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Build a Business Case For Corporate Real Estate, Guided by Utilization Data

When you’re building a business case for your corporate real estate (CRE) projects, the more relevant data you can present, the better. Since new technology and space utilization software platforms allow CRE teams to collect and analyze more data than ever before, more and more are using data to drive decision making.

But how do you know what’s the “best” or “right” data to use? Consider which data leads directly to actionable solutions, how people will use data to make decisions in real-time, and if and when soft costs should be applied.

Utilization data provides precise insight into your workplace

Corporate real estate  teams are now collecting space utilization data from a variety of sources including badge swipes, chair/desk sensors, infrared cameras, conference room booking systems, calendar integrations, and more. The more data you have means shining a brighter light on the issues you’re trying to solve. However, too much data can be overwhelming. 

Remain clear on the objectives and questions you want to answer and only gather data that will ultimately contribute to your end goal.

What else can current technology do for your workplace?

Understand supply/demand for conference rooms

For example, if you’re looking at conference room usage, you’ve probably been frustrated when looking at just calendar data in Outlook or Google Calendar because it only shows planned or intended usage—and that data alone can’t reveal how often those rooms are actually used and by whom. When you add in a space reservation system that requires people to “check in” in order to use the room, you get a better picture of actual usage. If you can also use infrared cameras or chair sensors that detect the number of people in each room at any given time, the picture becomes even clearer.

Plan for peak utilization instead of allocation-based occupancy

While most CRE professionals have long relied on key metrics for occupancy/vacancy, capacity, and density. Establishing the occupancy of an office, for example, used to be estimated through manual audits and walk-throughs. utilization data opens up new frontiers with peak utilization.

What’s wrong with making workplace decisions based on perception?

A building may have full occupancy due to every space being assigned an employee, with the total number of assigned employees approaching somewhere near capacity, but this tells you nothing of how many people are actually there on a given day. Peak utilization tells you what is the most amount of people who actually show up on the same day throughout the year, and if peak utilization is well below capacity, then you may have stumbled on a substantial opportunity for cost-savings. Indeed, discrepancies between planned and actual use can be powerful drivers for identifying inefficiencies.

Heat maps let you optimize space around employee needs 

Utilization data can also be leveraged into heat maps that actually tell you which spaces are overused and which ones are underused. If a heat map shows even distribution, then workers are finding all of your spaces to be useful. But clusters of heat and large cold spots indicate that there are some high demand spaces and spaces that meet few needs. 

Maybe you have too many open areas and not enough quiet places to isolate and think. Maybe your private offices are sitting empty while your lounges are bursting at the seams. This gives you strategic data to back up workplace transformation initiatives, and rethink your strategy as a whole.

Evaluate if flexible, agile workplaces are right for you

Organizations with significant numbers of part-time staff, partially remote workers, and lots of employee autonomy in the workplace may quickly identify that their peak utilization is a significant ways off from their total available space. More crucial than peak utilization, in this case, is an organization’s utilization ratio of how many seats they need per employee, or group of employees.

Find out what you should know about evaluating space planning software.

These organizations are great candidates for an agile workplace, with shared Activity Based Work settings that offer employees a diverse array of choices for different space types. In an agile workplace, employees can move freely between meeting areas, collaboration lounges, phone booths, and other areas designed to support specific types of work. Utilization ratios help you fine tune what combinations of spaces you need for which groups based on their activities. Maybe you only need 6 desks for 10 people? Perhaps your conference rooms are oversized for the average meeting in your workplace? 

Utilization helps you justify the transition to agile spaces, and optimize them once they are in place.

In closing

Your business case is only as strong as your insights into the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of your current situation. Start with your data and ask yourself first if it’s accurate, and second, how much it makes sense to invest in improving and expanding your data-driven metrics and insights. 

Moving from spreadsheets to a single, accurate space management system alone can make a tremendous impact towards enhancing transparency, but deeper utilization data can guide and foster consensus around bold decisions that generate transformational results.

How can Serraview help you find and analyze the data you need to create a winning business case? Request a demo today to find out.

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How Tech Companies Are Using Automation to Manage Space Planning

Technology firms have long embraced practical solutions and championed the latest automation. That’s why it’s so surprising to see some tech organizations still using Excel spreadsheets and manual processes to track space utilization. Now’s the time to change. Here’s why tech companies need to start applying their embrace of automation to their office spaces, and take a data-driven approach to optimizing their workplaces.

