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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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Blog

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

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Blog

Space Planning for Schools: A Bird’s Eye View

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

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

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

What is space planning for schools, colleges and universities?

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

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

Examples of space planning on campuses

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

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

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

The benefits of space planning for schools

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

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

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

Tying space planning with campus operations

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

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

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

Keep reading: Facilities Management Software for Schools

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Blog

How to Use Commercial Floor Plan Software

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Floor plans are central to every office space. The way the environment looks, feels, functions, and operates all harkens back to the floor plan. That is to say, a thoughtfully designed floor plan facilitates a productive office environment. A jumbled, piecemeal floor plan certainly takes its toll on productivity and employee happiness. The question is, how do you orchestrate the former while avoiding the latter? It all comes down to commercial floor plan software and your ability to use it effectively.

Floor planning software is a must-have in the age of dynamic offices. The way your workplace looks and operates today may not be what employees expect it to be tomorrow. There’s an element of looming change in today’s office environments. It demands the ability to create and deploy floor plans on-the-fly, and to practice scenario planning with floor plans that are tried and true.

What is commercial floor planning?

Commercial floor planning is the concept of designing space to effectively meet the needs of the people who will use it. Floor plans are what bridge the gap between occupancy and utilization. If occupancy is what a space can accommodate and utilization is how often people use it, a floor plan needs to make use of what’s available to create incentive for utilization.

Commercial floor planning is a more complex process than looking at space size and workspace demand. It requires forethought for everything from cost to operations, and needs to exist at the intersection of numerous crucial variables:

  • Demand for a specific type of space
  • Accessibility based on physical parameters
  • Cost efficiency based on lease costs
  • Governance to ensure utilization opportunities
  • Flexibility based on multiple uses

All these variables come together in a set of parameters that facility managers use to dictate floor plans. For example, if you’re trying to purpose a 12’x16’ space with occupancy for six people, you’ll need to explore desking concepts within these parameters, while paying mind to cost considerations and accessibility.

How to deploy commercial floor planning software

Deploying commercial floor plan software is advantageous to companies because it provides a sandboxing opportunity. Rather than polylining floor plans with pencil and paper, drag-and-drop software makes it easy to tinker with floor plans and adjust in real time. Moreover, software can program in rules and parameters to show space concepts that work, instead of wasting time on those destined to fail.

The best way to use floor planning software is to create a baseline standard for the workplace—one that’s empty of all seats and people. Use this as a template for all floor plan concepts. Then, design different floor plans based on workspace demand. This is important in an agile office, since demand changes. Coming up with the best floor plan generally involves using elements from prepared concepts with different desking arrangements as-needed.

As part of the deployment process, it’s also important to set criteria for different floor plans. For example, a hotel desking floor plan may require built-in time for workspace sanitization. Likewise, an open-concept floor plan may require partitions. As the office evolves, so must the parameters that govern it.

Tips for commercial floor plan designing

While much of commercial floor planning comes down to trial and error in a sandboxing environment, there are some tips that can improve the efficacy of certain concepts. Some helpful tips include:

  • Create zones and model different desking concepts within each zone. This makes it easy to plug-and-play different floor plans without disrupting parts of the office that need to remain static.
  • Utilize integrations wherever possible to automate floor plan design. This can include directory integrations that automatically update employee location as floor plans change or workspaces move.
  • Consider assets while imagining floor plans, to ensure they remain accessible. Think about moveable assets in the context of groups that utilize them and anchor static assets to plan around them.
  • Always consider the prospect of emergency action with each floor plan design. Keep building safety codes in mind and make sure every floor plan iteration offers a quick, accessible, direct course of action in the event of an emergency.

The most important tip is to pay attention to the data. Design commercial environments based on demand and create harmony by incorporating different types of workspaces in ways that make them easy-to-use. And, above all, remember that floor plans today are dynamic, able to undergo change to improve their efficiency.

Change the way you think about floor plans

Traditional floor plans are static depictions of the office. As agile as modern commercial spaces are, there’s demand for floor plans that are equally as adaptable and flexible. This is where software comes into play. It’s about more than drag-and-drop floor planning—it’s about overlaying different options and opportunities to create floor plans that adapt as quickly as the business needs them to.

