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Workplace Thought Leadership

Corporate Social Responsibility: New Expectation for Business 

By Steve Segarra
Chief Technical Officer
SpaceIQ

Employees expect more from their jobs than a paycheck. Some are after greater flexibility while others are looking for a closer fit to their social and ethical values. Shareholders expect organizations to be profitable but also to contribute to their communities in positive ways. Business leaders likely have witnessed these shifts first-hand and maybe even been tasked with helping their organization evolve.

As the number of vaccinated individuals increases and companies find their way back to the office, it’s hard to ignore how the corporate landscape is changing. Forbes predicts a “great resignation” where many employees will start looking for a new job in the next few months. In fact, the Labor Department reported that nearly 4 million Americans quit their jobs in April alone. 

In a 2019 Gallup study; Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers all rated, “having an ethical leadership” among the top three things they look for in an employer. The older generations likely associate this with the personal character of their leaders while younger employees are concerned with how a company impacts people and the planet. According to the study, Gen Z and younger Millennials (who now make up 46% of the full-time U.S. workforce) “expect bold action [from their employer] to address moral blind spots…they want to know that the work they are doing has a net positive impact on human beings and the natural world.” 

Those values are at the core of corporate social responsibility. There’s no denying that it’s a job-seeker’s market so it’s imperative that companies create the kind of work environment that attracts and retains the best talent, optimizes existing resources, and drives better performance from every asset – including employees. 

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

Investopedia defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as:

“…practices and policies undertaken by corporations that are intended to have a positive influence on the world. The key idea behind CSR is for corporations to pursue other pro-social objectives, in addition to maximizing profits.” 

That said, not all companies can approach CSR the same way. It is important to know what niche your company occupies and what existing and future employees expect. 

A great example is how Bloomberg L.P. responded in its 2020 Impact Report:

“Governments are eager to respond to the fallout from the pandemic in ways that make their economies stronger, more sustainable and more resilient. Business leaders recognize the risks they face and understand that the same steps that cut carbon emissions also help to spur growth and promote stability. The year ahead can set the stage for a decade of transformational change—but only if we act boldly and urgently.” 

In the past few decades, more business leaders have recognized a need to do more than maximize profits for shareholders and executives. In order to remain relevant and competitive, they have embraced a social responsibility to do what’s best for their company, community, society at large, and the planet. 

Five Reasons for Embracing CSR

Implementing strong corporate social responsibility initiatives may improve overall business by: 

  1. Giving new and existing employees confidence that they are part of an organization that is socially responsible. A 2016 study showed 55% of employees would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if it meant a lower salary.
  2. Creating a work environment that is safe and healthy for employees. According to a Project ROI Study, your CSR program could increase employee engagement by up to 7.5%, increase employee productivity by 13%, and reduce employee turnover by 50%.
  3. Minimizing your organization’s environmental impact, which can lead to greater overall financial stability. Starbucks began its rollout of the “strawless lid” in 2020 and is working to be 100% strawless in its more than 29,000 stores worldwide.
  4. Strengthening customer loyalty by showing a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. In a 2017 study, 76% of consumers say they will refuse to purchase a company’s products or services upon learning it supported an issue contrary to their beliefs.
  5. Bolstering your corporate image, building your brand, improving morale, and increasing job satisfaction. Fast Company named its top 10 most innovative CSR companies of 2021. 

Implementing CSR Initiatives with Integrated Tech

Where does an organization start? Your CSR strategy could start slowly, focusing on just compliance or sustainability. Or the focus can be on energy management and using building resources more efficiently. If safety is your greatest concern, you may start with waste management, hazard abatement, and managing hazardous materials to better support employee health and wellbeing. 

Whatever the priority, technology like an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) enables you to start simple and evolve into a strategy that puts your organization at the forefront of innovation. An IWMS helps keep operations running efficiently and nurture an environment that lets employees do their best work.

A powerful IWMS provides myriad functions and features to support CSR goals: 

  1. Compliance – Helps keep facilities and employees compliant with regulations to mitigate risk, maintain safe environments, and reduce administrative burdens. 
  2. Sustainability – Recognizes the strategic value of reducing carbon footprints to protect the environment and enhance a company’s bottom line. 
  3. Energy Management – Provides the means to easily aggregate, evaluate, and optimize energy and utility spending decisions to reduce unnecessary consumption and costs. 
  4. Green Buildings – Aids in delivering the information framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and managing the environmental sustainability certification and recertification process. 
  5. Waste Management – Provides a streamlined and integrated approach to tracking, managing, and reducing both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. 
  6. Hazard Abatement – Helps protect the health of building occupants, minimize organizational liability, and avoid costly fines or possible litigation. 
  7. Hazardous Materials – Supports facilities managers in safely handling toxic products, verifying compliance with various regulations, and informing first responders where those hazardous materials are stored and what they may encounter during an emergency.  

And let’s not forget the impact the pandemic has had on real estate portfolios. Some organizations are cutting their carbon footprint by cutting back on their space. According to the Paris Climate Agreement, we must eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment by 2040. Buildings generate almost 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. An IWMS can help these organizations easily right-size their portfolios.

Corporate Social Responsibility: No Longer Optional

There is little doubt that CSR programs have a place in every organization. The number of companies implementing CSR plans increases by the year. A Harvard Business School report found that in 2011, less than 20% of S&P 500 companies were charting their efforts related to CSR and sustainability. In 2014, it soared to 75% and jumped to 90% in 2019. 

Creating and implementing initiatives with a mission to improve people’s lives, the Earth, and its resources is a new standard to which investors, employees, and consumers are holding organizations. And as a business leader, your responsibility to actualize these plans is no small feat. The right kind of technology can make all the difference to your success. 