A Modern Approach to Space Planning 

There was a time when space planning meant physically walking through the floors of an office building and manually entering data into spreadsheets in order to keep track of their space needs. After putting  estimates through complex formulas, a space planner would spend months running the numbers and creating reports that were never quite accurate to the current state of their portfolios.

However, technology has rapidly advanced, and those tedious methods of the past are no longer needed.

With modern software and tools, tech companies now risk falling behind their forward-thinking competitors by hanging onto outdated space planning techniques. This goes double for companies planning a modern tech space, where workplace technology is playing an increasingly central role in the employee experience.

Why It’s Time to Move from Spreadsheets to Automation

Modern technology now makes it possible to rise above spreadsheets and automate space planning tasks. Here’s what that means for tech companies:

Plan with Decisive Confidence in Your Data

With a centralized space planning and management tool, you can centralize data into a single system, streamline the process of validating data accuracy, and even pull real-time utilization data from badges and sensors. This means that accurate reporting can generated on the fly to inform immediate decisions, while long-term trends can be recorded and analyzed to inform strategic planning.

Connect Stakeholders

An end-to-end system empowers users to access common data through a framework that speaks to their specific workplace needs. Leader in Corporate Real Estate and Facilities can reference a powerful record of occupancy needs to target inefficiencies. Employees can find key spaces and update the  system through activity in integrated workplace apps. Stakeholders in in any department can update data through automated validation surveys and web portals. In a fast evolving workplace, automated systems don’t just centralize data, they streamline the common activities that occur around your spaces.

Target Inefficiencies Through Optimization Metrics

Modern Space Planning Solutions don’t just collect data, they slice and dice information into dashboards and reports that highlight outliers, track trends, and bring glaring inefficiencies to the foreground. With up-to-date data behind them, dashboards can provide a clear view of opportunities to generate savings  and put underused spaces to better use by aligning them with employee needs.

What You Can Do with Automation

Beyond enhancing the transparency and responsiveness of any organization into its real space needs, what exactly does automation look like in practice? Here are some of the opportunities that Space Planning automation has to offer.

Utilization Reports

Using data gathered from Internet of Things (IoT)  technology such as badge entry systems, desk sensors, or check-in systems, you can collect valuable statistics that measure space utilization in real-time, such as:

  • Peak Utilization by building or room
  • Heat Mapping
  • Utilization ratio of people to seats
  • Times of peak utilization

You can use those reports to spot gaps between how space is assigned an how it is used to reduce wasted space and align offices with a better employee experience..

Scenario Planning

With scenario planning software, you can experiment with different layouts in an intuitive drag and drop interface, and test different types of office environments. By pulling real data into a sandbox environment,, you can see how each scenario impacts key metrics such as square foot per person or cost per person. That means you can see how changes will affect your office layout and total costs. What’s more, once an ideal scenario is selected, it can automatically be converted into a move project, with tasks and dependencies generated for each move required to implement your plan.

Managing Flexible, Ratio-Based Environments

For companies looking to deploy the type of  modern, flexible workplaces that are the envy of Silicon Valley, utilization data and a system that can track and visualize flexible space are a must. With the right system in place, keeping track of employees in a flexible environment can be more precise than the most traditional, assigned environment.

Connecting Employees with Wayfinding Apps

Whether you’re deploying a flexible environment or simply streamlining how employees search and reserve workspaces, wayfinding apps are becoming increasingly popular. Many systems offer powerful employee apps that streamline space bookings and enable smart searches where employees can see where their colleagues are in real-time.

All of these advantages make automation the sensible option if you want to enhance your workplace. Want to see how space planning tools can transform your office? Request a demo today.

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How Tech Companies Are Transforming Their Workplaces with Utilization Data

Tech companies have long been pioneers of workplace transformation by necessity, with an incessant need to keep up with growth and attract top talent. With Smart Offices now an indelible part of the workplace landscape, utilization data is increasingly at the heart of the workplace revolution, opening new frontiers for enhancing savings and reimagining the employee experience

Unfortunately, gathering and analyzing this information hasn’t always been easy. Now, with technological advances, tech companies are discovering new ways to capture and use space utilization data. Here’s how:

A Changing Space Utilization Landscape for Tech Companies

Utilization data is essentially any data that reflects how spaces are actually being used, which can mean how many people have swiped into a building on a given day, or how many times a conference room was at capacity according to a smart sensor.

