How to Create an Agile Workspace
Once you’ve gathered a baseline, you need to set up a plan, decide what type of agile workplace will benefit your company the most, and put the plan in motion.
The first step in forming a plan is gathering data and taking inventory. You need an inventory of all available and occupied spaces, including insight into what types of spaces they are and how they are allocated. Analyze what spaces are being used, what’s being neglected, and what’s flat-out wasted. As you gather data, there are interactive tools available to help you set up a plan.
Set up Your Plan with Interactive Planning Tools
Interactive planning tools let planners completely redefine and reorganize a space without physically picking up a single desk or monitor. They can create and test different scenarios through a sandbox interface that uses real data to optimize space floor by floor as well as across buildings and sites. This enables organizations to experiment with allocations and find the right combination of meeting rooms, assigned seats, and flexible ratio-based seating to consolidate occupancy, maximize capacity, and meet the needs of workers. It’s a chance to experiment, play out different scenarios, and analyze how each new layout impacts total space usage.
Drive Performance with IoT Data and Metrics
Robust data is integral to planning because your plan is only as good as how accurately it reflects the current and future states of occupancy.
Forward-thinking organizations are using IoT technology to validate data accuracy and capture advanced KPIs, such as peak occupancy, that can paint a more detailed picture of space needs than ever before. Thirty workers may be assigned to a floor with a maximum capacity of 30 seats, but IoT sensors may reveal that utilization rarely peaks above 18 filled seats. An organization can therefore assign more than 30 workers to those 30 seats, increasing the capacity of their real estate without worrying about overcrowding.
Beyond capturing real needs, those same data points can also be used to demonstrate improvements in efficiency and cost savings. This is useful not only for developing plans but also for corralling the support necessary to scale strategies and implement future projects.
IoT data can be captured through various sources:
Badges and Card Swipes
Badges and ID cards let you pull in valuable utilization information. Using them is a simple way to track data because it piggybacks off systems that are already in place for security.
There was a time when time-consuming manual audits were the norm. Savvy companies are saying goodbye to those days, thanks to sensor technology. Here are some sensor devices you can use to bring in precise space utilization data:
- Low-energy Bluetooth
- Desk sensors
- Lighting sensors
- Dark sensors
Wi-Fi as IoT
The rise of Wi-Fi as IoT lets companies gather data without installing a single sensor. With pure software downloaded onto employee computers, workers can see where colleagues are sitting and organizations can track real-time occupancy.
With a growing need to protect personal data of employees, these technologies have been designed to solve for privacy concerns. They act as true sensors that are walled off from computer data, only able to report where employees are seated within the organization’s Wi-Fi network. As the security concerns around Wi-Fi as IoT are better understood, this option offers increasingly attractive, affordable, and effective workplace optimization.
Workplace Management Software
Workplace management software is the cornerstone of workspace optimization. Without it, it is impossible to set up a centralized data system, and all of that information you gathered has nowhere to live. A robust workplace management software system can harness valuable data before, during, and after a business makes a transition to an agile workplace.
If leaders are considering making a case to management about a possible move to an agile workplace, this software is an essential goldmine of data. Without it, your business will be flying blind and you won’t realize the size, usage, or possibilities for your space.
After you’ve set up a plan to gather and analyze utilization data, it’s important to get input across departments. That means unifying the whole company. Being proactive can stop conflicts or miscommunications before they happen.
Connect Workers to Their Workplace
Many companies have started to deploy employee-facing workplace apps, directly connecting people to their spaces. Visual floor plan interfaces enable employees to browse their spaces, book rooms and desks, and make requests. This not only empowers employees but also provides managers with further insight into the needs of workers, enabling them to track demand for different spaces and to enhance wellness and safety by tracking requests for moves, maintenance, and other workplace services.
Move Management Technology
Implementing space plans requires the detailed automation of a robust tool for managing move projects. Large moves are really a collection of smaller move tasks with many stakeholders. Without a robust move management tool, organizations do not have the ability to keep everyone on the same page, track tasks, and validate completion. This can draw out move projects and lead to delays and ballooning costs.
Get Key Departments Invested
Technology and humans are both at the heart of a successful move to an agile workspace. Any move can be an adjustment, and the more buy-in your team has, the easier the transition will be.
Wondering how to accomplish this seemingly hefty task?
The solution is simple once you get your hands on it: data.
The single most important way to get cross-departmental buy-in is through centralized business intelligence. Take a look at the needs in action: HR needs one source to record where employees are assigned. IT needs to make sure systems are centralized. Corporate real estate needs consistent ways to track how space is used so they can make informed buying or leasing decisions.
More importantly, centralized data is the only route to scaling a business. As a business grows, it will feel more and more of an aching need for a single-source stream of data. Otherwise, as you grow, you’ll risk overlooking chunks of wasted space, and you’ll leave the needs of modern workers unmet.
When all teams are on board and moving in the same data-driven direction, it’s almost time to put your plan in action. However, there is one important step that’s often overlooked: taking time to invest in and reallocate technology.
Conduct a Technology Audit
Technology drives flexible workspaces. However, outdated or unused technology can slow down productivity. As you gather utilization data and set goals, work with your IT team to examine your technology needs.
Start with these questions in mind:
- Does your organization have accurate visibility into its space inventory?
- Does your organization have any way of tracking important metrics on occupancy, such as space/person?
- Does your organization have any way of tracking how much assigned spaces are actually being used?
- Does your organization have any way of tracking how much its spaces line up with the daily needs of employees?
- Does your organization have any insight into how much employees are satisfied with their workplace?
- Do your workplaces meet the criteria of a modern world where prospective employees value flexibility as a key driver when selecting a job?
- Does your workplace support choice and productivity, or does it inhibit collaboration?
- Does your workplace promote employee freedom?
- Does your organization help mesh the digital workplace, the physical workplace, and employee behaviors?