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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 As a software solution, SVLive can also be updated easily without any replacement costs for outdated hardware.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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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).

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.

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How CRE Teams Can Measure & Facilitate Employee Interaction

In recent years, corporations like IBM and Yahoo have reversed flexible or virtual work policies and started mandating that employees come into the office on a regular basis (if not all the time). They made these moves because leadership recognized the importance and value of face-to-face employee interactions, especially unplanned, spontaneous conversations (“water cooler moments”).

How does the physical workplace influence corporate culture?

The thinking goes that, if everyone is in the office all (or at least most) of the time, someone in the finance department could randomly bump into a marketer in the cafeteria, strike up a conversation, and together, they would come up with a brilliant idea for a new project or business initiative.

Sounds great, right? But measuring “interaction” and “collaboration” to prove a need for new workplace policies or initiatives can feel like herding cats. Luckily, with new tools and technology, we’re getting closer. Here are a couple questions you can ask about employee interaction in your workplace:

How Are Employees Interacting with the Space and Each Other?

With usage sensors throughout your building, you can capture real-time, valid data on how different spaces are used. You can find out how and where people are congregating—in conference rooms, collaborative spaces, soft seating, cafes, etc.

Before making any changes, you need baseline data. Look at metrics like conference room bookings vs. actual use and which teams schedule meetings together most often. Or, if you have a flexible or agile workspace, you can identify which teams choose to co-locate together frequently.

Are Spaces Under- or Over-Used?

With space utilization data, you can evaluate all the spaces in your workplace that are meant for meetings or collaborative work: conference rooms, soft seating, cafes, break rooms, etc. How can you create more of the most popular spaces to further facilitate employee interaction? Maybe there are unused nooks that can be turned into soft seating.

For the under-used areas, you might examine why employees aren’t using them. The answer could be something simple: for example, the never-booked conference room has a broken projector and the service request slipped through the cracks. You might also find that one floor has three large conference rooms and would be better served with four smaller rooms and a collaborative space instead.

What metrics demonstrate the importance of space planning?

How and What to Measure

Companies generally want to facilitate employee interaction because they believe it will lead to better productivity and performance. It’s challenging to measure that in knowledge workers, but there are a number of metrics and data points you can look at, such as:

  • Number or percentage of projects that come in on time and under budget
  • Customer ratings
  • Reviews on sites like GlassDoor
  • Absenteeism
  • Turnover
  • Job candidate referrals from employees
  • Safety incidents or workers’ comp claims

Once you determine the metrics that make the most sense for your company, establish baselines before any initiative designed to facilitate interaction (along with, of course, baseline utilization data).

After launching your employee interaction initiative, look at the utilization data and productivity metrics together. First, are you seeing evidence of increased interaction and collaboration? Then in one sense, the initiative is successful. But are you also seeing improvement in the productivity metrics? For example, is there a team that consistently completes projects ahead of schedule that regularly uses certain collaborative spaces or soft seating? Keep in mind it may take time for these trends to develop.

As the technology that tracks space utilization and employee interaction advances further, you’ll be able to get even more data and actionable insights.

How can you turn your workplace into a strong business asset? Learn tips on how innovative companies are promoting and encouraging employee interaction and collaboration.

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How the Activity Based Workplace is Attracting (and Retaining) Millennial Talent

As the Millennial segment of the workforce has grown, so has the trend of open office plans and activity based work. It’s no coincidence that one of the ways companies have sought to attract Millennial workers is by redesigning their offices and creating swanky new environments. But is that strategy really working, and how?

What Is a Millennial?

According to Pew Research Center, Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, making them 22 – 37 years old today. By 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce.

There are a lot of assumptions, generalizations, and myths about Millennials, specifically about Millennials in the workplace. We’re going to address (and debunk) some of them here and discuss how activity based work suits not just Millennials, but the rest of your employees as well.

Generalization 1: Millennials want flexibility

This one is true! According to a Deloitte survey, 88% of Millennial workers want greater flexibility to start and end their work days when they choose, and 75% want to work remotely from home or other locations where they feel most productive.

Generalization 2: You need lots of crazy perks and trendy office design to attract Millennials

Yes and no. Millennials do seem to be driving more companies to offer unique perks and benefits aside from health insurance and 401(k) plans—from ping-pong tables to on-site dry cleaning and yoga. It’s true, studies show employees may accept lower salaries in exchange for a better working environment and a positive company culture. But salary is still a top factor they consider when looking for a job, and “positive company culture” means more than just game nights and happy hours. After salary and benefits, Millennials prioritize things like work/life balance, a sense of purpose or meaning in their work, and opportunities to progress or take on leadership roles.

