Hitting a Home Run with Baseball Facility Management Software

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

There’s a reason baseball is America’s pastime. It’s a sport that’s easy to understand, simple to play, and exciting to watch. There’s nothing quite like being in a baseball stadium on a sunny day, watching the home team send fastballs into the stands. Behind the scenes, however, managing baseball facilities takes a lot of work. Thankfully, there’s baseball facility management software.

What are baseball facilities?

Baseball facilities are a departure from what we all think of when catching a ballgame. They’re where you’ll find batting and pitching cages, athletic training stations, performance centers, and even classrooms. These are the spaces players use to hone their skills before stepping out to home plate on game day.

Baseball facilities aren’t just where the players practice—they’re also a space for younger players to learn and can house visitor attractions like displays for trophies and awards. Many even use spaces to host events, such as banquets for Little League teams or meet-and-greets with former baseball greats.

What is baseball facility management software?

On any given day, any number of activities can take place in baseball facilities. To coordinate them takes facility management software. Facility management software ensures players, visitors, and employees can use the facility in the capacity they need without disturbing other events or operations that may be taking place at the same time.

Software can also coordinate baseball facilities on a macro level. Which days does the local pro team practice vs. one of the area’s collegiate teams? What days this month have meet-and-greets, and how should facilities accommodate guests, press, and fans? Software coordinates the people and facilities to maximize the experience.

Examples of baseball facility management

Different groups have different needs inside of baseball facilities. Using management software to conform the facilities themselves to the needs of each group brings purpose to each type of space—and improves the experience each group has with the space. Here are a few examples:

  • The local pro team is practicing at the same time as a press meet-and-greet. Facilities are orchestrated in a way that keeps visitors away from practice areas and prevents them from leaving designated spaces.
  • There’s a Little League banquet taking place in the main hall. Consulting facility software ensures there are enough tables and seats, and that they’re spaced accordingly. It also shows that visitors should park in the south lot, which is closest to the hall.
  • There are two collegiate teams booked at the facilities for strength training and batting practice. Facility software can coordinate the transition between these spaces so both teams can practice offsetting skills at the same time.

There’s need for facility management software to govern both static and dynamic spaces in baseball training centers. From guests, athletes, staff, or anyone utilizing the facility, there’s a need to use space uninterrupted and in the right capacity. Good facilities oversight enables both.

Coordinated player development

One of the chief benefits of sports facility management software is its impact on coordinated player development. Baseball facilities are, first and foremost, a place for athletes to improve their skill. Facilities software promotes this by shedding light on the need for certain spaces and the utilization levels of other training areas. If the facility is considering an investment in VR training, for example, a facility manager may look at the current classroom space and see a 64% weekly utilization rate as an opportunity to repurpose space for better learning.

Player development also extends to training regimens and routines. Trainers may consult facility management software to see that the weight room is open on Friday at 4pm, allowing them to book the space for a special training regimen with a player. The more accessible various spaces are, the more advantageous they are to player development.

Improve facility profitability

The other benefit of baseball facility scheduling software is in how it can improve profitability. Admitting more guests for tours, special events, banquets, and other profitable purposes helps fund new improvements and innovations for the players.

Revenue from hall-of-fame tours may pay for a new turf field, for example. Facilities can use software to dissect space utilization and occupancy data to squeeze more profitability from these spaces. For example, keeping hall-of-fame tours to one hour without changing the price invites more tours and increased revenue to fund the new field.

Space management matters for baseball facilities

Baseball is fun and exciting, but it’s also a game of rules and organization. It’s a by-the-book sport. Managing baseball facilities demands this same level of attention and organization. Facilities management software delivers it, to help athletes train better, give fans new experiences, and improve the profitability of facilities.

Keep reading: How Much Does Facility Management Software Cost?


What is Veterinary Facility Management?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

Facility management practices are expanding beyond traditional offices and white-collar companies. Today, even veterinary facility management is a practice that demands skilled oversight. The reason is because the benefits are scalable—veterinarians and their operations benefit from good facility management in many of the same ways a traditional office-based company does.

