Tag: space management

Workplace Technology Adoption Will Continue to Drive Organizational Priorities

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In our recent webcast, Eddy Wagoner, CIO JLL, showed that ‘future fit’ organizations outpace their peers in technology adoption and demonstrated the strong correlation between technology adoption and market outperformance.

Prior to COVID-19, JLL surveyed a little over 600 companies about what they were focused on and their priorities for 2020. In that survey, it revealed a shifting in priorities for the real estate industry. Investing in corporate real estate technology jumped from being a lower priority to being the top priority over the next three years.



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Since the survey results pre-dated the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to check our audience’s sentiment on data analytics. We polled webinar attendees with the question, “How likely it is that organizations will improve data gathering and analytics on workplace use?” We were struck by the overwhelmingly affirmative response, some 82% of respondents found it very likely (43%) or highly likely (39%), which boldly signals that CRE technology investment will only accelerate post-pandemic.


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The Advantages of Being a Data-Driven Organization


It’s well known (as evidenced in reports from all of the major strategy consultancies) that data-driven organizations are increasing their competitive advantage over less-informed organizations. The McKinsey Global Institute has found, for example, that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.


With the major shifts happening across all industries due to COVID-19, having the right CRE technologies in place should remain a top priority now more than ever. Technology empowers organizations with the flexibility that’s crucial to navigating these major changes.


“If I told you in January that your entire workforce was going to go remote and that you were going to close your offices, people would have thought I was crazy. I would’ve thought I was crazy. Now we’ve proven that we need to be 100% flexible.” 

-Eddy Wagoner, CIO JLL Technologies


Prudent CFOs will seek to curtail expenses in difficult times, however, investing in technology is a proven way to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, ensure employee and customer satisfaction and retention, and prepare for the future.   


While organizations may be looking to reduce short- and long-term obligations, a time of disruptive change such as this is the ideal moment to make investments that prepare the organization to be ‘future fit.’ The challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to emerge from it, may be just the incentive you need to commit to data analytics to identify opportunities, enable better management, and inform and support key FM and CRE decisions. 


Workplace Analytics Solutions Can Help You To:


  • Leverage data for use- or event-based vs. programmed cleaning 
  • Right-size workstations and conference rooms for physical distancing 
  • Quantify occupant density and triggering alerts when this exceeds a threshold 
  • Quantify employee mobility for agile workspaces and desk sharing initiatives 
  • Enable targeted contamination follow-up in affected areas and employees. 


Leading solutions such as the FM:Systems portfolio of facilities management products can help organizations better prepare for a return to the workplace in the coming months. With these solutions, organizations can improve workplace effectiveness, and become future fit, by leveraging data analytics and IoT technologies that make the collection and tracking of space utilization data easier, more automated, and more accurate than ever before. 




Watch the full webcast >


Written by Michael Gresty, VP of Workplace Analytics at FM:Systems. Michael has over 25 years of experience advising Fortune 500 companies on leveraging workplace data to create an efficient, productive organization.

Planning for the Return to the Workplace

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Many organizations began the work from home phase of their COVID-19 pandemic response in early to mid-March and have developed effective remote working strategies that have enabled them to continue to move their businesses forward as best they can.  No one knows exactly how our workplaces will operate as the return to the workplace begins in the coming months and quarters but it’s time to start thinking about how we will all emerge.

FM:Systems conducted a webcast last week with JLL focused on the Future Fit Office and this term might mean something completely different than it did just a few months ago. One thing for sure is that organizations are beginning to plan and think outside the box how best to lead the return to the workplace as we emerge from this pandemic. We polled our audience last week with the question “How likely is it that your business will introduce additional measures to protect and improve employee health and wellbeing”. Unsurprisingly, 94% of responders indicated that their organizations were either highly likely or very likely to institute change.


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“We need to look at how we rebalance our workstations and the use of individual workstations vs. shared settings and amenities such as cafeterias. What do those look like? What are those optimal distances and ratios between those spaces and how can we increase the agility to respond to changing employee needs and evolving employee needs to build that trust and ensure that employees are safe and healthy in the workplace?”

