Utilization data helps workplace teams understand how their workplace portfolio is used in reality (as opposed to on paper). This data allows you to make fact-based decisions when looking at space requirements, for both everyday requests and for longer-term capacity planning.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the Internet of Things (IoT) and other technologies that can be used to collect workplace utilization data. Some of the technologies we’ll explore are:
In the first two installments in our series about the agile work environment, we gave you a sneak peek into some exciting new spaces in Australia and the US and addressed how organizations benefit from this new way of working. Then we looked at how to tell if your organization is ready for an agile work environment, and some essential strategies to making the move successful. In case you missed the first two articles, see:
This week, we will address some of the common challenges that companies face when making the move to an agile work environment, as well as tips for overcoming those hurdles to ensure you achieve your goals.
Moving to an Agile Work Environment: 3 Challenges & Strategies
1. Easing Employees’ Anxiety and Resistance
There is no denying the fact that moving your organization to an agile work environment from a traditional fixed-seating office model requires a cultural change on a massive scale. You are asking your employees who will work in the new space to change their ingrained daily habits and give up the comfort zone of their personal work space. It’s no surprise that people are going to be concerned about losing their private offices and even where they will keep their personal items.
What your employees don’t realize yet is everything they stand to gain from an agile work environment. And it’s your job not only to give them more than you take away (see challenge #2), but also to communicate that information effectively. Ideally, that can involve a bit of show-and-tell to drive the point home.
Engage early and often. Don’t treat the plans for the new agile work environment as top-secret project. Involve employees from every business unit and every function within the organization as early as possible. This strategy not only helps you with gathering team requirements and effective planning, but also allows employees to get excited about cool features they will enjoy in the new setting.
Enlist champions. You know who they are: the people in your organization who always know what’s going on and talk to everyone. They are the ones you need on your side, so ask for their advice and input in the early planning stages. When you win them over by demonstrating the upsides to the agile work environment, you have evangelists who will convince even the most stubborn doubters to at least keep an open mind.
Organize a trial floor. If telling alone fails, you need to show people what they stand to gain. Set up a pilot floor in advance and allow teams to try it out for a couple of weeks. You will be amazed at how quickly people are converted and begin asking when they will get the new space.
Implement technology to discourage “squatters.” That’s a term for people who stake out a desk for the day in an agile work environment, leaving their things and then going off for a full day of meetings without actually using the space. Another issue: people camp out in conference rooms and use them as their new office.
Discourage both of these behaviors with technology that tracks the identity of the person(s) using each space and even if they are actively working on their computers. Hint: check out Serraview Live to see how technology can help.
You should also make sure to include enough private areas for phone calls (sometimes called “phone booths”) to discourage using conference rooms for this purpose.
2. Driving Cultural Change With Good Workplace Design
Dealing with employees’ resistance to losing their desks is challenging enough, but to truly get the most benefit from an agile work environment, you need to think bigger. Make sure you are creating the best environment for a corporate culture that supports innovation. Also, you don’t want to slow people down by impeding their productivity as they adjust to the new environment. That means you need to have accurate data to plan for a productive new environment, and you must educate people about thinking and working differently.
Gather utilization data in advance. At least 6 to 12 months before the move to an agile work environment, implement a space planning and workplace utilization measurement system to get accurate data about how much space is currently being used by each business unit. That information helps you decide on the appropriate ratio of people to desks for each team. For example, support teams with more people in the office might need 1 desk for every to 1.1 people, but sales teams who are on the road might be fine with 1 desk for every 1.5 people.
Choosing the right workplace management technology can be a big challenge in itself, since there are so many competing systems that are very different. To learn more about honing in on the most important evaluation criteria, read this informative guide: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.
Design appropriate neighborhoods. In most cases, an agile work environment will consist of neighborhoods (also called “home zones”) designed for each business unit. Gather profiles with the working styles of each team and provide sufficient space for the types of tasks they need to accomplish. Be sure to create secure areas for teams that require privacy, and plan for any teams that need to be separated due to their work functions. Provide sufficient breakout space to support collaboration and project work. Shared spaces can include comfortable couches as well as areas for play and relaxation. Once they learn about these new features of the agile work environment, most employees will happily give up their cubicle and desk.