While a veterinary practice may have a much smaller footprint than an office building and fewer people working there, its operations are not any less complex when broken down. Veterinary clinics face unique challenges and facility obstacles that require innovative solutions. Here is a look at how vets can use facility management software to improve operations and the level of “patient” care they provide.

What is veterinary facilities management?

Veterinary facilities management involves making the best possible use of facilities to expedite and optimize the care given to animals. It involves maximizing the use of exam rooms, lab equipment, animal-specific amenities, and, most important, the time and skills of veterinarians and vet techs. This is vital in an environment with so many volatile variables: different animal temperaments, urgent and emergent situations, and limited physical resources.

Examples of veterinary facilities management

Animal hospital facility management introduces much-needed flexibility to veterinary environments. It allows vet techs to adapt to changing situations with quickness, to keep themselves and animals safe, and to expedite the delivery of care. Here are a few basic examples:

  • Room reservation software shows three aggressive dogs booked for appointments at 10am. When Dorothy calls to book an appointment for her skittish cat, the vet tech can schedule them at 11am, to avoid anxiety.
  • A pet owner calls ahead to say they’re bringing in a dog with severe trauma. A vet tech can quickly relocate a dog from the intensive care room to a regular exam room and put the x-ray tech on standby to prepare for the incoming dog.
  • An animal hospital is preparing to receive 10 animals from a breeding mill that’s been shut down. All animals need various levels of care. The hospital’s facility manager delegates cages and exam rooms for all 10 animals in advance of their arrival.

Whether to promote harmony between pets or to prepare for an unforeseen, emergent situation, more vet clinics and animal hospitals are using facilities management software to govern their space and amenities.

Coordinate a better level of care

What variables fall under veterinary facility management? Instead of hot desks and agile workspaces, vet clinics need oversight for their most important assets and operations:

  • Exam rooms. Exam rooms are where evaluations and basic procedures happen—or, where you render billable services. Maximizing exam room utilization has a direct correlation to clinic profitability and patient care.
  • Equipment. X-ray machines, digital scales, surgical equipment, lab equipment, and the like are all critical tools for delivering care to animals. Again, maximizing availability of equipment leads to more billable services rendered.
  • Animal housing. For clinics that charge for boarding or those involve in animal intake for long-term treatment, it is vital to coordinate animal housing. These spaces are finite and essential, necessary to always manage.
  • Staff and volunteers. The workforce’s interaction with facilities is worth measuring and managing. For example, if you have six animals in intensive suites, it tells you to staff more than the usual one or two vet techs.

Whether it’s triage and urgent care, routine exams and procedures, or extended stays, veterinary facilities are home to diverse demands. Like any workplace, it is up to facilities to meet these demands. Visibility is the first step.

Beyond animal care

Veterinary facility management goes beyond finding space for pet and predicting care needs. There are also the people to consider and the general operations of the business as they relate to facilities.

Do patients and their pets have a comfortable waiting room that alleviates stress? Are facilities set up to streamline the patient experience, such as weighing and vitals before the vet consult or leaving through the back door to discourage animal agitation? Are waiting rooms, lab rooms, storage areas, and the waiting room arranged to reduce cross-interaction between pets as they receive care? These questions and many others like them show the link between proper facility setup and management, and business operations.

Maximize the level of care and comfort

Few animals like going to the vet and most are smart enough to know where they are when they get there. Provide an experience that gets them the care they need, in a comfortable environment, with as few disruptions as possible—whether they are in for a routine checkup or an emergency visit.

It is not only about the pets, either. Well-managed vet clinics and animal hospitals will put pet parents at ease and give them the confidence they need to not think twice about scheduling their pet’s next appointment at a particular clinic.

