3 Strategies to Modernize Your Company Relocation Process

Do you have a major company relocation coming up? Chances are you’re feeling a little anxious.

When you do it the old-fashioned way, a company relocation is chaos for everyone involved. That includes the employees being moved, management, IT staff, and most of all the relocation team. People have come to expect extra work, frustration and inconvenience, wasted time, lost productivity and even lost items. A botched relocation doesn’t do anything positive for anyone’s career, either.

The “old fashioned way” is doing everything manually: with manual audits, piles of spreadsheets, to-do lists scribbled on white boards and post-it notes, and little to no communication before, during or after the move.

Sound familiar?

The good news is, modernizing your company relocation process can make your move happen faster, more efficiently, and with less anxiety for everyone. And make your relocation team look like heroes.

Here’s our guidebook to using modern tools and strategies for better results.


Some advice for making your company relocation go smoothly

Before we address specific strategies, let’s start with some general advice for improving the outcome of a company relocation.

  • Start planning early. Begin creating your company relocation plan as early as possible, documenting as many details as you can, and updating as more information becomes available.
  • You can’t communicate too much. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there is a pound of wisdom there. Everyone wants to know what’s happening and when, how it impacts them, and what they are expected to do. The more you tell people, and the more you listen, the happier (and more cooperative) people will be.
  • Stay abreast of changes. Planning a major move takes time, and as you know all too well, things won’t stand still while you’re making and implementing your plans. People will join and leave the company, and individuals and teams will continue to move around. So foster a team of move champions throughout the business who will help you keep your ear to the ground, then be sure to adjust your plans accordingly.

Modern company relocation strategy #1: Collecting information & building relationships

As a corporate space planning professional, you know what a struggle it can be to get occupancy data from your business units. People are busy and don’t understand why they should spend their valuable time answering your questions. They just don’t see what’s in it for them, and they may not trust what you’re going to do with the information. Will you take away some of their space?

If you don’t have a workplace management tool helping you with that process, you’re stuck with time-consuming manual audits and nightmare spreadsheets to find out who is sitting where, what space is vacant, and how much space each team really needs. To make matters worse, some teams make a habit of “hiding” available space. That’s just one reason the manual process is fraught with error. Do you really want to base your company relocation plan on this unreliable data?

Here’s the trick: your upcoming company relocation is the perfect “excuse” to get business units to provide you with accurate and detailed occupancy information. After all, now it’s obvious what’s in it for them. Business unit stakeholders will want to make sure everyone in their group is taken into account in the relocation plan, and that their team gets what they want and need in the new space.

BONUS: While you’re collecting occupancy information, it’s a perfect opportunity to collect additional information that will streamline future moves and also help you with compliance. For example:

  • Conduct an IT asset audit, which is a great help to your IT department
  • Document first aid offices
  • Record who is a fire warden

Here are some tips for building relationships with your business to get the information you need, and to get them what they need.

Sell them on the benefits. Get them excited (instead of apprehensive) about the company relocation process, by talking up the positives: better facilities, amenities, locations, and opportunities to consolidate the team or sit near a team they work with closely.

Show you’re on their side. Ask each team about their plans and business objectives, so you better understand their needs. Also, you’ll be in the know about any plans for major staff changes that could affect your company relocation plan. If possible, try to time a move around any critical projects or upcoming deadlines to avoid disruptions.

Recruit space champions. For each business unit, recruit someone from the business (executive assistants are ideal) who can provide you with data, handle tasks related to the relocation, and communicate changes to you when they come up. That person not only provides the information you need, but can act as a goodwill ambassador to help others feel better about the move.

Modern company relocation strategy #2: Smart data storage

When you’re handling a company relocation the old way, lots of people are running around with clipboards, then typing whatever information they get into spreadsheets. After that’s done you end up with stacks of spreadsheets that somehow have to be consolidated into information you can use. And of course, while you’re busy manually aggregating all that data, people are changing it.

It’s enough to make anyone have nightmares.

You know what’s worse? After your company relocation is done, all that data gets trashed. So next time you’re faced with a move, you need to go through the manual process all over again.

Updating your company relocation process with modern technology is much easier and more efficient.

  • Today’s workplace management software allows you to capture and store your occupancy data in a central database that integrated with your other enterprise systems (such as Finance, HR, your intranet and other IWMS systems). Best-in-class systems are cloud-based for faster, easier and less expensive implementation.
  • Your space champions for each business unit can enter their own information with a simple online tool.
  • When things change, updates are quick and easy, and you’ll always have an accurate source of truth for occupancy.
  • Best of all, after the company relocation, that information remains accurate and available for future use. So the next time you face a move, you’ve already got the data you need to make and execute relocation plans.

Related article: How To Turbocharge IWMS With Facilities Space Management Tools

Modern company relocation strategy #3: Automating communication

One of the most important ways to mitigate problems with a company relocation is to communicate early and often with everyone who’s involved and impacted by the move.

How have you handled comms in the past? Probably by trying to remember to send out emails to tell people what they needed to know. With this strategy, inevitably people get left out, you forget to include important details, or you run out of time altogether and people end up frustrated.

Instead, try this time-saving strategy: create email templates in advance, so you can plan exactly what information you need to send to each person and group. Then use an automation tool to schedule those emails. Here’s what people will be looking for:

  • Where they are moving and when
  • Instructions for packing and how to prepare for the move
  • How to find their new space
  • What to do on move day
  • How to get help if a problem arises
  • How to use features of a new agile work environment, such as wayfinding systems

Here’s an example of what automated comms can look like:

Relocation Email.png

Don’t forget to plan emails for members of your relocation team, including movers, IT consultants, workplace strategy consultants or other technology service providers. Planning your communications with third-party providers will make sure they are aware of and committed to your schedule.


After your company relocation is complete, continue to use your automated comm tools to make sure everyone knows whom to contact if they are experiencing any problems. You can also use them to distribute your customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey.

