The impact of technology in the workplace

Workplace technology is on an exponential curve. It wasn’t long ago we used fax machines and interoffice mail to work — now, even email seems out-of-date. The impact of technology in the workplace is substantial, and it’s changing everything from how we work to what tools we use to do our jobs.  

The breadth of workplace technologies available today takes two forms: workplace-facing and workplace-supporting. Technologies like messaging apps and room booking software are workplace-facing because they’re the tools employees use to do work. Occupancy sensors and Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) represent workplace-supporting tech because they govern the workplace construct, both physical and digital. Together, they represent the technologically powered environment that is the modern workplace.

Why do we need all this tech?

A salesperson or accountant might have the same job description today that they did decades ago, but what that work entails is so much more. The sophisticated evolution of work comes on the heels of workplace technology growth.

Improved interpersonal communication

How has modern technology changed the workplace? The simplest example to look at is interpersonal communication. Over time we’ve sped up the rate at which we communicate and the scope of that communication. This is evident even as recently as the shift from email to messaging apps.

Jim needs to ask Sally a question about a project. He could send an email since Sally is off-site today — or he can instant message her through Slack. Through Slack, she gets the notification immediately and can reply in seconds. Jim’s question sits in the #project channel instead of buried in an inbox, and there’s a historical record of their conversation instead of a growing email chain. Jim gets his answer fast, and the two stay on the same page.

Messaging apps integrate with various other cloud-based apps, which always puts communication front and center. Employees can leave notes in a collaborative file or send a thumbs-up emoji to sign off on a memo. Thanks to modern interpersonal communication tools, employees communicate clearly and more often, with better results. 

Speedier workflows

Quicker, better communication has spilled over into other areas of workplace transformation. One of the most notable positive effects of technology in the workplace is quicker workflows. It’s not only communication technology behind this agility — it also involves workplace planning and coordination software.

IWMS and Computer-Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) platforms quicken workplace management. It no longer takes days or weeks to repurpose a workspace or change the dynamic of an office. Facility managers can adapt the workplace in minutes to shave hours or days off project timelines and tasks. Moreover, there are fewer barriers and overlaps between employees.

Bob and John don’t need to wait for Michelle and Patricia to finish using a meeting space — they can find (or make) an alternative space in seconds. Steve can look at his calendar for the day, pop online, and reserve a suitable workspace.

Worktech simplifies the complexities of an agile environment so that employees can do more faster. Work gets done quicker and more efficiently.

Broad asset accessibility

The business cloud is arguably the most influential workplace technology of the last two decades. Think about what the cloud offers; broad access to any digital assets, anytime, anywhere. This level of accessibility is so ingrained in what we do we often take it for granted.

Mike saves his PowerPoint presentation at his desk on the fourth floor, then pulls it up from the cloud for his meeting on the ninth floor a few minutes later. Then, Lily accesses the entire folder of digital project assets from her home office to make last-minute adjustments before the big rollout.

As much as the business cloud has changed the traditional workplace, it’s also the biggest catalyst for antiquating it. This level of accessibility allows people to work from anywhere — which is extremely common today. In fact, this tech is still growing more powerful today through innovations in edge computing and decentralized server networks.

More productive environments

Finally, we need to ask, how does technology affect productivity? If it’s not evident already, technology has been the most significant stimulus for improving employee productivity and efficiency. Try to do your job without a computer or email.

Without messaging apps or cloud storage. Without the ability to reserve a workspace or contribute to a shared document. It’s likely impossible to work without technology in today’s climate. Even if you could manage it, you’d be light years behind.

Technology touches every aspect of work — how, where, and even when we accomplish it. The result of ever-increasing advancements in technological tools is evident in everything from how we communicate to the scope of the work we do daily.

Above all, today’s profound flexibility in work habits shows the importance of technology. Thanks to workplace technologies, we’re ever-moving, constantly communicating, and consistently accomplishing, no matter where or what we’re doing.

Learn how Eptura’s software can help your business thrive. Check out our plans.

Podcast Ep. 241 recap: Connections, community, and secrets to happiness at work

In episode 241 of Workplace Innovator, host Mike Petrusky speaks with Dr. Tracy Brower, Vice President of Workplace Insight for Steel Case, who shares insights on the changing nature of work and the workplace, the importance of community, and the role of leaders in the current context.

They explore the value of connections and community and journey through the research and personal experiences related to humans thriving at work. Plus, Tracy offers practical advice for facility management and corporate real estate leaders interested in creating great employee experiences for their organizations. 


  • Fundamental changes in the workplace
  • Importance of updating the workplace
  • Role of leaders in setting expectations and providing flexibility
  • Significance of community and connection in work
  • Impact work experience has on work happiness

What you need to know: Workplace takeaways

Takeaway 1

The nature of work has fundamentally changed, requiring updates in the workspace to reflect this shift and maintain employee satisfaction and productivity.

Tracy Brower, Vice President of Workplace Insights at Steelcase, stressed the importance of updating the workplace to reflect the fundamental changes in the nature of work. She mentioned that this not only enhances the workspace but also sends a message of adaptability and responsiveness. She suggested that organizations should adopt practices that offer as much flexibility and choice as possible, creating work environments that people would want to come to.

“One thing that we can do is really make sure that we’re implementing work experiences where collaboration is absolutely prioritized. People want to come in and collaborate and connect,” said Brower. She also emphasized the need for workplaces to provide enough spaces for employees to focus and have privacy, as well as the importance of integrating policies and practices with the physical work environment.

Takeaway 2

Workplace leaders are tasked with providing clear expectations while simultaneously offering their employees the freedom to adapt and express their opinions. 

Brower underlined the importance of transparent leadership in the new work environment. She explained that leaders must provide clear expectations and set certain “guardrails” while also allowing for adaptability and giving employees the opportunity to voice their opinions. This balance, according to Brower, is essential in maintaining employee engagement and encouraging better performance.

“Leaders have this sort of new requirement,” she said. “There’s greater emotional labor required of leaders right now. We’re really looking for leaders that provide great direction and vision, but also that give us the opportunity for involvement and feeling like we have a voice.”

Takeaway 3

The value of in-person interaction at work extends beyond task-related communication, contributing to the social well-being of employees.

Brower also emphasized the importance of in-person interaction for employee well-being and happiness. She pointed out that while digital communication has its place, it doesn’t provide the same level of depth and nuance that face-to-face interaction does. Brower mentioned that even incidental connections made at the workplace contribute to an employee’s sense of value and appreciation.

“Inappropriate ways, right? Like, we bump somebody on the elbow, or we touch them on the sleeve, or we lean forward in a meeting. Right. All those physical manifestations of relationships actually build our feelings about how important we are to somebody else or how known or recognized or appreciated we are by somebody else,” she explained.

Takeaway 4

The workplace has a crucial role in fostering community and helping employees form diverse connections.

Brower highlighted the role of the workplace in fostering community and helping employees form connections. She noted that work is a place where people express their talents, feel necessary to others, and create connections. In particular, workplaces tend to facilitate the formation of more diverse friendships than in personal lives, serving to enhance empathy and the ability to think with others.

“81% of people say they make their more diverse friends at work. So evidence would suggest that in our personal lives, we might be more likely to hang around with people who look like us or think like us or sound like us. But at work, we get more of an opportunity to learn from people and be exposed to people who are different,” said Brower.

Workplace insights

  • Work has fundamentally changed and it’s crucial for workplaces to adapt and show they’re not stagnating.
  • Leaders now have a greater emotional labor requirement, expected to provide clear direction, vision, and expectations while also allowing for employee involvement and adaptability.
  • Work has a new and expanded role in our social well-being, especially as we become more disconnected in our personal lives due to technology.
  • The workplace is an important place for developing deeper relationships, which are critical for our sense of contribution and value.
  • It’s important to update the workplace to better suit people’s needs, use pilots and prototypes to test what works best, measure the impact through continuous feedback, prioritize collaboration, and offer flexibility and choice.

Want more? Listen to the full podcast.