Don’t forget about storage. Different teams have varying needs for storage in an agile work environment, so gathering this information in advance helps with planning sufficient locker and electronic storage space. During the planning stage is the time to help teams reduce paper storage. Also, decide whether you want storage space near the team’s neighborhood or in a different location to encourage mobility.
Make the change easy and seamless. Don’t fuel those anxieties by making it time-consuming or cumbersome for people to find a place to work or to find colleagues. Invest in kiosks and wayfinding systems that make it quick and easy to get to work. Also, don’t require people to reserve desks in advance; that forces people to decide what they will be doing on a given day too far ahead. Especially when you are driving a collaborative culture that promotes innovation, employees need to be able to adjust their daily tasks as needed in an agile work environment without worrying about if they have the right space reserved.
Plan for the future. While you are encouraging your teams to work together on effective strategies for your company’s future, don’t forget to build the same thinking into your plans for the agile work environment. Gather data and work out which teams will grow and consolidate over time, and incorporate that information into your ratios and neighborhood designs.
Educate managers. In the old-school office environment, managers can get into the habit of evaluating employees based on how many hours they spend sitting at their desk. In the agile work environment, it’s necessary to change that way of thinking since managers won’t be able to easily monitor where people are. Instead, teach them to look beyond “presenteeism” and to evaluate people’s productivity and contribution to the team.
3. Managing Impact on Employees’ Health and Safety
In many industries where employers are competing to attract the best new talent, many are differentiating themselves by offering health and well-being programs to employees. Implementing an agile work environment is a perfect opportunity to consider the effect of the workplace on employee health.
Offer furniture that cuts down sitting time. It’s no secret that sitting all day is bad for our health, so give people the option to use sit-to-stand desks or even treadmill desks to stay healthier. Also, providing attractive breakout space encourages people to stand and move around when working in a group, rather than sitting around a conference room table. Another important option in an agile work environment is offering ergonomic furniture that adjusts so that people of different sizes can use it safely and comfortably.
Consider providing healthier food options. Replace soda and candy machines with fresh fruit to give employees a boost of energy without the sugar crash and all those empty calories.
Provide education. Simply installing the new furniture and putting fruit in the kitchen is not enough to make a real impact. Provide employee health education programs that help them make changes in their daily habits that can lead to significant improvements in their health and happiness in the new agile work environment.
Download 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.
SUMMARY: Simon Davis has been named Vice President of Business Development for Serraview, a leader in workplace management and optimization solutions.
New York, NY – December 2, 2015 – Serraview, a leader in workplace management and optimization solutions in North America and Australia, is pleased to announce that Simon Davis has joined the firm as Vice President of Business Development. The appointment addresses the increasing need for optimization of corporate workplaces and the expanding demand for the company’s products and services.
In his new role, Davis is tasked with growing Serraview’s North American client base in order to help more Fortune 1000 companies increase the efficiency of their corporate real estate portfolios.
“We are thrilled to welcome Simon aboard during this exciting period of growth for the company,” said Serraview CEO Stephen Macnee. “Simon brings broad knowledge of the workplace management space, and has extensive experience helping real estate departments to build their technology roadmaps and navigate through IWMS offerings. His expertise will add depth to what Serraview can offer our clients, and his joining our team is a vote of confidence in our platform and future direction.”
Davis brings over 17 years of experience in corporate real estate technology, supporting leading organizations worldwide in optimizing business practices and implementing new technology solutions. He applies his broad technical skill and business acumen to driving strategic solutions for clients that achieve measurable results.
Most recently, Davis served as Senior Business Consultant with BRG, focused on helping clients to improve their processes, tools and data. He was responsible for a wide range of consulting assignments covering real estate, facilities management, operations and maintenance, capital asset and project management.
