For years, space management software has been helping organizations streamline processes and maximize workspace utilization. But in the Covid-threatened workplace, the same technology is now being used to return employees to the workplace and safeguard their well-being.
Before the pandemic, companies were focused on driving towards greater workplace efficiency and higher space utilization—with feature-rich solutions providing innovative ways to gain tighter control over the sharing and usage of meeting rooms and flexible workspaces.
But in the ‘new’ workplace, space planners and managers are having to rethink their approach in order to comply with safe distancing guidelines. The focus is now on limiting utilization and occupancy in order to maximize physical distancing and protect employees.
Here are three ways (of six) that space management software can help you meet the challenge of reconfiguring the utilization and management of your workspaces in a post-pandemic environment …
Capacity planning: Scenario planning and modelling for alternative occupancy strategies
Space management software makes it easier for you to gain a clear understanding of your optimum workspace capacity in the new safety-first workplace. You can leverage planning features that enable you to model different scenarios—from setting safe physical distancing limits between desks to splitting common functions between different floors and/or buildings to reduce risk.
Our software supports algorithms that can auto-apply your physical distancing protocols to existing floor plan layouts and calculate the maximum capacity. This enables you to visualize the potential capacity on each floor and in each building by comparing scenarios for different distancing options, occupancy ratios, co-working ratios and cleaning protocols. It will also show how any increase in occupancy levels and seating density will impact on the usage of common areas and the flow of people within a building. And when the time comes to phase in more employees, you can then regenerate distance measurement scenarios that increase in density.
Managing occupancy migration: Restricting access to maintain safe distancing
To ensure safe deployment of staff as they return to the workplace, space management software can help you to initiate an occupancy migration plan through real-time floor plan management and space allocations based on distancing guidelines.
When you specify the number of people you need to apply to a particular space on your floor plan, algorithms automatically allocate reservable desks while maintaining a safe distance between them. If the guidance on social distancing changes, built-in flexibility means the allocation of spaces can be quickly revised—and new floor plans will be auto-generated.
Adopting a rota system allows you to reduce density while still giving all members of staff an equal opportunity to come into the office and collaborate. Space management software enables you to create teams, allocate employees to those teams, and then give each team access to desks on particular days. Many of our clients are creating lists of teams that identify when they can come into the office. We can take these lists and verify whether they conform to the safe distancing policy or enforce rules that only let them book a desk when they are allowed to be in the office.
The risk of Covid-19 transmission is highest in non-assigned common areas which may have a greater density of people—such as lobbies, elevators, washrooms, kitchens and break rooms. Tracking capability and powerful analytical tools can monitor adherence to your safe distancing policy in these ‘hot spots’. For example, some clients are assigning floors different arrival times to reduce the congestion on the elevators at the start of the day. With our software you can automatically capture data through integration with sensors or other indoor location technology. If your workplace doesn’t have sensors, you can gather valuable data from other sources, such as badge swipes and IP addresses.
Booking desks and rooms: Configurable operational rules
Integrating booking capability with your space management software can enable you to automatically monitor and control access to all desks, rooms and facilities—along with centrally-managed workflows and highly configurable operational rules.
Our space scheduling tool lets you set the occupancy level and physical distancing policy. The software’s colour-coded digital floor plans show at a glance which desks or rooms can (or can’t) be used. They also indicate spaces that are offline and waiting to be disinfected.
You can further help employees by letting them decide where they can sit. Room booking information can be swiftly communicated to teams via mobile apps or web mail, along with two-way integration with Office 365 and Outlook calendars.
Empowering your users with mobile booking capabilities gives them access to the updated floor plan, while search functions enable them to quickly find an approved, available space. When a booking is made, our software can automatically factor in cleaning and sanitization time—and users are notified as soon as the room or desk has been disinfected.
Taking it a step further, integration with wall mounted touch panels can show employees which rooms and desks are vacant and disinfected, or unavailable for cleaning. You can even use software to help plan signage placement within your building to keep staff and visitors fully informed—including information about any one-way flow routes designed to minimize transmission.
These are just a few ways space planning and scheduling technology can make your phased return to work easier. If you have an immediate need to address the unique workplace planning and management challenges created by Covid-19, please contact the Trimble Manhattan team at firstname.lastname@example.org for a demo or more information.
In part 2, we will look at how space management technology can assist with cleaning schedules, control visitors and provide real-time analysis for data-driven decision making.
Benjamin Gardner, Global Marketing Manager
For over 15 years, Benjamin has been on the edge of real estate innovation, working as the go-to-person for all things marketing. With a love of architecture and design, he enjoys a creative challenge and when he is not working on the next Trimble Manhattan campaign, he spends valuable time with his family or clocking up miles on his road bike.
Positioning-centric information is changing the way people, businesses and governments work throughout the world. By applying Trimble's advanced positioning solutions, productivity increases and safety improvements are being realized.