Why is employee experience important?

Consider buying a new car. It’s an experience that’s notoriously frustrating — one most people dread. They hate pestering salespeople, haggling over price and interest rates, and signing dozens of documents. By the time they drive off the lot, most people are too exhausted to enjoy their purchase. The overall experience was simply draining. It’s the same concept for an employee’s experience in the workplace. 

A good employee experience improves the productivity, comfort, and cohesiveness of a workplace.

Unlike the experience of buying a car, you want employees to feel good coming to work! Many employees today work hybrid, and it’s your job to ensure they enjoy coming to the office as much as they enjoy remote work. They shouldn’t dread walking up to the building or feeling tension when sitting at a desk. Employees should leave feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. Research shows a good employee experience can improve the productivity, comfort, and cohesiveness of an excellent workplace experience. 

What is employee experience? 

Employee experience is a self-explanatory term. It’s how your employees feel about their employment. Only recently has employee experience become quantified as the sum of culture, technology, and workplace — though it’s most often correlated with the workplace since that’s where all these variables come together. 

In a genuine sense, employee experience is about making employees excited, proud, happy, and confident in their work. Companies capable of doing this create a positive employee experience; companies that fall short may deliver a negative or unexciting experience to workers, leading to employee burnout. It’s an outcome dictated mainly by the willingness and ability to meet and exceed employee needs, expectations, and standards.

Every company wants happy employees but employee experience goes far beyond making people happy. It’s about attaining the benefits of happy, engaged, and productive employees. Here are 10 reasons employee experience is important and why it pays to create a positive one: 

  1. Attract and retain talent. Skilled employees want to work in a place that embraces and supports them. From the interview to the onboarding process through all stages of the employee, a good experience provides top talent with a sense of purpose and work-life balance. 
  2. Create camaraderie. A company’s workforce needs to function as a team. Bad employee experience can push people apart; good, shared experiences bring them together.  
  3. Enable work support. A good experience empowers employees to try their best. This way, employees feel confident about their work and less afraid of failure if their workplace projects an air of support. 
  4. Improve engagement. Employees with a positive view of their workplace enjoy a certain level of excitement about their job. They’re attentive, engaged, and ready to do their best. 
  5. Foster collaboration. Given a positive experience collaborating with their peers, employees won’t be afraid to ask for help, provide guidance, or work together—especially in an environment that supports them. 
  6. Inspire creativity. The ability to think clearly and creatively benefits businesses and employees alike. That creativity fosters innovation, which leads to growth. 
  7. Prioritize well-being. If a workplace weighs heavily on an employee, they’ll suffer at work and home. Promoting a positive employee experience encourages higher engagement, which can improve mental health. 
  8. Feed the bottom line. An excellent employee experience boosts the bottom line through everything from better efficiency to a higher caliber of work done. Happy employees drive revenue growth. 
  9. Bolster company image. People talk. When the topic of work arises and employees say only good things, that word of mouth becomes part of the company’s ethos, and perception is often reality. 
  10. Grow professionally. Employees who feel good about where they work grow in their professional endeavors. They do more, learn more, and feel comfortable taking on responsibility. 

Remember, these benefits are contingent on a positive experience and can be erased by a negative one. Let’s return to the car analogy from above. If you have a wonderful experience at the dealership, you might be more willing to recommend them to a friend or pay a little extra for features you might not have otherwise.

A bad experience may make you leave the lot without even buying a car! From the moment of arrival to the moment of departure, experience means everything — especially to attract and retain top talent. 

Reap the benefits of a positive employee experience 

At the end of the workday, positive employee experiences directly correlate to business success. Employees who feel welcomed, accommodated, and empowered bring that positive energy to their work, the interactions they share, and the company culture. These factors contribute to a business’s bottom line and competitive advantage. 

Your employee experiences directly correlate to your business success

Pay close attention to employee experience in the workplace. Do they show up and leave in a good mood? Can they work efficiently and productively? Do they immerse themselves in the workplace? Look for the hallmarks of a good experience and address facets of the workplace where friction, tension, and other negative sentiments are an opportunity to improve the employee experience.   

Keep in mind people will never be happy all the time. But an employee’s workplace experience should never be the reason why they’re unhappy. If it is, it’s time to reshape your workplace and employee experience. 

How space management and planning help with growth

In many ways, office environments are like their own ecosystems. Leave a group of people together for long enough and they’ll develop some sort of system, right? True as it is, those systems that spring up organically in the workplace aren’t always effective or efficient. An unplanned, unmanaged office isn’t likely to magically transform into a well-organized oasis of productivity.

And it’s now compounded by today’s hybrid work models where employee behavior and building occupancy are dynamic, so space management is more complex than it’s ever been. The shift to flexible working has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to plan, operate, and maintain workspace and assets effectively.

Our 16,000+ customers are adapting to a dynamic work environment where shared space is the new normal and what happens (or doesn’t happen) in one area affects the other.

It’s not enough anymore to manage square feet on a static floor plan. They’re magnetizing the workplace for employees by operationalizing and fusing building maintenance and flexible working together. The goal? To compete for top talent and grow the business.

Between real estate, property management, and facility management, finding cost savings and improving company culture are now dual mandates – which requires a lot of cross-department collaboration and decision making.

Think of all the different teams that make or influence the built environment today — everyone from human resources to technology teams, to physical security and reception managers, to building system maintenance and janitorial services. Plus, all the vendors that need to be managed, tracked, and coordinated – especially during office moves and space reconfigurations.

With strategic space utilization and workplace design, you can reduce overhead costs, increase employee satisfaction and productivity, and create a commute-worthy workplace experience. From smarter energy management to better utilization of your real estate, today’s space management software is powerful and built for users. But it all starts with a space management strategy.

Key components of a space management strategy

Space management is an essential component for business growth. It involves understanding and meeting the needs of a business’s space while ensuring that all resources are optimally utilized. Take time to understand your company’s goals and needs, and develop strategies to optimize space allocation effectively.

You need to identify unused or underutilized spaces, and maximize efficiency with office layout design using techniques such as ‘design thinking’ to become more agile and adaptive to user needs.

What’s design thinking? Go deeper. Read “The connection between design thinking and workspaces.”

Understanding space management and planning 

Before you can make use of a space usage strategy with a floor plan, of course, you need to understand what that strategy is and how it can work for you and your departments. Space Management and Planning is a part of Facility Management (FM), which is a professional field that covers everything having to do with the physical premises a business occupies.

Facilities Management includes not only office space usage but also industrial and manufacturing spaces, including factories, laboratories, loading docks, retail space, mailrooms, outdoor test facilities, and more. FM can also encompass physical assets such as technology, office supplies, furniture, and manufacturing equipment.

While many industries and offices have dedicated FM staff, some businesses aren’t yet big enough to employ these kinds of professionals’ full time, relying instead on an office manager or human resources staff member to take on FM duties that include space management and planning.

Whether the professional carrying out space management and planning duties is an FM specialist or someone else, their focus, while performing these duties, will be on the use of the physical space in the office rather than other elements of FM.

For example, the question of where to seat a specific department within an office space is a space management duty. Conceptualizing different seating arrangements and setting them up as potential scenarios would be part of Space Planning. There’s a subtle difference between the two, which is why it’s best to lump them into the same category: Space Management and Planning.

This facility management function gives businesses the ability to control how their office environments function from a physical standpoint. While this can seem like a purely practical task at first glance, there’s actually an art to space management and planning that, if performed correctly, can result in major gains in employee satisfaction and, by extension, productivity.

Strategic space management and planning offers a business a certain amount of flexibility and collaboration while improving overall productivity. During the space management and planning process, critical decisions regarding the use, layout, appearance, filing options and standardization should all be considered.

First, determine what the space will be used for. For example, will there be meeting rooms or cubicles? Establishing the space’s primary function is the first step that a business should take concerning space management. The layout should complement the overall use of the space, and this included the functionality of the space regarding the furniture layout.