When you stop thinking about floor plans as static layouts and more as responsive office designs, a brand-new scope of possibilities opens up. As we enter a new age of workplace agility, it’s becoming essential for companies to rely on commercial floor plan software to help them identify opportunities for flexible desking, while keeping utilization trends high. It starts with a clear understanding of workplace demands and ends with software that makes planning for all scenarios simple.

Keep reading: Interactive Office Floor Plan Software Features

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Blog

Explore Archibus Back-to-Work Solutions 

By Danielle Moore
Director, Channel Marketing
SpaceIQ

As organizations explore safe and measured returns to work, they need tools and resources to help ensure the ongoing health and safety of employees. Archibus provides tools for hoteling and reservations, preventive and corrective maintenance, occupancy, health compliance, and myriad others. Our goal is to deliver a complete suite of solutions that help organizations put their best foot forward as they take steps to get back to work.

Here’s a look at the many tools Archibus offers and how to capitalize on them. Keep checking back after each version release to discover new solutions to facilitate your return to work.

Hoteling 

Archibus’ robust hoteling features empower your workforce to find and book spaces with ease—from full-time employees, to flex workers, to visitors. Enforce bookings, schedule cleanings, monitor capacity, restrict and enable bookings, prevent duplicate reservations and more—all through a pool of pre-approved, socially distanced spaces. Learn more.

  • Improve space utilization and enable the disposition of excess inventory
  • Realize a more efficient facilities footprint resulting from improved space utilization
  • Accommodate a mobile workforce and increase employee satisfaction
  • Encourage responsible and efficient use of space

Reservations 

Room reservations create new governance opportunities for facility managers, without hampering employees as they return to the workplace. Use Archibus to structure workspace check-ins and mandate health checks before check-in. Allow pre-approved room reservations that incorporate time before and after a meeting for proper cleaning. Learn more.

  • Secure shared space and resources with self-service Web forms
  • Streamline invitations to participants via integration with most email clients
  • Reservations Plugin lets individuals make room reservations within the Outlook™ client
  • Extension for Microsoft Exchange handles all reservations and updates

Space Inventory 

With changing occupancy limits comes the need to redefine your space. Refocus allocation and distribute space in new, more efficient ways with Archibus’ space inventorying and planning tools. Assign employees to safe seats that meet social distancing guidelines and create workplaces that make better use of the space you have, based on demand. Learn more.

  • Deliver flexible, self-service reporting for effective space allocation and cost control
  • Improve evaluation of building performance and enable accurate benchmarking
  • Enhance design/planning capabilities to use space more efficiently
  • Increase productivity with Archibus All-in-One Home Page with quick access to tasks

Space Planning 

Forecast and plan for large space and occupancy changes at all levels, including portfolio, city, and site/campus, as well as building and room levels. Track when, how, and why employees use spaces, then leverage that data into more efficient floor plans—all designed within the parameters of a post-pandemic framework. Learn more.

  • View how space is allocated across divisions, departments, buildings, and campuses
  • Compare spaces to identify vacancies
  • Track available space over time
  • Generate space scenarios directly from existing inventory

Occupancy 

Track and manage which employees work remotely vs. those coming back-to-work in phases. Occupancy metrics help companies maintain distancing standards, manage desk availability, optimize for space utilization, and more. Archibus’ daily and real-time occupancy reporting puts facility managers on the front lines of planning for and enforcing safe space usage. Learn more.

  • Coordinate workspace availability between various workgroups
  • Authorize space allocation by group, department, shift, and more
  • Review daily occupancy data to glean insights about space trends
  • Integrate with reservation and hoteling software to automate occupancy management

Building Operations and Maintenance 

With a return to work comes a shift in operational best practices, especially around building maintenance. Archibus helps you adjust accordingly. Automatically schedule room and desk cleanings between reservations, to promote a safer work environment for employees. Or, schedule daily or periodic “deep clean” work orders for specific locations. Learn more.

  • Observe proactive and corrective maintenance workflows
  • Utilize a full CMMS to support your approach to facility maintenance
  • Create and define return-to-work tasks specific to workspaces
  • Automate maintenance and operations workflows to simplify oversight demands

Moves 

Maintain the mobility of your workplace and streamline the move/add/change processes, to support employee safety with minimal organizational disruption. Archibus’ centralized move management system lets you keep tabs on movement and action, so you can maintain workplace agility without compromising employee safety. Learn more.

