March 2022
by Brian Stromquist, co-leader, Gensler's Technology workplace practice

In Year 1, we asked ourselves: What is a Zoom? In Year 2, we pushed the question further: What does equitable videoconferencing look like for a hybrid workforce? We’re still working on that one. Now, we’re in Year 3, plotting our partial return to the workplace, ready to embrace our latest challenge: How do we take insights from the past two years and use them to design joyful, inclusive work environments?

We should keep advancing our research into immersive collaboration technologies, and keep investigating the inclusive possibilities of burgeoning metaverses, but we also need to invest this design energy back into the built environment. Studies show that hybrid work is here to stay, and workers who have the option of working remotely will still be coming into the office 2-3 days a week. There's also the large swath of the workforce whose jobs preclude the possibility of remote work, who have been — and will continue to be — keeping the lights on in our offices, laboratories, factories, and kitchens. They should enjoy all the affordances of virtual worlds in IRL environments.

It’s possible your workplace sensors aren’t providing you with an accurate view of your workplace utilization. In fact, 50% of your space utilization may be untracked right now. This can result in an inaccurate understanding of how spaces are being used, unreliable room and desk booking experience, and general misinformation negatively impacting your workplace strategy. 

You can’t transform your space with incorrect data. So what are your options?

VergeSense’s Signs of LifeTM provides business leaders with the most accurate and scalable occupancy detection on the market. This capability leverages intelligent optical sensors not only to count people, but also to facilitate object detection to identify context clues that indicate use of space beyond a physically present human. This provides insight into both active and passive occupancy, providing the spatial intelligence needed to create meaningful spaces where people can thrive.  

To learn more, download our How to Measure True Occupancy Quick Guide now.
A survey conducted by CoreNet Global, the association for corporate real estate professionals, has found that global companies are currently using less office space than when the pandemic began, but many expect to increase the amount of space they occupy over the next one to five years.

The survey, conducted in January 2022, yielded more than 300 responses NA, Europe & Asia. According to the survey, when respondents were asked whether their companies were currently using less space than in March 2020:
  • 45% said they were using 0-10 percent less
  • 12% said they were using 10-20 percent less
  • 12% said they were using 20-30 percent less
  • 16% said they were using more than 30 percent less
  • 15% said they had increased the amount of space they are currently using, compared to March 2020

The 2022 Architecture Awards program celebrates the best contemporary architecture and highlights the many ways buildings and spaces can improve lives. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is recognizing 11 projects.

The nine-member jury selects submissions that demonstrate design achievement, including a sense of place, purpose, history, and environmental sustainability.

Edited by Michael Schley and Alexi Marmot

In response to radical behavioral shifts toward working, learning and connecting presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IFMA Foundation released Work on the Move 3: Building Better Workplaces After the Pandemic. The latest volume in a series of groundbreaking books that focus on the evolving world of work, workplace strategy, and the intersection of people, technology and space, Work on the Move 3 (WOTM3) explores the expanding role of facility management (FM), and the leadership challenges and opportunities associated with delivering effective workplaces during pandemic.

Co-written by 19 industry-respected subject matter experts, the book addresses the hybrid workplace, sustainability and planetary health, employee well-being, diversity and inclusion, and the growing dependence on technology. An excerpt of the first chapter, “The Hybrid Workplace: Reimagining the Future of Work after the Pandemic,” by Michael Schley and Pat Turnbull, is presented here.

The National Facilities Management & Technology (NFMT) Conference & Expo offers facility management education, March 29-31, in Baltimore. In this conversation, NFMT presenter Stormy Friday, president, The Friday Group, explains what facility managers need to know about how hybrid work protocols will change space planning for commercial office facilities.

by Mackenna Morales, assistant editor, FacilitiesNet

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work. Employers are trying to find the perfect mix of what employees want and need in order to succeed in the roles, regardless of where they are. A solution that many businesses have begun using is a hybrid-office method. This allows a “best of both worlds” approach where employees can work both in the office and remotely during the week.

At NFMT, Stormy Friday, president, The Friday Group, will explore the practices associated with a hybrid work environment and how FM organizations can make the transition less stressful for everyone involved in her session Everything Old is New Again: Protocol Changes in the FM Work Environment

Room-occupancy sensors. More co-working space. Smaller private offices — or none at all — and more collaborative space. These are the occupancy management issues on the minds of corporate executives and FMs as they grapple with bringing employees back to the office in a manner that allows them to make the most efficient use of their office space while accommodating hybrid work.

There is no defined, one-size-fits-all playbook for how companies can accommodate changes in employees’ time in the office and support the type of work they will do when there. To that end, a study from global commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE examined 42 companies occupying a cumulative 350 million sq. ft. of office space across the globe to better understand the complex occupancy dynamics behind the trend toward widespread hybrid work.

Their challenge is to accommodate an often uneven flow of employees into and out of the office on a given day, detect patterns around which to shape their office design and amenities, and recalibrate the size of their office portfolio accordingly.

Fast reads . . .
Agile Work Evolutions (AWE), a real estate technology company focused on workplace strategy and implementation, has been acquired by Cresa, a leading occupier-focused commercial real estate firm.

AWE’s innovative tech enabled workplace strategy and advisory offering allows clients to better understand their potential occupancy strategies and smartly adopt hybrid and flex workplace solutions into their occupancy. The result is better, faster and more certain decision making as well as a more responsive, flexible and resilient occupancy plan. In addition to innovative, people-centric workplace strategies, AWE also provides assessment and change management, integration, alignment and training related to workplace.

Facility Fusion in Austin: Benefits for you and your organization
With sweeping changes in work and workplace, it’s imperative for facility management professionals to lead their organizations to higher levels of performance and experience. Hosted by the association that has provided training, knowledge sharing and support to FMs globally for more than 40 years, IFMA’s Facility Fusion is about building future-ready leadership skills. It’s about exploring what’s possible – for our facilities, industry and careers. It’s about synthesizing ideas and industries for a new world of work.

Supercharge your ability to enable advancement, both for you and your organization. Speakers will explore the latest built environment objectives and outlooks, providing direction in every area of strategic FM leadership – operational, digital, environmental, cultural, cross-functional and transformational.