The Next Normal in a Post-Pandemic Workspace

Whether your office has already partially returned to work or you’re planning a workplace reentry, one thing is certain—things may never be the same. Safe facility management during an unprecedented pandemic requires a high level of planning and precaution. The measures you implement should increase employee productivity, promote workplace trust, and most importantly, keep employees and customers safe.

Rule and Regulation Compliance

It’s not always easy to keep up with new regulations, especially with constantly changing guidelines. Regardless, the first priority is employee safety. In most nations, employers are encouraged to provide a safe working environment. Physical safety should be a constant for all employees, but some may tolerate risk better than others. It’s wise to consider your most vulnerable employees when creating a return-to-work plan, but determine strategies with everyone in mind.

Second, keep employees informed of changes and guidelines. Assign staff to monitor local conditions and guidelines, then share updates on a consistent schedule. Keep a global perspective and adjust plans as needed to comply with local requirements.

Third, align business priorities with global realities. Inspect your building for potential hazards and determine remediation costs. Be willing to remodel, reconfigure, or rearrange everything including work schedules, walls, and seating arrangements.

Masking, Sanitation, and Social Distancing

Most official guidelines center on three principles—masking, sanitation, and social distancing. Depending on your industry, some guidelines may present more of a challenge than others. Restrictions will change as the coronavirus threat diminishes or increases, so keep long-term needs in mind when investing in safety equipment.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements can vary depending on the role. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to PPE. Some employees may not be able to wear masks. Others may need to avoid the workplace altogether, such as employees with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Employees want clean workplaces, even more so now under COVID-19. Make sanitation a priority by setting up hygiene stations with hand sanitizer, soap, gloves, and disinfecting wipes. The typical weekly office cleanings may not be enough. Consider hiring extra cleaning staff to more frequently clean bathrooms, break areas, and shared spaces like conference rooms and lounges.

PPE isn’t limited to individual employees. Plexiglass shields provide an additional layer of protection around pinch points where social distancing may be a challenge, such as reception areas, entrances and exits, and payment areas. Posted policies and directional signage are great visual reminders for customers and employees to abide by your workplace precautions.

Other measures such as UV lights and thermal scanners are options for combating COVID-19 but should be part of an overall workplace health and safety strategy. It’s wise to check with locally, regionally, and country-specific requirements to determine what’s feasible for your team to manage.

Technology and Real Estate Optimization

For most workplaces, safety decisions center around official guidelines. Maintaining six feet of distance helps protect people from breathing in infected air particles. However, this is easier said than done for many businesses.

Social distance guidelines vary by country and region. In the U.S., 6 feet is the standard; the World Health Organization recommends 1 meter. Social distancing may reduce workplace capacity, depending on your current seating configuration, plan density, desk sharing, and other factors. The potential for space loss raises some interesting options:

  • Should some individuals work remotely forever? Can we stagger work schedules? Do we need to let some staff go?
  • Should we purchase or rent additional office space or retrofit the space we have? Should we consider moving? Should we renegotiate the terms of our lease?
  • How can we prepare our workplace for future emergencies?

During the pandemic, many business leaders are leveraging real estate planning software to visualize coronavirus-related changes to seating arrangements, staff schedules, and office remodeling before committing time and money to wholesale changes. For example, hoteling software helps maximize seating efficiency using dynamic data such as HR information and floor maps.

Business owners can require that employees reserve a hotel desk prior to coming to work and show the reservation before they’re allowed to enter. After someone uses the hotel desk, facility management can be notified that the area must be cleaned and sanitized before another reservation can be made.

The Next Normal is Now

Reopening your workplace can be difficult. Regulations are constantly changing and there’s no saying when COVID-19 will ease. The post-pandemic “next normal” requires flexibility and adaptability. Desks, rooms, and entire floors may not function the same way. Previous policies for remote work, sick leave, and work schedules may need to be reevaluated in the new work environment.

You can’t foresee every situation, but you can be flexible in establishing your new normal. Employees will appreciate your efforts as they return to their former—though newly arranged—workspaces.

By Nai Kanell
Vice President of Marketing
SpaceIQ

About IMS Consulting
For more than a decade, IMS Consulting has delivered the full scope of Archibus- related services to both government and commercial clients. As a Virginia Certified Small Business, IMS Consulting provides our clients with personalized attention by experienced Archibus certified consultants. Our experts work with our clients to thoroughly understand how they do business, identify their unique needs, pinpoint opportunities to better manage their infrastructure, employ more efficient work processes, and make smarter capital budgeting decisions—both today and over the long term.

IMS Consulting specializes in the implementation of Archibus, the #1 real estate, infrastructure & facilities management solution in the world. Archibus is the global leader in streamlining how you manage your real estate, infrastructure, and facilities. Centralize your data, planning, and operations onto one seamless platform backed by 35 years of innovation and the world’s largest support network. Reduce costs, enhance sustainability, and create a better workplace by transforming how you connect with people, places, and processes.