  • Streamline the entire move process, including requests, approvals, and updates
  • Improve communication between in-house and external resources
  • Generates trial layouts, move analytics, and intelligent dashboards
  • Enable the timely distribution of updated personnel and cost center information

Workplace 

Create the workplace your employees need with Archibus. Help employees find resources, book meetings and workspaces, access services, and request moves through a convenient desktop or mobile experience. Archibus does it all, so you can shape the workplace around the needs of the people using it—all while staying safe, compliant, and productive. Learn more.

  • Use GIS and BIM data to create a complete digital twin of every workplace
  • Leverage broad integrations to create a workplace that’s smart and connected
  • Combine digital workplace assets with physical facilities, to better-support your team
  • Create an agile, flexible workplace that operates within a post-pandemic framework

Compliance 

Businesses of all sizes need to take steps to protect themselves from liability in a post-pandemic workplace. Lean on Archibus to reduce the chance of virus spread and potential shutdowns that result from inadequate compliance practices. From social distancing tracking to hazard abatement, you’ll have tools to prevent compliance issues before they arise. Learn more.

  • Personalized back-to-work e-mail notifications
  • Monitor and adjust the dynamic workplace
  • Achieve and maintain regulatory and code compliance
  • Track key processes involved in social distancing

Asset Management 

Take advantage of an integrated view of where to find key assets within your facilities, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, and other equipment. Archibus makes it easy for employees to find the equipment and resources they need, and for facility and asset managers to track, monitor, and maintain them. Learn more.

  • Centralize asset inventory
  • Track assets, enhance accountability
  • Budget assets with full view costs
  • Enable a full life cycle strategy

Condition Assessment 

Evaluate the condition of critical assets and buildings, initiating remediation work where needed. Archibus keeps your facilities and assets up and running safely, with insights on how to prevent problems before they arise. Provide employees with a seamless return to work experience—one that isn’t hindered by downed assets or facility restrictions. Learn more.

  • Track asset condition, plan for maintenance, and prepare budget scenarios
  • Utilize an objective and systematic framework for prioritizing work
  • Improve information accuracy and consistency
  • Reduce downtime and associated costs

Emergency Preparedness 

From shared work environments to corporate campuses, emergency preparedness is key. As employees return to work, their situation and surroundings may have changed. They need to stay informed about new protocols and standards, so they can act accordingly in an emergency. Archibus helps you implement safety procedures and plan for hazards protectively. Learn more.

  • Proactive emergency operations management
  • Access accurate information about risks
  • Implement contact tracing to quickly resume normal operations
  • Expedite insurance claims and negotiate more favorable coverage terms

Hazard Abatement 

Protect employee health and minimize organizational liability by quickly and accurately locating, tracking, and abating hazards. From contact tracing to narrow exposure pools to workspace disinfection standards and scheduling, Archibus makes proactive management of hazards a top priority, to reduce liabilities across facilities. Learn more.

  • Facilitate a safe working environment for building occupants
  • Minimize regulatory actions and/or occupational illnesses
  • Avert costly operating shutdowns, loss of facility use, penalties, or fines
  • Identify, locate, sample, document, and abate potential exposures

Health & Safety 

Reduce workplace safety incidents and better manage personal protective equipment (PPE), training, medical monitoring, and work restrictions through Archibus. Use a mix of building information data and connected workplace sensors to get a top-down view of facilities and a clearer understanding of where and how to avoid potential health and safety risks. Learn more.

  • Identify, evaluate, and correct health and safety risks in the workplace
  • Reduce medical claims, disability compensation, and loss of productivity
  • Track and follow-up on health and safety incidents to minimize risk and liability
  • Reduce the cost of administering a health and safety program

Waste 

From masks and gloves to materials used to sanitize workspaces, pandemic waste materials need careful treatment and oversight. Use Archibus to track and manage COVID-19 hazardous waste from point of generation to final disposition, to mitigate errors, omissions, and accidents. Learn more.