– Michael Gresty, VP of Workplace Analytics, FM:Systems



From a facilities perspective there are several areas that we will be exploring over the coming months with FM:Systems solutions to specifically target these areas including:

  • Space Planning and Management – Many organizations will be exploring how they can better utilize their workplace layouts to maximize social distancing while minimizing unnecessary employee interaction.  Additional alternative ways of using workstations may be employed including the use of reservation systems that limit when and where occupants can sit as well as provides the ability to track utilization.
  • Sanitation – in order to keep the workplace safer and healthier for occupants, regular managed processes and staff will be key to ensuring that workstations are sanitized properly before and after use.
  • Contamination Mitigation – In the event that an occupant is determined to be infected with COVID-19, organizations need to be prepared to understand when and where these occupants interacted with space, assets such as computers and office equipment as well as other employees including paths traveled and adjacent spaces which may have been infected.


“Let’s focus on resilience in our business operations. Resilience is getting things back to where they were or keeping them in a steady state. We need to focus more on adaptability. How do we adapt for what’s going on now and for the road ahead of us? I think challenging ourselves that we can’t use yesterday’s logic and that we can’t use yesterday’s way of utilization in managing our workplace is an important factor.” 

-Eddy Wagoner, CIO, JLL Technologies


Leading solutions such as the FM:Systems portfolio of facilities management products can help organizations better prepare for a return to the workplace in the coming months. With these solutions, organizations can improve workplace effectiveness, and become future fit, by leveraging data analytics and IoT technologies that make the collection and tracking of space utilization data easier, more automated, and more accurate than ever before.




Watch full webcast > 

Do You Know How Coronavirus (COVID-19) Is Impacting Your Facilities Management Strategy?

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Without actionable workplace analytics, this question is difficult to really answer. You may be thinking to yourself, “What in the world does workplace analytics and COVID-19 have in common?”  As of the time of this being written, the World Health Organization has officially declared a global pandemic and several significant social distancing measures have been taken around the world:  travel from Europe to the US has been temporarily banned, the NBA has suspended its season, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is canceled, Italy has shut down all non-essential commerce, major cruise lines canceled all sailings for two months, the stock market has paused trading twice due to sell offs and officially moved into bear market territory, etc.  No matter your age, it’s turning out to be one of, if not the most culturally impacting events of a lifetime.


As far as the workplace is concerned, organizations are encouraging or mandating that employees work from home and workplace utilization metrics now required reporting back to executives for tracking.  So, what does that leave us with?  The answer… a whole lot of empty office space.  I would even argue that it leaves organizations with EVEN MORE empty office space.  Most respected reporting sources state that office space is utilized around 50% on average anyways.  Working from home is not a new trend.  For the last decade or so, organizations have been supporting the agile and mobile workforce with concepts like hoteling and remote work, enabling the benefits of work-life balance and performance all while saving millions on their balance sheets with smaller and more efficient spaces redesigned to embrace these concepts.  It’s been a win-win methodology for organizations that truly embrace it.

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This all brings us to the year 2020 and COVID-19.  When business goes back to normal, executives, facilities, and real estate teams must come together and evaluate what the impact truly was of having a largely mobile workforce.  Why not take the opportunity right now to evaluate what action to take with your space that was already unused before the coronavirus?  This would mean seriously taking a look at workplace analytics technology to get empirical facts on how space is being used.  Helpful hint:  make sure you choose a solution that can give you past, present, and future data in order to look at utilization pre- and post- COVID-19.


According to the Deloitte Insights 2020 commercial real estate outlook , only 30 percent of organizations are capturing data and actually generating insights for decision making.  That means most organizations are staring down the barrel of millions and millions of wasted real estate dollars.  For most companies, the most expensive line items on the balance sheet are people and real estate.  If people can do the work that is required of them from anywhere, how many millions of dollars are potentially being wasted for business that is being performed elsewhere?


Learn more about the benefits of having a flexible workspace.

The Business Advantages of Moving to the Cloud

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Ten years ago, cloud computing was the number one technology impacting corporate leadership and IT effectiveness.  Would it surprise you to know the same is essentially true today?

IT leaders across the board are looking at 2020 and beyond almost exclusively in terms of the cloud: from hybrid models and private clouds to serverless paradigms and expansive API integrations, the cloud continues to dominate IT innovation and corporate strategy.  Machine learning, artificial intelligence, the IOT and IOE, even quantum computing all trace their roots to the data and power available in the cloud.