The design may be something that doesn’t seem important when looking at the overall picture, but studies have shown that a well-designed space can increase productivity and success in the workplace and can boost the employee’s overall mood. A well-designed space also has the ability to adapt and evolve with the occupants, and they will feel comfortable at ease in such an environment.

Filing and record keeping are important aspects of any business, regardless of the filing system that is being used. Some businesses may require a larger area for storage, filing, and supplies.

Determine the goal and needs of the business to determine how much space will be needed. Always taking into consideration the future growth of the company and the forecasted needs of the space. Technology and equipment requirements should be considered as well, especially since most companies utilize digital record keeping.

Finally, the business should determine how the space will look. Will they be standard cubicles or furniture that are all matching and cohesive? Should the look and design and the layout of each room remain similar or does each room require a different layout with a distinctive design to establish its use?

With the right tools and knowledge, businesses can develop successful strategies for efficient space management that will lead them towards long-term growth success.

There are many software solutions available today that focus on helping companies manage their physical spaces more effectively, such as room booking systems which allow teams to book meeting rooms quickly. Because remember: Digital experiences are driving the employee experience – and business growth is directly connected to employee satisfaction. Ease of use is a top priority and the tools you use need employee adoption.

Tools to help with space management and planning 

  • Digital twins and 3D modelling software, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) that allow users to visualize how different layouts would look like before actually making changes
  • Occupancy sensors which track how much time certain areas are being used
  • Smart building technology with real-time data about employee presence
  • Desk booking systems which enable teams to easily find available workspaces
  • Energy management solutions which help organizations save money by optimizing energy use across premises
  • Move management solutions which facilitate easier relocation processes when needed
  • Room usage tracking solutions which collect data on how often certain places are being used throughout the day

By leveraging these modern tools alongside manual practices such as collecting information from surveys or interviews with staff members about their experiences in different areas of the office, businesses can ensure they make informed decisions when managing their physical spaces 

Easily make changes to asset descriptions and update maintenance data within the Archibus BIM Viewer.

Benefits of space management and planning 

Space optimization is an extremely valuable process for any business aspiring to expand. By utilizing physical space, companies can reduce overhead costs, enhance employee satisfaction and productivity, and create a more pleasant work environment. Here are some of the key advantages associated with smart space management:

Cost efficiency

Companies can benefit from cost savings by recognizing underutilized or excessive spaces in their facility. With solutions such as energy management platforms, cost calculators, and strategic planning software, businesses can analyze usage data in real-time to make informed decisions when it comes to resource allocation.

Enhanced employee satisfaction

Space supervision also boosts contentment among employees by offering them flexibility in terms of how they collaborate together. This could be done through hot-desking models or having staff members work remotely, which allows the organization to design a workspace that matches their individual needs.

By planning ahead using booking systems and room usage tracking systems, teams will always have access to the right desks or meeting rooms at the right time so that everyone remains productive without feeling cramped up in a shared office setting.

Increased productivity

Through intelligent building technology, including desk booking systems and occupancy sensors, organizations are able to measure desk utilization throughout the day and make changes based on factual data instead of assumptions about what might suit employees better.

This way, they are able to optimize their office layout for maximum efficiency while still providing comfort for those present without overcrowding certain areas or leaving other sections vacant most of the time. Moreover, regular evaluations of space use enable businesses to modify plans rapidly if required, which increases productivity levels on the whole.

Superior workplace experience

Finally, proper space monitoring promotes an improved workplace experience which leads to heightened collaboration across teams while uplifting employee morale too.

By collecting information about room occupancy, such as what types of meetings take place within it, companies can customize their spaces to current trends so that workers feel comfortable no matter if they decide to work remotely or come into the office daily. Regular assessments help detect potential issues before they grow into serious problems, enhancing communication between team members as well as organizational culture overall.

Through organized planning and implementation of efficient space administration plans, businesses can ensure that all decisions regarding physical spaces are well-informed, leading them towards long-term success with expansion opportunities further down the line

We analyze our global data quarterly. See our findings based on analysis of 2.7 million desks, 37,000 buildings, and 440,000 floors across more than 8,000 companies.

How to implement an effective space management plan 

Begin by evaluating the company’s total square footage, how many people it supports, and any areas of unused or underutilized space. From there, a plan can be drawn up for future space requirements that takes into account potential changes in team size or operations.

Once a comprehensive plan has been developed, businesses should look at ways to optimize their physical space, such as altering office layouts or introducing hot-desking solutions — as well as implementing room booking systems or desk booking software for more flexible working arrangements. Further cost savings can be achieved with energy management solutions and occupancy sensors that track progress in real-time.

Monitoring progress is just as important as devising a plan in the first place — regularly assessing usage trends over time will help inform decisions when allocating resources or creating new workspaces. Strategic planning software is invaluable here, providing insight into which strategies are most successful in terms of cost savings and productivity improvement. 

Ultimately, by following these steps, companies will be able to establish a solid foundation for success whereby they benefit from significant cost-efficiency gains while simultaneously fostering an environment where employees are satisfied and productive — setting them up for long-term growth opportunities along the way. 

Today’s space planning software utilizes real-time data to offer valuable insights into how workspaces are used by teams or individuals at any given moment. This allows an organization to better optimize its premises for maximum efficiency and productivity. Similarly, move management software enables companies to handle large-scale changes like office moves or rebrands with minimal time and money investment. 

Digital twins also offer organizations the chance to scenario plan and test conditions and layouts before implementation, giving them the opportunity to experiment until they find the design that works best for them without expensive revisions down the line.

Meanwhile, room booking systems enable more efficient allocation of meeting rooms — as well as providing analytics on usage rates so they can adjust bookings accordingly — while occupancy sensors can detect usage patterns in real time with minimum effort or disruption. 

These tools allow businesses greater control over their physical spaces so they can reap cost savings along with increased employee satisfaction and improved productivity levels, ultimately leading to better workplace experiences overall. 

The link between employee satisfaction, the office environment, and productivity 

Why does it matter whether your office environment feels comfortable and inviting for employees? Their job is to show up and get the job done, right? If you’re like most modern business leaders, this line of thinking may sound a little old-fashioned and unwise, and there’s good reason for that. Employee satisfaction is becoming a major part of the way successful companies do business.  

Concepts of corporate culture and attracting “talent” rather than “human resources” are replacing the old-fashioned one-size-fits-all approach to crafting a workplace.

Cubicle farms are being replaced by open, airy workspaces with communal meeting spaces, lounge areas, and ergonomic workstations. While this kind of humanity-focused approach might have sent chills down the spine of 20th-century middle managers, effective organizational leaders in this century know that treating employees as valuable team members is a smart system that reaps incredible rewards. 

This isn’t just common sense. Multiple studies have shown that office environment and employee satisfaction are linked and that, in turn, employee satisfaction has a dramatic positive impact on productivity. In that sense, a cushy workplace isn’t just a good plan for attracting top talent. It’s a way to ensure that once you have that talent on your team, you get the best possible return on your investment.

Planning, too, is imperative as it allows FM staff and other management to anticipate employee satisfaction needs and curate the best workspace possible. Ultimately, Space Management and Planning is an effective means of taking control of your workspace and shaping it to fit not only the organization’s needs but also the needs of the employees. 

What employee satisfaction means for growth 

Space Management and Planning has an essential role to play in the cultivation of a satisfied, productive workforce. Productive employees lead to better work output, which, in turn, allows your business leadership to strategize new avenues for growth. But that’s just the short-term picture. As your growth efforts pay off, your satisfied employees will stay put and continue to provide loyal service to your organization.

They’ll grow from junior-level employees into managers who themselves can bring on a new generation of satisfied talent that continue the cycle and set your business up for long-term expansion and success. 

Satisfied employees will only stay happy with their work environment if you can expand in the right ways and in a timely manner. No one likes going from having a cushy workspace to feeling cramped and distracted by an influx of new coworkers. Because space management and planning is a continuous management process, you’ll be able to avoid making growth seem like a burden to long-time team members.