  • Simplify tracking and management of hazardous waste streams
  • Decrease the risk of fines or litigation surrounding hazardous waste storage and disposal
  • Increase the visibility and improve accountability for waste management
  • Reduce the cost and effort of satisfying waste audit and reporting requirements

Projects 

Provide a central location for employees to manage COVID-related project details, including schedule tracking and budgeting. Archibus’ dashboard keeps employees in the loop about what’s expected of them and how to navigate projects and duties within the framework of new policies, protocols, and procedures. It sets standards and expectations for everyone. Learn more.

  • Create a top-down perspective of program and project priorities, actions, and costs
  • Allow project members to synchronize information at different organizational units
  • Streamline project oversight via milestones, tasks, and status changes
  • Reduce administrative burden by leveraging existing data

Get ready for a seamless return to work 

Archibus helps companies of all sizes get back to work. Utilize the tools above to plan and execute a seamless return to work, and keep checking back as we continue to add tools based on the needs of our customers.

Want to explore Archibus’ back-to-work solutions for yourself? Schedule a demo today.

Keep reading: Back-to-Work Planning & Employee Sentiment

Categories
Blog Workplace Thought Leadership

It’s Time to Reconsider the Best Use of Your Workspace

By Fred Kraus
Senior Director of Product Management, Archibus
SpaceIQ

For years, workplace trends have been shifting away from the traditional 9-to-5 work model and toward more flexible styles. Up until early 2020, telecommuting and remote work were considered perks in many companies, an emerging trend for some, or a rare work option for others. COVID-19 changed things forever, with lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders driving many traditionally office-based employees to work from their homes indefinitely.

This has set a precedent for how workplaces will operate for years to come. Looking ahead, companies are contending with how to embrace variable work setups and what the best use of their workplaces should be to position them for long-term success.

Preparing for hybrid work setups and agile workspaces

Employers of all sizes are contending with if and when they can bring their workforce back to the office and how they can do it successfully. In early February, Spotify announced it will offer employees the option to work from home or anywhere – permanently. Other organizations are planning for returns to the workplace in phases. Microsoft, for example, is in the midst of a six-stage strategy for a return to its headquarters. Meanwhile, organizations such as Citadel and JPMorgan Chase have started to reopen offices to essential and non-essential employees.

The range is wide as far as plans for returning to the workplace go. The reality is that most companies will not be 100% virtual or 100% in-office as long-term work strategies take shape. Instead, the focus likely will be hybrid, agile structures that allow for both in-office work and remote setups. To do so, businesses must reevaluate their current workplaces, determine how it functions in support of employee productivity, and whether a change in lease agreements, designs, and other considerations is warranted for the space moving forward.

Meeting employees’ new expectations

Employers need to focus on optimizing spaces to meet employee needs and keep productivity and engagement high. These are expectations that are far different from those your staff may have had more than a year ago.

Employees working from home since early 2020 continue to contend with the dichotomy of remote work: the flexibility and freedom it can bring and the challenges and isolation that often comes with it. When welcoming them back to work, you should prepare for specific expectations your employees will bring with them:

  • A workspace that allows them to collaborate and rebuild relationships with coworkers.
  • A quiet, distraction-free space where they can concentrate on work that requires considerable focus.
  • An environment that mitigates their risk of illness and upholds all health and safety precautions.
  • A space built with hybrid work setups in mind, where employees can seamlessly go between the office and home without productivity downtime.

The spaces we’ve become accustomed to before the pandemic are not the same ones that will drive optimal output going forward. Businesses that offer employees the flexibility to move freely between spaces for both collaboration and individual work are poised to have an engaged and productive workforce.

Creating workplaces that withstand change

Companies may find that they have unused space or the ways they used space before the pandemic can no longer be used in the same manner. With careful planning, your future workplace will be defined by how agile it can be in response to employee needs and expectations, as well as future crises and business disruptions.

Even though you can’t predict when problems arise, they are inevitable, and you should have plans to address them. COVID-19 is just one example; business disruptions can come in many forms — natural disasters, a sudden mass exodus on the Sales team, or losing a major investor. When an unforeseen circumstance happens down the road, will the work environment you’ve created be able to withstand volatility?