Keep Reading: Selecting the Right Facilities Management Software


Hospital Facility Management Software and the Patient Experience

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist

There is a reason that, despite being fast-paced, high-intensity environments, many hospitals do not necessarily feel that way. Short of the triage unit and emergency center, most hospital wings and wards feel organized and well-orchestrated. They are ready to respond, always calm, cool, and collected. The secret rests in the oversight afforded to managers by hospital facility management software.

It is impossible to manage hospital operations without a system of guidance. Everything from patient conditions, to their privacy, to the equipment of the hospital and the staff with the skills to deliver care falls under the guise of operations management—and all this falls within the realm of facility management. For hospitals, the facilities are what matter, and they deserve careful and continuous oversight.

How is facility management done in hospitals?

There are two parts to hospital operations: available facilities and the people who need them. If you have two people who need MRIs and two MRI machines, it is straightforward. If you have nine people who need surgery and only three operating rooms, there is much more to consider. What makes hospital facility management so complex is the sheer scale of it all. It is not just MRI machines or operating rooms—it is hundreds of different spaces and pieces of equipment, and thousands of patients who need them.

Hospital facility management software connects the many sides of a hospital to the ebb and flow of demand from patients. While every hospital has different wards—oncology, urgent care, cardiac, pediatric, etc.—each unit has limited space, resources, and equipment available to it. Hospital facility management maximizes the resources of each unit, to ensure the quickest and best levels of patient care. This, in an environment fast paced, demanding, and often unpredictable.

Examples of hospital facilities management

The power of hospital facility management software stretches across a wide breadth of solutions. Here is a look at some of the most basic examples of how hospital facility managers employ software to deliver strategic solutions to patients on a regular basis.

  • There is a pandemic and the hospital needs to schedule float nurses to staff accordingly. Facility managers look at occupied beds to staff the proper number of nurses per ward, per shift, taking from other units with less need.
  • John is being discharged from urgent care to a rehabilitation wing after breaking both his legs. He is placed in an unoccupied room near the rehab facilities he will use to recover, close to a wheelchair accessible washroom.
  • St. Mary’s Hospital is seeing a spike in drug-related hospitalizations. The hospital decides to repurpose part of its triage center to deal specifically with administration of care to patients with addiction.

These examples are only a microcosm of how facility managers orchestrate the caregiving environment to meet patient needs on a daily, hourly, and even by-the-minute capacity. This flexibility and agility are also the reason otherwise-chaotic hospital wards feel well-ordered and ready to adapt.

What is the function of healthcare facilities management?

The core function of hospital facilities management is to improve the patient experience. Patients do not necessarily need to know why hospital operations are set up the way they are. All they need to take away from their experience is the feeling they received great care, in a timely manner, in an environment that put them at ease.

Facility management happens behind the scenes in hospitals. Patients rarely see the coordinated effort it takes to deliver the experience they receive—and this is ideal. They know they can come in for an appointment or an emergency and get the care they need in a prompt fashion.

The growing demand for facilities management for hospitals

There’s still significant room for improvement in the realm of hospital facility management. Though down from a decade ago, emergency room wait times are still almost 40 minutes at peak hours. Likewise, many hospitals still face difficulty pathing patients to specialty wards with expedience.

As healthcare demands in the U.S. and around the world grow larger by the year, more demand for hospital services will put more emphasis on efficient and effective use of available facilities, equipment, people, and resources. Facilities management in hospitals will become more important than it already is.

Complexity beyond description

It is impossible to contextualize the sheer scope of hospital facilities management in one article. From coordinating urgent care, to orchestrating patient movements, to delegating space by demand, and beyond, there is a reason most hospitals put entire facility management teams at the helm of robust software. There are fewer environments more complex and fewer instances where the need for stringent oversight is more important.

Keep reading: How to Select the Right Facility Management Software

Workplace Thought Leadership

Workplace Automation is a Triple Win

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

What is the most profound shift that’s occurred in the workplace in the past 30 years? In a word: automation. When you request a ride on Uber, you realize it’s happening all around us in our personal and professional lives—not just in factories.

As workplace automation spreads, companies need to identify its quantitative and qualitative benefits before implementing a solution. The most powerful automation delivers a triple win for your company, your people, and your customers.