Related articles:
Office Relocation Planning: Keeping Your Move On Track
8 Tips for Optimizing Churn Management

If you’re missing essential space management features that you need for your company relocation, such as a business unit portal and automated communication tools, it’s time to consider a more modern workplace management system.

Learn more about other must-have features from this reference guide to 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


VIDEO: How Can Wayfinding Technology Shape Employee Experience?

Hi, I’m Alex Crane, Solutions Consultant with Serraview.

Today I’m here to talk to you about a question we get asked often by real estate professionals. That question is, where is Bob? Bob could be a co-worker, or even an office space.

To answer that question, we’re going to talk about how wayfinding technology can enhance the employee experience in any office space.

Let’s take a look.

Let’s say I’m traveling from New York to visit my organization’s office in Australia for the first time. I’m really excited to be teaming up with my colleague, Bob Dory, while I’m there. Wayfinding technology helps me answer that key question: “Where’s Bob?”

I can type Bob’s name in my Search tab, and when I tap the magnifying glass, the Serraview locator will search through all of my co-workers in the organization, as well as the meeting spaces.

There’s Bob! By tapping on his name, I can see exactly where Bob sits. I am also presented with Bob’s contact details, so I can give him a call or send him an email to make sure he’ll be in the office. Instantly I’m connected with someone on the other side of the world.

After I arrive, Bob and I want to have an impromptu brainstorming session with the whole team. We need a boardroom. Going back to our Search tab, Bob finds his favorite room is free. We can see where the boardroom is located on the floor; it’s got the whiteboard we need, and we can book it to use, right now.

But what if that office over in Australia is a flexible workplace? And what if Bob sits at a different desk every day? Whether I’m walking into the building for the first time, or I work there each day, flexible workplaces present new challenges.

The first is: Where is Bob today?

And the second is: Where can I sit?

Serraview uses network technology to track real-time utilization of office spaces. So I can find where Bob is sitting today, and book a desk right next to him.

The benefits brought to the workplace by wayfinding technology help to engage employees, bring corporate real estate into focus, and retain top talent.

More importantly, though, wayfinding technology provides a positive employee experience. People are more engaged, they’re more connected, and they’re happier for it.

Thanks for watching!

If you would like to ask Serraview a question, feel free to post it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter using the hashtag: #AskSerraview.

Learn more about modern wayfinding technology and productivity from this related blog: Wayfinding Apps Help Employees Work Smarter & Faster


VIDEO: Workplace Management Cloud Data Security

Concerned about workplace management cloud data security? Watch this video to learn how Serraview keeps your data secure.

Hi, I’m Samual Annis-Brown and I’m a Senior Systems Engineer here at Serraview. I work on a global systems security team that looks after all of Serraview’s data centers in the US and in Australia.

One of the questions about cloud data security we get asked most from our clients is:

How does Serraview keep your data secure?

It’s really a complicated question. One of the most important things about cloud data security is the data center in which we house your data.

Vendor selection at Serraview is something that’s taken very seriously. We only house data in some of the largest and most reputable data centers in the world. All of these data centers are redundant from the network down to the storage level.

On top of that, in each region we have multiple data centers in geographically dispersed locations to ensure that data is fully available at all times.

Ensuring cloud data security is one of our top priorities. To do this, we have monthly automatic penetration tests that are conducted against all of our global infrastructure. The results of all of these tests are analyzed closely by our internal engineering security team.

On top of these automated security tests, every year we have independent third-party providers that also conduct their own penetration tests on all of our global infrastructure to ensure it remains up to date and secure.

Another question about cloud data security that we get asked frequently is:

What are Serraview’s SLAs (service level agreements)?

Serraview has 99 percent uptime on all our global infrastructure for all of our clients. We have a dedicated team that will respond to alerts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We respond to even the most minor alerts in our data centers to ensure that instances are kept up and that we meet our SLAs.

Another question about cloud data security that we get quite frequently is:

What kind of certifications does Serraview have?

Well, Serraview has a lot of security certifications across all of our global infrastructure, ranging from ISO 27001 to SOC compliance, to having our entire information security policy globally based off the Australian government’s Information Security Manual (ISM).

The Information Security Manual is one of the most stringent and perhaps one of the most well-respected compliances in the world. Serraview is very proud to have met all of the requirements for ISM compliance for the third year running. All of our global infrastructure meets that compliance, even though in many other geographical regions it’s not a requirement.

Our cloud data security policy is something that we’ve built upon from ISM, from ISO and even from our clients. It’s something that we strive to adhere to.

Thank you for watching. I hope this information has been useful to you.

If you have any questions at all, reach out to us on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter using the hashtag: #AskSerraview.

Thank you very much, and hope to see you again next time.

To learn even more about cloud data security for workplace management systems, read this related article: 5 Security Questions to Ask a Cloud Workplace Management System Vendor

Then find out other essential areas for focusing your evaluation of a workplace management solution with this informative guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


5 Security Questions to Ask a Cloud Workplace Management System Vendor

This is a guest post written by Ryan La Roche, Principal Security Architect at Zimbani.   

The benefits of cloud are well understood; the ability to rapidly onboard business applications (such as a workplace management system), a reduction to capital expenditure, the economies of scale and a host of other reasons.

This has resulted in many organisations adopting a “cloud first” policy, that is looking for cloud solutions before consideration of more traditional on-premise technology solutions. But on the other side of the coin, cloud can open a proverbial can of worms around technology, data security and privacy risk.

Over long periods of time, organisations have made significant investments in security people, process and technology. Many of these capabilities become redundant and ineffective by moving towards the cloud. Because of this, customers have become reliant on the cloud providers themselves to invest in and operate security on their behalf. Because of this, selecting the right vendor for a workplace management system to protect your information and your organisation’s brand is paramount.

Below are 5 key questions you should be asking your cloud-based workplace management system vendor to provide yourself some assurance that you and your staff’s information is secure.

