Lateral Learning

lateral learningA month or so ago, I discovered some notes from a few years back that I jotted down from the book, “The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World” by Jeremy Rifkin that I want to share. In Part III of the book, Chapter 8, Mr. Rifkin introduces the concept of “Lateral Learning”. Link to Book in Amazon. As I reviewed my notes, it occured to me that Lateral Learning represents my vision for leading a group of enlighted space and occupancy planners. LinkedIn Group link

According to Mr. Rifkin, in Lateral Learning “Knowledge is not regarded as objective, autonomous phenomena but, rather, the explanations we make about the common experiences that we share with each other.” Sharing and explaining common experiences with other group members has been a fundimental key to my professional success in strategic facilities and space planning and how I envision this group to operate.

Mr. Rifkin continues, “To seek the truth is to understand how everything relates and we discover those relationships by our deep participation with others. The more diverse our experiences and interrelationships, the closer we come to understanding reality itself and how each of us fits into the bigger picture of existence.” Thus, building professional relationships via “deep participation” will enable us to grow in our profession, gain confidence in our understanding of the changes in the workplace and enable us to make positive changes for our clients.

Are you open to Lateral Learning? If so, please let me know how you would like to participate.

The Metrics of Distributed Work

This Excellent Study, conducted in 2011 by Knoll, Inc. (www.knoll.com) with help from Ratekin Consulting (Joel Ratekin is a leader in Distributed Work) can be viewed and downloaded here –> Link to Knoll Distributed Work Study

Over the past 10 years Distributed Work is finally catching on at most companies, even in Silicon Valley where cube farms have been the norm for at least a generation. Distributed Work was formerally called, “Alternative Work” design / place or System (AWS). But Distributed Work is no longer considered an alternative workplace design: it has become mainstream, hence the need to change the term.

The reasons for this change are due primarily because employees are working in an increasingly social, mobile, and collaborative fashion. The conventional, boilerplate office programs and spaces that most of us are familiar with (one size fits all, cube farm or the dreaded dark, narrow hallways when housing everyone in enclosed “private” offices (think IBM in the 1960s)) were never intended to support the complexity and unpredictability of these new work patterns.

This new workstyle is often referred to as “distributed work”—a combination of:

  • heads down “Focus” work (for more information, see my prior article here–> Focus Space – It’s What You Need)
  • Formal Collaboration of varying duration
  • Informal Collaboration of varying duration
  • Social Interaction that occurs in a wide variety of settings within the building, campus or other locations.

distributed work program workspace types

The diagram above is from the 2011 Knoll Distributed Work study (Figure 4)

In addition to providing physical spaces to match these four main types of work, work policies, technology and communications networks all play important roles in facilitating Distributed Work. Employees are embracing the new levels of personal freedom in the rich, diverse work spaces that are explicitly designed to support Distributed Work.

Now that we know that a well designed and supported Distributed Work environment improves organizational collaboration and employees embrace it, how do we as space and occupancy planners measure it? Unlike traditional design, one workstation (or seat) is assigned to one employee or contractor, where it is quite easy to measure Occupancy (don’t confuse this with Utilization!), we need new metrics and methodolgy to measure or benchmark Distributed Work. Working with the best space and occupancy planners in the San Francisco Bay Area, I envsion that via “Lateral Learning” the Bay Area Space Planners User group will set the new standard for space benchmarking, needed in today’s new workplace.

Integrated Work

A visual summary of the Knoll Research papater on Implementing Integrated WorkDSC_0729 to Create a Dynamic Workplace. The top / main diagram shows the four primary types of spaces that should be present in a well designed Integrated Workplace: Focus Space, Share Space, Team Space and Social Space.

I wrote about the importance of Focus Space in 2013 – one size (or type) does not fit all. I think of Shared spaces as labs and Team spaces as conference or meting spaces. Social Space is the one that usually gets overlooked or cut in the project budget, but in my experience, can add value beyond the workplace and greatly increase employee satisfaction. I experienced this in 2015 while on assignment at Google X and was able to meet Sergey Brin at a Social Space.

