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Typical USA: What floor am I on?

When I first moved from the Netherlands to Boston, there were several things I had to get used to: tipping culture, turning right on red, different food…and the complete lack of a ground floor.

When I first walk into a building, I am now automatically on the first floor. Which means that my apartment on the fourth floor would require one fewer flights of stairs to walk (if I was inclined to take the stairs). This can get even more confusing, because the “ground floor” will occasionally (but not always) refer to the basement in the United States.

For global organisations with multiple offices in multiple countries (and with multiple floors) this is a simple yet important detail to keep in mind. Tracking assets, knowing where maintenance is needed, or providing graphical floor plans all require understanding your location within a building.

One of Planon’s strengths is that it was developed with a strong international orientation. While I am used to promoting Planon as a global software provider that can handle multiple languages, currencies, dates, measurements and times, I now think we should perhaps add some support for cultural differences?

Are there any other cultural differences that you think facilities management software should be able to handle?

One of our customers in the US has what they describe as a “skyscraper on its side.” It’s a quarter mile long building with “zones” for different departments. While there is never any confusion about which floor people are on (there is only one after all), they decided to implement Planon Apps to help their employees locate each other and find their way in this huge building. Employees are able to view room reservations, find vacant spaces and find their colleagues on the floor plan, while using a unique labelling system for their 731,000 square feet of space.

For now, the Planon office in Boston is not that large and is located on the second floor of our building. And if I ever get lost, I can just take the elevator.

Fred Guelen

About the author

Fred Guelen | Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO)

Fred brings more than 25 years of legal, entrepreneurial and management experience to the Planon team. He is responsible for managing Planon’s legal function, and he leads all Planon acquisitions. Prior to joining Planon, Fred was one of the founding partners of the international law firm Buren van Velzen Guelen (BVVG). He has extensive knowledge and experience managing complex, cross-border mergers & acquisitions, private equities, restructuring and financing projects. Fred studied law at the University of Leiden and the University of Amsterdam.

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