1. Where does your information reside?

The physical location of the information in a cloud workplace management system is often disregarded or forgotten. To many people, the cloud is an ethereal concept. But at the end of the day, your information is sitting in a computer data centre somewhere in the world. This can have several implications:

  • Privacy law. The information you put into a workplace management system is considered PII (personally identifiable information) and that means is it protected by law in many countries. Some countries (like Australia) will provide principles and guidelines ensuring you simply take due care. While other jurisdictions, such as the EU, are very explicit about where PII is allowed to reside. Find out what your legislative obligations are regarding data security and privacy and ensure that your provider is able to accommodate them.
  • Data sovereignty. Every jurisdiction has different laws in place regarding what government and law enforcement can request from a cloud provider. In some countries a government agency could subpoena your workplace management system information for a court case or investigation. This also has the possibility of impacting your privacy obligations discussed above.

2. Do you support single sign on and identity integration?

One of the most common issues with cloud services is a lack of integration between your company’s identity and access management systems. These systems allow you to sign on to all applications using the same username and password or even do it transparently. Traditional on premise solutions will be tightly coupled with your HR systems, ensuring your staff’s access is automatically added or removed when they join or leave the organisation. In the cloud this process is often manual and ad hoc, often resulting in staff retaining access long after they leave an organisation.

A mature cloud provider will have mechanisms in place to automate this process to ensure your staff have access to your workplace management system when they need it but will also have access removed when they don’t.

Many #workplace cloud services lack integration between your company’s identity and access management systems.

3. Which security standards and certification do you comply with?

Most organisations will have requirements to comply with one or more information security standards or certifications. You are going to want to ensure your workplace management system provider is also compliant with these. Even if you don’t have these requirements, by showing compliance a cloud provider can demonstrate some level of security competency. Compliance does not provide definitive assurance that the provider is secure but it should give a base level of comfort. Compliance will also generally speed up any third party assurance activity your IT security or risk functions may want to perform.

Look for international standards such as ISO27001/27002 and SOC. If you are a government agency, ask about compliance to your applicable government security standard such as Australia’s ISM.

4. How do I audit user activity on your platform?

Many cloud providers fail to provide a mechanism to allow you to see what activity is taking place within the workplace management system. Who made a change to that floor plan? Who assigned a floor to a particular business unit? Who deleted some critical information? Having the ability to audit user activity is critical to securing a platform. This ensures staff are accountable for their actions and is a key piece of evidence in the event of a security incident.

5. Will you provide me with a pre-production environment?

A pre-production environment is a separate instance of your workplace management system to one that you rely on to do your job day-to-day. What does this have to do with security? A lot! Beyond protecting the confidentiality of your information, security involves protecting information integrity and availability. A secure system is of little value if the information contained within it is corrupt or it is inaccessible. A pre-production gives you a safe place to provide training, experiment and stage changes to your environment without risking your live business information.

Most internal IT policies and many widely used IT service management standards, such as ITIL, will require you to maintain pre-production environments. Being in the cloud is no excuse. By complying with these requirements, you are going to make any internal sign offs or onboarding by your IT teams a smoother process.

Properly vet your workplace management system for security to avoid costly mistakes

These questions are not a definitive list, but by asking them, you will be well on your way to selecting a cloud workplace management system vendor (or any cloud software-as-a-service vendor for that matter) that is protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of your information. They will also assist in ensuring you remain compliant to your regulatory and legislative obligations. Also, always remember to engage your IT security and risk functions early. Early engagement means less surprises and generally less cost in the long run.

Watch this video to learn more about the cloud data security measures you should expect from a workplace management software vendor: VIDEO: Workplace Management Cloud Data Security.

Data security and integration with your internal systems is a key issue that you must take into account and weigh heavily in your comparison and evaluation of a workplace management system.

Learn about other essential evaluation points that you may be overlooking with this informative guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


Pricing Guide to Workplace Management Solutions

When you begin evaluating workplace management solutions, you’ll quickly discover there is a wide range of pricing. Not to mention very different pricing models. That’s partly because systems vary in sophistication and the capabilities they offer. How can you compare apples to oranges and figure out which solution will provide the most value for your organization?

Here’s a primer that will help you hone in on the most cost-effective workplace management solutions for your needs, take Total Cost of Ownership into account, and calculate the return on investment & value you can expect to gain.

Narrowing the scope for workplace management solutions

Chances are, your search for workplace management software is driven primarily by a need to manage your CRE expenses. When you follow the money trail, there are two key variables: your supply of space, and the demand for space.

Any leasing tool can do a decent job of managing the supply side of the equation, including how much space you have, cost per square foot, etc.

On the other hand, demand management is where a great workplace management system comes into its own. Best-in-class systems provide the means to help you understand the following:

  • How well occupied is your space?
  • Can you improve space usage or grow within your existing space?
  • Can you reduce your footprint/total cost of ownership?
  • What is the current demand for space?
  • What will the space demand be in the future?
  • How well is your real estate working for your business units?
  • How well do you understand your business unit’s strategy and how real estate can enable it?
  • How can real estate work better for your business?
  • How can a workplace management tool help you to drive strategic conversations with your business?

Effectively managing workplace demand and real estate strategy is a task that is rarely outsourced and belongs within an organizations four walls. It is also the area that delivers the most strategic value.

If your primary goal is to reduce CRE spend, you’ll get the most bang for your buck with a workplace management solution focused on modern space planning.

Here’s where to concentrate your efforts to get the most value:

Managing occupancy & optimizing your use of space, so you can avoid leasing unnecessary space. Most companies are wasting 50 to 60 percent of their office space. Here’s an eye-opening exercise: take a walk around one floor of your building and count how many empty desks you see. At $10,000 per desk each year, wasted space costs you a fortune. Look for a tool that makes it easy to identify and re-allocate pockets of under-utilized space. Taking back just 100 vacant desks adds up to a $1,000,000 per year in cost savings.

