How are real estate and facility managers expected to handle growing diversity in work, cultures and generations?
Integrated Workplace Management
Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) support organisations in their continuous search of workplace optimisation on three levels:
Workplace Management strategy
On a strategic level, workplace management ensures a full mid and long term alignment with the company’s strategy, both in business strategy and workplace strategy. Business growth, entering new markets, diversity, cultural and demographical aspects, HR policies; they all impact the size and type of your workplace offering. Workplace strategies include potential transformations from fixed to flexible or shared workplace concepts, new collaboration concepts, and home working policies. These will impact your future needs for real estate, space, facilities, services and processes.
Next to portfolio and actual space information, an IWMS contains valuable occupancy and utilisation information that are of great importance for strategic decision making. Strategic space and workplace planning functions allow you to forecast future needs and create scenarios for different workplace concepts. As a result, you ensure maximised alignment of your workplace strategy with core business goals.
Workplace Management tactics
The tactical workplace management level aims to implement the chosen strategy successfully, monitor and validate the workplace performance continuously and improve where needed. This process includes all space and workplace optimisation projects and managing changes that are initiated by the business.
An IWMS supports tactical workplace management with a wide diversity of utilisation, occupancy and cost analyses, as well as tools to plan and manage any change. In most cases an IWMS includes integration with Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems to visualise actual and forecasted utilisations. Project management, move management, scenario planning, and financial back charge functions complete the toolbox for space and workplace managers on a tactical level.
Workplace Management operations
Operational excellence and agility are key prerequisites for successful workplace management. Just try to imagine what happens when people enter the office and cannot find a free desk to work at, or cannot collaborate with their colleagues, or that a reserved meeting room is already in use. Avoiding chaos in daily operations and facilitating employees with smart solutions to reserve, find or use the facilities they need, drives the business value of workplace management.
An IWMS enables the reservation of meeting rooms, specific workspaces, or even the ability to book a flexible workplace ‘on-the-go’. That information, combined with sensor technology leads to a powerful combination, to help people find the right available workspace while giving facility managers the tools they need to reduce building vacancies and align services to the actual usage of the building.
Collaboration between Technology and People
Workplace management can be seen from three different perspectives: past, present and future. The more intelligence available throughout a building, the more information is available about the actual usage of the building. Security systems, IT networks and Building Management Systems (BMS) can give facility managers a high level of data on occupancy, to discover patterns and predictions for the future. The recent breakthrough of sensor technology will improve the accuracy of this data. Affordable sensors are now available, they can measure the occupancy of a workplace or meeting room minute-by-minute, and enable detailed occupancy analysis with the right software.
But detailed analysis of historical data, or even detailed planning information, can never support the agile workforce that needs to find the right workplace at the right time. Cooperation between people and technology is required to fully support an agile and diverse workforce, where the actual occupancy of workspaces and meeting rooms enables you to find a free desk, locate your team members, or arrange to meet your team straight away.
Communication with a building’s users about availability of workplaces and meeting facilities requires a user centric approach. In some cases an employee would like to see where workspaces are available, even before they enter a building, to be able to choose which desk or room to use. High level capacity and availability information can be provided via an IWMS app. In a building, people can be guided via screens indicating the availability of every space via a floorplan, showing information on workspaces and rooms occupied, reserved and available. Additional functionality in apps can help users to check the availability of workspaces by scanning a QR code on a desk or swiping an RFID tag.