Organizations are quickly evolving to meet the high expectations of doing business amidst a global crisis. They must adapt business models, hire and retain top talent, and give back to their communities in meaningful ways in order to stay successful and relevant. If you are implementing or reinventing your organization’s CSR plans, click here to learn more about how an IWMS supports the social and moral values employees have come to expect from today’s businesses. 

Keep reading: What is IWMS Software?

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Blog

A Focus on Regulatory Standards Starts With Facilities

Many companies operate within strict regulatory environments. There are varying degrees of oversight required to maintain compliance with stringent rules—whether it’s maintaining LEED Certification to qualify for credits or HIPAA standards to protect patients.

It’s not enough to file documentation and train staff—facilities themselves need proper orchestration to adhere to compliance criteria. That means building maintenance and floor plan design specifically oriented toward achieving and maintaining regulatory and code compliance. This burden increasingly falls to facility managers.

How do you structure compliant facilities?

It’s not that companies don’t understand regulatory standards. In fact, most are acutely aware of exactly what’s expected of them to maintain compliance (or avoid non-compliance). Yet, they fall short for one reason or another. In 2020, HIPAA fines exceeded $13,554,900. OSHA issued $1,222,156 in coronavirus-related fines alone.

The problem often lies in execution. Floor plans, facility processes, building management, workflow oversight, and other on-premise elements need to align with the broader mission of compliance. This means reshaping how facilities look and/or function.

Does your healthcare facility have access control in areas with patient-sensitive information? What’s the hazardous waste management protocol for facilities? Are building accessibility systems part of a routine service and maintenance plan? Whether HIPAA, LEED, ADA, or some other standard, facilities play a significant role in compliance.

Company stakeholders—including facility managers—need to recognize the role of facilities in laying the groundwork for regulatory compliance. To do this takes robust reporting and oversight.

Archibus sheds light on facility controls

As facility managers look closely at workplaces through the lens of regulatory standards, they need software specifically designed to benchmark these efforts. Archibus’ Compliance Management features offer the much-needed tools to reduce administrative costs and prevent costly disruptions. This includes occupational injuries, property damage, and shutdowns that may result from inadequate practices.

The most important feature Archibus provides is contextual data, aligned with compliance metrics. From building code tracking to cost allocation for specific budget items, the software helps facility managers prioritize compliance.

Consider a simple example like medical waste disposal, which must adhere to CDC, OSHA, and FDA guidelines, as well as state and local standards. By shaping medical waste processes and practices at the facility level and tracking metrics through Archibus, companies are able to ensure compliance that’s engrained into everyday workplace interactions. In this example, Archibus provides controls for:

  • Budgeting and costing specific to medical waste handling and disposal
  • Safety standards and protocols surrounding handling and disposal
  • Workflow and floor planning conducive to safe handling and disposal
  • Emergency response action planning for incidents involving medical waste
  • Vendor selection and management for medical waste disposal

Using Archibus to lay the groundwork for compliance puts facility managers in control of the most important aspects of regulatory administration. Companies gain the ability to avoid penalties and fines, create safe and productive environments, reduce administrative costs, and realize accurate reporting and information to maintain compliance.

Compliance is a function of facilities

It’s easy to think about regulatory compliance as a function of due process. That said, process execution happens within the context of facilities. It’s not enough to create compliance standards and practices—it’s vital to orchestrate facilities to support them.

To learn more about Archibus’ compliance management tools and resources, schedule a demo today.

Categories
Workplace Thought Leadership

Hybrid and Smart: Building the Workplaces of the Future 

By Michael Picini
Senior Executive Director
Cognitive Corp.

Now, perhaps more than ever, employers are seeking to enhance their approach to the workplace experience. They are embracing new trends, such as hybrid structures and smart buildings, to create what we like to call “digital workplace euphoria.”

Euphoria may seem like hyperbole, but happy employees make for successful businesses. We’re not talking about amenities like ping pong tables, free Friday lunches, and in-office theaters. The goal of a euphoric workplace is to transform barely there connected offices to intelligent, autonomous ecosystems that empower employees to their most productive and efficient while maintaining healthy work-life balances.

Research indicates that we are seeing much more of a radical change among companies reacting to the workplace trends. Leaders in companies may not respond to every human or occupant need, but certainly, they are reacting to create a more automated workplace for agile teams. One part of the “why” for proactive movement toward hybrid agile is the long-term impact on business.

Many companies are going through significant financial losses due to COVID-19. How companies navigate digital disruption will likely affect their revenues and future operations. During the crisis of the companies who saw a 25% growth in the revenues 72% were first to experiment with new technologies. As well, 67% of those companies invested more in digital-related expenditures, according to a 2020 report by McKinsey. The companies that had not taken steps are electing to embrace the productivity associated with remote work to help them recoup those costs of not doing so in the past.

Certain financial dependencies, like expiring office leases and stakeholder pressures, are pushing companies to make an immediate decision on how to proceed with digital based investments to create work environments conducive to agile work, from anywhere. According to a Gartner survey, 38% of tech, media, and telecom business leaders (and 26% of leaders across all represented industries) reported plans to reduce their real estate footprint by, for example, closing retail locations. Gartner also reported that 74% of CFOs and finance leaders at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions after COVID-19.

