All over the world, forward-thinking healthcare organizations are turning to next-generation facilities management (FM) software to efficiently manage their facility and real estate portfolios. It’s being used to streamline business processes, reduce costs, simplify space and maintenance management and create flexible, innovative work spaces to meet their financial and human resource objectives.
One of the biggest issues is the rise of mobile work environments. Last year marked the first time that access to the internet via mobile devices, such as phone and tablets, surpassed access via desktop and laptop computers, according to smartinsights.com. Employees no longer arrive en masse at 9 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m., which requires employers to have an exceptional amount of flexibility in terms of “time in the office.”
The challenge for healthcare facilities is to create flexible options for employees within their hospitals, laboratories, clinics, nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Organizations recognize these options attract the right talent while creating environments where both employees and businesses thrive. Not surprisingly, Forbes recently revealed that 82 of the top 100 “Best companies to work for” allow employees to work outside the office 20% of the time.
In example, Bayer Consumer Care AG, owned by Bayer, was realigning several offices including its corporate headquarters. Following an acquisition and a company relocation that doubled the number of employees but only increased their space by 21,500 square feet, Bayer used FM software to generate a bigger, better picture of overall space utilization. Improved visibility into each location’s resources allowed more efficient use of space in terms of flexible work schedules and did not tax the headcount for each facility. The solution offered a greater degree of flexibility and control for management, while the staff felt empowered to make some of their own (controlled) decisions.
“The management reports that we can generate now have given us a much better picture of space utilization,” says Maryanne Keller, head of Bayer Consumer Care AG Facility Management. “Improved visibility into our resource-use enabled us to plan better, manage work orders more efficiently and make better use of our time.”
In his 2013 research paper “Work and Workplaces in the Digital City,” researcher Andrew Laing distinguishes three new workplace concepts. The first are co-work spaces, which are open and invite people of all backgrounds to meet and collaborate. The second are open-house concepts, which are facilities that are owned by an organization that invites non-employees and other organizations to come and work there, often for free. And the third are cohabit offices, which are offices inhabited by a few specific organizations, effectively “mixing” their workforces.
While the benefits of these arrangements are still being discovered, Harvard Medical School has found evidence that researchers’ work was cited in more publications if they collaborated with other scientists in the same building rather than collaborating with people in different locations.
Using FM software to help encourage a mobile climate within an organization has other benefits as well. It gives employees all the support and services they need, wherever and whenever they need them. The data derived from FM software also allows healthcare facility managers to intelligently harness insights into workplace usage patterns – giving you the means to strategically plan for the demands of our increasingly flexible workforce. It delivers comprehensive metrics on your existing space utilization, allowing you to accommodate the changing workforce and highlight further opportunities and areas for improvement. Molina Healthcare recently used FM software to implement a new facilities management system to manage 2.5 million square feet spread across 100 locations nationwide under one system.
Now is the time to get strategic. The next decade is certain to be one where organizations are presented with a wide variety of technological challenges and opportunities. And it’s up to forward-thinking facilities management professionals to stay ahead of the game; going beyond simply maintaining physical infrastructure and controlling costs. Using tools like next-generation FM software helps them implement efficient space management, while helping develop innovative workplace strategies aligned with the changing needs within the organization.