“As soon as I saw Serraview’s product, I knew I wanted to come and work for the company,” said Davis. “I was impressed not only with the product and the team behind it, but by the caliber of clients they are supporting, including the two largest US banks, companies at the forefront of technology, and half the Australian government. I’m excited to show my contacts at Fortune 1000 companies what Serraview’s tools can do and the value they can bring to corporate real estate portfolios.”
Davis has earned a law degree from the University of Southampton and a Master’s degree in Business and Information Technology from the University of Salford.
This week, we’ll show you how to tell if your company is well-suited to make the move to an agile work environment and provide some essential strategies for success.
Are you considering moving to an agile work environment?
If you are involved in strategic planning for corporate real estate, the agile work environment is certainly an idea that’s on your radar. It’s been an ongoing topic of conversation at all the industry conferences and events, and it’s no wonder: with as much as 60 percent of corporate office space sitting unused every day, moving to an agile work environment (also called “free address”) can save you a bundle. Companies can expect to cut real estate costs by 20 percent or more.
So how can you tell if your company is a good fit for an agile work environment? Will your employees accept the change? How will it affect productivity and operations? Read on to learn about factors that make it likely that your company can be successful with an agile work environment, situations where an agile work environment might not be the right choice, and tips you need to know to ensure success.
8 signs your company is well-suited for an agile work environment
If many of the following factors accurately describe your company, you’re in a great position to begin the move to an agile work environment:
You have an upcoming lease renewal or move to a new building. This is perfect opportunity to introduce a new way of working that benefits both the company and your employees.
Property costs are too high and you’re looking for ways to reduce cost by supporting more employees in less space, without the capital expense of building smaller and smaller cubicles.
Your c-suite is actively driving a cultural change to a more open, collaborative environment to inspire innovation. A move to an agile work environment is most successful when it is supported from the top.
The competition for talent in your industry demands that you find new ways to attract and support millennials. The cool features of an agile work environment (especially when combined with activity based working) can be the thing that tips the scale in your favor for top candidates.
Your business also demands a constant stream of fresh ideas and creative solutions, which requires the type of collaborative environment that an agile work environment provides.
A large portion of your workforce is consulting or working outside the office. That means vacant desks and wasted space.
You already have a flexible work from home policy. Your employees need an infrastructure that makes it easy for them to work from anywhere.
Much of your workspaces is not utilized consistently: many desks sit empty every day. You have an opportunity for a significant ROI when you invest in an agile work environment.
When an agile work environment might not be right for your company
If these situations exist at your company, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t implement an agile work environment, but you must be aware that you’ll face a bigger challenge in doing so.
You don’t have buy-in from senior management. The c-suite must champion the change to an agile work environment, and ideally live by it themselves. Corporations who have successfully made this change have executives working in an agile work environment along with the rest of the company. This sends a powerful message to employees about management’s commitment to the new way of working. It’s also great for communication between employees at all levels and supports that collaborative culture you’re after.
If you’re not committed to a culture of collaborative working that drives innovation, it’s not as easy to rationalize an agile work environment.
Reluctance or inability to renovate. If your current fit-out is cubicle-based and you’re not able to create more open space and collaborative space (both formal and informal), you may not be ready to make the move, particularly when you want to implement activity based working along with an agile work environment.
10 keys to success with an agile work environment
At Serraview, we have worked with many corporations all over the world to enable them in successfully moving to smart buildings, the agile work environment and activity based working. Here is some advice from the trenches that can help you achieve the ROI and business changes you’re looking for.
1. Start with the right project team. It’s imperative that real estate, HR and technology work together so all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to create a successful outcome with an agile work environment.
2. Recruit champions from all levels and business units who can support the transition and motive their groups to not only accept change but even get excited about it. (TIP: Personal assistants and executive assistants are great people to have on your side, since they interact with staff at many levels.)