Defining the workplace’s role moving forward will help companies make smarter decisions about their spaces and how to manage them. Reevaluating purpose and making changes are also great ways to make workplaces more conducive to flexibility and efficiency than they had been before. But agile workplaces aren’t for everyone. Some employees find the lack of privacy and noise associated with collaboration spaces to be distracting. Flexible workspaces may be used more for collaboration, while heads-down work is done remotely.

For some companies, decisions will be relatively small-scale, such as whether to repurpose a few unused desks and meeting rooms. For others, it might mean more complex choices, such as revisiting leases to determine whether they are an expense that still makes sense for the size of the business.

There are four strategies to consider when evaluating space use:

Repurposing

Assume that employees’ work habits have changed to some extent since they were last in the office. This is a great time to rework office space in a way that’s safe and supports productivity. Companies that have extra room can find opportunities to square footage through desk-sharing concepts:

  • Redistribute desks and seats to meet safety protocols
  • Alter workspaces into areas or pods where people can create their best work
  • Turn an open-concept office into a diverse hoteling area
  • Transform individual offices into pods for small group collaboration
  • Rethink conference rooms as reservable “conversation rooms”

Remember that any workspace repurposing needs to align with health and safety protocols and should be executed with employees’ space preferences in mind.

Subleasing

Subleasing in commercial real estate is currently booming as a result of the pandemic. In July 2020, subleasing was up approximately 12%, according to a CBRE report. Since then, and in some larger U.S. cities, in particular, subleasing has soared. The prospect of shorter lease terms (standard is typically six-to-nine months versus typical multi-year lease contracts) is attractive to those still contending with the continuing uncertainty stemming from COVID-19.

Subleasing office space also offers an opportunity to help smaller companies to appeal to employees who are returning to work. Great workspaces often come with hefty price tags that are far out of the reach of many businesses. But the cost efficiencies of subleasing can put attractive office spaces within their reach. Most importantly, a space with cutting-edge technology or an office in a great part of town provides a “wow factor” for employees and makes coming to work something they look forward to.

Buying

While many companies lease space, now may be a time when they’re in a position to consider purchasing commercial real estate. Property ownership offers the benefit of an asset on the balance sheet and accompanying tax advantages. But consider location, industry, and other factors before signing a long-term mortgage. A decision this large-scale requires real estate managers to take a close look at company data. It needs to make sense not only for the current needs of the business but must reflect long-term planning and budgeting.

Although there are signs of recovery, the pandemic stifled industries such as hospitality and retail with widespread hotel, restaurant, and retail store closures. It’s also spurred demand for industrial space to support areas such as distribution and storage. Keeping in mind that there are opportunities and drawbacks across sectors and industries, the demand for space that’s conducive to social distancing and worker safety is here to stay.

Downsizing or selling

For the few companies planning to have a 100% remote workforce or that have significantly downsized, a physical workspace may no longer be essential to daily operations. Removing the overhead costs associated with office space, especially if you don’t foresee using it even after the pandemic is over, could be a smart financial decision.

Leveraging technology during the decision-making process

Before making any decisions about real estate, companies should consider their budgets, growth models, business forecasts (think 5-10 years out), and other long-term decisions and scenarios. Technology is crucial for managing every aspect of a back-to-work plan and provides insights for decision-makers when evaluating next steps for the workspace.

Space planning platforms such as those offered by SpaceIQ take all factors into account and allow HR, Facilities, IT, and company leaders to visualize the current space (both occupied and unoccupied) at a high level, decide which option is best for the business both now and in the future, and manage every aspect of a back-to-work plan once decisions have been made.

Planning for resilience

If workspace planning wasn’t part of your strategy planning before, it needs to be now. To stay competitive, the workplace must be a purposeful, engaging environment where employees want to work, collaborate, and be productive. Tap into data insights to help you uncover opportunities, take the appropriate next steps, and build resilience for the long term.

Keep reading: Planning Your Workplace with Office Space Software

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Warehouse Space Planning

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

It’s easy to think about a warehouse as one big space. Sure, you’ve got aisles and racks to compartmentalize inventory—but it’s all housed in one big building, right? It’s time to eschew old ideas about what a warehouse is and instead, reimagine the concept for the modern era. That starts with warehouse space planning. One peek inside of an Amazon distribution center or any other major retailer’s warehouse and it’s plain to see: warehouses are complex spaces with increasingly complex systems that govern them.

