The Big Picture – How asset, portfolio, and facilities management practices all benefit from hybrid office data
Workplace management solutions are growing in scope and functionality. Covering return to office, space management, asset management, risk assessment, and portfolio operations, these tools have the capacity to optimize processes and save on costs across the board.
Now what if we told you all these not only can share 1 platform in Archibus, but their data collection capabilities when leveraged correctly can feed one another to drive.
The circular nature of enterprise-level data collection with IWMS creates a stream of real-time data on how a built environment or real estate portfolio is used. Office space data feeds asset and performance data, which feeds overall portfolio decisions. In a time of hybrid work emerging as the “modern workplace”, space is used is becoming a keystone in workplace decisions.
Changes in space use drives property and asset managers to revisit areas like assets and facilities management to better align with goals. We have seen clients like Edmonton Public Schools begin with space management modules and quickly integrate asset, facilities and maintenance into their activities using Archibus. Having all areas of a portfolio with relevant data centralized on one platform for reporting makes this data accessible and easy to digest. No more pouring over excel sheets.
Office Space is the Catalyst
How much space a business or organization has vs how much is being used is something that we’re seeing emerge as a priority for property managers. With hybrid work settling in there are trends for many that show their space is being underutilized or is underperforming and not aligned with business goals.
Too much space, not enough people or use, and the bottom line, too expensive for the use.
Measuring the performance of office space during hybrid work is going to paint a picture of how people are using the space. The needs of hybrid workers are different than what we came from with traditional office space. Hybrid work environments command a different kind of space management strategy.
With tools to collect data on space use in a hybrid office, one can see that the cubicle area of the office isn’t being used, but areas that are collaborative like larger desks or groupings of workspaces are. The data is collected and reported using platform booking tools for hybrid work using floor plans to assist employees with wayfinding.
Managers can go in and evaluate heat maps of use and occupancy across a floor plan based on these reservations, or if they have sensors in place can track high-traffic areas.
Having this infrastructure in place with hybrid work allows for real-time and longitudinal trends to be viewed and reported to show how space is performing. Knowing concretely how things are going brings with it the opportunity to optimize and improve down the road.
The next step? Assess data on collaborative space use in the office over time and consider making the right adjustments to better align with employee patterns while elevating how they interact with the office. While collecting and analyzing this data on space and office use, organizations often begin to look elsewhere in their portfolio for optimization and performance metrics to align with changes.
Facilities & Portfolio
Adjustments come in the form of optimization. Evaluation of facilities and assets across an office or portfolio supports this. With less people in the office and presumably less demand for assets, assessing facilities and energy use can lead to some cost savings and better allocation of resources or capital.
Many saw fall and winter of 2022-2023 as a pivotal point in asset management policies as return to office mandates and strategies were beginning to take shape. We’ve seen as spring 2023 arrives that hybrid work is here to stay as the new normal, from 2 days in person to 4 days in person, flexibility of the office is now a priority.
With offices being used differently now, looking at occupancy vs utilization as two separate metrics and how this impacts portfolio and asset management is important. Just because there’s occupancy does not mean there is utilization and therefore there can be decisions made to improve any number of things.
The Relogix 2023 benchmarking report found that in 2022, peak occupancy never exceeded 49% and utilization dropped to a staggering 16%. Based on this performance, revisiting how facilities and assets are being deployed and performing should be top of mind for portfolio managers.
“Since utilization measures the fractional use of workspaces it must not be overlooked
and is key to understanding the efficiency and effectiveness of your space. When data
was not previously available, using occupancy was a common business practice to quantify
a change in demand for space. Sensor data takes it much further enabling a planning
precision like nothing else, saving organizations millions in unnecessary costs, and which
can open doors to new opportunities to truly future proof their business.” – Relogix 2023 benchmarking report
Lower utilization of space means there’s no reason for facilities and systems to be operating at as if they’re running for a 70% or higher occupancy and utilization rate. Reallocation of investments that can be better used in other areas of the portfolio or business is a likely product of these initiatives.
Office space and physical space have historically been a large investment due to higher utilization and occupancy rates. With both down and unlikely to see a spike soon, considering avenues like right-sizing, flexible space or improving the space to make it more beneficial to employees are all options.
Asset Management and the right tools
A businesses lease was one of the top investments that could be made up until 2020. Now, an underperforming asset for a business is likely to be their office space. Empty, underutilized space is costing businesses more than it should.
With asset management coming into the fold and onto the radar of facilities managers and portfolio managers alike, the importance of digital tools and solutions like Archibus is apparent. Data on space and the office feed asset decisions, which in turn can elevate and optimize the office. From there the cycle continues with constant evaluation and adjustments (and cost savings) from reporting capabilities and data captured from the workplace.
This can extend to maintenance and facilities tracking as well. If facilities costs are running high, tracking output, maintenance or other areas can highlight areas of concern,.
So, integrating a space management or workplace tool into the office with hybrid work is about more than just getting people into the office again. It’s commitment to oversight in all areas of workplace management that feed into one another.
Workplace management systems are growing in demand and as initiatives around optimizing real property, improving the modern office and ESG goals grow in importance, so will demand for the tools to support them. Archibus can be integrated and leveraged across a portfolio to fit business goals and scaled if necessary.