Once upon a time, companies were forced to rely on professionals to physically walk through buildings, floor by floor, and conduct manual audits. This method relied heavily on physical observations and estimates—some that weren’t always accurate. These manual methods also required time-intensive processes, tedious number crunching, and were rather limited in their applications to the daily life of employees.

As utilization data has become more accessible and as the workplace technology designed around utilization has become more nuanced and robust, Smart Offices are now taking shape in many forms, with systems that capture utilization to inform workplace planning/modernization, to employee wayfinding apps that connect people to their spaces.

Utilization is Driving the Flexible Space Revolution

With greater insight than ever before on how much space is needed, the supply and demand for different types of spaces, and where individuals are within the office environment, Tech companies can now measure flexible spaces with greater precision than even the most traditional and static cubicle farm.

This has led to the rise of Activity Based Work environments, where sections of offices are redesigned to be unassigned, offering employees an exciting array of choices for places to work throughout the day. In the past, this may have been untenable, but Utilization data means that companies can continuously optimize these environments based on how they are used. Peak utilization metrics tell companies exactly how many seats they need to provide business units, and wayfinding applications ensure that employees can always find their colleagues and view the availability of spaces in real-time.

Today’s most advanced workplace software specializes in leveraging utilization data into solutions for planning, managing, navigating, and optimizing flexible spaces.

How Tech Firms Can Use Utilization Data

With this new caliber of data, there are new possibilities for space planning. Here are some ways to use utilization numbers to build a better workplace:

Align Workplaces to Employee Needs

Organizations can use heat maps to determine the optimal combination of spaces based on what activities they support. This way, organizations can find the right balance of meeting rooms, lounges, phone booths, hot desks, and other key space types.

Plan for Peak Utilization

In a traditional office environment, everyone was assigned a seat and once all seats were assigned, that office was at full capacity… but how many people actually show up on any given day? And what about part-time and remote opportunities? Peak utilization tells organizations the maximum number of people that show up on any given day of the year, so they can plan based on how much space they actually use, instead of how much space is assigned.

Enhance Precision of Wayfinding Technology

Utilization data can feed employee apps with real-time insights into where colleagues are located and which rooms are available.

Target Gaps and Inefficiencies

Utilization data makes it easier for professionals to eliminate wasted space by identifying gaps between how space is assigned and how it is used. Just as a building assigned to 300 people may rarely see more than 200 in attendance, the same principle can be applied from the floor level down to the individual desk.

Increase Capacity with Ratio-Seating

With utilization data, organizations can assign seating ratios to different shared neighborhoods that increase capacity beyond one seat per person, and continuously refine that ratio over time. A ratio of 1.5 people per seat, for example, represents a 50% increase in building capacity. 

Improve Energy Efficiency

Especially with increasingly flexible schedules, it’s easy to run air-conditioning, lights, or other utilities when employees aren’t around. With real-time utilization data, it’s now possible to use energy more efficiently. By capturing the numbers, planners can set the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system to line up with employees’ schedules—saving money and reducing the company’s environmental footprint.

Evaluate Move Scenarios

By integrating utilization data with scenario planning software, organizations can test and evaluate how different move scenarios would impact their people and their bottom line. 

Make Evidence-Based Business Cases

It’s now possible to capture the numbers to justify moves. Using validated utilization data from badge entry swipes, lighting sensors, and other sources provides evidence where there once were just estimates to get buy-in from all key decision makers.

Overall, tech companies finally have the tools and automation to power better space planning. Technology is taking the guesswork out of utilization data, and it’s resulting in better outcomes. Want to see how technology can fit into your space planning initiative? Schedule a demo today. 

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How a Tech Company Reduced Space by 25% and Elevated its Workplace Culture

Global technology company Avaya eliminated almost a quarter of its real estate portfolio by turning to an advanced workplace optimization software solution. The results were a lean, efficient organization, and a more collaborative workplace culture. Here’s how Avaya did it:

About Avaya

Founded in 2000, Avaya is a global leader in delivering premium communications experiences to customers. It supplies more than a million customers with a complete portfolio of software and services. When it started looking for a data-driven solution, it had 15,000 employees and 2 million square feet of office space around the world—a costly footprint with tenuous accountability to Avaya’s real needs.

Avaya’s Challenge

As a leading multinational technology company, Avaya had acquired multiple tech companies. As a result, its real estate team stretched across the world, but the organization was failing to keep its real estate footprint under control. 