Getting useful & reliable analytics about how your space is used, so you can make better decisions about your future portfolio. This requires accurate data as well as the ability to slice and dice it as needed to produce the business intelligence you need to guide decisions. Look for modern workplace management solutions with useful tools for keeping data accurate & up to date, and the ability to customize reports to your requirements.

Moving to agile, collaborative workspaces is an idea that’s catching on, and with good reason. The shared workplace model is uber-efficient and has the potential to yield in the tens or even hundreds of millions in savings. Agile workspaces also enable the collaborative cultures that companies need today to remain competitive. If your company has plans to move in this direction (and what progressive corporation is not at least looking into it?) don’t ignore support for agile environments in your evaluation of workplace management solutions.

And if you’ve already got a legacy IWMS in place, modern workplace management solutions can be integrated with existing systems to enhance functionality.

Workplace Utilization for the Agile Work Environment

The result? In a surprisingly short period of time, you can take control of your CRE portfolio and reap huge financial paybacks.

Related article: How to Turbocharge IWMS With Facilities Space Management Tools

How pricing models differ

Now that you understand the capabilities that drive value, how do you compare the variety of pricing models for workplace management solutions? Fundamentally, space management systems are priced based on one of the following:

Number of users. The most important priority for workplace management solutions is gathering accurate data and keeping it that way. To that end, it’s in your best interest to have more users entering and validating information in your system. In an ideal world (and simple to achieve with the right tool), you want your business units to participate. Unfortunately, that becomes prohibitive when you have to pay for seat licenses for each business unit representative.

Volume of space managed. It’s one thing to pay for managing the space that actually needs managing: your employees’ work spaces. Workplace management software provides value for that space by tracking who is using it. It’s quite another to pay for managing large, empty spaces such as common areas and meeting spaces. After all, space management tools are not providing any value for these spaces. With this model, you end up overpaying since your total square footage counts toward the price.

Workpoints. When your workplace management software is priced based on workpoints, you’re actually getting what you pay for, since the tool is providing value for every desk in every building. What’s more, as the tool helps you optimize space and reduce unneeded workpoints, you have the opportunity to reduce the cost of the tool.

Other costs you must factor into the equation

It’s important to realize that the cost of implementing workplace management software can reach far beyond the price of the product alone. When calculating costs, don’t forget to include:

Professional services and implementation. Many vendors employ (or outsource) professional services people to help you through a complicated install and data collection process. How much extra will you pay for these services?

Data management. If a tool is difficult and cumbersome to use, you may end up paying consultants to enter and validate your data. This can be an ongoing expense that you’ll have to live with for a long time.

Report design. No two companies are the same, so everyone needs custom reports. How much extra will this cost? Don’t forget you’ll need different reports as your business changes. So this expense can multiply.

Customizations. Again, you’re not a cookie-cutter corporation, so you’ll need software customizations to align the product with your needs. How much more will this cost? And what happens when your requirements change?

Upgrades. How often will you get software updates and what’s the cost each time?

Soft costs to consider

Beyond the hard dollars involved in purchasing workplace management solutions, there are also “soft costs” that you’ll want to factor into the equation:

Service and support. How about the cost of your stress level and your workload? Which vendor is going to make your job easier, and even more pleasant? Are they committed to helping you work through issues and reach your goals?

Your reputation and career. No pressure, but this decision has the potential to fast-forward your career trajectory, or not. Which product will make you look like a star to your business units and your superiors?

Your ability to influence and drive business change. Will the workplace management software provide the tools and ammunition you need to drive strategic workplace changes and business goals? Can it help you build relationships with lines of business so they support your initiatives?

Comparing time to value

One of the most overlooked factors in evaluating workplace management solutions is how long it will take to realize the benefits.

If you have been involved in implementing an IWMS system in the past, you know that it’s likely to take years for the system to be fully operational. And return on investment? Who knows if that will happen at all.

Today’s modern workplace management software is different. Cloud-based and built on modern technology foundations, systems can be implemented in a matter of months. It won’t be long before you’re taking back unused space, right-sizing your portfolio, and making strategic decisions that save millions. You may even be ready to make the move to agile working for the biggest cost savings of all.

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of lost opportunity. While you’re waiting years for that new system, how many unneeded leases did you sign? How much are you continuing to pay for wasted space?

Related topic: Improving Time to Value for Workplace Management Technology Implementation

Calculating ROI

You’ll hear a great many claims from workplace management solutions vendors about how their system will save you loads of money. How many of them can back up their claims?

Get references. Speak to at least one current client (ideally one that’s similar to your company in size and/or CRE goals) to learn how they have used the tool to cut CRE expenses. Find out the scope of the results to date, and how long it has taken to achieve ROI. At the same time, it’s a great idea to ask how the vendor has provided assistance along the way and helped to overcome any hurdles.

Find out how to calculate hard savings. Ask each workplace management solutions vendor you’re evaluating about how they calculate the potential cost savings they promise. They should be able to provide guidance at a minimum, if not actual tools to calculate ROI.

Serraview has an interactive value calculator that helps potential clients estimate the actual cost return they can expect. Feel free to reach out to us and we can guide you through it.

Now that you understand how to compare pricing, make sure you’re focusing your evaluation on the right features and benefits with this informative reference guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.


Serraview’s Workplace Management Software Success Stories Featured on Worldwide Business with kathy ireland®

SUMMARY: Serraview recently shared its workplace optimization success stories in an exclusive interview featured on Worldwide Business with kathy ireland®. Serraview Co-founder Ian Morley, as well as several Serraview clients and partners, explained how corporations are saving millions by optimizing their use of office space.

NEW YORK, NY and MELBOURNE, AUST, July 31, 2016 – Serraview, a global leader in workplace management software, shared client success stories in a Worldwide Business with kathy ireland® exclusive interview. Serraview’s co-founder and Chief Evangelist Ian Morley, explained the company’s innovative approach to corporate workplace management that is saving companies millions in property costs.