Why Companies Choose to Go Hybrid

Remote and hybrid work is not new, but it certainly hasn’t been as widespread as it is now. According to a Microsoft report, some professions have been trending toward remote work since the oil crisis of the 1970s that resulted in substantially higher commuting and automotive costs. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drove a “profound increase in the magnitude and speed of the shift toward remote work, with 88% of organizations from around the world surveyed in March [2020] reporting that they were encouraging employees to work from home,” the report noted. More than a third of U.S. workers transitioned to remote or hybrid work between March and April 2020 alone.

Aside from the long-term impact on fiscal reports, this mass transition away from the confines of a 9-to-5 physical office is the other part of the “why” for companies looking to improve three key facets of the digital workplace: people, space, and technology.

The Workplace Mantra: People, Space, and Technology

Creating an environment for employees – or an investor’s case, tenants – that elicits a sense of euphoria is challenging but not impossible. How are companies tackling the digital workplace? There are three elements of an optimized workplace that one should consider.

The first starts with people. People form the community within an organization that will serve as the litmus test for successful digital workplace implementation.

The second element is technology, which acts as the catalyst for change and encompasses each tier of the Smart Building Maturity Model. Most buildings fall somewhere in between the connected and intelligent spaces of the model. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI), the infrastructure created by technology ultimately makes up the third element of an enhanced workplace: space.

Space doesn’t always refer to a physical location; it relates to the context in which people are working. Space can mean a geographically distributed footprint, flexible hoteling and co-working spaces within your organization, or a scalable real estate portfolio that allows you to set your physical and virtual space settings in a manner that best suits your internal method of operating.

Georgia-Pacific (GP) is one company that has fully embraced all three spheres of the optimized workplace, and by the way is one of the companies that experimented with digital based agile work long before the COVID-19 crisis. The Atlanta-based maker of paper, packaging, building products, and related chemicals resides in an iconic office tower. In the first major renovation since the company occupied the tower in 1982, GP aimed to achieve “optimal integration, functionality, cost and efficiency among the various systems throughout each floor – lighting, HVAC, audio-visual and room scheduling systems,” according to a company press release. The digital building transformation included an Internet of Things (IoT) foundation that resulted in economically feasible, purposeful automation carefully constructed for GP’s user base.

GP reported that the building uses “bio-dynamic (circadian) lighting in the office and collaboration areas, driven by network-connected lighting management. [GP] will respond to peak electrical demands by adjusting building systems. The interconnected system allows the company to collect accurate, real-time data to understand how the space is used, improve employee productivity and satisfaction, and increase real estate investment.”

Along with commercial offices, hospitality and education are two other industries that are exceptionally receptive to similar methods of in-house automation. Fortunately, platforms offered by companies like SpaceIQ offer businesses of all sizes and types of options to create digital workplaces that support agility and flexibility.

Hybrid Strategies for Working “Smart” and Hard

For many companies, leveraging hybrid strategies starts with creating smart buildings and workplaces.

Smart building(s) – both as a verb and a noun – is a partner of hybrid workplaces at the heart of the “next normal” regarding the future of work. Over the last year, companies worldwide have experienced a rapid shift to long-term hybrid and/or remote environments. From Human Resources (HR) to Information Technology (IT) to Marketing and beyond, the functional teams within these organizations are being driven to review their existing work practices and confirm that they align with employees’ current needs.

For some companies, this process may feel like an uncertain scramble – but it shouldn’t.

This moment presents an opportunity for organizations to revise their digital framework and create an even better workplace experience – one that encourages a positive return-to-office transition after a yearlong hiatus or, for remote and hybrid workers, a structure that compels them to engage virtually. Smart building is critical for both employees and executives to tap into the human side of work and reach peak satisfaction in the process of doing so.

As a company specializing in “smart building,” Cognitive Corp is at the forefront of researching and analyzing workplace trends and technologies that impact commercial real estate (CRE) teams.

So, what do we mean by “smart building?” In a word, automation.

Smart building implies that a company has a built-in infrastructure to automate as many day-to-day and long-term tasks as possible. Infrastructure can include IT and networks, HVAC, lighting, time-tracking, scheduling, and anything in between that has a digital footprint.

A key strategy is to distribute the levels of automation and smart building into four tiers on a visual pyramid called the Smart Building Maturity Model. This model helps companies prioritize based on current needs and future growth:

  • Connected Building: Connected building forms the foundation at the bottom of the pyramid. Most companies fall into this category, which includes basic IT networks and the commonplace technology you’d find in a standard office.
  • Intelligent Building: With system integration, energy efficiency, and building automation, intelligent building is what most companies strive for in their next-level smart building process. It can lead to more unified collaboration, better asset management, and streamlined workspace and remote services.
  • Smart Building: The core of the pyramid. Smart building includes open architecture, occupant interaction predictive analytics, which contributes to human centric workplace metrics, on-demand services, big data, and more elements of building intelligence. The future of work is already here, and smart building should be a consideration for most companies.
  • Cognitive Building: At the pinnacle of the pyramid we’ll find cognitive building. Here, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics are the vital pieces that drive building automation. While most non-technological companies do not aim for this high-level tier, we believe it’s still essential knowledge to know all the possibilities within the realm of intelligent architecture.

Data-driven Insights to Support the Hybrid Workplace

The digital workplace focuses on the occupant’s experience within a technological ecosystem. A successful digital workplace supports the human-centric side of corporate initiatives. Different personas within the commercial real estate industry will perform unique functions depending on their role in their organization. However, all roles utilize metrics to inform the progress of their digital transformation.

For individual roles, here are some items to consider:

  • Commercial Real Estate and Facilities Managers: Individuals entrusted with managing facilities should articulate workplace values about the broader business. This includes adapting to change, especially as it relates to the physical space. Your growth mindset should shift from fixed to fluid.
  • Workplace Professionals: As a workplace professional, try to develop strategies and tactics that support agile, flexible workplaces and employee experiences. Consider the wider range of knowledge available to you, beyond just “physical office” and “working from home.”