At the same time, Avaya wanted to modernize its tech offices. It needed to lower costs and improve collaboration. Unfortunately, the team’s space planning tools and manual systems were causing chaos. Executive reports were taking weeks to complete. Leaders didn’t have accurate data, and they didn’t know where employees were or how they were interacting. 

Avaya was in need of reliable data, automated reports, and direction it could trust. It called on a partner, Cushman & Wakefield (C&W), for help. 

C&W Selects Serraview as the Data-Driven Solution

C&W started by researching possible software solutions, looking for the right fit to help Avaya’s team manage space, set up a plan, and empower employees. After vetting multiple options, C&W decided Serraview was the best solution. 

Gathering and Standardizing Data

Avaya knew how pivotal reliable data would be when making such a big move. After C&W Avaya’s 142 floor plans were uploaded into a single Serraview system, alongside occupancy data for tracking allocations for individuals and  business units. 

To validate the accuracy of the data pouring in, Avaya’s real estate team could use the Serraview Workplace Portal, which enables stakeholders across the company to confirm seating accuracy via simple and intuitive shareable links. Suddenly, rather than rustling through spreadsheets and manually emailing reports, the team could quickly run data through one online interface. 

Running chargebacks and informing strategy

Serraview also provided the corporate real estate team with an automated solution for running chargebacks and evaluating needs across units. This provided the hard data Avaya needed to drive its strategic planning for everything from acquiring new property to dropping unused space and building more employee-friendly office layouts.

Avaya Closes 15 Leases, Empowers Employees

With Serraview tools, Avaya was able to cut costs and reduce its real estate portfolio drastically, reducing its footprint by nearly 25 percent. However, Avaya faced a new challenge. With 15 site closures, employees found themselves in new locations among unfamiliar faces. 

In order to empower employees, Avaya launched the Serraview Locator mobile application. With the app, employees are now able to see what resources are available. They can easily search for their colleagues, as well as search and book conference rooms and collaborative spaces from their mobile devices.

With the data to track needs and the transparency to connect employees to their spaces, Avaya was able to create a more cohesive office environment that reduced bottlenecks and fostered greater engagement between business units.

Technology-Powered Results Now and into the Future

In addition to developing a work culture that gives employees the tools to come together, Avaya’s real estate team is now able to pull data into a centralized, easy-to-access system. That means it can automate reports and quickly set up chargeback processes. Reports that once took weeks to compile are now available in minutes. 

With reliable data at its fingertips, the team is now able to back every decision, from acquiring or dropping property to planning out office layouts, with data. In addition to having a right-sized portfolio and drastically reduced costs, the organization now has the tools to drive success well into the future.

To learn more about Avaya’s workplace transformation, read the full case study. 

Want to see how you can use technology to take control of your workplace strategy? Schedule a demo today. 

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4 Reasons Why SV Live Is a Go-To Technology for Office Space Utilization

As Corporate Real Estate professionals are ever more focused on using technology to enhance space planning and workplace engagement, smart offices are offering new levels of utilization data precision, and with them, new possibilities.

SV Live is smart office software, installed on employee devices to realign workplaces around their needs. SV Live talks with smart sensors and WiFi networks to track real-time movement in the workplace. This information helps planners optimize where employees work based on how employees work, shedding waste in the process. These smart insights also empower employees to navigate their spaces in exciting new ways, removing productivity roadblocks by enhancing visibility into everything that their spaces have to offer.

Here are four ways that SV Live is taking utilization technology to the next level.

#1: Real-Time Wayfinding Keeps Collaboration Close-by.

As workplaces become more flexible, they also become more mobile, making it ever more important to keep collaborators connected. SVLive integrates with Serraview’s mobile wayfinding, so that employees can find their colleagues as they move throughout the workplace with a simple smartphone search. Employees can also search spaces and see if they are occupied, so that available spaces are never out of reach.

#2: WiFi as a Sensor Enables Affordable Smart Offices.

Most IoT devices, like badges and sensors, have the associated costs of hardware. This hardware is powerful and effective, but can add up in costs when deploying large numbers across portfolios that span millions of square feet. 

SV Live can convert your WiFi network into a smart sensor, using the hardware you already have.  This makes SV Live one of the most cost-effective solutions available for tracking IoT data. As a software solution, SVLive can also be updated easily without any replacement costs for outdated hardware.

Why it’s time to automate Excel space utilization systems.