Integrated Work

Strategic Facilities Planning

I published my second book earlier this month, Strategic Facilities Planning, available as an eBook at Kindle. Here is the link to the book:

Strategic Facilities Planning book link

Strategic Facilities Planning is the art and science of the marriage of strategic planning and facilities. Strategic Facilities Planning is much, much more than Facilities Planning, the common practice of documenting a set of user requirements to serve as the basis for a design project. It is a unique field within Strategic Planning, one where, if performed successfully, can result in facilities and spaces that don’t just met a set of requirements, but actually can change and improve workspaces that are aligned with an organization’s goals and objectives.
This book incorporates the author’s 25 years of experience of corporate real estate, facilities planning and facilities management, along with best practices and insights that he gained in the practice of Strategic Facilities Planning. This book is intended for both facilities professionals who are interested in taking their career to a higher, more strategic level, as well as organizational leaders who are interested in implementing Strategic Facilities Planning into their organization.

The Workplace Is Not Dead

Here is a nice article from Forbes that describes the positive changes that are going on in the workplace. Finally, work places are being designed for people, not machines. While technology organizations (think data centers and R&D labs) will always be designed with equipment in mind first, at least companies and other leading organizations now understand that you need to design space for people to attract and retain talent, improve collaboration and productivity.

Click on link below for full article:

Forbes Article

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Top IWMS Benefits

There are many benefits to Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS). Here are my top picks:

 

  1. Streamline Processes and Optimize Resources

In every organization there are a lot of processes that help individuals to optimize their contribution to the primary process of the organizations, usually to make sales profitability. While Real Estate & Facilities Management (REFM) professionals rarely are tasked with sales primary processes, their processes can have a large impact on profitability, usually by controlling costs.  Integrated Workplace Management Systems can easily help you to streamline those processes to save time, reduce cycle times for work requests and eliminate waste, thereby lowering operating expenses.

 

  1. Optimize Space Utilization & Occupancy

Real Estate costs account for 10%-25% of an organization’s cost base. As cost reduction programs have made it to C-level, organizations need to have an accurate and timely view of their real estate portfolio to ensure that both current and future  organizational space demands are aligned with their supply. Facility maintenance and operations costs are largely derived from the amount and type of space in its portfolio. Therefore organizations need to optimize space utilization and not serve extra space or under-used spaces. IWMS helps you to quickly identify space vacancies or under-utilized areas of your portfolio, which can be used to improve your REFM metrics and the organization’s bottom line.

 

  1. Monitor Performance to Optimize Resources and Organizational Flexibility

Matching service demand and delivery is extremely important for every organization. You need to be able to monitor both in-house and service provider performance to ensure that you have appropriate resources to support the organization’s goals. In addition, you need accurate, timely data to ensure that the Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) negotiated with your outsourced partners are aligned with performance. Through  custom, easy to generate Dashboards and advanced reporting functionality, today’s IWMS empowers your organization to effectively manage service delivery quickly and accurately.

 

Organizations that haven’t outsourced their service delivery will benefit from the resource planning and allocation functionality that most IWMS systems provide. Team leaders can easily schedule tasks to available resources and effectively plan their workload.  What’s more, resource allocation in IWMS can enable allocating tasks only to appropriate resources and help identify gaps to justify additional resources and training development plans for staff.

 

Lastly, some REFM tasks can be automated by an IWMS. The system reduces the required human interaction and thus, reduces the staffing requirements. REFM organizations can do more with less. This is especially helpful during ramp-up and expansion where a 25% increase in productivity could be achieved via IWMN instead of hiring another staff member. Indeed, expected productivity gains should be a key part of any justification or ROI analysis for IWMS implementation.

