Jun 15, 2021
By Sarah Czarnowski

What Is the Connected Workplace for Life Sciences?

The Connected Workplace for Life Sciences combines the benefits of an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) and an enterprise asset management system (EAM) to help you manage all aspects of your company’s regulated and non-regulated facilities, equipment, and space usage. It helps you maintain the assets and equipment in your corporate offices, manufacturing plants, and laboratories; optimize your employees’ diverse workspaces and experiences; create a successful return-to-workplace plan; monitor your real estate portfolio; and much more.

This software helps you track, maintain, and enhance your workplace resources. If you’re still using spreadsheets and separate systems to monitor space usage, maintenance costs, and energy consumption, it is much harder to get a holistic view of how it is all performing. You’re potentially missing out on key insights into your workplace, which makes it more difficult to make data-driven decisions.

By having all your asset and facilities information in one cloud-based system, you can create dynamic workspaces and make better, more informed decisions about your buildings and equipment. This is especially important as companies start to re-open their offices and adopt hybrid work policies.

Now let’s walk through the elements of the Connected Workplace and what it means for life sciences companies.

Maintenance Management

The Connected Workplace for Life Sciences helps you streamline your maintenance workflows and activities for both GxP and non-GxP assets all in the same system. These include:

  • Maintenance scheduling: Proactively schedule and auto-assign preventative maintenance on your regulated and non-regulated equipment. With all equipment tracked in one system, you can easily see the parts information and work history for each asset, so technicians spend less time searching for data or manually inputting information into multiple systems.
  • Work orders: Easily submit corrective work orders to fix faulty equipment and track maintenance or repairs in one platform.
  • Facilities condition assessments: Manage data for your facilities assessments and get better insights into the physical status of your buildings, including the age, construction, and condition of individual spaces and equipment.
  • Calibration: Create calibration data sheets and conduct various tests to ensure equipment meets reference standards, with an automatic error and PASS/ADJUST/FAIL calculation.
  • Compliance: Be audit-ready and ensure GxP compliance with support for CFR Part 11 and Annex 11, along with robust versioning history.

When data for all your assets is in one place, you can more easily see short- and long-term trends. And with the right mobile-friendly, cloud-based software, your technicians can access equipment information right from the palm of their hands—both online and offline.

Space Management

According to a 2020 Gartner survey, an organization’s work environment has a significant effect on employee engagement, yet only 13% of workers say they’re totally satisfied with their workspaces. This becomes even more complicated when your company requires different workspaces, ranging from classic offices to highly regulated labs and manufacturing facilities.

That’s where the Connected Workplace comes in. When you optimize and enhance your workspaces, you can boost employee morale (and, in turn, their productivity).

The Connected Workplace for Life Sciences can help you manage:

  • Facilities planning and floor plan visualizations, with a native AutoCAD plugin
  • Move planning
  • Desk and workspace reservations
  • Flexible hybrid return-to-work models, including social distancing
  • Usage analytics

The Connected Workplace enables you to visualize your offices and facilities using interactive floorplans, making it easier to plan office moves and optimize your spaces. This is especially helpful as companies adjust to post-pandemic life. According to CBRE, 73% of companies anticipate supporting flexible work schedules in the future, including many in the pharma space. According to a recent survey by FiercePharma, Eli Lilly and Bristol Myers Squibb plan to open their offices gradually but will both offer flexible work accommodations based on role. The same survey indicated that Novartis and Amgen are looking to extend remote and flexible work for the foreseeable future.

With a hybrid workforce, space usage and allocation become more difficult to track because no two days are the same. However, with space reservation software, employees can book the space they need to work, and the company can understand how its offices and facilities are being used. These insights can help inform future real estate decisions.

Real Estate Portfolio Management

Corporate real estate professionals within life sciences companies can use the Connected Workplace to track items such as leases, contracts, dates, and disclosures. As the real estate landscape continues to shift in a post-pandemic world, it is critical that you have access to data about how all your properties are used. The Connected Workplace for Life Sciences can help you:

  • Manage all important information about your leases
  • Generate reminders for important dates, including lease expirations
  • Track lease costs, renewals, amendments, and clauses
  • Track tenant improvement projects

If you’re tracking this information across multiple spreadsheets, it is much harder to get a holistic view of your properties and remember key information. The Connected Workplace can help you consolidate, visualize, and report out on it all, enabling you to make the right long-term planning and investment decisions.