Workplace Euphoria is Frictionless

An agile, flexible workplace is no longer an option for most businesses; it is a requirement. Baseline metrics allow companies to see how initiatives eliminate employee and occupant stress during times of uncertainty, deliver on diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments, improve operational efficiency, and make remote work, workable.

Additionally, metrics shed light into the onboarding of new technologies, security automation, and workplace productivity. Workplace analytics provide a 360-degree view of any misaligned technology expectations. Embracing technology to create agility and flexibility in return to the workplace can result in euphoria for employers and employees.

Keep reading: What Are Smart Workplace Solutions?

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Workplace Thought Leadership

IWMS Technology and the Modern Workplace 

By Nick Stefanidakis
General Manager, Archibus
SpaceIQ

Rapid workplace changes and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies are ushering in new facilities management trends. They also are shedding light on the benefits of adopting Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) technology to scale and support both short-term transitions and long-term transformations.

The lasting impacts of the pandemic, demands for connectivity and collaboration, adoption of cloud-based applications, machine learning, and a focus on sustainability are sure to have far-reaching effects on workplaces worldwide. Businesses that find opportunities to embrace these trends will be better prepared to make data-driven decisions, improve performance, and achieve new standards of success in facilities management.

Planning for long-term workplace resilience

As agile work environments increasingly define the “new normal,” we will likely see substantial changes in workspace requirements.

The prospect of returning to physical workspaces has renewed attention on prioritizing employee health and safety. Things that employees and businesses may not have thought twice about before — air circulation, sanitization practices, access to communal spaces, traffic patterns — weigh more heavily as workforces reemerge from stay-at-home orders. New health and safety requirements will demand that organizations take these factors into account.

While some have deployed interim return-to-work solutions (hoteling and desk reservations, updated cleaning protocols, adopting remote management solutions, staggering schedules), others are reassessing overall workplace strategies as they shift from reactive to forward-thinking resiliency planning.

Organizations now need a long-term strategy for facility management, supported by workplace management technology that offers flexibility and scalability for remote, in-person, and hybrid work setups. A centralized, enterprise-wide IWMS enables teams to standardize workflows, reduce duplication, provide transparency with real-time information shared among teams (e.g., badging and health check-in data), and ultimately make more collaborative decisions.

A renewed focus on collaboration and employee engagement

Gone are the days where every employee comes to work, sits in the same seat, and leaves with coworkers at the end of the day. Now, more offices are refocusing workspaces as socialization and collaboration hubs. Employees, visitors, and others coming into the workplace need convenient, reliable ways to ensure they have the spaces needed to work in ways that are best for them. IWMS technology offers insights for businesses and building owners/operators into whether they need to increase hotel desk reservations or implement desk-sharing setups — all while providing safe and engaging spaces.

Hybrid work setups boost SaaS adoption

More hybrid workers mean people need anytime/anywhere access to critical systems and information. Stemming from this demand is an emerging trend: facilities management shifting from on-premises to SaaS-based implementation.

Organizations are investing more in cloud enterprise applications due to ease of deployment, configurability, and scalability. When COVID-19 forced many businesses to adopt remote work setups, real estate, and facilities teams with cloud applications already in place quickly adapted to changing conditions and seamlessly accessed critical business information. Others were left scrambling.

While it was a tough lesson, organizations can learn from such disruptions and invest in technology that helps predict change and evolves to meet new work structures. SaaS-based IWMS applications empower key stakeholders to make faster data-driven decisions, automate business processes, and deliver on mobile needs.

Look for trends in workspace usage patterns

Machine learning in building management has been gaining traction in recent years. It delivers efficiencies in predictive maintenance and real-time workplace management that help manage costs and provide optimal work environments.

Developments such as the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, and new wireless sensors are a few ways companies are creating smarter facilities management.

Smart building solutions use a range of sensors or actuators — light, motion, building occupancy — to collect data from connected devices. Information is then stored in an IWMS. Continuous monitoring lets facilities managers identify changes or inefficiencies in building usage, system performance or environmental conditions and establish triggers for maintenance or control systems.

When combined with an IWMS, massive amounts of IoT data can be aggregated into a dashboard for meaningful insights. This not only de-silos critical workplace data, but also highlights identifiable trends and patterns for strategic future workplace planning.

Using data to plan, design, construct, and manage facilities

Building information modeling (BIM) and its integration with IWMS technology is a new approach to managing the many phases of building design and workplace management. BIM centers around 3D modeling programs that provide a customized simulation of an actual facility. The rendering, when combined with IoT and Machine Learning represents a digital twin of the building, which allows users to virtually move through a space and observe its features, dimensions, and operating parameters — from anywhere. Such technology offers nearly infinite possibilities to help professionals plan, design, construct, and manage facilities. The volume of BIM data and the context of the data stored within an IWMS is so useful, and the more stakeholders leverage these insights, the more they’ll enable fully informed decision-making.

Optimizing building usage and consumption

It’s all too common to waste energy in a building in the form of incorrect setpoints, poor maintenance or simple oversights — not turning off lights in conference rooms after a meeting, keeping rarely used equipment plugged in, etc.

While steps like switching out light bulbs or installing new HVAC systems are necessary, they may not deliver the long-lasting results you’re hoping for.