Plus, it helps integrate new employees into the office in a seamless way, so the satisfaction points start racking up from the moment the new hire walks through your doors on his or her first day.  

Find out how worktech from Eptura can help your space utilization need. Talk to us 

3 benefits of digital workplace solutions for mid-market companies

Mid-market companies are essential drivers of economic growth, attributing nearly one-third of the US and UK’s private sectors. Yet, they often get lost in the shuffle as the focus is mainly on small startup companies and multinational enterprise companies — especially when it comes to technology.    

According to Harvest Business Review, mid-market organizations are 25% more likely to lack a digital adoption plan than small or enterprise businesses — and admit to having below-average technology capabilities.  


Often, the mid-market views technology as a nice-to-have rather than a must-have. But times have changed, and in today’s economic environment, upgraded technology is a need. Businesses that don’t optimize their workplace and resources struggle to keep up. 

Learn how innovative workplace solutions can help mid-market companies use data-driven decisions to propel their business forward. 

Digital solutions help the mid-market oversee workplace operations 

It’s no surprise that the workplace has changed in the last few years — and, with that, the economy. Mid-market companies can no longer afford not to have eyes and ears everywhere. The pandemic served as an accelerator for a number of initiatives in mid-market business, particularly digital transformation. 

In 2023, over 69% of mid-market firms have employees working outside the office part of the workweek. Hybrid work is prominent, and its effect on business is unavoidable.   

Mid-market companies generally have one office and 500-2000 employees. While workplace management wasn’t always a priority, it is now. Workplace technology can help with today’s demands — such as hybrid work — through floorplan mapping, office moves, and space reservations. 

Digital solutions oversee workplace operations in the following three ways: 

  1. Import and synchronize floorplans

Challenge: “I need a solution to optimize space usage and provide the ideal workplace for employees while also taking advantage of cost savings.” 

The global pandemic created a seismic shift in commercial real estate, not only for large corporations.  While many companies are retiring their remote work models post-pandemic, they are implementing and maintaining the hybrid work model. Hybrid work still requires companies to have office space, but it also requires leaders to get smarter about their space usage. 

Many mid-size organizations have only one office, so they often overlook the benefits of a digital floorplan. As a result, they miss out on cost savings. In 2023 and forward, here are the questions the mid-market needs to ask: 

  • Are we still utilizing our entire office footprint?  
  • How can we use the office space we have more efficiently? 
  • Should we renovate our current office or relocate? 

A digital floorplan displays a visual layout of the building, showing the status and room details of each workstation or meeting room — which helps the company understand and make the most of its space usage.  

Space planning technology assists companies reconfigure spatial arrangements with a simple drag-and-drop. Combining space planning with space performance and utilization data empowers businesses to align their floorplans with workplace needs. 

  1. Coordinate simple office moves

Challenge: “I want to be able to better plan for future moves and provide an employee experience where employees can work efficiently in an unfamiliar space.”

Initially, when the pandemic lockdowns caused employees to work remotely, it looked like there was no going back. However, as time passed, workers began experiencing adverse effects from the isolation. Instead, the hybrid model became more popular than fully remote work.  

So, how does hybrid work impact mid-market companies? It may require relocating to downsize the office footprint while providing a new and improved employee workplace experience. While office moves often feel disruptive and complex, they don’t have to be; they can be smooth and error-free with the right technology. 

Workplace digital solutions help companies visualize and plan for efficient space allocation. For example, with space planning, they can visualize and plan where to place desks, meeting rooms, and equipment to best suit employee and business needs. Additionally, software-based move management facilitates an approval workflow to help coordinate aspects of the move, such as scheduling movers, assigning tasks to the appropriate staff, and ensuring necessary resources are allocated.  

By optimizing space utilization, mid-market businesses simultaneously accommodate growth, new teams, and changing work demands without needing additional real estate. All are equally vital to keep a competitive edge in today’s market.

  1. Enable space reservations

Challenge: “I need an easy way for employees to reserve desks and meeting spaces that are appropriate for their needs without overlap.” 

If companies want to avoid confusion, the hybrid office requires space and desk booking technology. With the mid-market adapting to new workplace demands, employees will more than likely return to a different office than they left — whether the office was renovated or relocated.  

Hybrid models no longer provide employees with an assigned desk since they split their time between remote and in-person work. Desk booking software allows workers to reserve workstations and meeting spaces in the office building. They can access various options, from a simple search to a filtered floor plan and list views — enabling everyone to quickly tap to determine if a room or desk is occupied, reserved, or available. 

Providing a great employee experience is vital to company culture, and a solid company culture can give mid-market businesses the edge they need to find and retain top talent. Space reservations help employees stay connected and engaged while avoiding unnecessary workplace conflict. 

Each employee’s needs are different, and the type of workspace they want may change weekly. Space reservation software helps the hybrid model run as smoothly as possible for both businesses and workers

Digital workplace solutions to improve your business 

Get your workplace up and running with space reservations, floorplan mapping, and workspace management with Eptura Workplace Core. 

Built with the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in mind, Eptura’s Core offering is scalable and tailored to grow in tandem with your business. 

Key features include: 

  • Oversee the daily operations of your single-location workplace 
  • Import and synchronize floorplans 
  • Enable space reservations with mobile employee app 
  • Coordinate simple office moves 
  • Manage office service requests 
  • Add on integrated visitor management to simplify check-ins    

Learn more or request a demo today. 

A guide to the latest European ESG regulation

Today, expectations for companies to align their business with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards are higher than ever. Organizations are coming under pressure to improve their awareness of sustainability issues and their impact on economic value — with many struggling to do so. 

In response, the European Union recently passed new ESG regulations that may force some companies to restructure their business and revisit compliance efforts in a major industry shake-up. 

The European Union passed the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive CSRD to improve ESG reporting

While most organizations publish ESG sustainability reports, one of the current challenges with voluntary ESG reporting is the lack of consistency in the information shared. Businesses can choose which ESG reporting framework to use and what they want — or don’t want — to disclose. This makes it harder for investors and stakeholders to compare companies regarding ESG risks and impacts. 

One of the biggest challenges is data. A recent Dun & Bradstreet survey found 47% of companies do not have enough data and 46% are unable to validate and trust their ESG data. These issues can have operational and financial consequences — from regulatory non-compliance, to fines, and a weakened global supply chain. 

Effective Jan. 2024, companies operating in the European Economic Area (EAA) —including those based in the U.S. — must be more detailed in their sustainability reporting due to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) policy. 

What is the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive ESG regulation? 

The new CSRD regulation introduces significant changes to what companies must report regarding ESG performance, what data they’ll be required to obtain, and what processes they must have in place.  

Issues will cover environmental, social, human rights, and governance factors. Companies must audit and disclose both the effect their business has on the globe and the impact of these concerns on their business.

CSRD applies to EU companies and non-EU companies with activities in the EEA

CSRD does not only require EU companies but also non-EU companies with activities in the EEA to file annual reports alongside their financial statements. These reports must be prepared according to the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).  

On July 31, 2023, the European Commission adopted the first set of ESRS. With this soon becoming law, it will apply directly to all 27 European member states but not to the U.K. These standards go far beyond most mandatory and voluntary ESG reporting frameworks in its scope and granularity.

What are the new ESG regulations? 

The goal of the reporting directive set by the European Commission is to achieve the Green Deal’s target: transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy by ensuring:  

  • No net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 
  • Economic growth decoupled from resource use 
  • No person and no place are left behind 

The directives aim to define a common reporting framework for non-financial data. Together, the CSRD and ESRS require companies to:

  • Perform materiality assessments on each sustainability topic to determine which information they should report by applying the double materiality principle 
  • Report on the material impacts, risks, and opportunities (IRO) identified in their business operations, those of its group, and those of its upstream and downstream value chain 
  • Provide metrics and targets for material sustainability topics and connect those to their financial reports 
  • Audit their sustainability disclosures by an independent third-party auditor before filing with the relevant authority

Double materiality principle

These new regulations update corporate sustainability reporting under the 2014 Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) — a regulatory framework requiring sizeable public interest entities to report on sustainability performance. With advanced rules that extend beyond the continent, CSRD is much more ambitious than NFRD. 