3. When needed, bring in external consultants with the right expertise and knowledge of your industry to advise you.
4. Design neighborhoods that take groups with special requirements into account, such as segregating lawyers who require private meeting space and call center staff who are on the phone all day.
5. Determine the right mix of flexible working spaces, private working areas and breakout spaces for collaboration.
6. Don’t be too aggressive with ratios. Most companies start with 1 workpoint for every 1.2 employees using the space. You don’t want people having trouble finding a place to work because all desks are taken.
7. Make sure you have a good wayfinding system in place before the move to an agile work environment so that employees can quickly and easily find the right spot to work and find colleagues. Choose a system that doesn’t force them to book desks in advance or to check into desks; that inhibits their productivity. And don’t make the mistake of developing a bespoke tool that won’t be supported or updated going forward.
8. Choose personal computing technology that supports mobility, such as VDI or lightweight laptops, access to docking stations and large monitors where needed, soft-phone technology and follow-me printing.
9. Be sure to provide adequate storage, typically in the form of electronic lockers. That being said, though, you must also plan and prepare business units to reduce paper. Conduct audits early in the planning stage and determine where records can be discarded or moved to electronic document storage.
10. Get a handle on your current space utilization levels. It’s essential that you do this in the early planning stages of your project. Implement the right utilization data collection technology and workplace management software to provide accurate data to help you make solid plans to move forward with an agile work environment. To learn more about options for collecting utilization data, read our helpful guide to Measuring Workplace Utilization.
If you are considering a move to an agile work environment, you need a reliable workplace management system. If you have been getting by with manual audits or an antiquated IWMS that doesn’t provide reliable data or real-time space planning, that’s a major handicap.
SUMMARY: Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 Australia Facilities Management Software Company of the Year has been awarded to Serraview, a leading provider of workplace management software in Australia and North America.
MELBOURNE, Australia and New York, NY – December 7, 2015 – As part of its 2015 Excellence Awards, Frost & Sullivan has named Serraview the Australia Facilities Management Software Company of the Year. As a global growth consulting company with 1,800 analysts and consultants monitoring more than 300 industries and 250,000 companies, Frost & Sullivan presents best-in-class awards each year based on its extensive research.
Serraview was honored by Frost & Sullivan for its achievements in developing technology for the facilities management (FM) market in Australia by demonstrating excellence in growth, innovation and leadership. Metrics used to judge the award recipient included visionary innovation, implementation of best practices, and exemplary customer experience.
Serraview leads the market in Australia for facilities management software in workplace management and optimization. For the past 9 years, the company has worked closely with the leading Australian corporations and government agencies, as well as top US banks and technology companies. Serraview’s integrated workplace management system (IWMS) captures relevant workplace utilization data and allows clients to strategically analyze, optimize and monitor the usage of office space to reduce corporate real estate costs.
“This award from Frost & Sullivan is a great source of pride to Serraview,” said Serraview CEO Stephen Macnee. “It shows our dedication to developing innovative, world-class tools for driving workplace efficiency. It’s also gratifying to be acknowledged for our user-friendliness and customer service as this has always been a top priority for Serraview.”
The complete report detailing the benchmarking criteria for the 2015 Frost & Sullivan Australia Facilities Management Company of the Year is available on Serraview’s web site.
About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants.
For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies?
The workplace management software solutions on the market differ significantly in their scope, design, technology, and ease of implementation.
These factors can greatly affect the value you can expect to gain from using the tool, as well as how quickly you can realize better space utilization, improved employee experience, and ultimately millions in cost savings.
This buyer’s guide will help you focus your evaluation on the key points that are proven to drive the results you need.
In the corporate workplace community, the agile work environment has become a hot topic of conversation. If you have attended workplace and facilities industry events over the past few years, such as IFMA World Workplace, CoreNet Global Summit, CoRETECH or WORKTECH, you have certainly become aware of the movement. But what exactly does it mean and why are more and more progressive companies moving in that direction?