 

  1. Minimize Human Errors

Humans make a lot of mistakes. About 80% of all Facility Management and Real Estate processes can be standardized and automated. Standardization and automation of processes in an IWMS ensures a reduction in human errors. Fewer errors also mean faster cycle times, higher customer satisfaction, reduction of redundant work and fewer costs involved with error recovery which has a direct impact on the bottom line.

 

  1. Enforce Organizational Policy

Every IWMS can enforce organizational policies. By enforcing policy adherence,  you ensure that people actually comply with your business goals and regulations instead of only considering them as guidelines.

 

  1. Never Lose Your Data or Waste Time Finding It

IWMS is a central location for all you REFM data. Better yet, the best IWMS systems are SaaS, Software as a Service, meaning that it’s in The Cloud, available whenever and wherever you have internet access. It gets better: because the software and data reside off-site at professional Cloud Providers, you never need to get I.T. approval for hardware, software, updates or changes. You control your destiny, not I.T.

 

With IWMS costs and implementation timelines at a fraction of where they were just a few years ago, there is no reason why any REFM organization is not using a SaaS based system today.IMG_20151111_152326

Designing a “Free-Range” Workplace

I love the analogy of work place to free animals that Leigh makes. I have felt this way for years. Plus now I really want to read “Sapiens”, which I have requested from my Library.

LeighStringer.com

I can’t stop talking about the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankindby Yuval Noah Harari.  I reference it like I used to talk about Guns, Germs and Steelby Jared Diamond.  It’s just so comprehensive, and so juicy that it can fit into any conversation.  I won’t give too much away, but there is a part in the book where Harari talks about the Agriculture Revolution (ca. 10,000 years ago) that struck me.  He isn’t all that crazy about it.  Most historians emphasize that this point in time was a really good thing for humans.  We didn’t have to roam around hunting, gathering and foraging, thinking about “what’s for dinner”  all the time.  With domesticated plants and animals, our ancient cities were born, along with increased crop yields, drought tolerance, and easier harvests.  The human population exploded globally, so at least from a “perpetuation of our species” perspective, times were really good. …

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Epicus Group Announces Partnership with iOffice

Press Release

Epicus Group Joins iOffice’s Global Channel Partner Program

HOUSTON, TX–(Marketwired – Oct 5, 2015) –  iOffice, the only people-driven integrated workplace management solution (IWMS), today announced the domestic and international growth of its Channel Partner Program. “Through iOffice, we have increased our competitiveness and clients that use iOffice have increased their space utilization and achieved better control over the workflow of work orders,” said Peter Mellin, SVP Service Operations, Sodexo Nordics. “The collaboration between our company and iOffice works great, and we’ve even been able to include our own features like e-commerce and Innovate.“

The iOffice Channel Partner Program serves resellers, implementation partners and service providers who are trusted advisors to their clients seeking innovative IWMS solutions. iOffice Channel Partner Manager Rich Peacock said, “The global growth of our channel partner program is a direct reflection of how easy it is to sell, deploy and use iOffice’s SaaS technology. Clients love the intuitive user interface, mobile apps, and the low barriers to entry, and resellers appreciate our highly incentivized, straightforward program that’s dedicated to our partners’ long-term success.”

What this means to you is that you now have a local iOffice implementation partner to support your Integrated Work Management System (IWMS) needs for:

  • Space Management – visualize floor plans on-line, in real-time from any device to understand space utilization and easily plan for future needs
  • Employee Data – Oracle, SAP and other HR systems can be integrated with iOffice to ensure seamless and timely data updates
  • Service (Work Order) Request – submit, update & manage facility service requests, such as repair notifications, equipment installations, and general maintenance activities from desktop and mobile devices
  • Move Management – seamlessly coordinate employee and asset moves, adds or changes with minimal disruption
  • Asset Management – track location, contract terms and on-going maintenance of tangible assets in real time
  • Updates via Mobile Devices

iOffice space screen shot

About Epicus Group
Headquartered in the Bay Area and serving Northern California, EPICUS GROUP is a professional services firm that plans, designs and manages  highly complex ​facilities and projects.  Our team provides “Integrated Project Delivery” by leveraging our internal staff of Project Managers, Construction Managers, Engineers, Architectural Designers, Facilities and EH&S professionals.

