The second key to “the great return to work” is visibility. The true open office concept is likely going away—at least for a while. And this should come as no surprise, as open offices, free address, and shared spaces offer no utilization visibility. Instead, data will be increasingly critical for monitoring, managing, and responding to space-related concerns.

This is where a powerful EMS Room and Resource Scheduling Software can come into play. Having a single source of truth for how spaces are utilized will be critical for social distancing, sanitation, and monitoring. Accruent’s EMS platform can provide the necessary data to create a safe, easily utilized space, helping you to:

  • Develop different areas of your office around the specific needs of different groups, including some permanent workstations, some daily hoteling spaces, some weekly or monthly spaces and more.
  • Allow teams to reserve desks in “neighborhoods” so they are always close to their teammates.
  • Implement web and mobile workstation booking and set check-in requirements so that free spaces actually get used.
  • Stay on top of safety and hygiene concerns.

Let’s dive into the details.

Reporting on Space Usage

Another key functionality of an robust space schedulingEMS solution is b? Being able to report on space usage so you know how much of your space is being used over time, which spaces are the most popular and which spaces have been used recently. This is particularly important for informing cleaning staff where to sanitize to keep employee health and wellness the top priority.

You can also address other important questions that you may need to answer as a manager or administrator. These include:

  • What spaces have been used today?
  • Where has an infected individual been within the facility?
  • What spaces are being underutilized?
  • Which spaces were used to engage with outside visitors?
  • How many rooms are being booked at max capacity?

Then there are the questions that employees will be asking leadership and staff, like:

  • How long has this desk been unused?
  • Which conference rooms are safe?
  • Should I go to the office today?
  • What PPE is available?

These are considerations that you need to think about, and you can only answer these questions effectively with data and reporting. Having the ability to report on the usage of space will be critical to understanding the movement and interaction of people.

Accruent - Blog Post - The Great Return to Work Key 2: Using Technology to Increase Visibility

Using Accruent’s EMS, you can run reports to answer, for example, the history of who’s been in what workspace or what conference room was booked. How long was it booked for? What’s the utilization of the spaces? Therefore, setting up correct sanitation and cleanliness.

Just to give an example, two reports available in the EMS space scheduling solution include a Daily Seat Occupancy Report and an External Visitor Security Report.

Accruent - Blog Post - The Great Return to Work Key 2: Using Technology to Increase Visibility

Daily Seat Occupancy Report from Accruent’s EMS space and resource scheduling solution.

Accruent - Blog Post - The Great Return to Work Key 2: Using Technology to Increase Visibility

External Visitor Security Report from Accruent’s EMS space and resource scheduling solution.

Real-Time Awareness

While reporting is an invaluable resource for responding and informing strategy, it only offers a historical view of your data. Day-to-day, real-time communication to your users and managers can also go a long way when it comes to keeping people aligned on policies and procedures.

Consider building a strategy around the information that gets shared at critical times, like when visitors are coming to your facility or when a space needs attention. A lot of this can be done through automated reports, automated notifications, and automated emails.

You may find it useful to implement Terms and Conditions as well as attestation questions within the room or desk booking workflow. Terms and Conditions can spell out the company policies, employee self-governance requests, friendly reminders of best practices for safety and more. Attestation questions should be able to be customized to help inform the office administration of higher risk situations that might warrant manual approval. These questions could include information like whether an individual has traveled outside of the state or country within a recent time period.

Making such information requests required for booking a space or resource using a configurable booking solution should also be able to trigger notifications and alerts to relevant groups or individuals.

Use cases you can create automated notifications for include:

  • If an employee answers an attestation question in the affirmative
  • When a booking includes external visitors
  • Reminders to check-in for bookings
  • Reminders for daily assignments (WFH, WFO, book a desk)
  • Informing service groups and resource holders (e.g., catering, facilities, IT or A/V, etc.) of requests

Faster Response

This kind of strategy and visibility can enable you to react quickly should there be an event in the office or someone is identified to be ill. You can potentially combine reporting on space use and calendar data to more formally and uniformly reach out to those that may be impacted.

What’s Next in “The Great Return to Work” Blog Series

In the next blog in our “great return to work” blog series, we will explore the importance of having your people on board with any changes you make. After all, the positive impact of returning to the office hinges on participation from your people. That’s why you must encourage accountability, re-establish the office culture, and ensure that the people in your company feel safe and heard.

Explore the Series:

  1. Introduction
  2. Key 1: Effectively Managing Your Space  
  3. Key 2: Using Technology to Increase Visibility
  4. Key 3: Keep Your People at the Forefront
  5. Key 4: Rethink Your Real Estate