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Building Success

3 Workspace Optimization Strategies for Owners, Landlords, Managers, and Tenants

Posted by Kai Thompson  |  October 13, 2020

Preface

In addition to safeguarding the wellbeing of their people, organizations now find themselves striving to keep pace with the sudden acceleration in the advancement of workplace technology. To establish new business models and management practices that not only integrate the use of these technologies into their workforce but govern how people adapt to and work in partnership with the technology available to them.

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Sun Tzu

The Art of War

The idea of Building Success should be viewed as both an action and an outcome. The action(s) being innovation + continuous improvement of indoor workspaces, and the outcome(s) being improved performance + productivity of our workforce. As discussed in our earlier article, The Space Between, the Commercial Real Estate industry is experiencing a push toward Healthy Buildings as a standard. In the end, the true objective is not just to have healthy buildings, but healthy people.

We Must Begin with the End-User in Mind

When it comes to workspaces, the true End-Users are the employees that inhabit the spaces we build. How much do we know about our end-users? How much of our building design is tailored to what we know and/or understand about their needs, wants, and concerns?

As many people are gearing up to go back to work, they may have noticed a lot of new procedures in place to protect their health and safety. Some of them are easily implemented by owners, landlords, and facility managers but prove inconvenient to tenants and their employees.

1. Convenience

In the time of COVID, convenience can be a well-planned process that gets occupants through the door and to their workspace quickly and easily without compromising safety. Convenience can be easy access to actionable data to inform contract tracing, air and water quality, occupancy counts, and energy use. Convenience is scheduled and on-demand cleaning protocols that effectively demonstrate space readiness.

A useful strategy for building in convenience is to anticipate the variance of priorities between stakeholders, i.e. Owners, Landlords, Managers, and Tenants, and how those disparities ultimately impact employees.

For example, the use of high-level screening might be a convenient solution for a landlord but prove inconvenient for the tenants and their employees by adding 30+min to entry time, and for the facility managers responsible for staffing each entry point. A reasonable solution (or tactic) would be the use of touchless health screening kiosks that allow for quick and easy screening while minimizing virus transmission.

2. Reasonable Levels of Comfort

As people go back to work, comfort in the workspace will be realized by easy use of prescreening technology, low or no touch in person screening procedures, and social distancing signage and wayfinding. Comfort in the workspace will be maximized by space scheduling, reimagined collaborative spaces, and ample space allocated for employee wellness.

A useful strategy for maintaining reasonable levels of comfort is to anticipate multiple workflows by building in flexible options that give employees choices on how to safely interact with the space around them.

For example, traditional workflow models might maximize space utilization and minimize energy consumption, but with current social distancing needs, this approach is no longer feasible. A reasonable solution would be to double or triple your building’s turns of fresh air per hour. Such an approach wouldn’t necessarily cost much more in equipment, but it would increase your electricity bill.

3. Perception of Safety

When we begin with the end-user in mind, we should think about how they perceive their safety as they return to work. Their perception is based on how successful organizations are at communicating and enforcing their workspace safety protocols. Perception of safety is built on the clarity and transparency of the plan.

A useful strategy for increasing the perception of safety is the development of standard operating procedures that are easy to access (i.e. via website and apps), building wide communication that is clear and concise, and other messaging designed to increase employees’ confidence while in the workspace.

For example, while an alternating or staggered work force might help with social distancing it can degrade communication by compromising the consistent delivery of up to date safety information. A reasonable solution is utilizing indoor location and data platforms to not only track occupancy, proximity, and spacing, but use real time updates to communicate changes in workspace protocols. This added information helps to ensure compliance and ultimately increase the perception of safety.

By beginning with the end user, organizations can establish a foundation for building success.

Here to Help You Succeed…

Splice offers a suite of services built for the day-to-day, long-term, and anything in-between. We’d love to discuss how we can help bring your organization’s vision to life.

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