It means transitioning from dedicated workstations for each employee to shared spaces that workers use as needed. Considering that as much as 60 percent of traditional office space is unused on any given day, the agile work environment provides the means for an organization to optimize the utilization of workplace and reduce cost, often by as much as 20 percent or more.
Many companies take this idea to the next level by moving to activity based working (ABW) at the same time as they implement the agile work environment. ABW gives people the freedom to choose the type of space they want to work in based upon the type of work they need to do that day. ABW spaces are designed for efficiency, productivity and collaboration. These spaces are conducive to creative thinking and stimulating ideas because they provide comfortable areas for people to interact.
A sneak peek at the agile work environment and ABW in forward-thinking organizations
The implementation of the agile work environment and ABW is growing fast in the US, yet organizations in Australia and New Zealand began the transition several years back and are far ahead of the curve.
To get an idea what the agile work environment with ABW could look like for your company, take a look at these exciting new work spaces currently being used by Commonwealth Bank, ASB Bank, and Atlassian:
Here are a couple of implementations of the agile work environment and ABW by forward-thinking US companies:
How organizations benefit from this new way of working
It’s no secret that real estate is one of the highest costs faced by corporations, typically second only to the cost of labor. So naturally your ears perk up when you begin hearing how much some of these forward-thinking organizations are saving on real estate cost with the agile work environment. That’s because in the typical corporate office, as much as 60 percent or more of desks sit unused every day. Moving to more flexible shared space allows you to optimize the use of space and accommodate more people in fewer square feet.
Yet there is even more to be gained by moving to an agile work environment than saving money:
Attracting and keeping talented employees. In many industries, there are not enough skilled and talented people to go around. Attracting the best talent has become like a competitive sport. The cool features of the agile work environment with ABW, such as comfortable furniture, collaborative work spaces and recreation areas and can be the thing that tips the scale in your favor for top candidates.
A collaborative culture produces better ideas. When teams are given the space to truly work collaboratively, the spike in creative thinking and innovation can be astounding. If your organization’s idea generation needs a kick-start and you’re looking to build a corporate culture that supports innovation, it may be time to think about the agile work environment and ABW.
Employee satisfaction increases productivity. Here’s another well-known fact: happier employees work harder, are more engaged in their tasks, and produce better results. Even though some people will be resistant to moving to shared workspaces initially, in the end they are happier in an agile work environment. After all, they’re only losing a desk and they gain so much more: spaces that are better suited for the work they do, a more social environment where they can connect with others, not to mention cool lounges, recreation areas and kitchens.
Anticipate some challenges
It’s a fact: moving to an agile work environment is a massive cultural change for an organization. That’s exciting, but it does present certain challenges. You are asking people to change their ingrained habits. You should expect to encounter resistance from some employees who need privacy for their work, those who feel that their status is undermined by losing their corner office, and even questions about where they will keep their personal items.
One general principle to keep in mind is that you must enable rather than inhibit your employees in doing their jobs. Marcelo Romano, Director of Real Estate and Site Development at CoreTech 2015 noted: “Our business depends upon the continuation of Moore’s Law. The worst thing we can do is inhibit that with poor real estate decisions.”
One way to make it seamless and easy for employees to get their work done in an agile work environment is to reinvest your savings from optimization in building a better work environment. Retrofit your buildings with ABW furniture and fittings that support collaboration.
Technology helps you get the most from an agile work environment
When you make any large corporate investment, you want to do everything you can to get the most bang for your buck, and also to realize that ROI as quickly as possible. When it comes to moving to an agile work environment, that means taking advantage of the latest technology to measure utilization of space and help you manage and optimize how people use your workplace. Utilization data is also essential for providing location services (often called wayfinding tools) that make it simple for people to find a space to work and to find where colleagues are working.
Here are some that you need to know about when planning a new agile work environment:
Badge swipe data
Badge or card swipes allow you to collect utilization information from data captured by the security system that grants access to a building and sometimes a floor. This is often the simplest way to begin tracking utilization data since the technology is already in place. Marrying this data with other workplace information will produce a good understanding of utilization at higher levels.
