Individual workplace in the modern office

Hybrid Working: How Change Starts with Measurements

A Dutch Facility Management (FM) magazine named Facto Magazine, regularly interviews young FM professionals about their vision on the future of FM. ‘Data’ always features in their top 3 of ‘expected trends for the near future.’ But, the label ‘expected trend’ does not tell the whole story. I always say that data is an enabler for information. And we must all take a step back to remember that data must come from somewhere: a data source or measurement.

Cloud-based solutions: the great enabler of hybrid work

COVID-19 has been a huge game changer in our lives. It forced a massive shift in the way we used to work and the way we suddenly were able to work. But, imagine that something like COVID-19 had hit us 15 years earlier: Would we have been able to make the same shift in office work without cloud-based IT solutions? I don’t think so.

But, many organisations were able to adapt – and as some offices begin to open up around the world, organisations are compelled to evaluate how hybrid working strategies will work in the long term. The hybrid working model is a work style that enables employees to blend working from different locations: home, on the go, or the office. The ability to measure work patterns coupled with the availability of an open cloud-based IWMS platform like Planon makes it possible for organisations to design various hybrid working strategies. Verdantix distinguishes five models of hybrid working varying from office centric, fully remote working and everything in between.

The physical workplace becomes the centre for collaboration

Hybrid working strategies have already altered the workplace as we know it, and will continue to change how we utilise office space as we adapt to the lasting effects and aftermath of COVID-19. Physical workplaces are already moving towards becoming greater centres for collaboration, innovation and places to meet each other. Production-like work can be done at the office in concentration areas, but also remotely (at home or on the go). Important characteristics of the hybrid work environment (whatever model you choose) include:

    1. Doing more with less space or fewer square metres
    2. An increase in shared facilities such as meeting rooms and workplaces (hot desking)
    3. That increase in shared facilities also means an increase in the need for smart resources to properly monitor utilisation, occupation and the healthiness of the work environment.

But the key question for organisations exploring hybrid working concepts will be: Do we have the right concept in place for our organisation? To answer this question, organisations will need to be able to monitor and collect the right data/information from their buildings/workplaces.

Data from all kinds of measure points (sensors, IoT, countings, people actions etc. ) will be needed to make a proper design of the hybrid workplace. A great example is the Proximity Monitor from EY that uses smartphones, wearable devices and location beacons to anonymously monitor and log interactions between people. Or the Hyper-Connected Building offering from innovative IoT platform Axonize. This platform enables simple and fast connectivity, allowing for high volumes of devices to be connected and provides the scalability required for customers to deploy their IoT use-cases effectively and with increased speed.

Facility Management, Technology, and the Future of Work

Technology will help workplace professionals to be able to proactively design the hybrid workplaces employees need today and for the future. But this technology will also have to help employees access and utilise new office space and hybrid work concepts in an optimal way. For instance, think of wayfinding within the office, such as the digital wayfinding solution from Mazemap that boosts productivity and improves the experience for occupants and visitors. But also hotdesking, making reservations or finding colleagues through one workplace engagement app that is powered by all kinds of data from sensors and other IoT. The biggest challenge for organisations to implement a successful hybrid working strategy is to find the right balance and cycle through Measure, Design, Use, and Maintain for their processes and workspace. And it’s important to remember that it all starts with the ability to measure the right things.

Check out Planon’s Marketplace to see the IoT solutions offered by our tech partners to support this.

Planon’s open platform and partner strategy will help workplace professionals to get the best solutions for hybrid working in the market from third party suppliers and immediately be able to use them together with their Planon IWMS functionalities on the Planon Platform. A workplace professional can mix and match the solutions that work best for their organisation’s unique needs. And they will have assurance that their hybrid working solution is powered by real data – giving them the right information to steer their organisation into the future of work.

Job van Barneveld

Global Partner Manager

Job van Barneveld is a seasoned expert with more than 30 years of experience in international real estate and facility management, specialising in automation implementation and system interfacing. Skilled in FMIS, CAFM, and IWMS systems, he excels in project and supplier management, offering strong international networking in the smart building sector. He worked at Planon in 2004 and then rejoined in 2020 as Global Partner Manager.

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