Smart Management For Workplaces

A quick research about what smart management shows that there is no consensus about its meaning or its practical application. In this article, we would like to analyze what smart management for workplaces means for us and how it can be applied to improve operations, strategy, and design.

WHAT SMART MANAGEMENT FOR WORKPLACES IS?

When we talk about smart management, we are talking about new procedures, techniques and new tools that improve the traditional management. It involves new ways of managing a space efficiently, increase its performance or improve and enhance users/employees experience.

Maybe it is easier to understand it with an example:

The return to offices after the COVID-19 lockdown has introduced in management teams new questions about how this return might be and how the discovery of the remote working has come to stay. Companies have lots of questions to answer:

  • What model of work do we want? What model do my employees prefer?
  • What space and distribution do we need now?
  • Is the layout fitting with the new workplace environment?
  • What do we need to change in our office to better match the new workplace strategy?

Time for management in blind is over. Experience and gut feelings are irreplaceable although they are not enough anymore. In this VUCA context, agility is not necessary but mandatory. And it is what smart management really is. We need to make data driven decisions to be more efficient, effective, productive, proactive, and quicker in our responses.

HOW TO USE DATA IN THE WORKPLACE MANAGEMENT?

Workplaces’ management includes several activities that can be aggregated, regarding the goal of the article, in two: operations and design. Each of these activities requires data in different ways. Let us dig deeper:

  • Operations: operation teams use data to manage staff shift, cleaning tasks, lighting, or HVAC systems based on the actual use of the space, its patterns and real-time information. Doing so, an alert system can be set once a threshold is reached or new energy scheduling may be defined, and thus, space management becomes more efficient and more sustainable.
  • Design: data show how users and employees use the workplace areas and whether these spaces are being used as intended or even if designs address people’s needs properly. With his information, spaces can be tweaked or adapted according to the real preferences to increase comfort and productivity using accurate and reliable data to take decisions on designs.

The main difference between Space Management and Smart Space Management is how data improve the process since data become in a supporting tool for the right decisions. Management, and space management is not an exception, needs measurement to improve. And maybe, it is an unfinished business.

Using data about spaces will allow us to answer the questions we posed in an objective way and tale data-driven and informed decisions when we return to the office. This is the path for leave blindness and provide the right answers to many questions:

  • Is the workforce model being accomplished by the employees? How much? Where is it failing?
  • How many square meters are being wasted? Which kind of space may I quit? How would be the new space layout for addressing the model?
  • Is the current design working as intended?
  • Which changes should we make for matching our workplace strategy? How can we evaluate their goodness in an objective way?

Using metrics in management is an old aspiration and it is the first step into a efficient space management as well. This mindset and its application drive cost savings and a better use of resources.

Nevertheless, once in place, the space analytics system may help discover new opportunities: dynamic desktop and meeting room management, checking the accomplishment of COVID-19 protocols or a smarter energy management.