A more impactful solution is using IWMS technology to optimize usage and consumption across building systems and real estate portfolios aligned to the actual, real-time conditions. This empowers building owners and facilities managers to anticipate, troubleshoot, and manage issues as they arise. An IWMS also enables smarter operations that can reconcile the entire range of optimal sustainability performance metrics.

Addressing long-term transformations

As the adoption of IWMS technology grows, so does its potential to play a critical role in supporting workplaces for years to come. Trends in IWMS are pointing toward a future that provides extensive and essential support to facilities managers, building occupiers, service providers, owners/operators, and real estate management companies to organize, centralize, and optimize workplace data at all levels — from individual workstations to entire real estate portfolios. It’s with such insights that they can make the best decisions to address current challenges and anticipate future needs. For more information, read our guide on Modern Workplace Platforms.

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

Categories
Workplace Thought Leadership

Improve Indoor Air Quality with Condition-Based HVAC Maintenance 

By Fred Kraus
Senior Director, Product, Archibus
SpaceIQ

Issues surrounding indoor air quality (IAQ) can typically be broken down into two categories: environmental safety factors and the risk of pathogen transmission. While indoor air safety has been a growing concern for several years, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the topic of pathogen transmission to the forefront of the IAQ conversation.

Since factors like indoor temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels can influence pathogen transmission, business owners are more concerned about optimizing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance than ever before. COVID-19 may be a driving force in the movement to optimize IAQ but boosting ventilation performance also improves safety and cuts costs.

Let’s take a look at how a streamlined operations and maintenance approach can improve indoor air safety.

Maintaining IAQ at scale: Is it possible?

The manual approach to preventive HVAC maintenance is highly ineffective on a larger scale. As an example, one college might have 53 buildings, 145 AHUs with IAQ issues, and 838 zones with IAQ issues. On this level, even simple HVAC fixes like stuck fire dampers or loose set screws would be challenging to keep up with.

Preventive maintenance best practices recommend making almost 1,000 HVAC checks per year. To accomplish this, facility managers would constantly need to check on parts such as cooling towers, chillers, boilers, etc. And this preventive maintenance would all be on top of other urgent, corrective maintenance requests submitted on a daily basis.

In reality, most organizations simply cannot handle this type of maintenance. From budget constraints to a lack of resources, there are countless challenges standing in the way of frequent preventive maintenance.

Typically, most HVAC systems are left unfixed until someone in the building complains about it. Without the right tools to help scale preventive maintenance, companies just can’t keep up.

Optimizing IAQ with fault detection and diagnostics

So, how can organizations overcome the challenges of HVAC preventive maintenance? Simply by switching from a manual approach to a smarter, software-driven approach.

Fault detection and diagnostics (FDD) software offered by companies like Clockworks Analytics allows organizations to run a daily analysis on HVAC systems, identifying any hidden issues across all equipment. Rather than falling behind on hundreds of annual preventive maintenance checks, companies can run thousands of automated checks every day and transition to a condition-based approach.

Detailed diagnostic reports eliminate the time-consuming investigation process. Instead, they deliver a straightforward list of HVAC issues to be resolved. These reports provide important information such as:

  • Equipment ID
  • Impacted tenants
  • Work orders
  • Part numbers
  • Assignees
  • Priority
  • Work history
  • Recommended tasks

Technology helps keep the air clean

An integrated workplace management system (IWMS) – like that offered by Archibus – can be integrated with a tool like Clockworks Analytics to aggregate and centralize data, making it easier and faster for facilities managers to schedule and track work orders.

This streamlined system replaces outdated spreadsheets and paper documents. It allows facilities managers to easily manage tasks like:

  • Replacing air filters and other consumable filtration equipment
  • Cleaning HVAC units
  • Inspecting for mold growth
  • Clearing condensation in drains
  • Examining registers and exchangers

The shift to real-time response

By shifting from a rigid, scheduled approach to a more natural, real-time response system, organizations will be better equipped to stay on top of HVAC preventive maintenance.

Here are a few reasons how an FDD and IWMS working together can enable a real-time response method:

  • Tackle multiple tasks at once. Facilities managers can view upcoming maintenance needs and tackle them while working on another task in the same area.
  • Match the right people with the right tasks. The software can align the type of issue with the best person fit to complete the task.
  • Prioritize tasks based on needs. Facilities managers can prioritize tasks based on categories like energy waste, comfort, or impact on maintenance.
  • Learn the true cost of unresolved maintenance tasks. The software highlights avoidable costs, allowing organizations to potentially save thousands of dollars each year.
  • Cut out manual investigations. Fault detection and diagnostics software doesn’t just deliver IAQ measurements – it points out potential root cause issues, too. This allows organizations to save time by skipping the manual investigation process.

Making the most of fault detection and diagnostics

Ultimately, switching to a highly intelligent, real-time response system doesn’t change the diagnostic data. What it does change is how that data is put into action. Whether an organization wants to focus on a specific HVAC zone, a particular type of equipment, or specific IAQ issues, an IWMS allows them to achieve their goal.

The cost of falling behind on HVAC maintenance is clear. Organizations put their employees’ health, safety, and comfort at risk. That leaves them vulnerable to pathogens like COVID-19.

Thankfully, when combined with an IWMS, an integrated fault detection and diagnostics system allow companies to protect employees, avoid unplanned downtime, and increase overall efficiency in HVAC preventive maintenance.

Keep reading: Get Familiar with a Facility Maintenance Plan

Categories
Blog

Healthcare Space Planning: Facilitate a Healing Environment

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Healthcare environments are incredibly complex spaces to manage. Not only do facilities managers face unexpected levels of demand and varying forms of need, they’re also dealing with mixed spaces. It’s difficult to use an MRI room for anything other than what it’s intended for; meanwhile, a general treatment room can become anything from a triage station to a space for ultrasounds, inoculations, and more. The sheer number of factors in-play make healthcare space planning an arduous, yet necessary task.