Serraview provides enterprise workplace management software that helps companies track actual space utilization and right-size their real estate portfolio based on peak demands and forecasts.

Suzanne Westgate of AGL Energy, one of Australia’s leading energy providers and a Serraview client, said:

“Serraview helps us to offer a workplace that can really enable people to produce what they need to through innovating and through technology. We can see what spaces are being effectively used, which spaces are underutilized. We can look at future projections and growth and use our space as efficiently as possible.”

Serraview’s workplace management software leverages big data and the Internet of Things to help companies make better strategic planning decisions about their property portfolios.

Serraview’s workplace management software leverages big data and the Internet of Things to help companies make better strategic planning decisions about their property portfolios. Serraview partners with utilization technology developers such as Condeco and GE to integrate data from many sources and provide an accurate and real-time picture of space usage to help companies make better strategic planning decisions about their property portfolios and move towards the global trend of adopting agile working environments with the data from Serraview’s workplace management software. Agile working is a strategy that reduces corporate real estate spend while also facilitating a culture of collaboration, innovation and productivity improvements.

Ken Lynch of Australia and New Zealand Bank, a longtime user of Serraview’s workplace management software, said:

“We seek to keep ahead of business requirements and Serraview is on the same page. For example, in 2011 we implemented Activity-Based Working in our portfolio. We worked with Serraview to develop a tool that allows us to see dynamically how use of space changes in the building. Then we can then go back to business units and help consolidate and align space to improve product business outcomes.”

In the interview, Morley explained the potential for companies to save millions on their real estate portfolios by optimizing their use of office space.

“When you consider that property costs are usually the second or third largest expense for most businesses, straight after labor and technology costs,” said Morley, “shaving even a couple of percent off the cost of real estate can add considerable amounts to your bottom line.”

The segment, featuring AGL, ANZ, Cushman & Wakefield, Condeco, Current by GE and JLL, aired Sunday, July 31, 2016 on Fox Business Network as sponsored programming and Bloomberg International.

About Worldwide Business with kathy ireland®
Worldwide Business with kathy ireland® is a weekly business television program featuring real world insights from corporate executives from all over the globe which can be viewed on Fox Business Network as part of their sponsored programming lineup, as well as internationally to over 50 countries on Bloomberg International.


Ideas have become today’s most valuable commodity

When you need to take control of your corporate real estate costs, implementing workplace technology is the obvious place to start. Workplace management software helps you collect reliable data to understand where you are today. Then you can use that knowledge to right-size your portfolio to save millions.

However, even the best tool won’t create results for you on its own. You need the right strategy to achieve value. And time frame is critically important. The sooner you’re on the path to the optimized workplace, the more money you save month over month and year over year.

So what’s the best strategy for reducing time to value and getting the results you need from workplace technology?

5 steps to get fast time to value for workplace technology

1. Get up and running quickly with modern technology

If you’ve ever been involved in implementing an IWMS system, you’re painfully aware of the typical time to value. Years, in many cases. The good news is, modern cloud-based tools can be fully operational and helping you get results in months.

Related topic: How to Turbocharge IWMS With Facilities Space Management Tools

2. Focus on occupancy for fast ROI

Imagine you are working in the airline industry. Which strategy do you think would bring you the most benefit?

A. Buying more planes and adding more flights
B. Redesigning each plane to add more seats
C. Filling more seats on your existing flights by analyzing demand

Wouldn’t you choose option C, to get the fastest results by increasing efficiency without adding capital cost?

Similarly, you’ll get the fastest time to value from your workplace management tool by reaching for the low-hanging fruit. That means focusing on workplace occupancy.

How much waste is hiding in the space allocated to each of your business units? You’ll achieve the best time to value by taking back control of that space and utilizing it effectively, rather than adding more space or squeezing in more desks.

3. Continuously validate your data

Having reliable data is what drives your ability to optimize your space and save money. Once your workplace management software is live, the data collection processes you set in place help you achieve faster time to value.

Churn is a way of life in every corporate workplace, so you need the means to keep your occupancy data up to date and accurate.

Our best advice? Encourage each business unit to validate their own data.

If you’re accustomed to a legacy IWMS, this may seem like a crazy idea. Can you teach them to use the system? And how will you get them to do it?

Working with a modern space management tool, both of these concerns are easily overcome. When you choose workplace technology with a simple, graphical interface, entering the data is easy and takes minutes. It’s nothing like the complex process required to use an IWMS.

Another tip: look for a product that doesn’t require you to purchase seat licenses for this purpose.

Getting business units to agree to validate their data is also simple: give something back. When people see the useful reports they have easy access to, including the knowledge of where everyone on their team is sitting, they will be more than willing to spend a few minutes each month keeping the data current.

4. Work toward the right space metrics

In the old days, tracking CRE metrics meant tracking space: cost per square foot, or square feet per desk. Is your business still focused on measuring square footage?

Today we know these metrics aren’t all that useful. That’s because the only way to improve on them is to look for cheaper space, or squeeze more desks into your existing space.

You can improve the time to value for your workplace technology by switching the focus to SEATS rather than square footage.

Related topic: The New Workplace Space Utilization Metrics You Need to Know About

Set a central space policy, managed by your real estate group, that encourages business units to consider how many seats they need and how many people they have to fill them. Rather than taking out their tape measure to see if they’re getting what they are paying for, they can focus on whether the space they have is meeting their business needs.

That mindset allows the CRE group to work toward the best way to provide for the needs of each group, while optimizing capacity to reduce costs.

 5. Build relationships to change the conversation about space

Having trustworthy occupancy data, as well as useful ways of showing it off, gives you the leverage you need to change the conversations about optimizing space.

Here’s how those conversations go when you’re using outdated technology: business units repeatedly ask for more space. CRE teams know that space is under-utilized, but they can’t prove it. So they are forced to squeeze in more desks, or worse, go out and lease additional space.

