AREMIS Switzerland | Focusing on: Space optimization

18 maart 2021

Workplace Management | How to optimize spaces and save operating costs

Workplace Management | Numérisation

"Digitalisation" as a buzzword shapes the public discourse on economic and technological developments in the 21st century. The time intervals between technological innovations are shortening exponentially - the volume of data produced and used, as a result, has multiplied in the last few years. This dynamic holds both opportunities and risks for companies. The industry answers with agile organizational forms and the resulting far-reaching changes in primary and secondary processes.

The combination of strategic management approaches and dynamic parameters is an omnipresent challenge - also in Workplace Management. The integration of modern IT solutions enables facility managers to identify potentials in the data that would otherwise not be recognized due to their complexity. However, results from the analysis cannot easily be transferred to other organizations; they must always be viewed in relation to the business organization and its priorities and work processes. The following practical example illustrates application areas and possibilities of data-based Workplace Management on the basis of an exemplary situation.

Space optimization through cost allocation

By clearly allocating all used space to the teams in an organization, operating costs can be charged to the end-user and cost awareness increases. Teams are motivated to use optimized space for work fulfillment and proactively free up surplus workspaces. The economies of scale are significant: savings of more than 20% of space result in correspondingly lower operating costs and a reduction in the ecological footprint.

The basis for charging back the costs is a continuous and active documentation of the space which contains all buildings, space types, and forms of use down to the workplace level. In modern CAFM systems, planning data of different maturities (pdf scans, CAD files, and BIM models) can be linked as a data basis, which simplifies work and is essential, especially for larger real estate portfolios. At the same time, data on the organizational structure, on business units and teams and every individual employee, is required. This data usually comes from an HR-system. In the IT system, this information is merged and a workstation is assigned to the employees. This can either be individual or - in the case of flexible workstations - located in a zone. Modern IT systems also make it possible to provide employees with workstations as bookable resources and thus transfer the allocation to the end user.

Based on this data, space requirements per individual can be defined, which in addition to the individual workstation also contain percentage shares of other space in the respective property. For example, space types such as sanitary zones and traffic areas are distributed among the users of the floor, while the areas of the cafeteria are distributed among all employees of the building or area.

The third source of information for space allocation is existing financial data, which contains the cost centers of the teams as well as the operating costs for the spaces. This information makes it possible to define the costs of the individually used space per end-user and to allocate these to the respective cost centers of the teams. This process can be automated by linking the IT systems of facility management with other software available in the organization, which is strongly recommended due to the dynamic nature of the data.

Changes in use are a challenge for documentation, especially due to the tendency towards agile forms of work. In self-service portals, employees and team leaders can change workplaces, thus relieving the central units and simultaneously updating the data basis for workplace management and space allocation. Further possibilities are offered by the integration of further data sources which arise through the use of the spaces.

The illustrated situation shows the tendency towards data-based Workplace Management. The first step of a digitization project requires the digital representation of basic portfolio and workplace data - often in a centralized core system. The integration of additional data sources from existing or newly acquired IT systems allows the aggregated preparation of information for work and decision-making processes.

Over the next few years, use-dependent workplace services will gain in popularity and thus change both classic facility management services and user-specific services in the long term. In the following weeks, you will learn more about the growing importance of data-based Workplace Management on this news site.

Author: Florian Engesser - Area Manager & Member of the Management Board Switzerland at AREMIS

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