Which companies will be affected? 

With the CSRD replacing the NFRD, it expands the number of companies that must comply by nearly four times. While the 12,000 companies reported under the NFRD, almost 50,000 companies will be impacted by the CSRD — making up 75% of business in the EEA.

75 percent of business in the EEA will be impacted by the CSRD

The directive is mandatory for in-scope companies: 

  • Companies listed on regulated markets in the EU  
  • Companies that meet at least two of the following criteria: More than 250 employees, net turnover of over 40 million euros, or total assets exceeding 20 million euros 
  • Non-EU companies with at least one subsidiary in the EU and a net turnover of more than 150 million euros

What are the four phases of CSRD implementation? 


  • Phase 1: Reporting in 2025 on the financial reporting in 2025 on the financial year 2024 for companies already subject to the NFRD 
  • Phase 2: Reporting in 2026 on the financial year 2025 for large companies that are not currently subject to the NFRD 
  • Phase 3: Reporting in 2027 on the financial year 2026 for listed small and medium enterprises (SME), small and non-complex credit institutions, and captive insurance undertakings 
  • Phase 4: Reporting in 2029 on the financial year 2028 for non-EU companies with a net turnover above 150 million euros if they have at least one subsidiary in the EU

Why CSRD and ESRS matters to American companies  

As mentioned, CSRD applies to non-EU companies with substantial activity in the EEA, including a physical presence. 31% of these companies affected are American. 

31 percent of non-EU companies impacted by the CSRD are American companies

It is important to note that CSRD reporting covers the business at a consolidated level, not just at the EU-based subsidiary or branch level. What does this mean? U.S. companies with significant turnover in the EU must publish sustainability information covering their entire operations, not just their EU operations. Even companies with a single EU operation must apply the new rules for the 2028 fiscal year. 

These ESG reports will need to be prepared according to one of the following: 

  • Standards applicable to the EU companies within the scope of CSRD and ESRS 
  • Separate ESG standards for non-EU companies that have yet to be published – these standards are expected to be adopted by the European Commission by the end of Jun. 2024 
  • Standards that are deemed equivalent by the European Commission

Of these three options available to American parent companies, only the draft ESRS disclosure requirements have been published so far. They are still deciding which sustainability reporting standards used outside the EU will be considered equivalent. 

The truth is, there are still many unknowns about the exact CSRD reporting requirements for U.S. companies operating in the EEA, and the upcoming year will bring some answers to many awaited questions.

How can companies prepare for CSRD ESG reporting? 

The CSRD is a highly detailed piece of legislation that raises many questions. But one of the most common is: How can companies prepare for the new ESG reporting?  

Legislation passed corporate reporting mandate

Supporting the new CSRD policy requires a diverse set of skills, and companies must ensure their employees have the right expertise to address the regulation adequately. Key areas of focus should be: 

  • Program management helps manage ESG programs and stakeholders 
  • Information technology works to implement reporting tools to streamline data collection and reporting processes 
  • Data collection identifies the relevant data sources and collects the data from internal and external operations and databases  
  • Data analysis uses statistical tools to interpret data and identify ESG risks, opportunities, impacts, and trends according to ESG calculation standards 
  • Reporting leverages writing and editing skills to prepare and present the ESG data clearly and consistently that aligns with CSRD requirements  

Employees may require additional compliance training and support regarding ESG reporting guidelines and standards. Also, as part of your strategy, determine which tasks will be assigned to internal staff versus external service providers. This will help with the preparation.


Soon, investors, consumers, and policymakers will use CSRD to check corporate non-financial information in line with sustainability reporting standards. The new policy seeks companies to increase their disclosure of environmental and social risks and opportunities. It will also ensure that investors have detailed information on the ESG performance of their investments. 

The European Union’s CSRD won’t just affect local companies; all companies operating in the EAA need to get up to speed with CSRD — when they will be affected and what they need to do to prepare. This new directive will transform sustainability around the globe by rewriting ESG reporting. 

Go deeper. Read our guide to optimizing ESG performance with technology.  


Alternative workplaces: Then versus now

In 1998, the Harvard Business Review published a futuristic article, The Alternative Workplace: Changing Where and How People Work. While it was a new and exciting concept back then, in 2023, it isn’t too groundbreaking. If anything, it’s the new normal.

It describes remote work and a growing detachment from the traditional workplace. That said, it’s a prophetic-sounding piece from more than 20 years ago that predicted the alternative workplace we’re seeing today. 

Indeed, we have moved from an era in which people actively seek connections with one another to an era in which people decide when and where to disconnect — electronically and socially. Current organizations pursuing alternative workplace initiatives — particularly those with home office arrangements — must be mindful of that paradox. 

The rise of the alternative workplace has been a long time coming, as evidenced by the above passage. The global pandemic was just the latest catalyst driving alternative solutions into the spotlight. Today, alternative workplace strategies have taken center stage and are fulfilling the vision first adopted in 1998.

Alternative workplace definition 

What is an alternative workplace? It’s a fair question and readily answered by many of the work trends we’re familiar with today. Telecommuting and remote work. Coworking. These paint a picture of the alternative workplace. 

Alternative workplaces refer to where employees work that is not in an office, and how that environment supports their productivity.

In 1998, “alternative workplace” focused more specifically on alternatives to working in an office. Today, the definition focuses more on where employees work and how that environment supports them — from a well-furnished coworking space to the free Wi-Fi at a local coffee shop.  

Key elements of the alternative workplace 

Alternative workplaces are highly diverse because they can encompass just about any environment that supports work. So long as it supports your ability to work and it’s outside of the “home base” workplace, it falls under the guise of an alternative workplace. 

A coworking space might have an office feel and all the amenities of a traditional workplace. Still, it’s an alternative workplace because professionals from other companies and career paths surround you. Your home office is an alternative workplace. Even an airport lounge is an alternative workplace — even if you only work there for 45 minutes before a flight. 

Are you sitting in an alternative workspace right now? Take stock of the environment and see if it offers these essential elements: 

  • Are you using your own technology? 
  • Do you have control over your seating? 
  • Do you have control over your work habits? 
  • Is the environment conducive to your work? 
  • Are there people other than coworkers around you? 

Examples of alternative workplace

Most coffee shops, coworking spaces, home offices, breakout spaces, airport terminals, public libraries, and similar facilities fit the bill. But the alternative workplace isn’t only shaped by physical surroundings — more important is how it empowers employees.

Emphasize the worker instead of the workplace 

Alternative workspaces are defined by the freedoms they afford workers. These workplaces sever the tie between work and any one single place, which also means they give employees the power to self-govern. When allowed to choose their own venue and work in their own way, many workers seize the opportunity to do their best work in their best manner. 

It’s not surprising that many companies invested in alternative workplace strategies over the past two decades — even pre-pandemic. Unlinking work from the workplace and instead hitching work to the worker brings untold flexibility to the concept of what a workplace is. Hence, the current rise in alternative workplaces.

If an employee can produce 100% regardless of whether they work at a desk, in an office, or an easy chair at home, does it matter where they work? Most likely not. What if they could accomplish 120% from their easy chair? It’s a very real driver behind the hype in alternative workplaces. 

Alternative workplace concepts come down to an investment in work and the worker, instead of the workplace. So long as they can do the job, who’s to stop employees from doing it in a place that’s comfortable, familiar, and supportive of their personal work habits? It’s a trade many employers willingly make for bolstered productivity, improved culture, and employee satisfaction.

Alternatives are part of today’s modern workplace 

This is not a fad” is a simple but striking sentence in the groundbreaking 1998 Harvard Business Review article. Indeed, it’s not, especially to have survived over 20 years and become the foundation for the adaptive workplace solutions we see today. 

The rise of the internet, cloud applications, and better computing technology have all made alternative workplaces viable solutions as companies navigate the modern workplace.