The Metamorphosis of the Workplace

Today’s college students wouldn’t recognize the office of the 1990s. Dilbert™ cubicles, PBX phone systems, and desktop PCs ruled the workplace. At the time, work was typically done within an arm’s reach of your desk. The dual forces of technology limitations and corporate culture effectively chained employees to their desks.

But that structure gave way as new work styles emerged, prompting office layouts to follow suit. In the past decade, we’ve seen cubicle walls not only come down but morph into benching systems and open offices. And now the pendulum is swinging toward agile workplaces based on neighborhoods, free address, and flexible spaces.

Technology is driving these changes. Consider something as simple as an office phone. We all used to have landlines at our desks. They never dropped a call, but they were only convenient if you were physically nearby. Then we went through a Blackberry phase, which effectively cut the phone cord. Once we were permanently untethered from a workstation, those devices evolved into smartphones.

The same technology shift can be seen in workplace management platforms. Traditional legacy systems were great at handling important back office functions, they are like your parents’ landline—they fulfill their primary purpose but don’t have the same power as a smartphone. Integrated workplace management systems (IWMS) and cloud-based solutions are fast-forming an ecosystem that’s sweeping away legacy solutions on the next wave of workplace automation.

The Triple Win of Automation

Let’s be real—people are still nervous about automation. There’s a persistent perception that artificial intelligence and machine learning will eliminate jobs. And yet the only industry that’s completely disappeared is the iconic elevator operator. In truth, automation is making the workplace more productive and enjoyable while saving companies money.

The secret is to be intentional about what type of automation you adopt. Don’t implement a solution because you want to appear cool or edgy. Automation must offer real and quantifiable benefits. A successful digital transformation is finding the sweet spot we call The Triple Win: a success for clients, your company, and your employees.

These three examples show the real-world advantages of using automation to satisfy customer expectations, employee engagement, and the bottom line:

1) Airline Booking 

Remember having to call an airline to reserve your tickets or change a flight? About 90% of your interaction was over the phone with a human being. Between websites and mobile apps, everything is now self-service. You can book a flight, change a reservation, pick your seat, and get flight notifications, which gives you a better, more efficient, and satisfying experience. Automation also allows representatives to perform strategic customer management instead, like a last-second flight change. That’s a bonus for travelers, airline personnel, and the airlines.

2) Receptionists

There was a time when you had to write your name in a book when visiting a company…then wait for a receptionist to call the person you were meeting. And then wait. Manual check-in is a waste of time, even if there’s a live receptionist who is warm and welcoming. Automation allows you to register on a tablet and sign an NDA while a message is simultaneously sent to the person you’re meeting. The process is not only smoother and more cost effective, but the receptionist is freed up to handle more complex tasks.

3) Nursing

Nurses are highly skilled and educated individuals, so why are they spending time delivering ice and blankets? Enter a robot assistant that fetches and delivers commonly requested items. Patients get better care because nurses can concentrate on their primary job, avoid the frustration of menial chores, and help hospitals improve patient outcomes.

Now, consider how automation can produce a triple win in the workplace. If you have 1,000 employees but want to maximize your office layout, you need hard data to make real changes. Imagine if occupancy data shows that only 700 desks are used on a given day. Workplace managers could convert underutilized square footage into huddle rooms or lounges. Automated solutions like a modern workplace management system help reimagine the workplace you have today by optimizing existing space, boosting employee productivity and morale, and delivering better products to customers.

That’s a true triple win for your workplace.

Keep reading: Space As A Service: A Workplace Competitive Advantage

Workplace Thought Leadership

How Agile is Your Real Estate?

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer

Real estate costs are typically one of the least agile parts of an organization. Every business has a fixed number of buildings or square footage and a set lease period. Company leaders need agile space planning and utilization options to maximize productivity. But how can a business balance a finite footprint with organizational nimbleness?

