By thinking out-of-the-box, facility managers can optimize their office to run smoothly and thrive more than ever before.
Complex problems require creative solutions. Managing a facility such as an office is a balancing act. Facilities managers must oversee employees, office space, and everything that the office encompasses. Over the past year, this role has grown even more complicated due to the pandemic. As employees begin to return to the office, facility managers must manage social distancing on top of traditional office management tasks. For the office environment to run smoothly and efficiently, facilities managers must implement creative solutions. With the proper planning and adoption of tools, your office can be more efficient than ever – cultivating productivity, employee satisfaction, and safety.
COVID-19 is the biggest dilemma on facility manager’s minds in 2021. Organizations are trying to encourage employees to return to the office, but changes need to be made for this to be feasible. Social distancing is a significant concern of returning to the office. Even though many employees are receiving vaccines, not everyone has been vaccinated, and safety is weighing heavily on everyone's minds. So, how do you manage social distancing in the office without completely redesigning your facility? You need to get creative, and an excellent solution to this is desk booking.
Desk booking enables employees to book desks, rooms, and even parking spaces within their facility. Also known as hot desking, this concept allows for facility managers to offer an organized method of non-assigned seating, meaning that employees can choose a different workspace each day. This is an excellent way to provide employees with flexibility and autonomy, booking the workspace that they feel most productive and comfortable in.
So, how does desk booking apply to social distancing? With a desk booking solution, facility managers can control which workspaces are available. This means that FMs can block off specific desks or areas, ensuring that employees only have access to permitted desks. If your office has a room full of cubicles or desks available, FMs can put controls on their desk booking solutions to ensure that employees can only select desks that are safely distanced from one another. Not only will employees be able to work at a safe distance from one another, but no office redesign is required. Employees can enter the office confidently, knowing that they have a designated workspace that is safe and ready for them.
If desk booking isn't enough, you can implement another excellent solution to promote safety in your office. Sensor technology and remote monitoring allow FMs to monitor an office space from any location. These tools can collect and report data on how many individuals are in a specific area, ensuring that capacity controls are complied with. Sensors can even be so advanced that they track who has entered a particular room. Should the office become compromised by a COVID exposure, management will know who was in the office that day so that the correct safety measures can be taken. With these office utilization metrics, FMs can keep track of their employees, ensuring that they remain safe and accounted for.
Beyond the social distancing aspect, IoT sensors and remote controls can also manage asset tagging, lighting, HVAC, fire suppression, equipment monitoring, and security. These features enable FMs to manage an office space from any location, ensuring that employees work in optimal conditions. Furthermore, FMs will be alerted of any significant changes in the work environment, ensuring that they are resolved quickly to avoid disruptions.
Beyond implementing creative solutions for newly implemented safety precautions, FMs need to keep up with the latest technology. Modernizing your office is critical to staying competitive and maximizing efficiency, so technology solutions should not be overlooked. As facility managers look to adopt new technology into their office, they must ensure interoperability. For technology and tools to maximize their value, they must operate with one another seamlessly. Especially technology such as IoT sensors, interoperability is critical.
Each tool implemented into your facility should be able to integrate with other devices. This means that management can easily cross and share data. This capability will ensure the accuracy of data, preventing duplicate information while providing insights into all operations. The technology you adopt should be able to connect with mobile devices in addition to your IT infrastructure as a whole. With this availability, you can equip your office with user-friendly and highly accessible tools, maximizing the value of the data you collect. To keep up with the modern office of 2021, interoperable software is vital.
Speaking of office technology, it is inevitable that you will face complications with the tools you adopt. Significant maintenance may be expensive and time-consuming, leaving your employees without the technology they need. Performing regular maintenance can help to avoid this, but what if there were a better way? Fortunately, there is!
AI-based predictive maintenance means that technology will predict when maintenance is needed. With this information, technology can be fixed before a breakdown occurs, ensuring that time and resources are not wasted. Advanced predictive maintenance can even automate the maintenance process, providing an entirely hands-off solution. With sensors embedded in equipment, managers can be alerted when components should be replaced, in addition to analyzing failure modes and patterns with AI.
Predictive maintenance also ensures that you are maximizing the useful life of your tools. Technology is expensive, and wasting any value of your technology can cost your organization significantly. Predictive maintenance will guarantee that you maximize the life of your tools while ensuring that employees have seamless access to the technology they need with no disruptions.
While not a new trend, green buildings are becoming an increasingly prominent solution for facility managers. There is no question that the future is sustainable, and for this reason, many businesses are making more environmentally friendly decisions. While most companies support the idea of transitioning to a sustainable business, the task can seem daunting. For an issue such as sustainability, companies must get creative. Fortunately, a framework for sustainable buildings has been launched.
The focus of green buildings is energy efficiency, ensuring that the energy used by buildings is sustainable and eco-friendly. Not only is this better for the environment, but it is also highly cost-efficient. Energy efficiency can be achieved through improved insulation and sensor technology, adjusting energy levels automatically. Not only will businesses reduce their negative impact on the environment, but they will drastically save on energy spending. Sensors can automate lighting, HVAC, and more to ensure that energy is not wasted. Cost-saving is a significant aspect of facilities management, and green buildings may be the answer.
There is no question that managing a facility is a complex role filled with contradicting interests. FMs need to cultivate a productive and positive environment for employees while maintaining efficiency and organization. With creative solutions such as desk booking, IoT sensors, interoperable software, and more, these needs can be met with ease. By thinking out-of-the-box, facility managers can optimize their office to run smoothly and thrive more than ever before.