Facility Management KPI Examples

Did we meet our monthly sales goal last month? Is our current ad campaign generating expected engagement? How long do customers spend on hold before we pick up and answer their questions? We track and measure success and failure in the workplace through Key Performance Indicators (KPI). KPIs help develop real goals and meaningful steps to achieve them, and they’re essential in every segment of the business.

Below, we’ll dive into some facility management KPI examples that identify opportunities for workplace success. But first, let’s take a closer look at KPIs themselves and why they’re so integral.

What are KPIs and why track them?

KPIs are like a roadmap that tells us if we’re on track or off-course, or if our goals are even feasible. They’re an important metric across every business unit, from sales to marketing, to facilities management. KPIs show how short Sales are from their monthly revenue goal. They set the precedent for how many media impressions Marketing will get from its newest ad campaign. KPIs even apply at a personal level and can show Max how far ahead he is on a specific project.

KPIs focus on the most important aspects of business for a particular group or individual. You’re not going to track sales revenue for your Marketing team because they’re not the ones selling, just like you wouldn’t track average wait time for your Sales department—that’s a Customer Service metric. Identify and track KPIs that are relevant to each business unit to understand how well that business unit is performing.

Usually, departmental KPIs are narrow-focused on explicit goals set for that team. Facility management KPIs are a bit broader and span both people and the building itself, but they’re nonetheless important to track. Here are some sample KPIs for facilities managers that touch both realms.

People-focused KPIs

Facility manager primary KPIs focus on how people interact with the workplace. The primary goal of the workplace is to support the workforce, so it only makes sense! People-focused KPIs look at space occupancy and availability, how happy and/or satisfied employees are, and workforce allocation. Some of the most important KPIs to track include:

    1. Space occupancy rates
    2. Desk availability
    3. NET Promoter Score
    4. Workforce distribution

 

Uptrends on these KPIs indicate that the workplace is functioning as it should. People are happy, they have the right workspaces available to them, and they’re doing work in a productive way. KPIs trending down in this area indicate the workplace doesn’t meet the needs of the people in it. They’re not able to work efficiently or productively, and they’re dissatisfied with the workplace—or worse, the company itself.

Building-focused KPIs

On the flip side of facility management, KPIs are building-facing metrics. These KPIs look specifically at the building as an investment. Is it generating positive returns? How does the building serve the needs of the business as an asset? These KPIs track costs, building performance, and maintenance of the investment. Some of the most common include:

    1. Work order fulfillment times
    2. HVAC and energy costs
    3. Total facilities costs
    4. Equipment downtime

 

Facility managers need to track these metrics with the intent to continuously improve them. Ask yourself, how does the business benefit from a reduction in equipment downtime? Where can you reallocate bottom-line savings to generate better ROI for the top line? Building-focused KPIs tell facility managers what they need to know about the performance of the building as a physical investment.

Use KPIs to set actionable goals

Facility management KPIs represent the aspects of the job that matter most—those with the biggest impact on the workplace and the people in it. It’s not enough to just measure them; you also need to improve upon them. For example:

Right now, 23% of employees are remote. We want to increase this to 45% over the next 12 months while accounting for new job growth in that time. 

Over the last six months, the average response time for routine building repairs and maintenance was three days. We want this to be two or fewer days in Q3 and beyond.

KPIs don’t force a solution—they connect the dots between data and strategy, providing one to facilitate the other. You might buy coworking memberships for the employees you intend to transition to remote work, or staff another person to the maintenance department to expedite work order fulfillment. It’s not how you improve your KPIs, so much as that you continue to hold yourself to them.

The more you know, the more you grow

KPIs are a drilled-down way to look at fundamental aspects of the business—the ones important to its success. Tracking facility management KPIs is the simplest way to hold the workplace to its highest standards, to facilitate success within it. There are infinite ways to reach your goals and meet your metrics, and what matters is that you hold yourself to these standards.

KPIs will tell you when you fall short of the ideal and where there’s room for improvement. Pay attention to them!

By Reagan Nickl
Director of Professional Services
SpaceIQ

About IMS Consulting
For more than a decade, IMS Consulting has delivered the full scope of Archibus- related services to both government and commercial clients. As a Virginia Certified Small Business, IMS Consulting provides our clients with personalized attention by experienced Archibus certified consultants. Our experts work with our clients to thoroughly understand how they do business, identify their unique needs, pinpoint opportunities to better manage their infrastructure, employ more efficient work processes, and make smarter capital budgeting decisions—both today and over the long term.

IMS Consulting specializes in the implementation of Archibus, the #1 real estate, infrastructure & facilities management solution in the world. Archibus is the global leader in streamlining how you manage your real estate, infrastructure, and facilities. Centralize your data, planning, and operations onto one seamless platform backed by 35 years of innovation and the world’s largest support network. Reduce costs, enhance sustainability, and create a better workplace by transforming how you connect with people, places, and processes.