Remote work, flex scheduling, hoteling, experiential workspaces, and coworking are all alternative forms of work, but they’re only part of the greater alternative workplace employees rely on today. 

Podcast Ep. 105 Stephen Ballesty

In episode 105 of Asset Champion, host Mike Petrusky talks with Stephen Ballesty about his experience in asset management and facility management, including his many contributions to the IFMA community. They cover the challenges of the built environment, the importance of the ISO 41000 series of standards, and the future of the industry, while offering specific insights and advice on how to take action on ESG priorities. 


  • Stephen’s professional journey in the industry 
  •  ISO Technical Committee for the 41000 series of FM standards 
  • Role of FM in sustainability, resilience, and adaptability 
  • Future challenges for FMs in managing the built environment 

What you need to know: Facility and maintenance takeaways 

Takeaway 1: The importance of global collaboration for facility management 

International collaboration plays an important role in the field of facility management. Stephen Ballesty emphasized the role of the ISO 41000 series as a tool for organizations to enhance the productivity, sustainability, and livability of their built environment. He highlighted the efforts of the ISO Technical Committee 267, which has been working since 2012 and currently includes 51 participating countries. 

“In addressing the global challenges that we all face. The ISO 41000 series provides us with a framework. A framework within which facilities management can demonstrate themselves as the foremost contributor to a more productive, sustainable, and livable built environment for all. And that is the big picture,” he explained. The standards provide context and a toolbox for facility managers to navigate issues ranging from climate change to the circular economy, he added. 

Takeaway 2: Facility management needs approaches that are integrated and sustainable 

Ballesty explained the need to transition from siloed to integrated approaches in facility management, pointing out the importance of holistic thinking and collective responsibility when dealing with the built environment. He also emphasized that sustainability has become a standard practice in the field, with resilience as the current response to global challenges. 

“My advice to your listeners, without borrowing too heavily from Nike because they’ve already used ‘Just do it,’ I would say two things. One is just do something. So don’t wait for what others are doing. There is a lot of good work that can be done, and not only in sustainability, resilience, and adaptability,” Ballesty said.  

“And then the second part of the messaging is, look at integrated approaches. Don’t think in terms of the silos, don’t think in terms of your part of the process. We need to think more holistically as being collectively responsible for managing the built environment. That’s the challenge.” 

Takeaway 3: The role of facility management is evolving in the face of global challenges 

Ballesty highlighted the evolving role of facility management in addressing various global challenges, and stressed the need to prepare for the future, suggesting that adaptability would become the third wave in facility management following sustainability and resilience. He also underscored the value of adopting standards to document and improve organizational practices. 

“If we return to this issue of what are the trends, I think a lot of them are embodied and elevated through ISO standards,” said Ballesty. “And perhaps most importantly in this suite of international FM standards is 4001, our own management system standard, which allows FM organizations to be ISO certified.” 

He concluded: “In addressing the global challenges that we all face, the ISO 41000 series provides us with a framework within which facilities management can demonstrate themselves as the foremost contributor to a more productive, sustainable, and livable built environment for all. And that is the big picture.” 

Asset management insights 

  • Cost reduction remains a key driver in the FM industry, but there is a growing focus on sustainability, resilience, and adaptability. 
  • The ISO 41000 series of FM standards provides a framework for facilities management to contribute to a more productive, sustainable, and livable built environment. 
  • The adoption of these standards has been slow, but they are elevating the role of FM and recognizing the broader agenda of the built environment. 
  • The FM industry needs to prepare for adaptability as the next challenge, following sustainability and resilience. 

Listen to the full podcast here. 

Go deeper. Dive into more episodes of Eptura’s Asset Champion podcasts. 

7 ways technology is changing corporate culture for good

In the age of hybrid work models and remote working, your technology stack and its adoption are top of mind for workers and business leaders. From employee engagement to time management and project management software, cloud-based technology is essential for managing today’s dynamic workplace.

There’s a lot to think about beyond the excitement and promise of adopting the latest technological advancements. From seamless, digital visitor management solutions to digital twins and building information modeling to preventive maintenance, facilities management and building operations are more digitally unified than they’ve ever been before.

Yes, you want to boost efficiency and business productivity. But you also need to boost employee morale and encourage employees to work and collaborate with others face to face – and with remote workers simultaneously. Our quarterly research shows employees want a balance of in-person and remote working options – and are very motivated by being with, learning from, and being mentored by co-workers and managers.

But gone are the days of commuting to an office five days a week. So, you need smart technology that is easy to use, easy to share information, and easy to integrate.

Leaders have to realize that with every high-level, technology-driven decision made about adopting something new – such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other real time innovations – there will be fundamental changes to business processes. And these changes will force employees and vendors to adapt.

Technology plays an important role in changing work culture, but it’s important to remember it’s just a tool—and it can’t do all the work on its own. The ability of a work culture to be able to adapt and change to new technology goes beyond simply new training and upskilling programs.

“To some extent, however, it doesn’t matter if companies do fund upskilling or reskilling programs,” says Gallup researchers who study the link between technology and culture. “No matter how well-trained the employees, a slow, inflexible culture can’t make much of its tech or its workers. Agile is cultural, not digital, and culture depends on managers and leaders.”

Gallup finds there are eight traits or “qualities” that enable successful companies to be agile –one of which is the ability to adopt new technology. The other qualities include cooperation, speed of decision making, trial tolerance, empowerment, simplicity, knowledge sharing, and innovation focus.

When selecting technology, have a strong understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and how. Ensure the software, app, platform, or service you choose will help you achieve the change you’re trying to support. Here are the key ways organizations are using technology to better influence corporate culture.

1. Collect and share accurate, real-time data

With space utilization software, it is now easier than ever for a department head to access usage data and gain a better understanding of their team’s work habits. This data includes the team’s physical location within the office and their interactions with other teams, removing the need for HR, IT, or CRE departments to be involved. This data can also be used to inform the hiring process by providing all the necessary information on a candidate such as their resume, application, interview notes, and feedback in one place. This makes the hiring process simpler and faster than ever.

Benefits: Greater transparency, efficiency, and evidence-based decisions.

2. Performance management moves to performance enablement

Technology should be used to make work frictionless and reduce barriers that get in the way of productivity. Eptura’s wayfinding tools, for example, reduce the time spent trying to locate a colleague or a meeting space, enabling employees to focus more on the task at hand. This encourages communication and collaboration and makes employees feel supported and empowered.

Benefits: Increased communication and collaboration, employees feel supported and empowered.

3. Provide and receive feedback

Survey and goal-tracking tools allow managers to quickly check in with employees more frequently and give feedback in a timely manner. HR departments can also use quick survey apps to capture employee sentiment or ask for feedback and suggestions. Leadership can host “AMAs” (Ask Me Anything) with employees to ask and answer questions about company goals and initiatives.

Benefits: Stronger communication, companies are able to course-correct and proactively address potential issues.

 4. Offer more flexibility

Modern technology offers more flexibility for employees to work remotely or when traveling. They can also “clock in” at more convenient hours if they’re unable to be in the office during the standard working hours. Companies are also moving away from all-encompassing enterprise systems and seeking out technology that is source-agnostic, modular, and interconnected. Eptura’s workplace optimization solution, for example, can take in data from disparate sources, analyze it, and turn it into useful information.

Benefits: Flexible, family-friendly work policies without sacrificing performance; able to adapt and scale easily when technology itself is flexible.

workspace reservation software

5. Increase efficiency with automation

Software that monitors your building systems can conduct audits and tests of various systems and equipment seamlessly. Eptura’s scenario planning functionality allows users to create different move scenarios and estimate the ROI and practicality of each. This eliminates the guesswork of whether the baseline data is still accurate. Identify space occupancy patterns with peak utilization and frequency trends to receive an accurate overview about how employees are interacting with the space.

Benefits: More efficient decisions without spending hours buried in spreadsheets.