Workplace analytics are crucial to optimizing commercial real estate (CRE). Trends, forecasting, and projections are critical tools that help companies adapt to changing business demands. The key is understanding the constant evolution of the workplace and how analytics can optimize every square foot.

The Changing World of Real Estate

The CRE landscape is shifting almost daily. That makes it difficult for real estate professionals to project lease needs and costs even a few years into the future. Factors that complicate forecasting include:

  • Lease costs are skyrocketing
  • Long-term occupancy is not guaranteed (and even preferable)
  • Employees no longer adhere to a standard 9-to-5 workday
  • Remote working is on the rise
  • Workplace square footage per employee is shrinking

Organizations are also guilty of treating their workplaces as cost centers. Facility managers feel the pain most when their department budgets and staff are cut. But it’s a mistake to treat your workplace as a sunk cost that should be minimized. Everything in your business has strategic value, including the workplace.

How to Harness Real Estate Data

Real estate is the single biggest fixed expense for any company. But signing a 15-year lease is archaic. Too much can change in three years, much less in a decade. Everything from fluctuating staff levels and shifts in work processes to product or service pivots can change real estate requirements. What you need is a way to make smarter real estate decisions that free up capital to invest elsewhere.

We like to think of this as “real estate yoga.” Yoga for our bodies keeps joints and muscles limber. Real estate yoga has a similar intent—keep your organization agile and flexible. That translates to more productive, collaborative, and satisfied teams. This elasticity also means you won’t be locked into real estate investments that don’t serve the bottom line.

Historically, workplace data has been siloed in individual platforms. That puts organizations at a disadvantage. What if HR doesn’t communicate staffing projections to Facilities Management. Not good. Forecasting real estate needs means breaking down data barriers and putting staffing trends into a usable context by:

1) Collecting Data

Data collection can be as basic as compiling lease details, badge logs, calendar entries, and meeting room reservation information. You can also tap into WiFi and sensor data to form a more detailed picture.

2) Running Projections

Data is only useful if you draw conclusions from it. What if you want to know if a 10-person conference room is the right size for the meetings held in it? You can track calendar reservations, but that won’t tell you how many people came to a meeting and how long they actually used the room. But pair that information with sensor data and you may learn that meetings typically consist of two people. That’s context.

3) Taking Action

This is where real estate yoga strengthens decision making. With trends confirmed by data, you can enact real estate strategies that drive ROI. Some will have productivity benefits, such as rearranging existing space to better suit your employees’ work habits. Others will have an impact on real estate costs, such as deferring a new lease or consolidating square footage.

Imagine a scenario where you have 100 desks on a floor and want to know if the seat-to-employee ratio is appropriate. You analyze badging data and determine that an average of 40 people sign in every day. Now you have concrete proof that the space is underutilized. You can then optimize the layout, such as moving to a 2:1 desk-to-employee ratio or planning a department move.

Workplace analytics also play a major role in evaluating future real estate investments. Companies often struggle to forecast if staffing levels will be under, at, or over capacity when a lease expires. Without good data—and robust analytics built from it using an integrated workplace management system (IWMS)—how do you decide if a lease should be renewed or cancelled?

Current headcount is one indication, but personnel forecasting is another variable. Engineering is predicted to double in size, but it makes a significant difference in on-site workspace if new hires have the option to work remotely. An IWMS will highlight the key factors that ultimately impact your square footage needs.

Workplace analytics enhance visibility into space utilization. Better real estate forecasting and planning tools enable organizations to make workplace-based decisions. They help answer the age-old question for every business: When do I need to spend money on more space?

Keep reading: Real Estate Analytics Cut Costs and Lift Workplace Production

Workplace Thought Leadership

Cookie-Cutter Workplace Effect: Low Productivity

By Jeff Revoy
Chief Operations Officer & Co-Founder

Is your workplace helping or hindering productivity?

Companies have been grappling with this question ever since the rise of knowledge workers. Businesses first adopted cubicles, moved to open offices, and then shifted to shared desks—all with the objective of increasing efficiency. But the challenge is that there are no one-size-fits-all designs that work across every industry. In fact, one of the quickest ways to undercut productivity is forcing every office layout into the same configuration.