#3: SV Live Ensures User Privacy and Security

SV Live is not only accessible, it’s also incredibly secure. Employees can opt in or out and SV Live cannot access any information from those that opt out. What’s more, SV Live only works on approved networks within your organization, so any employee at home or at a local cafe remains outside of the networks view. Companies can also elect to blackout any areas from SV Live.

#4: Inform Planning with Real-Time Metrics

With SV Live, organizations can learn more about how their spaces are used than ever before. Just as employees can use SV Live to find other individuals, Space Planners can use SV Live to understand overall utilization in different spaces throughout the day. They can use heatmaps to identify underutilized cold spots, or track peak hours of space use, and re-organize workplaces based on what spaces employees value most.

 

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How to Cultivate a High-Performance Modern Workspace

The global economy grows more competitive each year. That’s why enterprises are making agile, modern workspaces a top priority. An agile work environment does away with dedicated workstations and instead uses flexible, shared spaces, allowing employees to choose how and where they work. 

A thoughtfully designed, agile workplace enhances productivity and reduces the cost of real estate by right-sizing space and increasing capacity. It can also help you attract, retain, and cultivate the best talent for your company. Here’s how you can design a high-performance, modern workspace that inspires and motivates your employees.

Workspaces That Motivate

A modern workspace isn’t just about aesthetics. Sure, a tastefully designed work environment helps put people at ease. But it goes deeper than that. Traditional floor plans with dedicated workstations waste space, costing your company valuable resources in the form of unused real estate. 

Our surroundings also have a profound impact on our motivation to complete tasks. You might think that with a big enough salary and benefits package, you can motivate your workforce toward the next innovative breakthrough in your industry. However, motivation doesn’t always work that way.

And don’t be caught confusing an agile work environment with an open floor plan. Although open floor plans were once in vogue, the truth is that they are noisy and distracting. And despite promises to the contrary, open workspaces can even put a damper on workplace collaboration by reducing face-to-face interactions between employees. 

To stay motivated in the workplace, most people need to feel a sense of autonomy, competence, and connection. Market research agrees—a well-designed, modern office boosts employee productivity. Flexible workspaces are especially effective at giving people the power to choose the space that best suits the task at hand.

Quiet areas promote focused concentration. This makes it easier to reach a state of flow and complete tasks that require deep, independent thinking. At the other end of the spectrum, open and inclusive workspaces help people feel connected to their coworkers and allow them to collaborate effectively.

Unfortunately, most companies fail to provide workspaces that meet the needs of their workforce.

Want to learn more about creating a high-performance modern workspace? Download our whitepaper, Optimizing Corporate Real Estate for the Modern Workforce.

Redesign for Productivity

Is your business behind the times? If it is, you might be doing your employees and your business a disservice.

Learn to recognize inefficiencies that could impact employee productivity. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your company allow its employees to choose where and how they work?
  • Do people have access to space to engage in casual chats or ongoing collaborative work without disrupting other employees?
  • Does your workspace support learning and information exchange between workers, regardless of their department or team?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s a sign that your workplace is hindering the productivity of your employees.

But when does it make sense to overhaul your workspace? Think about redesigning if you’re getting ready to significantly increase your headcount or move into a new space. These are golden opportunities to take a critical look at your workspace design and make improvements.

Be a Champion for the Modern Workspace 

Reinventing your workspace can transform the employee experience, but it requires the hard work of an internal champion. As a champion, take the lead on building an initiative that maximizes employee satisfaction and productivity.

When it comes to creating a modern workspace, your real estate is your most strategic asset. Seek out new technologies that can monitor and track your space usage and other useful building and facilities data. This will help you get informed before making any major changes.

Building a Modern Workspace Strategy

How do your employees interact with and connect to space? A workspace redesign won’t do you any good if it’s not functional for the people who use it. To build a better workspace, you need to understand how your employees work in their current space. Here’s how you can develop a successful strategy to build a functional, modern workspace.

Use technology to strengthen your real estate strategy

Technology solutions provide valuable insights into space utilization and real-time occupancy information. This helps you minimize costs when building your strategy by:

  • “Right-sizing” office space
  • Evaluating multiple move scenarios
  • Helping you start the transition to flexible or activity-based workspaces
  • Planning for peak utilization
  • Increasing real estate capacity with flexible, ratio-based seating

Data-driven insights will also help you gain support from your organization’s stakeholders. With supporting data, stakeholders are more likely to get behind a transformational workspace strategy.

