2020: The year that put facility management on the strategic agenda
As we now are nearing the end of the year we wanted to reflect on a topic that, at the beginning of the year, was completely distant to us, but has become one of our main delivery areas - namely facility management.
As part of the response to COVID-19 we explored what logistical challenges companies were facing and found that many companies struggled to manage reduced capacity in the office. For many, it was a very manual and time-consuming task to manage who`s going to the office and not, what type of transportation they used, how to staff and plan shared services, like lunch. To tackle this challenge we developed the Konciv Office Booking solution which automates the process of managing office capacity, booking time at the office, which again ensures efficient utilization of the capacity without unneeded manual administration.
Changes to come
As part of our journey into the facility management space, we got the chance to meet with and talk with many leaders, HR representatives, and facility managers on the topic of facility management, and get their reflections on what role facility management plays in both a state of emergency as well as what changes they see in the time to come. We, therefore, wanted to share some key insights and predictions for workplace management.
Facility management on the strategic agenda
Although the office space and how we organize seating has always been an important part of workplace planning, more than often office space utilization is a result of pragmatism rather than as a result of a strategic discussion. When COVID-19 hit office capacity and how they are being utilized needed to be addressed and, for many, it was the first time facility management was put high on the strategic agenda. With requirements to reorganize seating and floor plans to comply with new requirements for infection control, with the realization that working from home actually works and with new innovative solutions for workspace management being introduced, many leader groups have initiated strategic projects to address how we work, collaborate and organize work in the future. In many cases, COVID-19 has been the catalyst for a strategic transformation of the workplace, and in a sense, placed facility management on the strategic agenda.
Meet up to collaborate, not to colocate
As mentioned, COVID-19 has proven that the "management- dreaded" home office actual works, and to some degree, also boosted productivity. Although we as humans have an inherent need to meet and socialize it has long been an out-dated practice to spend all your work hours at the office. With the aid of technology and the transformation into Cloud, there are few arguments as to why you need to be at the office all the time. This also feels like a somewhat unfair policy as you no longer "leave work" when you leave work. You bring your laptop home, and you answer your emails from your phone regardless if you are on the bus or the couch at night. So the need for the office as a permanent workstation is starting to vanish, but the workplace still plays an important role - to ensure collaboration. Even though Teams GoToMeeting works well it will never compete with true collaboration. Therefore, forward-leaning companies are looking into how to organize the office to be an arena for collaboration and not colocation. This includes concepts like hot-desking, creating larger collaboration areas, and promoting concepts like "colleague walks" (a concept where you conduct meetings in the form of outdoor activity rather than around a conference table).
As a last note, despite the devastating effects COVID-19 has had this year it is evident that it represents the start of a new transformation in how we meet, how we collaborate, and where we conduct our work. In the end, this transformation will most likely result in "greener" companies due to less space requirement and fewer employees commuting, happier employees that enjoy more flexibility in how they conduct their work, and much more efficient collaboration.