Instead, what if you could show a graphical floor plan that illustrates exactly who sits where and which seats are empty? AND you can show them scenario plans for optimizing space that take their needs into account?

Having this data and showing evidence is not just a way of proving you’re right. It builds trust between you and your business units. They can see that you have all your ducks in a row, and know more about them than they realized. They are more inclined to trust you and go along for the ride when they see that your plans make sense both for them and for the company’s bottom line.

Getting occupancy under control can take some time, depending on the state of things at the outset. But with the right tools, you can greatly reduce the time to value of your workplace technology, and start realizing significant cost savings.

Next steps: planning for the workplace of the future

With occupancy better managed, your next step to reducing CRE costs is optimizing utilization of your space. That means moving away from assigned seating and toward modern, agile workspaces.

To be in a position to plan successful shared spaces, you need to understand more than occupancy. You need to know who is using which space and how frequently. To gather that information, you can begin layering in data from various utilization tracking technologies such as turnstiles or badge readers, sensors and network tracking technology.

Even if you’re not yet ready for this step, it’s important to understand where you’re headed. Learn more from this helpful resource: Managing Workplace Utilization.


3 Strategies For Collaborative Workspace Design

This two-part blog series shares strategies for driving workforce cultural change and innovation through collaborative workspace design, from Unispace workplace design expert Simon Pole. Unispace is a global design firm that seamlessly unites strategy, design, project management and delivery to achieve real, measurable results for clients.

If you missed last week’s article, see Can Office Design Drive Productivity & Innovation?

The demand for innovation is driving the growth of the collaborative workspace

Even for the most successful companies, maintaining the status quo is not enough to keep them competitive in the global economy. Remaining at the forefront of their industries demands constant innovation.

Ideas have become today’s most valuable commodity. One principle that’s become generally accepted is that collaborative working fosters more and better ideas, and ultimately leads to the innovation companies are after. As a result, companies are doing everything they can to create a collaborative workspace environment that encourages creative thinking and innovation.

However, it’s important to realize that there’s more to creating a successful collaborative workspace design than just adding more open space.

So what do you need to make effective collaboration happen in your workplace? Read on to learn about 3 essential strategies to get the best results from collaborative workplace design.


1. Don’t be swayed by popular trends

It’s tempting to be influenced by the cool new space going up next door, or by the photos you see online showing off the latest collaborative workspace designs. Expert workplace designer Simon Pole of Unispace cautions against giving too much weight to popular office design trends.

“My pet peeve at the moment is what I call ‘designed by Pinterest’,” says Pole. “It drives me nuts when you see so much copycat design. A while ago I asked a designer, ‘Why have you gone for that particular design?’ The response was, ‘Well, it’s so trendy right now.’ I ripped that material out of the library and threw it in the bin. Businesses are different. What they need from the space is different.”

The result of all the copycat design out there is poorly designed spaces that don’t produce the intended collaboration, because they are not based on what the business needs and how people work.

That’s why investing in research and strategy building is a critical step in developing a collaborative workspace.

2. Invest in research to design your collaborative workspace

Building a successful collaborative workplace requires understanding what drives the business.

According to Pole, this process starts by looking at how the business goes to market and the lifecycle of a company’s products.

“If a client’s product takes 10 years to develop, there’s no point in trying to shave seconds off their day with a certain kind of design,” says Pole. “We need to focus on other areas. Whereas in the financial world, seconds can make the difference between making money or not making money.”

It’s also essential to understand what collaboration actually looks like for the business.

“We have to dig into their values and really understand, at each step through their value chain, what they mean by collaboration,” says Pole. “How do you collaborate?”

To find out, Unispace studies the current use of space. They look at the utilization of various spaces including the numbers of people using them, the technology available, and what type of activities are taking place. They also learn about the more unplanned collaboration by spending time observing the business.

Pole explains, “We look at what’s going on within the process cycle of an organization.” Doing so helps them to understand which people and groups need to be collaborating more. That might not be the people you expect.

“Once we’ve gotten that understanding, then we start with pen and paper, and not the other way around. That’s just good strategy. At that point, you can start planning great a collaborative workspace.”

That involves bringing together all the important elements that contribute to a successful collaborative workspace, including:

Adjacency. Is the space located where people are likely to use it?

Acoustics. Are the acoustics in the space designed for the intended usage, or for a variety of uses in a shared space?

Privacy. Does the space provide adequate privacy for the activities taking place?

Environmental concerns. Is the temperature comfortable? Is the lighting adequate? Does the view inspire creative thought?

“People think you can just throw a D-shaped table and a 42 inch screen into a floor plan and collaboration happens. It doesn’t,” says Pole. “A collaborative workspace needs to be thought about as part of the business journey: who needs to use it, where should it sit, and who needs to be in it?”

3. Embracing collaboration requires a shift in company values

There’s one fact that companies who have implemented agile working will agree on: you can’t make people collaborate with space alone. The values of your business need to change.

In many cases, that means a shift from rewarding competition to rewarding collaboration and teamwork.

Pole explains how people get protective about sharing knowledge when organizations reward competition. “It’s my knowledge. I get paid for what’s in my head, so why would I be willing to share that? That’s my next paycheck.”


“To use an Australian Rules football analogy, the person who scores the goal gets a point, but the person who kicks the ball to set up the score is just as important to the team,” says Pole. “It’s not only about the goal score, it’s about the passage and play that sets it up.”

“In an organization, it’s about setting the KPIs around assists and not the goals or the score. Then people are encouraged to share and use that collaborative workspace more.”

Related article: 8 Tips to Encourage Collaboration in the Agile Workplace

Create an activity based working strategy. Learn how today.


Can Office Design Drive Workplace Productivity & Innovation?

This two-part blog series shares strategies for driving workforce cultural change and innovation through workspace design, from Unispace workplace design expert Simon Pole. Unispace is a global design firm that seamlessly unites strategy, design, project management and delivery to achieve real, measurable results for clients.