Your workplace design should be treated like a tool that’s just as critical to your operations as a computer network or WiFi. And like a good software program, workplace layout should be informed by data. With insights into utilization trends, companies can optimize their floor plans to support employee productivity.

Recognize Work Modes

We no longer live in a world where an employee punches in at 8 a.m. and works on the same task until 5 p.m. Over the course of an average day, a worker may alternate between six productivity modes. These can range from solo tasks such as reading, writing, and email, to collaborative ones like one-on-one meetings, group huddles, and brainstorming sessions.

With such a wide spectrum of tasks, it’s nearly impossible for an employee to maintain productivity by staying in one spot. It’s not that one type of layout is right or wrong, like everyone should use hotel desks or work in an open office. The problem is when your floor plan doesn’t provide the right combination of spaces to support productivity.

Take an open office. If I’m a sales person who spends most of my time on the phone, an open layout might work for 90% of my day. But if I’m an engineer who primarily does heads-down work, only 10% of my day might be compatible with an open office.

Space availability is also crucial for productivity. Your office might offer a variety of options for concentration and collaboration, but what if there’s not enough to go around? When people are competing for resources (i.e. space for a task) they are ultimately wasting time.

Imagine a company where most people don’t come to the office Monday through Thursday but it’s routine for them to come in every Friday. During the early part of the week, no one needs a permanent desk. But because Fridays hit peak occupancy, people might be frustrated by a lack of desks, conference rooms, or quiet spaces. Time spent anxiously searching for a space halts employee productivity in its tracks.

Measure Productivity with Space Data

Every company has to decide what productivity looks like to them. Sales is easy to measure, but what about the Marketing team? There’s always a qualitative side to productivity. But space utilization data can clarify the relationship between layout and productivity.

Start by managing your workplace in a modern, dynamic way. In the days of Dilbert-style cubicles when nothing ever moved, space planners only needed basic software. Open offices require little rearranging, except on the periphery. But for flexible floor plans, you need modern software like an integrated workplace management system (IWMS).

Then measure utilization. Look at the data you already have, like badging system information. It won’t provide details on what a person was doing during a given day, but you can establish when and how long they were in the office.

You can also tap into WiFi. Compare signal data that shows where devices connected to the network with badging data that denotes how many people arrived on a particular day. Were they grouped in a certain location or were they stationed at individual desks? If you want to get really granular, install sensors that track when people enter and exit a room.

The final phase is to use collected data to verify if your current layout supports employee productivity or should be optimized. You can ask detailed questions like:

  • Does everyone need a desk or can we convert to shared desks?
  • Do we need to add small huddle rooms or larger conference rooms?
  • Should we use a desk ratio of 1:1 or 2:1?
  • Can we replace a portion of shared desks with couches?

Data collected through an IWMS helps take the guesswork out of productivity questions. You can use the same data to test layouts and make changes if they aren’t fruitful for productivity.

For example, you provided couches for impromptu meetings. It turns out no one uses them because teams prefer conference rooms with A/V technology. Data also shows that your four meeting rooms are constantly booked. Those insights verify that replacing the couches with another conference room is a more productive use of space.

We recently had one customer who went to 100% hot desking. After tracking space utilization, they found that only 100 out of 200 employees are in the office on a typical day. Rather than maintain 200 desks, they kept 110 desks and added extra meeting and huddles rooms.

When one team makes a productivity improvement, the benefits are limited to that team. But if you make even a 1% improvement across the entire company, the payoff is massive. This is exactly what optimizing your workplace design based on data trends can yield.

Keep reading: what’s the best office layout for productivity?

Workplace Thought Leadership

Data Governance: A Critical Component of Good Workplace Management

By Kane Hochster
Chief Sales Officer

Every business collects data of some kind. Small companies may keep customer records in spreadsheets while global organizations use multiple systems to manage everything from HR data, sales, assets and workplace management.