6. Reach sustainability goals

Technology is making it easier and more efficient for offices to go paperless (or at least, paper-reduced). Tablets and digital whiteboards mean less printing, which means using less ink and toner, and a reduction of physical space needed to store paper files. Sensors offer opportunities to make your building more efficient and green, such as smart lighting or HVAC systems that save money by only turning on when triggered by presence detection or various environmental stimuli.

Benefits: Reduced energy and building costs, and good corporate social responsibility PR.

7. Recognize and reward employees

Recognition and reward software allows anyone to give a ‘shout out’ to any employee who’s done exceptional work. Gamification can also be used to improve training and onboarding or to guide employees wanting to advance their careers. This helps employees understand the skills they need to build and the milestones they need to attain before their next promotion.

Benefits: Boost employee engagement and satisfaction.

Find out how Eptura’s technology can have a positive impact on changing your corporate culture—request a demo of our space utilization and planning software today.

Breaking down workplace and asset management silos

According to our latest quarterly survey, employees generally visit the office during the mid-week. This fact of today’s workplace has financial and management implications across   teams using a range of different systems and processes.

What does the mid-week spike mean for your asset management, maintenance, and repair teams? Or your security and reception support for managing visitors? As more and more employees return to the office, how are they sharing space? What impact does that have on cleaning the facilities or on controlling building energy costs or managing inventory?

For maintenance teams today, workload ratios are working against them. The ideal ratio of preventive to corrective maintenance is roughly 4:1. But our Q2 data shows a ratio of 4:7.  It means that for every four work orders planned, maintenance is responding to more than seven break-fix or other ad hoc ticket requests.

The problem isn’t data. There’s no shortage of it. It’s being able to make good decisions from it quickly and easily – and automate rote, highly repeatable processes from the information. It’s being able to manage it all across connected workflows.  i.

Between 2020 and 2022, global enterprise data grew at a rate of 42% – a total of 2.02 petabytes, according to Statista. But it’s not the amount that’s surprising; it’s what people aren’t doing with the data.  Just over a third (32%) of all that data  is put to work.  Nearly 70% of enterprise data goes unused, according to IDC research.

Data tends to sit and live across more systems and in more siloes than you may need, often takes too long to process, and can miss the mark in helping justify decisions in today’s rapidly changing world of work.

“Companies of all sizes have been forced to dedicate resources to five, 10, or even 15 different workplace and facility management tools,” explained Brandon Holden, CEO of Eptura, earlier this year. “With reduced budgets and fewer resources, organizations need to shift toward unified platforms that replace individual solutions.”

It’s time to rethink work models and modes

What’s needed is a complete rethink of working models. Gone are the days when business properties were assessed by measuring cost per square foot, cost per use, and customer satisfaction scores in isolation. With today’s range of flexibility, hybrid work patterns, employers need to know how to measure the necessary balance between experience and efficiency, and flexibility and certainty.

“We need to get away from this idea of the binary day in the office versus the day at home,” says Leonie M. Hicks, Workplace Strategy Consultant, Unispace on our Workplace Innovator podcast. “If we could incorporate some more flexibility around the hours worked, I think this would be a way to earn the commute.”

Our 16,000+ customers are experimenting with different work modes and models, and are increasingly adopting integrated technology that connects data and measures how employees use the physical space. More and more facility managers and employees are taking advantage of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to help reconfigure offices and other types of workspaces while improving the maintenance of physical assets and building operations.

Worktech is the bridge.

Data helps unlock technology and process siloes to find more balance

Data helps companies right-size their floorplans and real estate portfolio using space planning software to match demand while simultaneously managing the costs of building operations. But one size doesn’t fit all.

Our recent global poll as reported in the Q2 Workplace Index reflects how fragmented businesses are today:

  • 42%: Too much space
  • 30%: Need more information to understand
  • 28%: Not enough space

When data from facility management systems is integrated and harmonized with data from workplace systems, businesses can find the right balance between the function of a workplace and the operation of the building.

See all of our recent data. Get the Workplace Index report now.


Make data the asset that helps you better manage your assets

The days of the real estate footprint being a static asset are in the past. Real estate, facility managers, and building operations professionals today are treating data as an asset. Business leaders need to streamline costs, so it’s not surprising that real estate is a major area for finding savings. But how do business leaders optimize their buildings and workspaces so they’re attractive to employees but less of a burden on the bottom line?

“This idea of improving the efficiency and accuracy of asset management processes and most importantly, decision making, will help everything become clearer so that you can actually make proper decisions,” says Paul Doherty, President and CEO, Digit Group on our Asset Champion podcast.

For facility managers today, being able to shift the balance of maintenance activities from unscheduled to scheduled, organizations can optimize work around building occupancy activity. The right data in the right unified system can help with better manage the full lifecycle of assets – and the get the most life from assets as possible.

Focus on what you need to know and your stakeholders

To assess their spaces in terms of the value they add and the financial efficiency they deliver, employers need multi-layered data points. When faced with opposing demands, what is often missing from the boardroom discussion is effective data to give a clear picture of the success of workplace utilization.

A deeper understanding of employee behavior across all workspaces makes planning for maintenance more straightforward and makes it easier to accommodate flexible working hours and workloads for everyone. For example, if meeting room data shows most meetings tend to end before 4 pm on mid-week in-office days because of flexible work scheduling, maintenance crews can begin planned work earlier. Precise data that shows these kinds of patterns can help. Unify workplace and asset processes and functions with advanced worktech

Mapping data from facilities management onto data from the workplace is powerful. By doing so, businesses will be better able to find the right balance between how the workplace functions and how the buildings need to operate.

With sensors, for example, organizations can get a better understanding of employee behavior. This helps facility managers measure load times in different parts of the workplace. By gaining a deeper understanding of employee behavior, not only does planning become more straightforward, but it becomes easier to accommodate more flexible working hours for everyone.

With digital twins, organizations can model scenarios and situations based on real world conditions using real time data to better manage budgets and better plan for costs that are likely to happen.

Companies can now find a whole range of blind spots — allowing managers to explore, locate, interact with, and report on it all. Within the context of smart buildings and digitally connected commercial real estate portfolios, digital twins help optimize space planning and maintenance decisions faster and better.

Facility and asset leaders need to work closely with front of house leaders to combine data analysis and decision making

By aligning facility management with the same floorplans and utilization data that the workplace and HR teams are accessing, organizations can proactively pause access to floors and redirect desk and room bookings to other spaces to accelerate maintenance projects.

This will help companies efficiently manage their assets and real estate portfolio to match demand, while simultaneously ensuring they create a cost-effective experience to attract people into the office.

Four main functions of FM

The broad scope of facilities management (FM) makes it a hard position to define. The functions of FM go far beyond ‘managing facilities’. A facility manager wears many hats and uses a broad array of technology to support all their efforts and duties.

In the era of hybrid work where employee behavior and building occupancy are dynamic, the duties of FM are more complex than they’ve ever been. The shift to flexible working has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to plan, operate, and maintain workspace and assets effectively. It requires facility management to work together with many different teams within an organization including everyone from human resources to technology teams, to physical security and reception managers, to maintenance and janitorial services. Plus, there are many vendors to manage, track, and coordinate – including when there are department building moves or space reconfigurations.

To truly understand what a facility manager does today, what they’re responsible for, and what effect they have on a company, it’s best to break down their scope of work. That means taking a closer look at the four main pillars of facilities management: People, processes, buildings, and technology.

Function #1: Facility managers support employees

Supporting people is the primary objective of a facility manager. This serves multiple purposes, including attracting and retaining top talent, increasing efficiency, and creating a positive workplace. Facility managers provide assistance with desk arrangements, employee directories, space utilization, emergency planning, visitor management, and more. They also act as a bridge between the workplace and the employees, resolving issues that arise. Facility managers also collaborate with other departments like maintenance, security, and janitorial services to ensure the building is secure, functioning well, and clean.

