A GUIDE TO KNOWING WHEN TO INVEST IN A SPACE MANAGEMENT SOLUTION
One of the more historically neglected areas of facilities management has been the tracking and administration of an organization’s office and other space. In far too many organizations, simply knowing who is sitting where at a given time is challenging, if not impossible, while generating reliable occupancy reports is fantasy. As cloud-based, easy-to-use Space & Move solutions are now available in the market, it would behoove facilities teams to evaluate some of the issues they’re struggling with, and consider an investment in a modern solution. Asking yourself the following 5 questions is a good place to start.
1.) HIRING BLIND
Are your hiring managers making personnel decisions with no regard to where new hires will be located?
A common challenge in high growth organizations is finding space for new employees, often resulting from the lack of communication between HR and Facilities. Rarely does the HR department have visibility into available space, accurate floor plans, and other information that will help them coordinate hiring with those responsible for providing offices and cubicles. The reason this visibility doesn’t exist has little to do with internal politics: Facilities teams rarely have that information at their fingertips either. Today’s on-line retailers, for example, some hiring hundreds of new employees a month, is just one vertical market struggling with on-boarding challenges.
2.) NO VACANCY? NO IDEA.
At any given time, does your organization know how much empty space is available throughout all their facilities?
If not, you may be wasting countless dollars on the purchase or lease of additional space you don’t need. Conversely, your high growth organization may be on the verge of bursting at the seams, and therefore forced to make bad space acquisition decisions because planning ahead wasn’t possible without solid information. Very few organizations know who is sitting where at any given time, let alone have the capability to run reliable occupancy reports, trending analyses, and couple those reports with HR’s hiring plans. As an example, one large hospital system in the US assigned the equivalent of 1.5 full-time employees to simply updating paper floor plans with employee locations. Despite that investment, they estimated their accuracy was maybe 70%.
Accurate, electronic floor plans with employee locations not only facilitate intelligent space acquisition decisions, they also make required reporting a snap. Most organizations require annual occupancy reports, at a minimum, for Accounting, and depending on an organization’s industry, regulatory agencies may also require accurate space utilization information (for example, Medicare). Generating the required space reports for auditors and management can be an administrative nightmare in the absence of accurate, electronic information.
3.) SPACE HIERARCHY ANARCHY
Do you know if your employees have been assigned a space commensurate with their position?
Most large organizations, in order to avoid the inevitable internal political strife, construct strict policies and hard-and-fast rules about space allocation. Managers are entitled to a specific cubicle size. Directors get an office. Vice Presidents get a larger office. Senior VP offices have a window. Managing space effectively often means managing egos and avoiding offending what could be valuable contributors. To do so, not only is an accurate baseline of existing space and its occupants required, but it requires coordination with HR’s titles and roles data. That kind of intra-company application data flow is exceedingly rare.
4.) MOVE MISERY
Does moving an employee from one location to another feel like coordinating the D-Day invasion?
Estimates for the cost of moving employees range from hundreds to over $1,000 in many organizations for a single move, but even those figures rarely account for the cost of coordination. Employee moves require coordination among seemingly countless groups: HR, Facilities, IT, Security, etc. And some organizations move between 10% and 20% of their employees annually; those with aggressive acquisition strategies process employee moves even more frequently. When each one requires multiple phone calls, emails and even Post-It Notes, it places a non-trivial burden on the coordinating group. A move can take weeks or months in some organizations, an unnecessary waste of time and resources when digital solutions that remove manual coordination activity from the process are readily available today.
5.) ACQUISITION TRANSITIONS
Is growth-through-acquisition a significant part of your company’s strategy?
Many markets are characterized by consolidation and frequent acquisition, for example, banking and finance. Notably, one of the most demanding post-acquisition challenges is making intelligent space and real estate decisions. Which facilities have low occupancy rates? Which are in close proximity to the parent company’s locations, and can be safely closed without impacting the business? When inevitable consolidations are implemented, do you have the tools to handle the resulting employee moves digitally, and therefore efficiently? Modern Space & Move solutions can incorporate data from acquired companies quickly, digitizing paper-based floor plans, for example. Configurability is also important, as the new company may track data that the parent company’s system doesn’t, so adding a field or tracking a new item should be easy to accomplish. Today’s modern Space solutions bring these and many other capabilities out-of-the-box, taking some of the pain out of the acquisition process for companies with aggressive growth-by-acquisition business models.