Keys to driving change with a strong workplace strategy

But how do you know when you’ve built a successful strategy? Here are some important boxes you’ll need to check if you want to drive meaningful change.

  1. You’ve identified KPIs within your real estate strategy to track the growth of your business.
  2. You have technology in place to help you maximize your space utilization and overcome guesswork in space acquisition and consolidation.
  3. Your decision-making process is proactive.
  4. You have access to dynamic data for ongoing insights to consistently optimize your real estate portfolio and align with changing needs.

Closing Thoughts

With the global economy moving at a rapid pace, enterprises are looking for new solutions to stay ahead of the curve. A well-designed modern workspace will allow your employees to reach their fullest potential and help your business flourish. Technology solutions can give you valuable, data-driven insights into how to transform your workspace and employee experience.

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Collaborative Workspaces: The Past, Present & Future

Modern workplaces are continuously evolving to keep up with the speed of technology and the changing needs of employees. Businesses that fail to meet these needs may find themselves losing workers to businesses that are keeping up with their expectations. By giving your people all the tools they need to perform at their best, you’re almost guaranteed to see a measurable ROI and future cost reductions. You’re also likely to improve employee retention while attracting new talent. 

The “open” office was once synonymous with collaboration. But we’re now realizing that it may be doing more harm than good. An agile work environment is proving to be the true key to a collaborative workspace because it gives employees the power to choose an open or solitary location to work. Here’s how you can stay ahead of the curve by implementing a truly collaborative, agile work environment.

Collaborative Workspaces: Past, Present, Future

In the last decade, rapid changes in technology have transformed how we live. With smartphones in hand and an abundance of IoT devices available, we’re now more connected than ever. This increased connectivity in our personal lives has prompted a similar transformation in our workplaces.

The Importance of Collaboration in the Workplace Today

Companies have put significant effort into breaking down organizational silos. And few would deny the fact that a more open, collaborative work environment leads to better outcomes than each employee or team working in isolation.

Workplace collaboration encourages personal connections, brings together diverse viewpoints, and promotes honesty and information sharing. That’s why collaboration is invaluable in the modern workplace—it serves as the crucible for new and innovative ideas.

The Rise of Collaborative Workspaces

With our increasing connectivity and desire for collaboration, the open office plan has become the dominant blueprint for workplace design. But to be successful, a collaborative workplace demands more than just an open office floor plan. The noise and busyness of fully open workspaces can actually discourage collaboration for some employees, who may feel the need to use headphones or other self-isolation strategies to get some work done. Agile work environments encourage collaboration by making it a choice, offering open spaces along with more private areas for focused work time.

Improving your company’s workspace not only promotes collaboration but can also improve employee engagement. Businesses are finding that employee satisfaction is strongly linked to a sense of control over one’s working environment. And most people need a balance between solitary deep work and collaborative group work to be productive.

Driving Productivity and Efficiency with Real-Time Data

With advances in sensor technology and machine learning, modern workspaces can also offer real-time data and predictive analytics to further increase workplace productivity. Real-time data tools allow companies to be more proactive and make the most of the space they have. For example, space management tools can help predict your space needs based on current and historical usage.

Ready to learn more about cultivating a modern workplace environment? Download our whitepaper, Making Space Utilization Work for Your Organization.

Understanding the Value of an Employee-Centric Strategy

Attract and Retain the Best Talent

As an enterprise, your people are your greatest asset. Making improvements and modernizing your workspace is like making an investment in your employees. When it comes to workspace design, an employee-centric strategy can increase your company’s ability to attract and retain a talented workforce. 

Promote Innovation

When you create an environment that attracts top talent and fosters collaboration, you’re also creating a hotbed for creative and innovative thinking.

Boost Productivity

An agile work environment empowers your employees by giving them a greater sense of control and satisfaction when it comes to their work. And it’s no surprise that happier employees are more engaged and more productive.

Right-Size Your Real Estate

An agile work environment that promotes collaboration is a win for employee satisfaction and company productivity. But it can have an even bigger impact on your bottom line. Doing away with dedicated workstations and moving toward an agile workplace saves you real estate costs by using space more efficiently.

What Will Make a Collaborative Workspace Successful?

According to Steelcase, “The key to successful workspaces is to empower individuals by giving them choices that allow control over their work environment.” This kind of workspace will demand change in both physical space—how we design our workplaces—and in culture.

