Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts | Client Success Story

How BCBSMA Uses FM:Interact to Create an Employee-centric Workspace

the client Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is a community focused, tax-paying, not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Boston. They work with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable, for over 2.8 million members and are rated among the nation’s best health plans for both member satisfaction and quality

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The Challenge

Responding to massive shifts in the marketplace, rapidly changing workforce trends
and an ongoing commitment to cultural well-being, BCBSMA is continually challenged
to stay one step ahead of an environment in a constant state of change.

In the last few years alone, a unique combination of external market forces and
internal operational mandates created a perfect storm of change–the new mantra for
the facilities team was “adaptability.” They needed a way to find a solution that could
help them navigate these changes–immediately and far into the future. They needed help to answer three primary questions:

Where Is Everybody?

The healthcare industry has faced changes that affect not only the way healthcare is delivered, but also how the workforce is shaped, how it interacts and how quickly it must adapt to rising market trends. In the case of BCBSMA, new business models required employees and associates to collaborate in new ways–working interdepartmentally, across various locations and with a variety of different employees at any given time.

For example, a new employee coming on board may begin training in a training room, and as they progress, they will be required to then work on the floor alongside seasoned associates. Once training is complete, they will be assigned their own workspace–where, depending on the type of work that associate is required to do–they may need to collaborate with yet another group in an entirely different location. This fluid, intelligent, collaborative environment is the new norm–and without visibility into space, or ways for employees to see where they were required to be, the entire organization suffers.

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What’s The Best Way to Utilize Our Space?

BCBSMA had to come up with innovative solutions to reduce the amount of SF, and of course that begins with knowing what you’ve got. Without updated, real-time reporting on vacancy, they were making financial decisions in a silo. They needed to minimize the risk of inaccurate data, and find strategic ways to utilize their space. collaboration. The organization needed to find a way to reconfigure the environment to encourage and support these corporate mandates while keeping operational costs to a minimum.

How Can We Align Our Environment to Our Core Values?

BCBSMA is dedicated to investing time and resources toward helping communities live healthier, happier and more productive lives. This commitment was illustrated in 2015 when they refreshed their corporate citizenship strategy to focus on healthy living–including healthy eating, healthy active lifestyles and healthy environments. Health and wellness were now central core values of BCBSMA, along with innovation, inclusion, sustainability and collaboration. The organization needed to find a way to reconfigure the environment to encourage and support these corporate mandates while keeping operational costs to a minimum.

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The Solution

When BCBSMA started the process of searching for a new Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS), they had a strong vision for what it needed to do. Jay Rivera, Director of Real Estate & Department and Ann Gallello, Sr. Project Manager of Corporate Real Estate, began with a core set of requirements. The new system must:

Be shared with the entire organization

Assist them with relocation, wayfinding & communication

Automate reporting

Be implemented with minimal organizational disruption

They chose FM:Interact because it met, and exceeded, these baseline requirements, and in 2014–beginning with the Space & Move Management modules–they finally had the capacity to keep pace with change. FM:Interact helps them with complex relocations and space planning by enabling them to better analyze the efficiency of their existing conditions and make decisions based upon real-time feedback and analytics. The BCBSMA facilities team can quickly and easily view floor plans, teams, move requests and more which helps them to stay on top of their dynamic workplace and make all the right moves.

FM:Systems helps me sleep at night. I’m not worried about a solution that might become obsolete one day. On the contrary, the company is constantly innovating and adapting with us – not only expanding as we do, but leading the way. It’s not just a technology. It’s a partnership.

- Jay Rivera, Director of Real Estate, BCBSMA

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The Results

Today, the capacity to adapt is the new measure of success for the facilities
department at BCBSMA. It used to be that change was daunting, disruptive and
frankly hard to achieve within the organization. Now it’s just a way of life. FM:Interact
helps BCBSMA stay one step ahead in a highly fluid environment. They can leverage
their new found knowledge to use space more strategically, communicate more
efficiently and plan ahead to ensure they continue to meet and exceed corporate

Organizational Collaboration

The measure of success at the end of the day is always the employee, and at BCBSMA,
Admins, Associates and Executives have all responded positively to the impact it has
on day-to-day life in the workplace. FM:Interact has helped BCBSMA break down
barriers and encourage a truly collaborative environment. Communication flows
between functional departments, employees and projects much more seamlessly
than it used to. Today, employees across the organization login daily to a centralized
system and have instant, visual access to information. Employees can type in a name
and locate and individual, teams can be quickly assembled, rooms can be easily
reserved and IT can find data jacks in an instant. Leadership can now collaborate
too, working together to find innovative solutions to reduce operational costs.

Strategic Space Utilization

The knowledge gained from FM:Interact is the key to making informed decisions about
how space is really used throughout the organization, allowing BCBSMA to reconfigure
space to suit their constantly evolving needs. Real-time reporting on vacancy, and
organizational knowledge like badge swipe data, helps BCBSMA’s relatively small
Real Estate & Design Department make a big financial impact–in one instance, new
vacancy reporting showed them how they could shut off 100 workplaces.

FM:Interact also helped with a major relocation–moving 1,000 people from 3 large floors into 14–while instituting best practices for space allocation. Using FM:Interact for the move allowed the facilities team to automate communications, sequence the timing of the move, improve move coordination and ultimately reduce downtime for the organization. Meanwhile, graphic representation of the space allowed the team to visualize a strategy ahead of the move. In the end, the team reduced the size of workstations, standardized on one size and created 3 standard office sizes with collaboration and residential functions. These changes allowed BCBSMA to reduce the footprint of their headquarters by 25% from 400,000 SF to 308,000 SF.

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Employee Empowerment

The ability for employees and teams to directly reserve space to suit their specific needs at any given time means that ad-hoc, real-time, flexible scheduling is now a reality of day to day work environment. Meetings can happen as they are needed; with a quick centralized portal view, employees can see which rooms are free, find a room that suits their needs, and automatically update personal calendar programs for more efficient scheduling.

An Environment That Encourages Health & Wellbeing

To align the workplace with BCBSMA core values of innovation, inclusion, sustainability, health & wellness and collaboration, BCBSMA implemented employee amenities such as sit-to-stand desks, treadmill workstations, access to an onsite dietitian and open, collaborative spaces. In each of their three main offices, they provided meditation spaces,
yoga and Zumba classes, as well as stretching and strength building workshops. Locker rooms at each office location allow employees to work up a sweat during mid-day exercise
breaks and return to their work duties feeling clean and refreshed. They even got access to sunlight and healthy choices in the cafeteria–everything the facilities team implemented needed to align with this emerging culture.

FM:Interact provided the capacity to visualize, manage and streamline these changes for rapid adoption and minimal disruption to the organization.

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Into the Future

As BCBSMA moves forward, they will be transitioning from a hierarchy environment to a more mobile environment encouraging people to work elsewhere rather than at their headquarters, and reducing the amount of assigned seating. In this scenario, they will be leveraging some of their vacancy and using it as touchdown space. With FM:Interact Space Reservations, people can see a vacancy and decide where they want to work at any given time. Space Reservations will support this new mobile workforce, helping them to consolidate and reduce their current 15 percent vacancy to 10–and assisting BCBSMA in managing all the various types of space they will be using in the future.