Streamlining Work in Today’s Agile Office
To better prepare for the future, forward-thinking organizations are following current facility trends by transitioning to a more agile workspace, in which seating and desk space are often unassigned, provided as needed when employees are in the office. The goal is to attract the best talent, encourage collaboration, provide an engaging work environment and improve efficiency. At the heart of this new agile environment is advanced, smart office services. This concept is comprised of a suite of integrated services that enables an enterprise to advance such vital office activities as hoteling and conference room reservations to provide a superior experience for employees and clients.
There are many reasons why companies are creating a more agile work environment. One factor is that with fewer people coming to the office, an organization could substantially reduce the amount of office space required to run the business. In our experience working with global corporations and leading law firms, a company can potentially reduce office space by 30 to 60 percent by migrating from a traditional to agile work environment.
However, achieving advantages in an agile workplace requires providing employees with higher-level office services — supported by the right technology, people and processes — compared to a traditional office setting. For this reason, some companies tap the expertise of a managed services provider to coordinate these services.
Supporting an agile office
Whether managed internally or outsourced, here are five examples of office services that organizations are implementing in order to support a more agile and efficient workspace:
Hoteling: A reservation-based system of office management; employees schedule their use of workspaces (desks, cubicles, equipment, mobile file cabinets and meeting rooms) before they arrive at the office; daily refresh and maintenance of employee desk space and technology as well as meeting rooms ranging from chat rooms to team rooms and conference rooms; provide support for employees that have questions about the company or need help with computers, audio/visual equipment and video conferencing systems, which are critical to maintaining personal connections in an agile work environment
Concierge: Floor coordinators or ambassadors provide a wide range of services that include professionally greeting employees, guests and clients to create a strong first impression; coordinating meeting details including conference room reservation, catering and technology support as well as setup and breakdown; manage convenience facilities including copy/print rooms and break room/lunch areas
Mail and Print Center Management: Manage all inbound/outbound mail and shipping including accountable mail with package tracking; digital mail solutions; print center management spanning initial assessment of enterprise-wide print and copy needs, right-sizing the multifunction device (MFD) fleet, and implementing a document lifecycle methodology that integrates print and copy with mail and imaging
Technology Implementation and Management: Implement and/or manage software solutions that support the intelligent office and help elevate the employee experience; applications span functions such as gaining insight into space utilization; streamlining service requests; making conference room and workspace reservations; implementing virtual meetings and tracking packages
Digital Document Management: Significantly reduce paper usage, often a major consideration when moving to an agile work environment with less physical space; implement and manage integrated digital document management best practices such as maximizing offsite storage; converting documents from paper to digital formats; leveraging the use of multifunction devices to reduce print volumes/costs; instituting enterprise content management systems as well as an information governance program
A Case History Example
Let’s briefly look at an example of one agile office in action. A leading institute that provides advice and research on major business and economic trends decided to achieve a number of business benefits by moving to a more agile workspace. The organization tapped a managed services provider to implement a variety of advanced office services and help the firm transition to a new environment.
Initial research by the services provider found that a significant number of employees who had office space were not using it. Based on this finding and other data obtained during an initial assessment, the institute determined that it could vacate and sublet an entire floor, totaling approximately 20,000 square feet, which would yield about $1 million in savings. This would free up capital for renovating the existing office space on two floors — transforming that space into an open, agile work environment in which there were no closed offices for employees, including senior management. The services provider and its client refined the transition plan and moved ahead.
Hoteling and concierge services are critical elements driving the success of the new workplace. With the hoteling system, employees use an online reservation system to book their space for eight weeks in advance. However, they may only reserve the same workspace a limited number of times per calendar year. This approach encourages collaboration by enabling workers from different departments across the enterprise to get to know each other better. These are employees who might have remained further removed from each other in the previous environment characterized by separate offices. The flexible hoteling system has created a greater sense of community and improved morale as employees enjoy coming to the office on an as-needed basis and saving on commuting costs.
Concierge services include refreshing each workstation at the end of the day, including software and technical equipment, as well as managing maintenance, housekeeping and employee support issues. The latter, for instance, might include trouble logging in or experiencing difficulty in printing a document. Or, a recently-hired employee might have questions about the company. The key point is that the office services team members consider themselves ambassadors for the workspace. Whatever the problem, they will either address it directly or guide employees on how to resolve the issue.
These and other services continue to yield substantial business value. In addition to cost savings due to the research institute’s reduced real estate footprint, the organization also saves thousands of dollars annually by hosting meetings in its own space as opposed to contracting for events at hotels and other venues. Other key benefits of the new space include a better focus on core business activities as well as improved service for clients and employees.
For the research institute, these advantages mean it is future ready, prepared to succeed now and in the days ahead.