How did cloud technology so completely transform corporate IT?  It started with a few key benefits that continue to make the case for cloud computing today.


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Cloud computing is based on the idea that the bulk of the workload takes place on a machine, usually remote, that is not the one currently being used. Data collected is stored and processed by remote, or cloud, servers. This means the machine or device being used doesn’t have to work as hard. Cloud applications are typically hosted by public cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure or AWS, creating an opportunity for internal IT organizations to shift non-mission critical enterprise solutions to Cloud Service Providers so they can concentrate on their core business systems. This can result in significant cost reductions, more efficient operations and greater agility in support of an organizations mission.

The market research company Vanson Bourne released a report entitled “The Business Impact of the Cloud” which demonstrated that companies’ adopting cloud technologies are reaping the benefits, including an average 19.63% increase in company growth.


Cloud solutions enable enterprises to quickly and easily scale their IT efforts up or down, based on their unique business needs.  If your business demands increase, you can easily increase your cloud resources without having to invest in physical infrastructure. This scalability gives cloud-based organizations an advantage over competitors by minimizing the risk and cost associated with in-house operational management and maintenance especially when it comes to enterprise solutions that are important to individual business units but may not have mission critical value to the entire organization.

Further, cloud scalability extends to the possibility for integrations. Not only does cloud computing allow organizations to scale up or down as their business needs change, it creates a new opportunity to scale across the IT spectrum with powerful application level integrations to existing internally hosted data solutions or even other Cloud solution.


It is the area of user experience where the cloud might have its most far-reaching impact.  Cloud computing is essentially computing based on the internet. In the past, people would run programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server on their local network. Cloud computing allows people access to the same kinds of applications through the internet which has opened the door for true mobility.

Employees in every industry are embracing mobility as a way to improve their work/life balance and increase their personal productivity.  More agile work styles combined with the rise of a global economy means work is happening 24/7, and the traditional 9-5 workday has become obsolete.  HR departments are recognizing mobility and flexible work schedules as a unique benefit that improves both recruiting and retention.  Real estate executives are seeing the opportunity to optimize their portfolios, armed with real-time utilization data provided by IoT occupancy sensors.  The cloud has fostered a digital workplace that brings HR, IT and Facilities together in a new way to create a dynamic employee experience that benefits both the employee and the employer.

The extraordinary impact of the cloud continues to reverberate, and its impact on the workplace experience can’t be overstated.  IT leaders will continue to innovate and grow their business with cloud-first and cloud-only policies.  If the cloud is still uncharted territory for your organization, let FM:Systems be your guide to the dynamic digital workplace.

Learn more about the benefits of SaaS by downloading our e-book: The Top 5 Benefits of SaaS



Workplace Management: What is It & What are the Benefits?

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Workplace Management in the New Era

Workplace management is the cornerstone of maintaining a building and the environment for work. With a frictionless workplace, employees can work efficiently and safely. It’s a strategic part of keeping employees happy and ensuring that the overall execution of facilities management.

Let’s take a look at workplace management (sometimes known as an integrated workplace management system) and what goes into ensuring that your facility runs smoothly. It’s so much more than just space utilization; it’s a comprehensive strategy.


What is Workplace Management?

Workplace management falls under facility management, but it focuses on the optimization of the physical environment of the workplace. Its partner, business management, focuses on the activities of the workplace, but workplace management optimizes and oversees the environment in which the work takes place.

What workplace management means depends a lot on the physical assets of the building itself. It could be making a secure check-in or managing desk and meeting spaces. It even comes down to things like overall temperature or the types of lights that filter through the building.


Who Needs Workplace Management?

Large organizations often have workplace management systems within facility management or IWMS. With this type of large scale corporation, it’s essential to maintain a productive and comfortable working environment. This involves making sure meeting and working spaces are secure, available, and comfortable enough to encourage productivity.

Large corporations have a lot of space to manage. Disgruntled employees fed up with the way bathrooms are maintained, the uncomfortable temperature, and never having a meeting space can lead to bouts of low morale, and that never gets the company the innovation it desires.

Smaller businesses and startups sometimes leave out this type of management, thinking the space is small enough to skip it. However, the physical environment in which employees work is a huge factor in productivity and innovation.

