New ways of working, innovative communication technologies, and changing business models have changed the way people use meeting and collaborative spaces. How can you really know whether your meeting room capacity still suits your business needs?
Three levels of workplace optimisation
Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) supports organisations in their continuous search for workplace optimisation on three levels:
1. Strategic level of workplace management
On a strategic level, workplace management ensures a full, long-term alignment with the company’s strategy, both in business strategy and workplace strategy. Business growth, entering new markets, cultural and demographical aspects, HR policies - they all impact the size and type of your workplace offering. Workplace strategies include transformations from fixed to flexible or shared workplace concepts, new collaboration concepts, and policies around working from home. These all affect your future needs for real estate, space, facilities, services and processes.
In addition to portfolio and actual space information, an IWMS contains valuable occupancy and utilisation information that is of great importance for strategic decision making. Strategic space and workplace planning functions allow you to forecast future needs and create scenarios around different workplace concepts. As a result, you maximise alignment of your workplace strategy with core business goals.
2. Tactical level of workplace management
At the tactical workplace management level, the aim is to implement the chosen strategy successfully, monitor and validate workplace performance continuously and improve where needed. This process includes all space and workplace optimisation projects as well as managing changes that are initiated by the business.
An IWMS supports tactical workplace management with a wide diversity of utilisation, occupancy and cost analyses, and 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, movement management, scenario planning, and financial back-charge functions complete the toolbox for space and workplace managers on a tactical level.
3. Operational level of Workplace Management
Operational excellence and agility are key prerequisites for successful workplace management. Try to imagine what happens when people enter the office and cannot find a free desk to work from, or cannot collaborate with their colleagues, or discover that a meeting room they had reserved is being used by someone else. 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, and even the ability to book a flexible workplace ‘on-the-fly’. That information, combined with sensor technology leads to a powerful combination, helping people find an appropriate, available workspace while giving facility managers the tools they need to reduce building vacancies and align services and energy consumption 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 intelligent a building is, the more information is available about its actual usage. Security systems, IT networks and Building Management Systems (BMS) can give facility managers relevant data on occupancy to allow them to discover patterns and predictions for the future. The recent advent of sensor technology will improve the accuracy of this data. There are now affordable sensors that 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 in finding the right workplace at that moment. Cooperation between people and technology is required to fully support the agile workforce so you can find an available workspace, locate your team members, or arrange to meet your team now.
Communication with a building’s users about workspace availability 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. High level capacity and availability information can be provided via an IWMS app. In the building, people are guided via screens with indicators of availability via a floor plan showing information on workspaces and rooms that are either occupied, reserved, or 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.