Facility Management in The New Normal 
Facility Management

Fewer Seats, Fewer Employees In The Office, More Problems For The Facility Manager

The spread of the pandemic across the globe and the severity of the crisis has radically altered business functionality. Organizations have had to embrace new measures and operating standards to ensure employee safety and business continuity.

In this new narrative, the Facility Manager has had to take on a more strategic role. 

Facility Management in The New Normal 

With the pandemic came the new rules of engagement. Socially distant spaces, hygiene management, headcount management, visitor management are now essential parts of the facility managers’ portfolio. The workplace continues to evolve dramatically with the rise of the hybrid workplace – a dynamic, agile, and adaptable paradigm that supports remote and in-premise workers. Organizations have cut back on their real-estate and office space has shrunk.

The success of hybrid workplaces will depend on the facility manager’s ability to refine space management with innovative planning.

The Challenge of Social Distancing 

While organizations have been mandated to work with a reduced workforce, for the facility manager this means facilitating remote as well as on-premise work. And having to do that in a physically smaller and reconfigured space.

Managing and monitoring shift rotations and employee footprint constantly and helping remote workers book seats and conference rooms keeping all compliance norms in place is the responsibility of the facility manager.

Quite clearly, the role of the facility manager just became more complex and challenging. So, what can the facility manager do to alleviate the woes of our new normal now?

Desk Management Software to Reserve Workspaces

Having a robust desk management software solution is valuable in the facility managers’ toolkit. A desk management solution can help FMs track, plan, and manage facility operations easily. Powered by technologies that enable real-time locational awareness, a powerful desk management solution can help the facility manager reserve seats while maintaining compliance with COVID protocols.

A robust desk management solution is also essential since working hours in many organizations are spread out throughout the day and in the evening as well. There is also a floating workforce that comes into the office sometimes. Then there is the employee who needs to come in on random days. This hybrid workforce needs enablement and it is the facility manager who acts as the catalyst. 

While earlier employees had to request to work remotely, today they have to apply for desk space when they come to the office. Just like the reservation and monitoring of parking spaces, facility managers now need insights into how many people come to the office, and where they are seated to make sure they can accommodate the rest of the workforce. At the same time, they need to enable employees to book seats independently as well to reduce dependency on the facilities team.

Improve Space Usage Planning 

In recent weeks several companies returned to office. However, this had to be managed step-wise to minimize the mass inflow of people. The facility managers had to re-evaluate their floor plans to accommodate people according to government guidelines. However, to optimize space planning and enable the hybrid workplace, the facility manager needs detailed insights into occupancy analytics.

To bring back the employees with confidence, facility managers have to be certain that no given space is crowded at any time. A robust desk management software can be powered up with real-time locational awareness and provide data-backed insights to the facility manager on their occupancy trends and patterns to help them optimize space usage, eliminate wastage and maintain operational efficiency as well.

Optimize Building Operational Efficiency 

With a floating workforce, it becomes the responsibility of the facility manager to optimize building operational efficiency by eliminating wastage and maximize occupancy of, even, the reduced real estate. To achieve this, facility managers need to have a clear idea of the occupancy of the premises, the areas that have high footfalls, and the areas that do not see the same. With this information, facility managers can make sure that they are only using as many assets and resources as needed and there is no wasteful resource (think lights, air conditioning, etc.) utilization. 

Facility managers can easily navigate this problem by getting locational insights and leveraging occupancy analytics. With data-backed decisions, these managers can optimize space and resource utilization and make sure that not only social distancing norms are maintained and people get their desk space but also make sure that building operational efficiency is also maximized. 

People Detection 

While there are fewer seats to occupy in the workplace and even fewer people at work, the facility manager’s job has become more complex. Not only do they need to ensure that the workplace is safe, but they also have to make sure that they know the number of people on the premises at all times. Given that maintaining the right levels of occupancy is essential as a part of government mandates, facility managers have to replace guesstimates on the number of people on the premise with reliable data. 

Facility managers thus have to enhance their capability to detect and count people on-premise reliably by leveraging powerful technology solutions. 

In Conclusion

COVID has changed the way the office looks and works. Offices have to bid goodbye to the art of packing in people in less space, and de-densify to create physical distancing. With organizations also reducing their real estate footprint, there will be fewer seating options on the work floor as well as in common areas such as cafeterias. Social distance will have to be woven into the organizational floor plan and hybrid workspace will become the norm to stay agile and resilient. 

Organizations must help facility managers manage the demands of the workplace and also not increase their burden. Robust software solutions can take a great load off the facility manager, enable the workforce to become more independent and proactive in managing workspace needs and provide the insights needed to ensure the running of a safe and COVID-compliant workplace. 

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