Visit www.epicusgroup.com and connect with us on LinkedIn

About iOffice
iOffice is the leading workforce-centric IWMS software and the only 100% SaaS platform designed for facilities management leaders. iOffice equips C-suite executives, strategic planners and facilities managers with the real-time data and communications tools they need to plan effectively for the future of their workforce and workspace. With ten, open and customizable modules, iOffice was built to be agile and robust, requiring minimal training to accomplish any task. Founded in 2000, iOffice supports more than 2.1M users in 1,500 fast moving companies including BMC, Under Armour, Big Fish Games, Zillow, Adobe, McKesson, Hess, Dynegy, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, SPX and more.

Visit http://www.iofficecorp.com and connect with iOffice on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn @iOffice.

mobile device

The Importance of a Spatial-based Asset Management System

Background

Recently, I was hired to lead the relocation of several labs for a company. We relocated and installed over 100 tools that require special utilities, OEM support, certification, calibration or other special requirements.

While our team documented the equipment requirements in order to get them installed promptly and correctly, this data has remained in disparate spreadsheets. In addition, much of the critical equipment data, such as purchase dates, warranties, service contracts, calibration reports, etc. may not exist for many critical tools or is difficult to find because the information may be in other systems. The responsibility of equipment asset management at this company is left up to the lab department with no central oversight.

Here are some examples of problems when you don’t have a centralized asset management system:

  • Equipment falls out of calibration
    • During an installation of antennas and coax cables, a lab engineer checked each cable after installation to ensure the systems would perform as required. When he tested some of their cables, the test results showed that the installation went beyond the manufacturer’s specifications. Turns out, the cable analyzers were out of calibration; the systems tested satisfactorily when a different analyzer was used.
  • Equipment orphaned after a Project is terminated
    • A lab manager informed us that he might be purchasing a profilometer for his lab. When we informed him that an unused one might be available because a project had been cancelled, he wanted understand how he could procure it  rather than buying another one. Since there is no centralized asset management system in place, aside from word-of-mouth, he likely would have bought a new one had our tribal knowledge been lost.

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Benefits of CAD-Based Asset Management Systems

Simple: implement a centralized CAD-based Asset Management system. The system should:

  • Integrate with the organization’s financial system.
  • Be cloud based, Software as a Service (SAS), that can be updated in the field with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. You shouldn’t have to pay for this software, just a nominal subscription hosting fee.
  • Be provided by a reputable company with numerous satisfied customers.
  • Be supported by local, certified Implementation Partners who can quickly (inexpensively) implement asset data and maintain the system if the client chooses not to undertake this with in-house staff.
  • Be easy to search and update.
  • Have extensive and easy reporting functions built in and not pay for expensive custom reporting.
  • Be on a secure site that is backed up regularly.
  • Can easily generate work orders or tickets for service calls, maintenance or other required actions and updates. This is an important feature because oftentimes, an Asset Management system is just one benefit (module) that the provider can offer, which can include space management, move management and other useful FM / operational functions.

It is important to know the location of critical assets, not just the original financial data in a system such as Oracle. Not only does this greatly help to locate assets, but it will also help you to manage them if they need to move, change department ownership, retire, etc.

Other benefits of an asset management system include:

    • Entering contract terms associated with asset ownership, including attaching associated documentation
    • Lease or maintenance contracts & contacts to call for maintenance and repairs
    • Overall performance data for decisions about repair/replacement of assets.

This problem is not unique to this company. In my 20+ years experience as a Facilities Manager I have seen that many organizations have this problem: information in multiple disparate spreadsheets or databases. As a Facility Manager, access to real-time, accurate information about the operation’s assets in a centralized, spatial-based, dynamic database is critical for ensuring asset performance, reliability, optimal utilization and cost management.