What is workspace management?
Workspace management is a process by which companies attempt to boost employee productivity and efficiency, while cutting costs and optimising business performance. The latest statistics from CBRE indicate that, on average, prioritising wellbeing increases productivity by 10%.
Imagine, for example, that you have limited space for 100 employees. You need to study what the best arrangement is so that everyone has their own workspace. Then you need to ensure that each desk has enough light, an outlet for a computer, and that the room has an effective air conditioning system. But that’s just the basics, because there’s so much more you can do to make employees feel comfortable and satisfied.
Is workspace management the same as facility management?
In a sense, workspace management is a “discipline” of Facility Management. There is a clear overlap between the two because FM influences employee productivity, satisfaction, and motivation. As an example, one study found that workers make fewer typing errors when the temperature is between 20 and 25°C. Another study found that humidity levels correlate with stress.
However, while ‘pure’ FM tends to focus on more technical and measurable issues (in the previous example, how to optimise air conditioning or relative humidity), workspace management expands into other variables. For example, how can we optimise space so that teams work together? How do we isolate spaces so that people can make calls and videoconferences?
In addition to practicality, comfort comes into play. Therefore, the workplace manager can create common leisure spaces (such as yoga rooms, spaces for sports), manage the company canteen or day care centre, install vending machines, offer coffee or pieces of fruit in the middle of the day. And now, with the advent of hybrid working, they have the role of ensuring the space is ready for flexible hours.
Of course, workplace management varies depending on the type of business and building (e.g., office building, call-centre, hospitals, research centres, co-working space, factories, etc). But generally, workspace management is responsible for:
- the layout of the space and physical ergonomics;
- the optimisation of the available space;
- workplace safety;
- planning the needs for the future;
- promoting a good working environment;
- cost management and financial analysis;
- resource management and automation.
Why use workspace management software?
Workspace management software centralises all asset and site information, including repair and cleaning requests, energy consumption, and asset history. Bringing this data together eliminates “silos of information” and gives you the opportunity to analyse weaknesses you can improve, and where you are wasting resources.
Mapping spaces and assets
The first advantage of using software is being able to map all buildings and the location of assets in each one. The Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, for example, can manage the university’s buildings in four different cities through Infraspeak.
Monitor all assets
By using a single platform, you can monitor all equipment and confirm that you are complying with periodic maintenance. In addition, understanding in what stage of the asset life cycle each asset is at allows you to adjust the maintenance plan.
Manage available space
Open space or office space? Individual or shared desks? How many people have to share an office? If it’s a hybrid workplace, how many can work in the same day? How can you tell which workspaces and meeting rooms are booked? Without appropriate software, it is difficult to manage the space available.
In the UK, it is estimated that companies can save £8100 per employee with hybrid working models. Another study came to the conclusion that companies can save ⅓ of their operating costs. The only downside is that hybrid working models require more organisation to avoid ‘overcrowding’.
Reducing carbon emissions
Buildings consume 40% of energy and waste 30% of the energy they use. Controlling electricity use and optimising air conditioning use, notably through smart technology, helps save energy. (It is estimated that using sensors, for example, is enough to save up to 20% of energy). It thus promotes sustainability and reduces carbon emissions.
Increase workplace safety
Using facility management software decreases workplace accidents. How? Checklists decrease the risk of human error, while apps like our “gatekeeper” ensure that technicians are aware of the risks of each job. Maintenance makes the workplace safer for everyone, but it’s the software that makes maintenance safe for technicians.
Do a financial analysis
Property expenses are one of the biggest expenditures for businesses. So, they need to maximise that amount and ensure it’s a good place for the team to work together. It’s up to the workspace manager to do an analysis of the return per square metre, optimise day-to-day logistics, and look for the best options on the property market.
How to improve workspace management?
If you are a facility manager who is actually doing workspace management, here are some best practices:
Identify “pain points”
When we’re not working in a certain place, or not performing a certain function, we don’t always notice the details. Ask your employees what they need: more space? More frequent cleaning? On the management side: are they getting enough out of the space they rent?
To promote the well-being of those who use your workspace, you can’t stay isolated in your office. Get the team together and brainstorm on how to make better use of the available space and promote wellbeing.
Invest in the right tools
We’ve already talked above about the various advantages of having software to manage workspaces. It doesn’t necessarily need to be workplace management software, it just needs to be a platform where you can gather all the information, even if it was originally developed for maintenance or Facility Management.
Explore the factors that influence productivity
As a facility manager, your priority may have always been ‘asset reliability’ or ‘preventing breakdowns’. As a workspace manager, investigate factors that influence productivity and that are not always obvious, such as humidity, temperature, green spaces, and even chair lumbar support.
Was the impact of facility management on employee wellbeing a surprise to you? Then, explore our blog to read more tips on workplace management, Facility Management, and maintenance.