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.

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

CAFM – It’s not just for big companies

In my experience implementing, training and using CAFM (Computer-Aided Facilities Management) systems, I have seen many organizations face an important issue.  Does an organization wait until they have the money and time to implement an IWMS (Integrated Work Management System) enterprise-level system or do they implement a basic CAFM now?  As consultants in Real Estate and Facilities Management (REFM), my colleagues and I at Epicus Group have helped organizations implement CAFM to get the benefits of a CAFM system now to support growing dynamic organizations. If you are a facility planning professional or are responsible for space planning and tracking and you don’t have a CAFM or IWMS system, you should continue reading because you are missing out of an important tool that will save you time and money.

 What is CAFM?

CAFM is a tool that is primarily used to manage space for companies and other organizations that understand the value of managing and optimizing the second highest cost, after people.

 What value does CAFM offer to my organization? 

Reduce operation costs     ∙      Optimize space efficiency    ∙    Improve customer service       Increase collaboration & team productivity      ∙      Produce more accurate reports quicker     Share information throughout your organization

 What is IWMS?

IWMS (Integrated Work Management System) is a complex enterprise level program that ties into financial and procurement inventory management systems. It provides facility managers with a single tool that encompasses most of their operational needs. Many former CAFM and CMMS, (Computer Maintenance Management Systems) evolved into IWMS over the past 10 years of so in an attempt to offer more functions to facilities managers. (See below for a comparison of functions.) However, along with more functionality, comes solutions comes with a high price and a long lead time as expensive I.T. consultants are deployed for the implementation and integration.  The costs, training, and time needed to successfully deploy an IWMS can be overwhelming, especially for smaller, younger operations.

System Functional Comparison
System Functional Comparison

 

If you currently do not have a system in place to manage your space and aid in space planning, then ask yourself:

  • Do you need all those functions to achieve the benefit of a CAFM system? 
  • Can you afford the expense and time now?

 Here are some things to consider when evaluating CAFM systems:

  • Simple vs. Complex

What level of CAFM experience and skills does your organization possess?

Can you afford the time and money to obtain trained planners?

Alternatively, how much time and effort are you willing to spend to get your organization proficient?

Will a basic CAFM solution that can be deployed quickly provide you with the tools you need today?

  • Time for Deployment 

Who will perform the drawing conversion and database set-up?

      • Do you or your staff have time to do it?
      • How much time will it take if you do it with internal resources?

How long do you want to wait for set-up: a few weeks or several months?

  • Functions and Capabilities

Do you really need all the features that a full CAFM system may offer?

Are there other functions, such as lease administration, that you need?

  • Flexibility

Will the system grow or adapt to your changing needs?

  • Cost

Do you have budget for a large, established system?

 CAFM for All – Start small, but plan for tall.

Most CAFM providers offer cloud-based offerings. Cloud services allow facility managers to outsource the provision of CAFM software and data services.  This eliminates the need for separate contracts or expertise to host and maintain physical servers. The common barrier of IT approval is also eliminated.

A CAFM system could be the best choice for smaller, dynamic companies as it enables the organization to keep pace with growth quickly and easily.  When an organization is ready for an enterprise system, your digital information is easily brought into an IWMS enterprise system.

Give us a call at Epicus Group to see how CAFM could benefit your organization.