What does workplace productivity mean today?

Companies have always wanted workers to be productive, yet the meaning of the term has evolved over the years. How has the definition of workplace productivity changed, and what does it look like today?

In years past, workers were judged based on quantity of output: how many widgets they could produce. Workplace productivity and efficiency were all about increasing speed and decreasing cost. If a company could produce more widgets in less time at a lower cost, they could be successful.

Today’s workplace productivity is about the quality of output. How much value does the work bring to the organization? The change is all about a shift in the organization’s processes and goals. Processes have changed due to the evolution of technology. Today, much of the high-quantity, low value work is being done by robots and machines.

In the increasingly competitive business landscape, it’s no longer enough to produce more at a lower cost. Companies need to differentiate themselves with better ideas. As a result, the value of workplace productivity now comes from innovation.


Workplace productivity lessons learned from the open plan concept

The trend toward open plan office spaces grew during the 90’s and early 2000’s, when making as many widgets as possible was still the goal of most companies. Efficiency was the name of the game, and the open plan workplace was a way to squeeze as many workers as possible into an office space.

According to workplace design expert Simon Pole of Unispace, that created a workplace productivity problem. Companies failed to address the different working modes that people need to accomplish their work tasks: including focus, social, learning, and collaboration modes. Employees were forced to do everything from focused work to team work in a single space that was not well suited to the task.

“If I’m trying to draft a document and I’ve got three people talking in my ear, it’s hard to concentrate,” explains Pole. “There’s also visual distraction. Every time someone walks past my desk, I lift my eyes. It takes about 20 minutes to get into deep thought and focus. With every distraction, I lose my focus. So I don’t feel productive. I’m frustrated. I’m working longer hours. It all just breaks down from there.”

On the other hand, the open office does work well for collaboration and sharing of knowledge.

“People in open offices love the teamwork,” says Pole. “They love that knowledge-sharing. Because they’ve just overheard three conversations, they are better informed, and can go to another meeting and share that information.”

In an open environment, there’s a natural increase in what Pole calls “fast collaboration:” those quick, ad-hoc conversations at your desk where you ask someone for input or offer information to a colleague.

The problem is providing for the next step (what Pole terms “slow collaboration”) that’s more planned. In an open plan office, there is nowhere to take those longer conversations where there’s a need for privacy or to avoid disturbing others.

“Today we’re getting the balance right again through research and strategic workplace design,” says Pole.

From open plan to ABW: transforming workplaces & mindsets to support innovation

Now that workplace productivity is more about innovation, companies are looking to create workplaces that support the type of collaboration that spawns ideas.

That’s led to the growth of Activity Based Working (ABW), where companies provide different types of spaces designed for the tasks employees need to do each day. That means an employee doing focused work can choose to work in a quiet, enclosed cubicle, while a team having a brainstorming session can work in a comfortable, open lounge.

Related article: Why ABW Is a Better Alternative to Open Office Design

So how do you go about creating an ABW environment that supports workplace productivity and enhances workplace innovation?

Read on to learn about 3 important elements that can make or break the success of your new space.

1. Research and strategic planning

“Companies are looking for organizational change, and exploring how the workplace can support and ignite that change,” says Pole.

Accomplishing that with workplace design requires a good understanding of what the business is trying to achieve. There’s no “formula” for ABW that can be applied to any business. Copying the latest design trend just creates a cookie cutter space that might look great, but won’t help the business reach its goals.

“We believe in putting the science before the art,” says Pole. A beautiful new space won’t do the job of driving innovation and workplace productivity if it doesn’t have research and solid strategy behind it.

Developing the right design strategy means taking the time to understand what the building should be doing for the organization: spending time with management and lines of business, asking questions and observing how people work.

“True design from the inside out is figuring out how to get those spaces to make a difference so organizations look different, feel different and act different,” says Pole.

Only then can the property become an extension of the brand, and truly support the cultural change the company is after.


2. Technology provides the data to drive design

It’s no secret that an ABW workplace design needs the right technology to enable workplace productivity in a mobile environment. They need laptops with docking stations, the right network infrastructure, and wayfinding tools, just to name a few.

However, technology can also be an important tool in your research and strategic planning arsenal. Utilization tracking technology is a great example.

Designing a successful ABW work environment depends on your ability to track the right space utilization metrics. Technologies such as badge readers, lighting sensors and Low Energy Bluetooth enable you to see who is using which types of space and with what frequency. Armed with this data, you can create the right mix of different space types and the right ratios of seats to people for each neighborhood or business unit.

Take a look at this useful resource to learn more about utilization tracking technologies: Managing Workplace Utilization.

3. Breaking the cycle of group think

Pole points out an issue that’s often overlooked in all the discussions about designing space to support innovation and workplace productivity. It’s not all about the space.

“The strategy and design act as an enabler, but collaboration is also about people and their mentality,” says Pole. “In some organizations, people have been working together for so long that everyone finishes each other’s sentences.”

That’s one of the benefits of bringing people from different sectors or business units together in an ABW workspace. You encourage a cross-pollination that breaks up the cycle of group think and breathes new life into the organization.

Next week we’ll continue our discussion about designing the workplace of the future with a look at some specific strategies you can use to encourage workplace collaboration. Don’t miss it!

Download a guide to creating an activity based working strategy today.


8 Tips to Encourage Collaboration in the Agile Workplace

This blog post shares proven strategies and advice for increasing collaboration within the agile workplace, from workplace change management expert Caroline Boyce of Lend Lease.

It has become increasingly challenging for companies to be innovative in the global economy, yet that’s what is needed to gain or retain a competitive edge. So how can companies generate new and better ideas and execute them successfully?

By encouraging employees to work collaboratively.