How does the physical workspace play a role in company culture?

Generalization 3: Millennials don’t show loyalty to their employers

Millennials have been called “job-hoppers” who are eager to jump on board with the next shiny thing…and shine always loses its luster after a year or two, right? But in fact, research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that average employee tenure in 2016 increased from 1983 (3.5 years to 4.6 years), and other studies have found that on average, new hires intend or at least hope to stay with their employer for several years.

If Millennials are job-hopping, it’s more likely because they’re still looking for an employer who provides that sense of purpose and nurtures their career development and leadership skills—not one that offers better breakroom snacks.

Activity Based Workplaces are More Likely to Offer What Millennials are Looking for

One of the promises activity based work makes is flexibility for employees. They are empowered to choose where and when they work according to their preferences, work patterns, and natural rhythms. Surprisingly to some, Millennials want quiet, private spaces to work as much as other generations—not just wide open office plans—and activity based workplaces offer that. Millennials also understand the value of interaction and collaboration, and many are looking to build strong connections with coworkers. Activity based workplaces facilitate that as well.

Get Millennials’ Loyalty

Millennials tend to look for workplaces that offer career advancement opportunities and the chance to develop leadership skills. Activity based workplaces make it easy for employers to offer that in two significant ways.

First, creative spaces or collaboration breakout rooms are ideal spaces to host “lunch and learn” events where employees are given the opportunity to learn new things about your industry or develop skills. The Deloitte study found that loyal employees feel their employer is invested in providing support and training for career advancement.

Second, when senior management and those in leadership positions are working side-by-side with entry-level workers, mentor-mentee relationships are given the chance to develop and flourish.

Avoid Overcommitting

When companies are trying to attract Millennial workers, they may fall into the trap of making promises they can’t keep—especially about the perks and benefits they’re willing or able to offer. Luckily, with activity based work, you can adopt the practices that make the most sense for your company in stages, so in most cases, you can offer something to Millennials, whether it’s the option to work remotely or a dedicated collaboration room. Just be upfront about what you can and can’t offer.

Is your workplace employee-centric?

Activity Based Work Benefits Everyone

Millennials are driving the activity based working trend, but we don’t think it’s “just a trend.” Activity based work has staying power because it’s about enabling everyone, no matter their age, to do their work better. Keep this in mind when implementing activity based work practices and communicating its value to all your employees.

Want to discover more how you can bring activity based work to your company? Download our whitepaper to learn how to make the transition.

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8 Workplace Space Planning Solutions Stats [INFOGRAPHIC]

What we think of as the “traditional office” (clusters of cubicles in the center of a space, surrounded by private offices around the perimeter) is going away—about 70% of US offices have some type of “open office” design. Companies are starting to go beyond just workplace space planning by investing in healthy building features and looking for ways to provide more choice and autonomy to their employees, but why? Are these strategies actually working, or are they just following trends? Is it worth it to redesign your office layout and make dramatic changes to how your employees work?

Check out our infographic highlighting some statistics that shed some light on how the workspace impacts the employee experience and what that might mean for your company:

8 Workplace Statistics that Will Make You Rethink Space Planning

1. Innovative companies are 5 times more likely to have workplaces that prioritize individual and group workspace

Gensler’s 2016 U.S. Workplace Survey found that workplace design was one of the key drivers of innovation within an organization. They found that the most innovative companies had workplaces designed for the individual worker that also provided resources for collaborative group work. Employees at these companies reported better relationships with management and said they found more meaning in their work. 

2. 69% of businesses that implemented healthy building features reported improvements in employee satisfaction and engagement

A report from the World Green Building Council looked at companies around the world that have upgraded their buildings to offer healthy, “green” features and found positive results like:

  • Lower absenteeism rates
  • Increased productivity
  • More collaboration

Environmental factors like indoor air quality, lighting, acoustics, interior layout, and biophilia (adding plants in and out of the workspace) are all associated with worker performance. Workplace space planning can also mean testing your office’s air quality and ensuring it’s well-ventilated, which can increase cognition scores for your employees. Making sure your workers have access to natural daylight can improve their sleep, which can lead to higher productivity.

3. People are 12% more likely to report being happy with their job when they have freedom and autonomy in their work environment

Much of the backlash against open office layouts comes from concern over noise and privacy. An activity-based workspace, however, offers open spaces where large groups can work together (or at least near each other), but also provides spaces meant for focused, solo work.