The Need for an Agile Work Environment

So what does a modern work environment look like? The modern workspace is quickly moving past the old paradigm of open versus closed space. Instead, it’s about placing power back into the hands of your employees. The way Jan Johnson of Allsteel sees it, “People expect to have more autonomy and control. The workplace should be designed to support that.”

And how is this autonomy reflected in the physical space? The built environment will need to evolve from its current monolithic state to become an agile work environment that offers a diverse and flexible set of functional spaces.

These spaces should be available on demand depending on the needs of individual employees—whether they’re looking for a large conference room to hold a team meeting or a quiet corner to hunker down and draft an important presentation. In The Future of Work and Workplace, an insight report by Holtby Turner, Despina Katsikakis describes the ideal space in this way: “Like a stage-set, it will be reconfigured to respond to our individual functional and wellbeing demands.”
 

Joining the Movement Toward Modernization

How do you know when it’s time to transform? 

Has the way you work changed? Are your team members more mobile? Are you planning a big move in the future? These are all signs that it’s time to take your workspace planning to the next level.

Many companies are still hesitant to make the switch. But if you take the lead, you can use your space as a competitive advantage and strategic asset for your business.

Workspace Advice: Planning for Today and Tomorrow

Implementing a modern, collaborative workspace isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes internal champions, cultural changes within the company, and the help of modern workspace software solutions.

With technology continuing to advance, it’s hard to predict what the average office will look like 10 years from now. But with an agile work environment, you’ll be ready to respond no matter what the future brings.

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Hot Desking vs. Hoteling vs. Flexible Working — What’s the Difference?

Although the “open office” layout sounds great in theory (facilitating collaboration and creative teamwork while saving the company money on real estate costs), office workers tend to not love them in practice. Many of their complaints about the open office—the noise, the lack of privacy, the uncertainty about where you’ll sit each day—can be mitigated with better policies and change management.

Plus, we’re starting to see a swing back from that extreme. Instead of just opening up the entire office, companies are implementing hybrid or activity-based workplaces (ABW) that better meet the needs of their employees and have some financial benefit for the company (namely, savings in real estate expenses).

Download Now: How to Get Employees Warmed Up to Hot Desking

One of the key concepts in ABW is that you don’t have a 1:1 seating ratio. Once a company gets data showing how many employees, on average, are actually in the office each day, they can adjust that ratio accordingly and give up desks. That space is either relinquished entirely or repurposed (turned into meeting or collaborative space, for example).

Offer Choices with Flexible Working

When a company embraces flexible working or a flexible environment—meaning a workplace that doesn’t have fixed seating and/or gives employees some element of choice in when and where they work—they often introduce the concepts of hot desking or hoteling. Let’s dive deeper into these strategies and look at how they work (or don’t work) and how you can use tools like Serraview to set your employees up for success.

Learn how to convince your company’s leadership team to embrace flexible working.

Hot Desking Can Be a Jungle

What is hot desking? Generally, hot desking means any employee can find and work at any open seat (desk or workstation) when they get to the office each day. This strategy is a large part of why workers tend to dislike open office layouts: you never know where you’ll be working each day or who you’ll be working next to—or if you can even find a desk.

For example, in this scenario, someone in Accounting who needs to focus on putting together a big report could end up sitting next to someone in Sales who spends the entire day making calls. It’s not hard to imagine the Accounting employee getting more and more frustrated every passing minute.

One way companies can mitigate this is by putting some restrictions on who can work where and creating “neighborhoods.” Perhaps the fourth floor is reserved for Marketing and Sales employees (or any two groups that work together frequently). This is one way to apply flexible working principles—by introducing some governance around the “hot desks.”

A company could also designate a certain floor or section a “quiet zone” for anyone, in any business group, who needs to do focused, heads-down work. The key is understanding how your employees work and what kinds of space they need to work well. By implementing these strategies, you can make hot desking feel less like fighting your way through a jungle and more like following a well-marked trail.

Hoteling: Check In, Work, Check Out

Another way to manage the flexible work environment is with hoteling. This means employees can reserve a specific desk/workstation or any other type of space: meeting/conference rooms, collaborative spaces, phone banks—whatever’s available in the office. With hoteling, workstations still aren’t assigned to specific employees, but they have some more choice and control over where they work.