This is especially important to life sciences companies as they double-down on physical spaces. Core life science hubs—Boston-Cambridge, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, the Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle, and Seattle—have seen rents increase more than 50% between 2016-2019. JLL also predicts that domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing will increase by 16% over the next 4 years, increasing the need for lab space even more.

Small, early-stage biotech companies are a driving force of drug discovery and development, but finding, fully utilizing, and affording adequate lab space is difficult. This has resulted in a growing trend toward cross-sector collaborative workspaces that deliver turnkey, full-service spaces. These incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces help address the unique space demands by accommodating different types of research with flexible configurations. Managing the different needs of clients can get complicated, but with the Connected Workplace for Life Sciences, landlords and property management teams can easily support evolving business models while also providing bespoke workplace services to support these growing biotechs.

Capital Project Management

Managing capital projects goes hand-in-hand with the acquisition of new spaces. The Connected Workplace helps you with:

  • Cost and resource planning
  • Contractor bidding and vendor management
  • Validation assessment
  • Scheduling

For life sciences companies, managing these projects is more complicated than office renovations. Lab configurations and requirements vary based on the research being conducted, but often require expansive square footage and ceiling height to accommodate proper ventilation, ductwork, water lines, and other HVAC equipment to ensure safety.

When you choose a software platform that connects to the same system you use for your other business processes, you can monitor critical details and dates all from one environment. This means you spend less time manually inputting and tracking specifics like financial expenditures, cash flow analyses, and vendor contracts, and more time focusing on the bigger picture.

Sustainability and Energy Management

An increasing number of corporations are looking to reduce their carbon footprint, increase sustainability efforts, and monitor energy consumption. According to one recent Verdantix study, over 50% of firms say that reducing energy spending and consumption is a high priority for them over the next 12 months.

However, this is becoming more challenging. The Verdantix study also notes that, as firms push toward a hybrid working schedule, building occupancy levels will fluctuate more. This in turn will put pressure on facilities teams to optimize their heating and cooling equipment to account for these fluctuations and low-occupancy states.

The Connected Workplace helps organizations analyze their consumption patterns and makes it easier to see the spikes and anomalies in your data. This means you can better optimize, forecast, and reduce your energy usage.

Going Beyond a Traditional IWMS
OT Security

Operational technology (OT) cyber security is not included in a traditional IWMS, but it is a part of the Nuvolo Connected Workplace—and it is a complement to every department. The life sciences industry is a major target for hackers due to the valuable information it possesses on both people’s health information and proprietary research. As devices become more connected, security risks increase, with hackers now able to target non-IT devices, distributed control systems, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. These cyberattacks can be devastating. Companies can suffer the same fate as Merck in 2017, when a ransomware attack affected 30,000 computers, shut down production at a vaccine plant, and cost the company years of research and $870 million in damages. A system that secures your OT devices is critical to keeping your operations running safely and smoothly.

The Nuvolo OT Security solution automates your cyber security response and coordinates remediation work across teams to resolve issues quickly.

When you have visibility into all your assets and equipment, you’re armed with actionable data that enables you to keep your devices online.

Mobile

Mobile capabilities are not inherently part of an IWMS, but they are critical to the Connected Workplace for Life Sciences. Field service technicians can access the platform from any mobile device to enter and track service requests, while also making sure records are kept up to date. Additionally, users can submit a service request from a cloud-based portal.

This functionality helps streamline workflows and keep all data centralized.

The Connected Workplace: Next Generation IWMS Software

It’s clear that workplaces are evolving—and the way you manage them should, too. The Connected Workplace for Life Sciences helps you manage your facilities, spaces, equipment, business processes, and more.

Nuvolo Connected Workplace for Life Sciences not only supports and enhances all the core elements of a traditional IWMS, but it goes far beyond by offering critical OT security and mobile capabilities. The Connected Workplace encompasses all the components required for an organization to plan, deliver, and operate the enterprise services offered to their employees and customers.

See how Nuvolo can help you ditch your spreadsheets, get a holistic view of your assets and spaces, and ensure the security of your OT devices.

Learn more about the Connected Workplace.