How can healthcare facility managers account for the many unpredictable variables present in a hospital, while orchestrating space that’s agile, accessible, and available? It takes no shortage of resources, including healthcare space planning software. Putting the pieces together in a facility that meets the demand of the local population is a full-time job that’s ever-evolving.

The goal of space planning in healthcare facilities? To ensure every patient has access to the medical care they need, when they need it—and that medical professionals can administer that care with as few physical obstacles as possible.

What is healthcare space planning?

Space planning is about purposing space to meet the needs of the people using it. In a hospital, it means allocating space to treat patients, and optimizing that space so physicians can deliver care.

For example, consider a hospital’s oncology wing. How much of the wing does the hospital need to devote to testing facilities? How much to chemotherapy? What percentage of space needs to go to waiting rooms for family and caregivers? Hospitals need to plan for these demands as they orchestrate space. In doing so, they ensure appropriate facilities are always available to the people who need them.

Space planning in healthcare facilities also occurs at the macro level. For example, it might mean putting the radiology department near the orthopedic wing, in order to promote the relationship between these two business units. This also factors into navigability for patients and physicians. The less ground there is to cover between affiliated areas of the hospital, the better.

Even HIPAA compliance and safety factor into space planning. It’s all about controlling the flow of traffic and instituting access points between sensitive areas.

The benefits of healthcare space planning

Bringing healthcare facilities together through thoughtful space planning affords patients and physicians alike numerous benefits. Here’s what good space planning translates into at a practical level:

  • Better availability of facilities to meet the needs of patients
  • Easier navigability for patients, family, and healthcare staff
  • Faster-paced operations that benefit from streamlined layout
  • Physicians have access to facilities that enable better patient care
  • Enhanced safety, security, and privacy in well-orchestrated spaces
  • Fewer overlaps and interruptions in facilities ensure smoother interactions

Space planning effectively makes healthcare facilities accessible. Patients or family visiting will know exactly where to find what they’re looking for, and those relying on the facilities will get the care they need from space orchestrated to support them.

From an administrative standpoint, healthcare space planning makes it easier for facilities managers to optimize space. Hospitals are other healthcare facilities are only so large, which means using precious square footage in the best possible ways. Planning influences execution, which gives managers the baseline they need to govern facilities based on demand.

How does healthcare space planning software help?

Hospitals operate 24 hours a day, with an ebb and flow of need and demand around the clock. Space planning software provides the tools and resources to realize these varying levels of demand in real time. It gives facility managers access to space insights that drive better decision-making, ultimately leading to a better standard of patient care.

Space planning occurs on two levels: proactive and reactive. Proactive planning means recognizing demand for space and tailoring facilities. For example, if the hematology department is overcrowded, it might mean taking over the phlebotomy lab next door and transitioning phlebotomy to a bedside practice. It’s about recognizing the operational demands of facilities and balancing space accordingly.

From a reactive standpoint, space planning is about continuing to meet ongoing demand for space. If the hospital is outsourcing more of its pathology to an off-site lab, the pathology department may become a new dialysis department, to better-support the growing number of patients who require this treatment.

Space planning software enables both proactive and reactive space planning capabilities. Facility managers can use it to sandbox new floor plans, understand space allocation, and contextualize space based on how it’s used. Best of all, software makes space planning agile in hospital environments that are increasingly dynamic.

Enable the highest level of patient care

Well-planned, agile healthcare facilities have rippling effects. Shorter wait times for treatments and tests. Less strain on patients and family as they navigate facilities. Improved safety, accessibility, and HIPAA compliance. It all roots back to how facility managers organize and purpose space, and the governance associated with those spaces.

As demand for healthcare rises and hospitals become more dynamic and agile, even more opportunities for space planning become clear. One space, one purpose still defines some areas of healthcare facilities, but for all others, there are many opportunities to meet patient demand. Planning for agile, multifaceted spaces is the path forward for the future of healthcare.

Keep reading: Healthcare Space Utilization: Caregiving at Capacity

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Healthcare Space Utilization: Caregiving at Capacity

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

The United States’ healthcare system is a $8.45+ trillion industry—and it’s growing larger by the year. As demand creeps higher for everything from dentistry to oncology, more and more facilities are springing up across the country to meet these needs. In major metropolitan areas with larger populations and around-the-clock need, more facilities aren’t necessarily the solution. Better healthcare space utilization in existing facilities is.

The ability to use existing healthcare facilities better unlocks broad potential for meeting need, without the additional (tremendous) cost of building and staffing new buildings. Tapping into the fullest potential of a hospital or other healthcare facility rests heavily on the ability to orchestrate space around sometimes unpredictable demand. That starts with a fundamental understanding of capability and availability.

What is healthcare space utilization?

Space utilization is the concept of maximizing the utility of available space. If a hospital has 30 emergency room beds and the average occupancy of those beds is 15, it has a 50% utilization rate. And while this might sound poor, healthcare space utilization differs significantly from other types of utilization metrics. The reason? Much of hospital space is allocated on a contingency basis. The hospital may not use 30 emergency beds, but it needs 30 emergency beds based on the local census.

Healthcare space utilization goes beyond looking at usage as a static figure. To truly understand utilization takes a mind for all the variables that factor into demand. How many emergency room cases were there last quarter? Last year? Over the past five years? What’s the average time per bed occupied? What percentage of total beds are emergency beds? These factors and dozens more form the basis for space allocation, and also inform the standard for utilization.

