We all know employee engagement is good for business. Research by the Hay Group found that high levels of engagement can boost revenue growth by up to two and a half times. But how can companies make sure their employees are happy? Physical workspaces now play an increasingly important part in motivating staff. That’s why real estate and facilities management teams have started to apply an evidence-based approach to turn their buildings into productivity enablers. The result is that space management software allows them to tackle that challenge while keeping operating costs low.
By integrating with all CRE, CAD and FM data, software can now provide companies with key business intelligence in real time. This might include space usage, floor layouts, or details of desks and IT asset locations.
It is also easier to create and share accurate, up-to-date headcount and occupancy calculations, enabling businesses with large estates and high volumes of move activity to improve work environments and increase productivity.
When teams have this level of business intelligence at their fingertips they can consider more innovative use of office space. Companies such as Lego, Google and Deloitte are good examples of this, particularly in these five areas:
- Agile working
- Collaborative workspaces
- The super desk
- The healthy office
- Intuitive building design
1. Agile working
Agile working gives staff the ability to work in variable locations. This may be at an office desk with their team, in a breakout area, library or a café. A recent report from The Work Foundation forecasts that 50% of businesses will have a mobile working policy by 2017, rising to 70% by 2020.
Mobile working has many benefits both for employees and employers:
- Better use of resources
- Reduced time on the move
- Greater flexibility
- Improved cross-divisional collaboration
One example is a leading university in London which has introduced an agile working strategy among its Professional Services team. It sees agile working as an essential tool in meeting its 2034 vision of innovation and delivering a sustainable estate.
The benefits are clear to see, but for agile working to be effective it is crucial to get the right technology in place first. Virtual meeting technology, conference calling and document sharing are just some areas where software can add value and control.
2. Collaborative workspaces
Even if businesses don’t opt for remote working, many are replacing their cellular offices with hot desking areas, collaborative meeting areas, and even play zones.
Take a look at how the main office in London of one international toy manufacturer is designed to increase collaboration. The workplace is divided into flexible work areas with no fixed seating and no managerial offices. Similarly, the headquarters of another company includes secret garden areas on the roof, a 200-seater meeting room and an allotment space where staff can grow herbs and vegetables.
Most businesses may not wish to emulate such an unusual approach. But real estate and facilities teams do need to anticipate new ways of arranging the workplace, based on hard evidence and a comprehensive strategy.
For instance, technology can easily plan moves with drag-and drop interfaces. This makes a collaborative working scheme simple, controllable and transparent to everyone involved.
The result is error-free move management where resources end up in the right place at the right time.
3. The super desk
Workspace trends are even encouraging businesses to rethink the traditional desk. To illustrate the point, a leading internet advertising agency required an office that fosters collaboration and challenges creativity. The result is what the company calls a super desk, a kind of ‘endless table’.
Space managers could also look at what one architectural firm did at its international office in Zurich. This company installed desks that can be reconfigured to work individually or collaboratively. These desks fit together like puzzle pieces and can be moved, reworked, and reattached as employees see fit.
4. The healthy office
Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity is a key driver in the trend towards green buildings. Recent studies have shown that there is a link between improved indoor environmental quality (IEQ) on perceived health and productivity in occupants.
This includes increasing ventilation through windows rather than air conditioning and improving natural light as an alternative to electric lighting. Buildings might also use materials that contain low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
With the right real estate software, teams can monitor and improve the impact of building performance on operating costs.
5. Intuitive building design
The rise of Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital technology is also making buildings easy to use. In one building in Amsterdam, workers can access a variety of services through their smartphones, allowing them to book meeting rooms, parking spaces and adjusting temperatures, for example.
Building engineer Arup is also working on a research project called It’s All About the Desk to explore the relationship between technology and occupant interaction within buildings. The company firmly believes that drivers from mobile technology, sensors and rapid manufacturing will shake up the industry.
These thought-leading examples show that building design and management is changing rapidly. The mind-set of real estate and facilities management teams will also need to adapt to stay ahead of the curve.
Hard data and analytics dominate how leading businesses manage their real estate portfolios to save money, drive employee productivity, and create more attractive offices for leasing.
But before a business can implement these innovative ways of working they need to get the basics in place first. Take a look at the in-depth report below to learn how real estate and facilities managers can use the latest software to build a strong foundation for the digital future.
- Staff who are motivated and equipped to get the job done are 50 per cent more likely to outperform expectations and 54 per cent less likely to leave
- New technologies and processes will have a massive impact on real estate and facilities management teams
- Big Data, the IoT and digital technology are allowing teams to develop more effective workspace planning
- Space management software can help real estate and facilities managers deliver savings in operating costs
Big Data and digital processes are changing the face of the workplace, with real implications for corporate real estate and facilities managers.