According to, 97 percent of workers believe that a lack of team alignment directly impacts the outcome of a project, and 86 percent cite lack of collaboration and poor communication for workplace failures. Companies are realizing that encouraging collaboration in the workplace leads to better outcomes and ultimately a healthier bottom line.

That’s one of the appeals of the modern agile workplace: it’s designed to encourage more collaboration between people who might not work together otherwise.

Related article: Why ABW Is A Better Alternative to Open Office Design

In these new flexible work spaces, people choose their seat each day based on the work they need to do or who they need to work with, rather than sitting at an assigned desk each day. The changing day-to-day environment creates more interaction. And the agile workplace includes more casual meeting areas designed for impromptu group work sessions.

The well-designed agile workspace is an improvement over open-plan since it also provides the equally important spaces for quiet and focus in addition to spaces for collaboration.

It’s certainly true that the cost savings associated with moving to an agile workplace make them an attractive option for streamlining corporate real estate portfolios. Yet the touted collaboration benefits are an equally attractive prospect for a company that wants to overhaul its workplace culture.

It sounds like an easy fix: build an agile workplace, and people will collaborate more. Especially when you also stand to save millions by reducing corporate footprint in the process. However, it’s important to realize that you can’t rely on any workspace design alone to do the job of changing an organization’s culture.

Related article: Top 3 Challenges of Moving to an Agile Work Environment

The “if you build it they will come” mentality may be overly optimistic. People moving to a totally new way of working need encouragement and education to understand and buy into the new concept, and to change their behavior accordingly.

“You can design an intuitive agile workplace with all kinds of great opportunities for collaboration, but that’s not enough to make organic change happen,”  says Caroline Boyce, a workspace change management expert with Lend Lease. “People may be opposed to collaboration for a variety of reasons. There needs to be intervention to encourage the business to shift in that direction.”


Here are 8 of Caroline’s proven change management strategies that can help employees adapt to a new agile workplace and begin to collaborate more effectively.

8 agile workplace strategies that promote collaboration

1. Education for both employees and management

Employees moving to an agile workplace for the first time need a great deal of support both before and after the move. People will have lots of anxiety about the change early on, so plenty of communication is essential to easing their fears and addressing concerns.

Everyone wants to know what the new agile workplace will be like, how they will find their way around and find other people, and where they will keep their belongings and work materials. It’s helpful to show and tell as much as possible and as soon as you can:

  • Share floor plans of the new space.
  • Show off wayfinding tools that employees can use to find a desk, a co-worker, or a meeting space.
  • Show them what locker spaces look like and where they are located.

Managers will need even more education to adapt to the new work model. For example, show them how to judge people’s productivity by their performance instead of by how many hours they sit at a desk.

2. Enlist management role models

When executive leaders practice working in the same way as everyone else, it sends an important message to employees about the organization’s commitment to the new agile workplace strategy. When leaders choose to work in an open plan area instead of a private office, they also have the opportunity to see and hear first-hand what’s happening, and to participate in collaborative efforts.

3. Recruit the right champions

In addition to managers, it’s important to find champions throughout the organization who can encourage others and act as evangelists for the new way of working.

Every business unit has extroverts who thrive on working in a team environment and can’t wait to move to the new agile workplace and do away with formal meeting processes. Get those people on the team and involved in the planning process. If possible, invite them to participate in a pilot program, then ask them to spread the word about their experience.

As the transition happens, those champions will be the people creating opportunities to collaborate with others. Little by little, new behaviors become routine and people find themselves working together more often and with better results.

4. Help people get to know one another

In a traditional office setting, people sit near the same co-workers every day. In the agile workplace with non-assigned seating, employees sit near someone new each day. At first, they may be less reluctant to reach out to someone they don’t know and ask a question or ask for input on a work project.

“When people don’t even know each other, they are reluctant to confront someone about how they are using the space, let alone start a conversation about a work project,” says Caroline.

Solve that problem by creating more opportunities for employees to get to know each other, such as group lunches and social gatherings. That’s another great reason to include some fun features in your office design, like great kitchens, cafes, workout spaces and relaxation areas: these all encourage people to meet other employees that they would not otherwise interact with.

5. Challenge ingrained behaviors

Some corporate “habits” are downright contrary to collaboration, such as the tendency to schedule all meetings weeks in advance. Break down these behaviors with education and with top-down modeling. Instead, encourage practices like incorporating brainstorming into each project.

6. Build collaboration into performance measurement

Work with HR to identify ways that managers can assess an employee’s collaborative performance. When they know they are getting credit for their ideas and their contribution to a team effort, people are much more likely to get on the collaboration bandwagon.

7. Build on the culture you already have

What’s important and influential in your current culture? Try to find a way to leverage that and educate people on how collaborating in the new agile workplace can help them achieve their goals.

“Look at the drivers in the business and what the current climate is like, and complement those existing strategies so it doesn’t feel like you’re reinventing the wheel,” says Boyce.

8. Make your agile workplace design work for employees

It’s true that the right agile workplace design may not be enough to drive collaboration on its own. However, if you get the design wrong, that can certainly be enough to prevent people from working together. In fact, you can even hurt productivity when you don’t provide the right mix of work spaces and people-to-seats ratios needed by each team.

Here are some strategies to make sure you get it right:

  • Take the time to get to know how people work and what they need. That means not only asking business units what they need in the agile workplace, but also spending time observing how they work and who they work with.
  • Research industry & competitive trends, and look for guidance from experts in designing the agile workplace. “This helps you go above and beyond to provide improvements that employees don’t even know they want yet,” says Caroline.
  • Implement technology that provides a source of accurate data to help you make better decisions. Technology such as occupancy sensors and modern workplace management software help you learn how space is used in reality as opposed to on paper. That data can also power wayfinding tools that enhance employees’ experience with the agile workplace.

Choosing the right technology to power your move to the agile workplace can be complex. It’s essential to choose not only the right tools, but also ones that can be integrated to get the most benefit from the data. 

Download Best Practices for the Modern Workplace Environment today.