While space utilization may be a measure of how often usable space is occupied, it’s also a measure of space efficiency in context. To gauge an accurate measure of both is an ongoing, ever-difficult task for healthcare facility managers.

The benefits of healthcare space utilization

Good utilization in hospitals and healthcare facilities comes down to contextualizing use within the parameters of the ecosystem. Facility administrators who can keep space allocation and utilization balanced help unlock significant benefits for everyone seeking or administering healthcare:

  • Better access to spaces designed to support specific healthcare
  • Specific, purposeful space planning and organization
  • Smoother administration as the result of predictable facility usage
  • Improved comfort and convenience for patients receiving treatment
  • Better clinician support from well-equipped and accessible facilities

Ultimately, moderating space utilization comes down to ensuring facilities are available when they’re needed, to the people giving and receiving treatment. Emergency bed utilization may only be 50%, but that means there are several available to housing incoming critical patients from a multiple vehicle accident, for example. Even in non-emergent situations, utilization matters. You don’t want patients sitting for hours waiting on radiology to x-ray their broken arm—they need attention ASAP, from facilities that aren’t constantly at their limit.

How does healthcare space utilization software help?

The biggest unknown variable affecting healthcare facilities is demand. You never know when someone is going to need care—even with appointment scheduling. Utilization software helps account for this unknown by measuring the known variables, to make figuring out a buffer easier.

For example, if there are 10 beds in the chemotherapy wing, each with a utilization rate of 90%, it’s an indicator that more beds may be necessary. Similarly, if the utilization rate of four ultrasound rooms is only 20%, it may be an opportunity to repurpose one or more of them. Utilization software provides these figures to unlock the potential these insights provide.

It’s also important to consider utilization software from the perspective of tracking and monitoring trends, and aligning them with the business goals of a healthcare facility. Do you really need to build a new hemodialysis treatment center? Or, can you establish this environment in current facilities by consolidating underutilized space in the greater hematology wing? In this way, there are cost and treatment benefits rooted in decision-making, made possible by space utilization software insights.

Orchestrate a superior approach to patient care

Healthcare space utilization isn’t just about making use of facilities to avoid the prospect of building and staffing. Above anything else, it’s about being able to deliver superior patient care and a healing experience for the people relying on those facilities. Anticipating demand isn’t always easy, which means the path to better space utilization starts through space governance.

In the modern era, healthcare space utilization software is becoming a must-have, crucial part of the facility management approach. It allows hospitals to be agile with their space and adaptable to the needs of the census. Moreover, it allows hospitals to understand how efficient they’re being, so they can explore new opportunities to provide better caregiving solutions. The result is better use of existing facilities, which helps avoid adding even more costs to an $8.45+ trillion industry that’s already the ire of many.

Keep reading: Healthcare Space Planning: Facilitate a Healing Environment

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Government Space Utilization: Make the Most of Taxpayer Dollars

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Every major city has government facilities that are, by and large, taxpayer funded. From public libraries to police stations, courthouses to the local DMV—these are facilities we’ll all rely on at some point in time. Taxpayer dollars are what keep them well-maintained and functional. So, when questions of government spending arise, facility waste tends to be one of the first focal points in shoring up a budget. Attention turns to government space utilization.

Space utilization in government facilities is a difficult prospect to get a handle on. These facilities exist to support the public, but there’s no telling when and to what degree people will rely on them. You can’t always predict when there will be a run on books at the local library or when everyone will decide to visit the DMV to renew their license. For government facility managers, space utilization is always a prospect in flux.

Thankfully, modern space utilization software is making it easier to not only maximize utilization in government facilities, but to also optimize it for demand. You might not know when someone will show up to get married at city hall, but you can keep facilities agile enough to adapt.

What is government space utilization?

Space utilization is the prospect of maximizing the use of a particular space vs. its availability. If the space is open for eight hours a day, five days a week, that’s 40 hours of availability. If it’s occupied and in-use for 30 of those hours, utilization is 75%. It is a simple concept, but difficult to practice.

Demand isn’t consistent in government facilities. For example, there’s likely to be much more demand for access to the County Clerk in the spring, when more people apply for marriage certificates. If the waiting room only supports six people, you’ll need to allocate more space for those waiting patiently to apply. During the winter months, you might use this overflow space for something else. Optimizing space utilization stems from understanding demand for it.

Government space utilization comes down to efficiency: both operational and monetarily. Are you making the most of available space in government facilities? Or, are taxpayers footing the bill for unused, unneeded, or ungoverned space? Efficiency metrics will tell you.

The benefits of government space utilization

While cost control is the most prominent benefit of good utilization, it’s far from the only one. Government facilities that capitalize on space efficiently position themselves to offer a variety of benefits to employees and visitors including:

  • Better access to spaces designed to support government functions
  • Specific, purposeful space planning and organization
  • Smoother operations as the result of predictable facility usage
  • Improved comfort and convenience for individuals utilizing space
  • Cost-efficient use of space, which results in lower cost to taxpayers

Utilization emphasizes the practicality of space. Instead of letting some types of spaces sit idle while demand for others grows, utilization metrics illustrate need. In government facilities, the relationship to how often spaces see use and the demands of people using them is crucial. If people aren’t using your space, it means government isn’t meeting the needs of constituents – or worse, they’re paying for unnecessary facilities.

A focus on utilization is a focus on maximizing the usefulness of facilities, while that the same time optimizing cost. From a front-facing constituent standpoint, this is exactly what people expect from them.

How does government space utilization software help?