Read blog: 8 Tips to Encourage Collaboration in the Agile Workplace

Throughout the day, people shift between four work modes: focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize. When your workplace space planning recognizes this, employees are empowered to choose the best setting for their work each day—either based on their to-do list (start in a breakout room for collaborating in the morning and move to a more private space to write a report in the afternoon) or on personal preferences. Let the chatty extroverts work in groups while the introverts use the focus rooms.

4. 37% of job candidates will accept a job with a lower salary if the company offers appealing culture, workplace facilities and technology

A study by Hassell and Empirica Research looked at how workplace space planning and office design affects how attractive the company is to job-seekers. In a nutshell, they found that it does. Employees today look at salary, yes, but if the offered salary is competitive and fair, they also pay attention to other factors, including workplace facilities and aesthetics, the technology provided, and workplace culture.

This means that even if you can’t offer top salaries, you can still attract top talent if you have an attractive workplace with appealing facilities and a positive culture.

5. 42.5% of the global workforce will be mobile employees by 2022

In 2017, the mobile workforce made up 38.8% of the global workforce. Employers should recognize this trend and prepare to manage an increasingly mobile talent force by providing the right technology and designing mobile-ready spaces to accommodate them (think: making it easy for your West Coast sales director to find a place to work in your Manhattan office when she’s there for meetings, or having conference rooms outfitted with technology to make video calls easy and glitch-free).

6. 85% of respondents in a CBRE survey expect to see increase in mobility in the workplace through activity-based workplaces

Mobility in the workplace doesn’t just mean working remotely. Employees who primarily work in one office also want flexible work policies and the opportunity to move around within that office. And workplace space planning doesn’t just affect employees in the office. Those who are working remotely or traveling need to still feel connected to their colleagues in the office. And in fact…

7. 70% of employees age 16-44 say they want to be more mobile at work

A report from Fuze looked at how work is changing and how technology—also a key part of workplace space planning—can help employees work more effectively, leading to more collaboration and innovation. Look at the technology your employees currently use, both in the office and when working remotely. Is it enabling people to work well, according to their preferences? Or are they forced to use cumbersome equipment and outdated applications?

8. 30% of energy used in a commercial building is wasted

According to Energy Star, it can be relatively easy to find ways to save energy—and money. Workplace space planning for your office allows you to manage building systems more efficiently. For example, you might find that your heater is set to turn on a full hour and a half before anyone comes into the office in the morning. There are huge opportunities to be a better environmental steward and save your company thousands or even millions of dollars on energy costs.

When considering workplace space planning, look at how you can best meet your employees’ needs and preferences now, but also how you can plan for the future. Serraview’s workplace space planning solutions help you do just that. With current data about how your space is used, you’ll be able to make decisions about how to better use the space next week while planning for next month, next quarter, next year. Request a demo today.

 

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How Do You Spell Success? BTO!

The following is a guest post written by Melissa Marsh, Senior Managing Director of Occupant Experience at Savills Studley, the leading commercial real estate services firm specializing in tenant representation. Melissa is also Founder and Executive Director of PLASTARC, a social research, workplace innovation, and real estate strategy firm dedicated to shifting workplace metrics from ‘square feet and inches’ to ‘occupant satisfaction and performance.’

The worlds of human resources, real estate, and technology are beginning to intersect in new and increasingly numerous ways. Their confluence is bringing about many changes for the modern workplace, including the creation of a whole new and very vital role: that of Building Technology Officer (BTO). What exactly does a BTO do, and why is it important? To answer that, we’ll start with some background.

Every day, buildings are getting smarter: they’re better and better able to anticipate occupants’ behavior, learn their preferences, save companies energy and money, and serve people’s mobility and sensory needs. At the same time, occupants are getting more and more demanding. They now live and breathe tech-enabled personal lives that allow them to book dinner reservations, hail rides, find movies they like, and adjust the thermostat—then rate their experience of each—all with a few taps. Now, understandably, they want to manage their work lives with that same convenience and efficiency.

These “smarter” and “more demanding” factors are coalescing to form a backdrop for the emergent digital workplace: what we at PLASTARC call the digital layer of occupant experience.

Smart, responsive buildings are a goldmine for companies who know how to leverage the social data they generate to make their space the best it can be. Such buildings are also becoming the expectation of high-performing ‘next gen’ occupants, who want the same convenience and tailored experiences at work that tech has been providing in the rest of their lives. Occupant satisfaction leads to talent retention, which leads to organizational success. Win-win-win.