Whether it’s an e-commerce distribution center or a factory parts and materials warehouse, these spaces need special oversight. It’s not just about optimizing square footage, either. It’s about maintaining safe, efficient, organized warehouse operations, as part of a more succinct value stream.

Modern warehouses are complex

The complexities of modern warehouses have less to do with how they’re built and more to do with how they’re managed. Whether it’s pick-and-pack or ship-and-store, navigability and organization are the fundamental pillars of warehouse operations. Workers need to know exactly where they’re going and understand the best route to get there. This depends almost entirely on warehouse space planning.

Consider the process of retrieving a single product. Green Widgets live in Aisle 12, Bay 22, on the sixth shelf. Right away, workers need to understand the product’s location and its context within the warehouse, which means having some form of wayfinding present. Moreover, it’s vital to factor in the act of retrieval. For example, if Green Widgets weigh 150 pounds and are on the sixth shelf up, there needs to be enough room to operate a forklift in that space. Finally, there needs to be significance to why a product gets stocked in one location vs. another. Maybe Green Widgets are a consumer appliance, and Bay 22 is where consumer appliances live?

There’s a myriad of variables that go into orchestrating warehouse layout. It’s not enough to consider the products themselves. Space planners also need to consider stocking and retrieval, as well as maneuverability and navigability. In this way, static warehouse space needs to support dynamic operations.

How is warehouse utilization calculated?

With careful space planning comes the need to understand if your warehouse is efficient. That means taking a closer look at warehouse space utilization. Do you have space for everything you need to stock? More important, do you have the space necessary to house everything within the context of the organizational system you’ve developed? These are very basic questions, answered by observing key metrics of warehouse utilization.

  • First, is total warehouse size, represented in available cubic feet. Remember, warehouses utilize vertical and horizontal space, so total cubic feet matter more than square footage.
  • Next, calculate inventory cube size. Again, this is a simple equation that involves adding up the volume of warehouse product and dividing by available cubic foot space.
  • Finally, establish acceptable margins of utilization. Zero percent utilization is an empty warehouse; 100% utilization fills every cubic foot, which is impossible.

Industry metrics put average utilization rates for warehouses at between 22% and 27%, depending on the nature of operations. Below 22% utilization indicates you’re not using space efficiently; above 27% presents as overcrowding and potential stocking issues.

Tips to optimize warehouse space

Operational efficiency comes from warehouse space optimization. There are many different levers warehouse managers can pull to optimize floor plans, racking arrangements, and product layout.

  • Remember to utilize vertical space. Start with an efficient floor plan that utilizes square footage, then build up to capitalize on unused, unencumbered vertical cubic feet.
  • Create architecture that supports safer, more efficient maneuverability. Examples include mezzanines and other materials handling systems.
  • Implement a wayfinding system that’s intuitive and navigable, with proper signage and directional instructions. Make sure to post safety signage in addition.
  • Create a grid system to apportion warehouse equipment such as ladders, forklifts, skyjacks, and other essential equipment, to ensure it’s always accessible.
  • Centralize operations to bring conveyors and sorting equipment to the middle of inventorying systems. This is equally important for shipping, receiving, and sorting.
  • Establish material flow routes to prevent backups and space conflicts. This will help promote seamless movement in dynamic areas.

It’s critical to remember that warehouses feature static layouts within the context of a dynamic space. And, unlike offices or other commercial space, vertical height is usable space. To optimize warehouse space is to make it easily navigable on a two-dimensional plane, while maximizing the capabilities of three-dimensional space.

Lean into space planning software

Even within the context of smart environments, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about warehouses as one big space. Warehouse managers can break this habit by relying on space planning software, to help them delineate space into zones. Segmenting the warehouse and treating different zones as unique starts by identifying and managing them as separate entities. Space planning software provides a top-down view that does exactly that.

To understand warehouse space in the context of zones and needs is to run a more efficient environment. Whether it’s pick and pack operations or for inventorying purposes, a well-orchestrated warehouse promotes a more efficient value stream and better bottom-line performance.

Keep reading: Do You Need Enterprise Facility Management Software?