But having data doesn’t automatically mean the reports gleaned from that information are accurate and actionable. You know the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out”? Businesses may be great at collecting data, but is it the right data? Is it being used to meet objectives?

“Inaccurate data means you’re basing decisions on bad information, which may mean building a workplace that doesn’t meet employees’ needs or drains facility management budgets,” said Kimberly Castle, account director with Buildingi, an IWMS/BIM consulting firm and Archibus partner. “You may also be leasing too much space because bad data shows that 15% of your workforce doesn’t work in the physical office anymore – when the true figure is much higher.”

Many businesses are learning a hard lesson as they navigate their ongoing responses to COVID-19. The constant flux of COVID safety mandates puts greater emphasis on the need for real-time data to create processes to meet those standards. Companies must rely on accurate reports to make decisions on everything from maximum allowable occupancy for conference rooms to workstation spacing to where to position contactless circulation pathways. As work from home policies persist, most firms will seek to adjust their portfolios and add flexibility to promote workplace choice. That’s where a robust data governance system comes in.

For clarity, data governance is not the same as data management. CIO Magazine defines data governance as: A system for defining who within an organization has authority and control over data assets and how those data assets may be used. It encompasses the people, processes, and technologies required to manage and protect data assets.” Data management is the logistics of collecting and storing information – a must for data governance to work.

Bob Sits Where?

Fellow Buildingi account director Amber Miller once helped a client combine an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) with an HR system. This common integration is designed to make it easier for users to update where they sat, so the HR platform was populated with a list of room numbers.

“But then we started noticing anomalies, like people being assigned to a bathroom or hallway. We had to go back and have the client apply data governance rules to limit which types of seats and rooms were approved for the data feed,” she said.

Then there’s the issue of corporate tech systems not speaking the same language. Castle was helping a large life insurance company integrate data from multiple systems.

“There were all these terms that had a different meaning in every system. For example, the definition of ‘full-time employee’ or ‘headcount’ wasn’t the same across the board,” she said. “And that was a problem because data reports would get sent to the CEO with glaring discrepancies.”

Think of it this way: One person may collect and store information (data management), but a large number may access it, run reports, and use those details to make strategic decisions. If one person alters or uploads inaccurate data, the change effects everyone downstream. That can cause big problems if your job is reporting compliance levels to regulatory agencies or preparing a company’s tax returns.

“It’s one thing to collect and track data, but if there’s no data integrity, you’ll simply get ‘garbage-in and garbage-out,’” Castle said. “Technology allows us to automatically flag where things don’t match; a tight and consistent data governance program is key to getting everyone on the same page.”

Data Governance and COVID-19

The ups and downs of COVID-19 is creating a new urgency for companies to collect data on and analyze employee movement in the workplace. Data on occupancy, furniture arrangements, and desk reservations is a starting point for health and safety measure implementation. But without rigorous data governance, employee movement and contact tracing information are unreliable.

“Before COVID, the industry focused on ‘butts in seats,’ or how many people are assigned to a building. But the challenge during the pandemic is that’s no longer an accurate way to measure occupancy,” Miller said. “For example, an employee can be assigned to a desk, but they aren’t coming into the office every day. We’re now looking at utilization in terms of users in building vs. users assigned to seats.”

Floor-to-ceiling elevation is one metric that’s been impacted by COVID because it impacts air quality and flow, Miller said. Before the coronavirus forced everyone to think about ventilation in new ways, space planners didn’t have cause to look across a floor layout. Now, data that was once used almost exclusively by facilities is being analyzed and acted upon by executive management, HR, and other departments.

COVID-19 has put greater emphasis on why data governance is the foundation for quality workplace data management. Companies are asking questions of data sets that weren’t in the original parameters, searching for answers that will ultimately keep businesses open and employees safe. As organizations look beyond the pandemic, better data governance is critical for making confident and productive strategic decisions about workplace management now and into the future.

Keep reading: Workplace Management Solutions For Your Business