Now that we’ve covered what digital UX (user experience) is in buildings and why it’s important, we can ask: Who within your company will be in charge of monitoring your smart building’s operations? Who will be on duty at the intersection of all these new tech features and the occupants who use them? Who will action the many opportunities for improvement that these increasing waves of social data are delivering to companies’ doorsteps?

That’s right: your BTO.

Those involved with design in real estate—architects, interior designers, facilities managers—have had reason to envy web interface designers, who have long been able to move that virtual shopping cart around in A/B tests until they discover where users are most likely to use it. Now, BTOs can help us move our shopping carts around, too! BTOs can…

  • Collect digital data about which rooms employees spend the most time in, determine the features that make those spaces so popular, and replicate them elsewhere;
  • See how much time occupants actually spend at their dedicated desks, and evaluate the benefits of hot desking or activity-based working instead;
  • More quickly and seamlessly address aspects of occupant comfort, from ambient temperature to preferred snacks, both by studying smart building record keeping, and by paying attention to what employees are saying on social media and in the proprietary apps smart businesses are now employing.

Of course, that short list is only the beginning. To sum it up in one sentence: BTOs harness modern building data to improve workplaces for their occupants. They use the information collected from buildings’ digital layer to make workspaces ideal environments for employee happiness and productivity. In turn, these great environments help organizations attract and retain today’s top talent: tech-savvy people who have come to expect such customization.

We at PLASTARC see the dawn of the digitally-enabled workplace as the beginning of a golden age in which technology allows building design to focus almost exclusively on serving and sustaining human experience. Since knowledge workers—not machines—are driving the modern economy, it makes sense to use every tool available to accommodate them. Think of your BTO as the one sporting the massive tool belt.

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How To Kick Off An Activity Based Working Strategy

Workplace transformation has become a primary focus for innovative companies. In fact, according to the CBRE 2017 Americas Occupier Survey Report, 86% of respondents planned to re-invent or adapt their workplace standards this year.

A core driver for workplace change is the growing multi-generational workforce. As a result of the diversity, they have higher expectations from their employers than ever before. Key talent looks for more than just a place to sit but a workplace that can help them achieve success through their unique needs and requirements.

Today, corporations are relying heavily on their real estate teams to revolutionize their workplaces into modern spaces where employees and buildings are both effective and efficient. But, where do you start? Open office design, hoteling, agile working? How do you know which strategy will work best for your business?

Download Whitepaper: Creating an Activity Based Working Strategy

Leesman describes activity based working (ABW) as a transformational business strategy that provides people with a choice of setting, rather than forcing individuals to work at a singular desk location. Companies who have adopted ABW in their workplace strategy are finding it to be a long-term solution that addresses the modern workforce needs as well as aligning with business goals.

While many companies are realizing the benefits of ABW, the transition doesn’t happen overnight.The process of moving to ABW is often robust with many moving parts. To get started, here are the first four steps you need to take when adopting ABW:

  1. Preparation: Gather as much data as possible. Understand how employees work using data such as utilization analytics, occupancy rates, and employee surveys. A workplace strategy should be based on data, not on the perception of how people work.
  2. Planning: Construct a plan to transform people and their workplaces to a more flexible model. The plan should include leveraging the data collected during the preparation phase to map out neighborhoods and business unit adjacencies. For appropriate business units, consider offering the choice to work from home.
  3. Implementation: Have an 8, 10 or 12-week plan with regular meetings and action items. Use business unit leaders and champions to manage execution. Champions are critical during this phase and should be actively communicating the benefits the employees can expect.
  4. Enablement: Once you transition people to their new activity based workplace, create a strategy to keep your HR, IT, and CRE teams aligned. Leverage utilization data to test the success of layouts and floor designs. Supply the right technology and create an IT strategy to ensure timely repairs. And use utilization data and employee feedback to keep evolving the strategy.

Download Whitepaper: Creating an Activity Based Working Strategy

Forward-thinking companies have been able to achieve success with ABW by following this process. Space management technology is a crucial component of an effective activity based workplace. Without the supporting data, it is extremely difficult to validate the ABW strategy, make improvements, and see continuous cost reduction. While there are misconceptions about ABW, with the right process, technology, and change program, the transition to an activity based workplace can provide numerous benefits felt by real estate, people and your business.