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How to Measure IWMS ROI

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

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

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

What is IWMS?

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

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

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

Space planning and management

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

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

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

Workplace and employee experience

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

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

Real estate optimization and utilization

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

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

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

Facilities, maintenance and asset management

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

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

IWMS ROI transcends dollar values

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

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

Keep reading: 8 Benefits of IWMS for Smart Building Management

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How to Measure CAFM ROI

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

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

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

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

Introduce CAFM and new metrics

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

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

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

Identify bottom-line cost savings

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

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

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

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

Identify top-line revenue opportunities

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

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

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

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

Use real numbers and projections

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

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

Build a case for long-term ROI

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

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

Keep reading: How Can Smart CAFM Improve Employee Experience?

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Space Planning vs. Floor Planning

Space Planning vs. Floor Planning

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
SpaceIQ

The realm of workplace management is a semantic minefield. What might sound like one thing, means another—if you’re not careful, you could find yourself talking about one concept while someone else registers it as another. Such an example of important semantic differences is space planning vs. floor planning. While they may sound the same, they’re very different and have differing connotations in context. 

A tale of two terms

What’s the difference between space planning vs. floor planning? It comes down to what each term encompasses.

  • The space in space planning refers to how a section of the floor plan is used. During space planning, you might decide you need a conference room, a cluster of hot desks, and a breakout space. You’re devoting portions of your office’s overall space to these purposes. 
  • Floor planning stems from the idea of organizing space. That conference room goes over here. The hot desks go over there. The breakout space will reside here. Where are these spaces within the context of the floor of a building? 

Floor planning is the where; space planning is the how. The two terms have an important relationship with one another, but are independently important. There’s a big difference between space planning initiatives and a floor plan concept, for example. 

A look at space planning

Office space planning is arguably the first concern of facility managers because it deals with space type and utilization. For example, you wouldn’t put a bunch of single-person desks in an office that revolves around group work. Before you can deploy a space in the context of a floor plan, you need to know what type of space is best. 

Space planning is dependent on a number of variables, including demand for certain space types and availability of square footage. For example, during COVID-19, many businesses are converting conference spaces into hoteling environments based on demand, and the space requirements for these workspaces are less than a single conference room, making them feasible. 

Finally, space planning considers the habits and needs of different work groups. A workforce that’s half in-office and half-remote might need less collaborative space than a team that’s all in-office. The engineering team might work better with a benching concept so they can collaborate openly. The many variables that govern work also govern space planning, and space planners need to account for them as they shape different facets of the workplace. 

An overview of floor planning

Floor planning gives context and application to space planning. A floor plan delegates space and lays everything out in real terms, against the actual square footage of a building’s floors. It also provides parameters for space planning. For example, you can’t put a 12-person conference room in a section of the building that only measures 10’x10’.

A floor plan also shows how much real space is delegated to a particular concept, which informs metrics for efficiency, utilization, and cost. If 40% of your total square footage is hoteling space, but the work that happens in these spaces accounts for 75% of your revenue, that’s a metric worth knowing. It starts by understanding where and how different space concepts exist in reality.

There’s also spatial awareness that comes from a floor plan. When you ask “where does Mesha sit?” the answer needs to come from the context of a floor plan: “the southeast corner of the third floor, by the blue conference room.” Floor plans are so important because they tie space to application, especially through applications like wayfinding, directories, or desk allocation. 

Put them together for maximum effect

Much of the confusion between space planning vs. floor planning comes from execution. For example, you’ll likely use space planning software to create a floor plan—a concept confusing in and of itself. The key difference to remember is that space planning involves finding purpose for the space, while floor planning involves placing it within the context of the workplace. This is, in fact, where the two come together and best complement each other. 

Companies can use space planning data to inform better floor plans, then continue to improve floor plans based on evolving space demands. Conversely, if there’s a hole in a floor plan, the context of that gap can inform better space planning—the need for a breakout space or a quiet workstation, for example. 

In either case, space planning and floor planning, used in tandem, are a powerful combination for maximizing the practicality of a workplace. You can’t have one without the other, and both have important definitions and meanings in the context of total workplace planning. 

Keep reading: Space Planning Software Buyers and Info Guide