As mentioned, unpredictability is a big obstacle standing in the way of high utilization levels in government facilities. How do you maximize the availability of a space when demand remains uncertain? For a growing number of municipal building managers, space utilization software is the answer.

Utilization software offers the benefit of both real-time and historical insights. Real-time space utilization metrics allow facility managers to pair immediate demand with space designed to support specific activities, capacities, and locations. Historical data produces patterns and trends, to help make unpredictable demand slightly more identifiable. For example:

  • If two attorneys and their clients need space for arbitration at the courthouse, real-time utilization metrics will show what’s available.
  • If a facility manager wants to know how much space to delegate to a town hall meeting, they can look at previous utilization trends to plan accordingly.

Utilization software makes it possible to maximize space in an ongoing capacity. Government facility managers can learn about the demand and use of space, and work to shape facilities around anticipated expectations. The result are facilities that better-accommodate employees and visitors, while minimizing the cost to taxpayers.

Optimize the capabilities of facilities

More and more, government space utilization isn’t about optimizing one space for one purpose—it’s about optimizing many spaces for many purposes. The trick is to maintain the accessibility and convenience of public-facing facilities. To do this takes reliance on government space utilization software.

From post offices to municipal buildings, it’s possible to optimize space based on capability to address need. The building will remain the same destination for different services, but the way it meets public demand for those services may change. Utilization is now a dynamic metric, and it’s growing ever more important in facilities that need to operate with mind for budget control.

Keep reading: Government Space Planning: Make the Most of Public Facilities

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Government Space Planning: Make the Most of Public Facilities

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Government facilities are generally well-defined. People have a specific reason for visiting the police station, courthouse, town hall, DMV, and other such buildings. That means the space demands of these buildings tend to be equally as defined. And while it makes designing and staffing these facilities easy, it also necessitates very specific criteria for government space planning.

Space planning in government facilities comes down to three crucial factors. First, it’s about delegating enough space for the actions and activities that occur in these buildings. Second, it’s about making them navigable for employees and visitors alike. Finally—and perhaps most important—it’s about ensuring facilities operate with efficiency, to keep the cost to taxpayers low.

To achieve these criteria takes foresight to the operational demands of government facilities—and the ability to plan and adapt space accordingly.

What is government space planning?

Space planning involves establishing specific use-cases for different areas within facilities. In government buildings, it means pairing the capabilities of space with the demands of the people coming to them. If a constituent comes in for jury duty, where do they hang out until they’re selected or dismissed? Is there an area at the DMV specifically for license picture-taking? How many temporary holding cells are there in the local police station? Meeting these needs is a function of good space planning.

As mentioned above, government space planning also needs to satisfy criteria for accessibility and efficiency. This involves a deep understanding of operations. For example, if you’re delegating space for jury duty selectees, you need to know how many people are in a jury pool at any given time, and how often new pools get called in.

Space planning is a marriage of form and function. When it comes to government facilities, this marriage is vitally important. If employees and constituents can’t access or use space, or if it’s not managed efficiently, tensions will flair. Remember: government institutions need to serve people.

The benefits of government space planning

Coordinating space around demand paves the way for significant benefits. As people seek to access government help and municipalities strive to answer this call to action, space planning bridges the gap. Some of the prominent benefits include:

  • Government facilities become more accessible to constituents
  • Government employees have the space they need to do their jobs
  • The cost to taxpayers drops as facility efficiency conserves funds
  • Fewer overlaps and interruptions in facilities ensure smoother operations
  • Enhanced safety, security, and privacy in well-orchestrated spaces
  • Easier navigability and wayfinding in well-organized facilities

Government buildings need to follow the old adage, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Visitors to government facilities want the reliability that comes with having a defined place to go and a definite route to get there. Space planning is key in giving them that. If there’s no defined or planned space, it creates uncertainty and unpredictability for visitors and employees alike.

Take a simple example, like committee meeting. The committee may only meet once per month, but they need a space to house all eight committee members, as well as local citizens who want to attend and learn more. Space planning involves finding and reserving a space in advance of the meeting, and ensuring that space meets the needs of the meeting. Does it have tables and chairs? Is there A/V equipment to showcase a presentation? Is the room accessible to the general public? Planning needs to eliminate any and all obstacles upfront so the space can serve its role in a successful committee meeting.

How does government space planning software help?

The sheer scope of government facilities and the many demands people have for them make space planning difficult—at least, not without intuitive tools. Government space planning software helps facility managers keep track of the many moving variables on both sides of the coin: space and demand.

The tools offered by space planning software are invaluable in not only coordinating space, but also in understanding it. Software is intuitive enough to recognize patterns and trends, which can better-inform space planning. For example, if total attendance at the monthly committee meeting consistently hovers at 12 people, it can narrow your focus to spaces designed for groups of this size. Other integrated data also makes space planning more robust. For example, if a polling station in Building A has higher turnout than one in Building B, it might signal convenience or accessibility factors.

Government space planning software brings data into the fold and contextualizes it based on present factors and variables. While facility managers focus on bridging space and demand, software helps them do it efficiently and with clearer purpose.

Keep constituents and government employees happy

Good space planning in government facilities is immediately evident in how they function. Does the courtroom have a defined space for jurors to report and wait? Is the DMV able to keep lines moving? Are there ample spaces for committee meetings at the town hall? Planning space around the needs of different government facilities means thinking about them first from an operational standpoint.

As the functions of facilities become apparent, space planning software becomes crucial in enabling them. It bridges the gap between constituents and the services they need—as well as the government employees charged with administering them.

Keep reading: Five Pillars of Government Facility Management Software