To compete with larger corporations, smaller businesses need a solid workplace management strategy to give employees the best and healthiest workplace conditions. Even the smallest teams need to understand how space facilitates or hinders work. These conditions also form the basis of scaling up personnel later.

For both sides, the financial burden of a mismanaged space can’t be ignored. Everything from energy utilization to security is a potential cost that can be mitigated with the right IWMS or workplace management system in place.

In some cases, an integrated workplace management system is a cross-company process, especially for businesses that share the same building. Workplace management ensures equitable treatment and a good relationship between different organizations in one space.


What Are Workplace Management Considerations?

So we know what workplace management is, but what specific things does it cover? There are a few significant areas in which a workplace management system is necessary:

Furniture layout

Nothing says cold, sterile workplace like cubicles, but totally open workspaces are giving your introverts anxiety. Understanding how to lay out an office helps you take advantage of different personalities and encourage a good workflow. These needs can change over time, so a strategy is always evolving.

Other considerations with furniture are energy needs and space optimization. If your staff grows, how do you give everyone room? Are you maximizing equipment energy? Are you keeping temperatures at the right place to ensure the safety of the equipment? All logical questions. And if space just isn’t working, you need data to facilitate relocation.

Workplace Assignments

Traditionally, the office was broken up by department, but we’re finding out that it doesn’t always facilitate efficiency. There may be times when your designer needs to sit next to the developer, and those workplace assignments may change as projects change.

If you have a nice open floor plan, that can facilitate a changing seat assignment, but offices with more structure may need a little more creativity. Software that helps with creative workplace arrangements may help or just rearranging equipment to facilitate movement between workplaces.

Planning For the Future

Workplace management is a big part of planning for the future. You may not plan to stay in your current workplace forever, so a little planning for the move is in order. It’s possible that you may have to make plans to move before you’re forced to.

The process of moving is more than just putting things in boxes. It’s an entire coordinated process of taking inventory, setting a timeline, and potentially designing the whole new space to facilitate the workflow. Workplace management systems ensure it all goes smoothly.



The Benefits of Workplace Management

There are quite a few benefits to workplace management strategies. It’s a smart policy and helps streamline the environment. With a system in place, there are quite a few things that can start going really right.

Better Morale

Employees who have efficient and workable spaces are better prepared for the day. They have workspaces that they know will support their work and the facilities are well maintained. With smooth operations, workers are more comfortable and more engaged.

Employee satisfaction hasn’t always been a concerning metric, but we now know that employees dedicated to their workplace are more passionate and more willing to take chances. It could be just that morale that gets the business its next significant innovation.

Easier Automation

Workplace management systems make automation easier. Those little details are sometimes forgotten but can also cause major issues down the road. Workplace management helps ensure that unplanned downtime is mitigated, and workplace obstacles are kept to a minimum.

Automation takes a lot off the manager’s plate when managing small, day to day details. MRO supplies get ordered without fail, the technician always has the right work orders, and all the reports are at the manager’s fingertips.

Reduced Overhead

Overhead refers to the ongoing business expenses not directly attributed to creating a product or service. Energy costs, HVAC, plumbing – these are things that can cause a huge dent in a business’s budget. Strategic management of a workplace can help reduce these overall costs and ensure that real estate forecasting happens easily and quickly.

Whether you’re planning a move or trying to manage a smart building, you can manage all the details and use the building to your advantage. You can also prepare for expansion and scale and potential situations such as renting spaces to other organizations.


Implementing Workplace Management

Building a stable workplace management system ensures that your employees have an environment that’s comfortable and safe. It improves morale and encourages employees to work efficiently.

These management strategies involve the oversight and optimization of where your employees must work every day. That environment can quickly turn sour if you aren’t able to keep up with the details that matter, or if you haven’t been able to optimize the space, you may lose your most valuable workers.

If you’re also planning on expansion in the future or pursuing new real estate, you’ll need a solid workplace management strategy to ensure that it’s as smooth as possible. The workplace management system is a way to scale in the future with a lot less stress.

A proper workplace strategy puts a physical foundation in place for both new employees and returning employees to function to their highest potential. It’s a critical piece that you can’t afford to overlook because it’s such a vital part of your overall business culture. Once you have a system in place, it could ensure that you never worry about your morale or your infrastructure again.


Learn more about the best practices about managing your space to maximize your real estate investments.