Manual audits are a thing of the past: time consuming, expensive, and prone to human error. Today’s forward-thinking companies are turning to sensor technology that captures space utilization data at various levels of precision for the agile work environment.
Low energy Bluetooth (such as iBeacon): These solutions use existing smart phone technology to provide much more accurate indoor positioning than traditional Wi-Fi. This technology can capture utilization across a space and improve the reliability of location services information.
Lighting sensors: Smart lighting is quite popular for both new buildings and renovations, because it helps reduce environmental impact and save money on power. The lights have motion sensors that detect occupancy and control the lights throughout the day. Often the solutions have a back end that can collect utilization data.
Desk sensors: Tracking utilization using sensors installed in each space (desk, room, breakout space, etc.) provides precise results at an anonymous level. A deeper understanding of how teams are working can be achieved by pairing the utilization data with allocation data.
Even before you begin the process of moving to an agile work environment, implementing workplace management software helps you earn the trust of your business units and also helps you gather the data you need to make the move. Having accurate data also allows you to build a compelling business case for transitioning to an agile work environment.
The right workplace management tool gives you access to all of your workplace data in one place, and makes it simple for your workplace team to manage. Look for these important features that support not only the workplace team but also employees in the agile work environment:
Easy-to-use interactive wayfinding on touch screen kiosks and on employees’ mobile devices
Streamlined data collection and communication for stress-free management of the move to a new environment
Integration with many sources of occupancy tracking data
Analytics including visual dashboards, interactive charts, and floor plans that make it easy to monitor and analyze your workplace utilization
Here is the difficult part: the workplace management software solutions on the market differ significantly in their scope, design, technology, and ease of implementation. These factors can greatly affect the value you can expect to gain from using the tool, as well as how quickly you can realize better space utilization and ultimately millions in cost savings with an agile work environment.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Serraview, a leader in workplace management software, and CommScope today announced at the CoreNet Global Summit that they are working together to deliver smarter tools for companies to optimize their workplace and make buildings work for the people who use them.
Serraview integrates real-time occupancy data from CommScope’s Redwood® Building Intelligence Platform to enable clients to optimize their commercial property portfolio. Data flows from Redwood’s sensor network into Serraview’s Smart Environments tool so real estate teams can quickly pinpoint vacant or under-utilized space and accurately track the ratio of people to desks for unassigned or agile work areas.
By adding Redwood’s occupancy sensor data to Serraview’s network-based activity monitoring and badge data, the companies can provide unmatched space utilization insights for clients.
Serraview Dashboard showing Redwood Sensor data
Serraview will demonstrate the Smart Environments solution, utilizing the Redwood data, at the CoreNet Global Summit in Los Angeles at booth #226, October 18-20, 2015.
This integration will allow our clients to accurately pin-point which parts of their property portfolio are working for them, and address problem areas. For example, a recent study at one of our large financial clients found booked meeting rooms are only used 42% of the time. Corporate real estate departments now have access to concrete, indisputable data to support decisions to consolidate, upgrade or re-stack their footprint making their space significantly more efficient.
CommScope recently launched its application developer program for the Redwood open API and Serraview is one of the first companies to work with us to launch an innovative application to benefit customers
Ernest Pickens, SVP of Emerging Solutions, CommScope. – LinkedIn
About CommScope CommScope (NASDAQ: COMM) helps companies around the world design, build and manage their wired and wireless networks. Our vast portfolio of network infrastructure includes some of the world’s most robust and innovative wireless and fiber optic solutions. Our talented and experienced global team is driven to help customers increase bandwidth; maximize existing capacity; improve network performance and availability; increase energy efficiency; and simplify technology migration. You will find our solutions in the largest buildings, venues and outdoor spaces; in data centers and buildings of all shapes, sizes and complexity; at wireless cell sites; in telecom central offices and cable headends; in FTTx deployments; and in airports, trains, and tunnels. Vital networks around the world run on CommScope solutions.