Facility managers influence workplace strategies

 

Facility management and real estate professionals are playing an increasingly important role in high-level strategic workplace decisions, according to a new survey released by IFMA. Specifically, when asked who was driving workplace strategy decisions related to the implementation of distributed work, facility management and real estate managers were identified in 30 percent of responses, only slightly less than senior executives (38 percent).

The revelation that facility management professionals are a key driving force behind high level strategic decisions is found in IFMA’s latest workplace strategy report, “Distributed Work Revisited.” The report includes the results of a major survey conducted across industry types mainly in Canada and the U.S.

Other key findings include an increase in the number of employees using unassigned space coupled with a decrease in the actual allocated space for that shared space. When compared with the initial 2009 “Distributed Work” report, most surveyed organizations have increased the number of staff sitting in unassigned spaces. At the same time, survey respondents reported a decrease in the amount of space required to support unassigned staff.
The survey found that more organizations are employing a “growth without growth” strategy when it comes to workspace allocation. With more people using less space, the sharing ratio has increased such that organizations are increasing their size while using the same amount of real estate.

The report also identifies social barriers – not technological ones – as the primary hurdle for implementation of distributed work strategies. For those organizations that do adopt distributed work strategies, technology and furniture are the top drivers of cost. One surprising result was the increased cost of parking, resulting from the fact that workplace density is increasing beyond the expected levels.

In addition to the full results of the distributed work survey with corresponding analysis, the report includes several case studies from organizations that have found success with distributed work strategies including eBay, Accenture, Microsoft, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and the City of Calgary. Finally, the report offers a “Lessons Learned” section in which the real experiences in implementing distributed work strategies is condensed into useful guidance to help facility management professionals succeed in similar efforts.

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