable, supportive work environment, that average rises to 81 out of 100 and revenue of $64.50 per hour. Here, you can say that IWMS ROI in terms of workplace experience equates to $14.10 per hour in new revenue. Real change and real numbers make for meaningful ROI.

Real estate optimization and utilization

Calculating IWMS ROI at the real estate level is easy—chiefly because real estate management is inherently numbers-driven. Attributing ROI is a matter of understanding what changes an IWMS enables and how those changes trickle up to the macro level.

For example, if a new floor plan created through IWMS results in better cost per head, that’s reflected in the high-level ROI of the building within a portfolio. When the time comes to extrapolate positive changes across different locations, that location’s cost per head will come up as a model for broader company efficiency.

IWMS has a direct connection to lease costs and operations. Facility managers can gauge positive trends, cost savings, and new revenue tied to operations after implementing IWMS to see the value of software as a driver of improvements.

Facilities, maintenance and asset management

Asset management is one of the simplest avenues for IWMS ROI calculation. In many cases, it’s as simple as taking maintenance budgets or costs from prior years and comparing them to new strategies enabled by digital asset management tools. If the cost of facilities maintenance drops by 18% year-over-year thanks to proactive action through IWMS, the ROI is the dollar value associated with those saved costs.

There’s also ROI in each instance of smarter decision making. If IWMS data projects $1,000 in annual maintenance costs for a piece of equipment, the decision to use it for three more years makes more sense than to spend $6,000 on a new model. Or, at the very least, there’s an ROI in being able to budget for it.

IWMS ROI transcends dollar values

Calculating IWMS ROI requires companies to look at all the different ways IWMS enables better operations. In some cases, that means operational costs saved. In other situations, it’s the top-line growth made possible by IWMS innovations. Beyond even these facets of ROI, there’s one more to consider: the intangible benefits.

It’s difficult to put a dollar value on happy employees or comfortable workplaces—yet, these are major drivers of ROI. It’s essential to factor in not only the dollar figures that show up on the balance sheet, but also the intangibles that IWMS brings to a smooth-running, well-managed workplace environment.

Keep reading: 8 Benefits of IWMS for Smart Building Management

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Five Benefits of Stack Planning for Better Space Utilization

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

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

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

What is stack planning?

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

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

What are the benefits of stack planning?

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

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

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

See space in context, to better plan occupancy

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

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

Keep reading: A Crash Course in Stack Planning

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Blog

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

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

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

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

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

Option one: Downsize space

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

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

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

Option two: Repurpose space

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

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

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

Option three: Consider new desking

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

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

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

No matter the approach, think long-term

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

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

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

Categories
Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

The Future Workplace: A Digital Way of Thinking

By Nai Kanell
Chief Marketing Officer
SpaceIQ

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

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

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

Collaborative Manufacturing

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

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

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

Property Records

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

Cashless Payments

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

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

Workplaces

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

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

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

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

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

Social Creatures

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

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

A New Normal

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

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

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Blog

How to Measure CAFM ROI

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

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

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

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

Introduce CAFM and new metrics

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

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

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

Identify bottom-line cost savings

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

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

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

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

Identify top-line revenue opportunities

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

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

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

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

Use real numbers and projections

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

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

Build a case for long-term ROI

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

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

Keep reading: How Can Smart CAFM Improve Employee Experience?

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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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Eight Benefits of IWMS for Smart Building Management

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

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

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

What is IWMS?

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

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

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

The benefits of implementing an IWMS system

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

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

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

Smart buildings need smart management

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

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