Employees can use an app or software to find a desk before they come into the office or as they arrive, so there’s some comfort of knowing in advance that they’ll have a place to sit. Depending on the software and technology you use, they can even search for certain colleagues and make sure they reserve a desk nearby for easy collaboration.

Companies can choose how to best manage these reservations and check-ins: How far in advance can someone reserve a spot, and for how long can they keep the reservation? If their to-do list changes and they no longer need the meeting room they booked this morning, how long will that 1:00 reservation be “held” before the room is shown as available?

To make these decisions, you again need a thorough understanding of how people use your space as well as some knowledge about the company’s flexible work policy. You can also use technology, like IoT sensors and beacons, to allow people to book soft seating or lounge areas, if that will make it easier for teams to work together.

Time to start measuring your space differently: Discover the new space utilization metrics

Winning Employees Over

Well before you start the transition to ABW or a hybrid workplace, you need a strong change management plan to help employees understand and embrace a new style of working. Implementing strategies like establishing neighborhoods or quiet zones and using reservation/check-in tools for hoteling go a long way to helping employees feel like they have some control and choice in their work environment. This goes a long way towards engagement and productivity.

With Serraview’s wayfinding apps, employees can easily take advantage of your hoteling policy—request a demo today.

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Tips for a Pain-Free Office Relocation

When the lease for a major telecommunication company’s downtown office was up, executives were eager to move to an area with a lower crime rate. The CRE leaders found a new potential office in a suburb east of the city, but they overlooked the fact that the majority of their employees lived in the downtown area or to the west. Public transit options to the eastern suburbs were limited, and faced with hour-plus cross-town commutes, employees were incensed at the proposed move.

Sound familiar?

You’re not alone. Read on for some tips to avoid painful office relocation scenarios.

Plan Change Management and Communication Early

The above scenario could have been avoided entirely if leadership had considered the impact on employees’ commutes from the beginning. It’s all too easy for CRE teams to zoom in on numbers and forget the people—and emotions—involved in office relocations.

In a typical relocation timeline, you should start evaluating your current office and lease terms 18 months before your current lease terminates. That length of time is necessary to decide whether to stay in your current space as-is, negotiate different lease terms, adjust your footprint (adding or releasing square footage but staying in the same building), or move to a new location. If you decide to move, you would then start looking at the market and evaluating potential new locations and office buildings.

How CRE can use evidence-based decision making to get better results.

At this time, you should already have a change management plan for the office move ready to kick off, which should start “planting the seeds” to prepare people for a change and mitigate negative reactions.

Identify and Engage Your Key Stakeholders for the Office Relocation

A big part of your change management plan should detail who you’re going to closely work with and how. Determine who will be most impacted by the move and start communicating with them as soon as you can.

Of course, managers or department heads of the business groups that will be moved will need to be kept informed throughout the planning process—they’ll also want to share their departments’ needs as you plan the new build out or tenant improvements.

The key is to strike a balance between making sure people feel both informed and heard (they will have concerns and questions) and staying on schedule with the office relocation plans. You don’t need to invite every stakeholder to every planning meeting, but you’ll want to keep them involved during key milestones.

Work with the Nay-Sayers

Don’t just write off Bill in Accounting as a chronic complainer. The sooner you identify the people who are most likely to have the biggest gripes about the office relocation, the more time you have to win them over.

Invite the nay-sayers to private meetings so they can share their complaints. It’s really important to listen in these meetings—often simply showing empathy can go long way towards turning them into advocates. You may also be able to explain the benefits and reasoning behind the move and show how you plan to address their concerns.

And when you do that, you’ll find that the people you “convert” are likely to become your biggest champions for the office relocation, helping other reluctant employees to get on board.

Design the New Office for Your Employees’ Work Patterns

Dig into your current utilization data and let that inform things like how many conference rooms you need, soft seating, collaborative space, and co-locations. An office relocation presents a great blank canvas and a chance to address problems with your layout (like “there are never conference rooms available on the second floor”). Don’t just let designers come up with a trendy design that isn’t functional and expect your employees to conform to it. Work with your stakeholders to design a space that will facilitate productivity and engage employees.

When it comes to moves and relocations, having a comprehensive plan (and checklist) is critical. Even when you’re in early phases of evaluating your current lease or considering new locations, start looking at change management and communication. The earlier you start engaging with stakeholders and other key employees, the more time you have to answer questions, overcome objections, and win people over so they’re excited about the office relocation.

Find out how workplace optimization software like Serraview can help you build an office relocation plan—request a demo today.