  • Coordinating hybrid work arrangements for desk and meeting space bookings
  • Managing employee directories
  • Facilitating moves and space utilization
  • Handling emergency planning

Facility managers are the point of contact for addressing employee concerns and ensuring a safe work environment. They handle issues related to building security, fire safety, emergency preparedness, and accessibility compliance. By prioritizing employee safety and comfort, facility managers foster a positive workplace culture and contribute to employee satisfaction and well-being.

They are responsible for creating an accommodating work environment, managing the physical infrastructure, overseeing budget and resources, implementing sustainability initiatives, participating in strategic planning, and ensuring employee safety and well-being. Their multifaceted role is essential in supporting the overall success of an organization and maintaining a productive and enjoyable workplace for employees.

Function #2: Facility managers manage strategic planning, budgets, and building maintenance upkeep

Additionally, facility managers manage and monitor the budget, resources, and assets allocated to facility operations, such as maintenance, repairs, renovations, and utilities. This helps ensure optimal resource management and cost savings. Furthermore, facility managers implement sustainability initiatives to reduce the company’s environmental footprint. Plus, facility managers are involved in long-term strategic planning for facility development and expansion.

“We try to forecast at least five years out to see what needs to be replaced,” says Corey McKnight, a facilities director for the town of Winchester, Virginia, on a recent Asset Champion podcast. “Carpet at the police department, water heaters, chillers, boilers. It’s a never-ending cycle of equipment replacement and repairs.”

McKnight, who has a dual role as both the facility director for the town and director of the parking authority, highlights the importance of considering the lifespan of the assets and the maintenance required over time when planning for their replacement.

“You have to gauge the age of this or how much maintenance have you done on it, over its life expectancy, and then try to figure out over the next five years where is our best value to spend our money,” says McKnight.

Want the real world scoop? Hear directly from experts in FM on our industry-leading podcasts Asset Champion and Workplace Innovator.

Function #3: Facility managers establish processes to manage buildings

In addition to ensuring a safe work environment, facility managers are responsible for establishing processes to bring order to the workplace and buildings. This involves creating a system of expectations and developing processes to cover any new scenarios that arise.

Facility management also involves upkeep and improvement of the physical building.

But this is also the most robust scope of expectations for facility managers. It involves not only tending the building, but cultivating partnerships, future planning, and asset management. Some examples of this broad range of responsibilities include:

  • Finding and maintaining vendor contracts
  • Repair, maintenance, and building improvement
  • Workplace cleaning and décor
  • On- and off-site property management

If it has to do with the physical building, it falls within the facilities manager’s realm. Facilities are the second largest expense behind the workforce—it’s the job of a facility manager to turn the workplace into a competitive advantage, instead of a cost center. It’s about ensuring facilities meet the needs of the people using them.

Function #4: Facility managers support technology integration

Technology integration is critical to modern facility management. Workplace management systems aggregate data to make decisions about how to run the business and shape the workplace. Facility managers research, select, and implement the right technology to collect and analyze data from networked devices and FM software. This data is used to better understand the workplace and optimize the environment for those using it.

Workplace management systems aggregate data which drive crucial decisions about how to run the business and shape the workplace. Integrating physical technology typically falls on the IT department. However, facilities managers are the first and last word on how they’re selected, used, and leveraged. Some examples of what this looks like in a modern setting include:

  • Researching IoT devices, such as sensors, based on data collection needs
  • Integrating sensors, visitor management, access control processes, and workspace reservation systems, into everyday facilities processes
  • Determining the cost, ROI, and advantage of smart technologies
  • Using aggregated data to better understand the workplace

Using an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS), facility managers can collect and analyze data from networked technologies to get insights about the workplace. This fuels better decision-making on how to optimize the work environment for the people using it.

It’s important to note that not all office technology relies on data collection. Access control systems support safety, while automation tech streamlines processes. And while there’s a data component to any networked device or software, the true benefit of most tech is in its function. It’s up to facility managers to understand and leverage this function for optimal ROI.

Putting it all together for facilities management

Facility managers support workers directly and indirectly. They establish processes for order and organization. They’re charged with upkeep and improvement of the facilities themselves. They create complex integrations to leverage data for success.

When you put these four functions together, they paint a picture of what facility managers really do. Broadly speaking, their focus is on optimizing the workplace to support every aspect of the business it touches. But on a deeper level, it’s about giving the company a steady foundation for success.

Need a more unified approach to FM? Read our detailed guide to integrated facilities management.

Why breakout spaces are essential to the modern workplace

Revisiting space planning is important for evolving companies. As your employees’ needs change, the workspaces they use will need to change. It’s also worthwhile to reevaluate space allocation if you haven’t done so in a few years — the types of workspaces present are likely outdated or, at the very least, due for a few upgrades. It’s an excellent time to ask yourself if there’s enough available breakout space. 

Offices have informally utilized breakout spaces for decades. Today, they’ve risen from convenience to necessity based on their role in agile workplaces. Not only do you need to provide breakout spaces, but you must ensure these areas support various types of work. It’s time to reevaluate the role breakout spaces play in your office. 

Defining breakout spaces 

What is breakout space? The simplest definition is any space without a predetermined purpose. It could be a table with three or four chairs or as complex as an experiential space employees can flex in and out of. 

Breakout spaces are a quick fix to an immediate need. A conference ends, but three people need to get together to discuss a subtask. Instead of crowding around someone’s desk, they “break out” into a space for 15 to 20 minutes. An employee has two meetings on the fourth floor, with a 30-minute break between them. Instead of returning to their office on the first floor, they flex into a breakout space to prep between meetings. 

Breakout spaces are usually occupied for 30-45 minutes and able to adapt to the needs of whoever occupies them.

Breakout spaces are the ultimate representation of agility in a fast-paced workplace. They’re usually occupied for around 30 to 45 minutes, and their unstructured nature turns them into the ideal space for whoever occupies them. 

Give employees diverse breakout spaces 

Breakout spaces themselves don’t generally follow a defined purpose. However, a breakout area can set the tone for the type of work people do in these spaces. 

A breakout area tucked into a quiet corner might attract employees looking for a hideaway — a place to concentrate on something important for a short time. Likewise, an experiential breakout area themed like a coffee house might encourage collaboration by attracting small groups who need a place to brainstorm or toss around ideas.

The atmosphere of a breakout space should signal to employees the type of environment they can expect to work in. Creating diverse breakout spaces throughout your facilities is a great way to give employees flex space that meets their changing needs. Quiet work today, collaboration tools tomorrow, and space to spread out next week. The more diverse breakout spaces, the easier employees can move seamlessly throughout the workplace as their day or workload dictates.

Unstructured space is crucial in agile offices 

The role of an office breakout area cannot be understated in the modern workplace. Employees in motion need spaces to hunker down, whether to catch their breath, catch up on messages, or accomplish quick tasks. An undiscerning, easily co-opted breakout space is the ideal opportunity. Create the right ambiance via space design, and it becomes a haven for employees — a space where they feel comfortable and grounded, despite their fast-paced schedule. 

Employees today need spaces to hunker down, whether to catch their breath, catch up on messages, or accomplish quick tasks

Today, so much of the office is structured to promote agility specifically. While the workplace experience is flexible on the surface, there are rigid controls in place that allow it to bend without breaking. Facility managers play an invaluable role, and the rise of office automation makes overseeing dynamic environments easier.

Unstructured workspaces are an essential asset on the management side, as well. These “set it and forget it” spaces don’t need management because they’re truly agile. Well-conceived, they’re a smart way to both support the workforce and optimize the office space floor plan. 

Making breakout space work 

Breakout spaces are the most flexible spaces in the office, but that shouldn’t make them an afterthought or a filler solution in your floor plan. Dedicated breakout space should be strategic — located in areas where it’s easy for people to transition into and out of different activities. Employees should feel comfortable in a breakout space, whether doing head-down work or meeting with a small group. Most importantly, it must foster productivity by contributing to greater workplace concepts of agility and flexibility. 

Employees have always used breakout spaces. Now, in the modern office, their role has expanded. Put these adaptable, accessible spaces where they’ll do the most good and encourage employees to leverage them whenever they need a place to be productive.