Will flexible working be a main option for 70% of staff by 2020? Here’s how facilities managers will need to respond.

Around the world, companies are changing the way they organise and utilise their workspace. For instance, Facebook is putting thousands of its staff into a room a mile long; Google’s new campus in Silicon Valley is designed to encourage chance encounters. As a vice-president of Samsung Semiconductor said recently, the most creative ideas aren’t going to come while sitting in front of your monitor. His company has designed its new headquarters “to spark not just collaboration but that innovation you see when people collide” Scott Birnbaum told the Harvard Review.

It’s a startling contrast to offices just a few years ago, when everyone had a desk and sat at it, and meeting rooms were formal spaces. But now that’s changed, thanks to factors ranging from the rise in agile working to the arrival in the workplace of younger generations who demand more flexibility in the way they work.

Flexible workers need bookable desks where they can drop in and work without delay. And while some meeting spaces now are still fixed rooms for formal occasions, others have become multi-use areas that can be repurposed as needed. They may even be open spaces useful for a casual working get-together.

Equipment such as AV must be available on demand – and videoconferencing needs to be easily accessible if staff are to buy in to making use of it. If you get space utilisation right, the benefits are huge. As Google and Facebook have realised, workers who are free to move around, mingle and swap ideas tend to be happy and creative. That pays off for a business in many ways, ranging from staff retention to increased productivity.

Industry expert Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology Group, says technology is the answer – and luckily, it’s continually developing to meet the changing needs of workspace managers and users.

NFS has developed the leading room and desk booking and scheduling solution Rendezvous to help office owners maximise the way their staff use workspace. The software allows staff to book the space they need, together with services such as AV, video conferencing and even catering, all in a single intuitive process  online. Rendezvous Sensors in rooms, desks and booths can even display space availability in real-time.

NFS Technology has now launched a further innovation to help office managers and staff take advantage of the rise in mobile communications. The Rendezvous QuickBook has been designed using the latest web development technologies, including HTML5, to provide a powerful mobile room and resource booking app that works on multiple platforms.
 

Luis said: “Enterprise users will soon be moving from an average of three devices a day to five as the Internet of Things becomes more mainstream. This puts a strain on organisations – particularly IT departments – as they struggle to meet increased demand for high quality business apps.”

More mobile usage across an organisation drives a demand for access to more ad hoc bookings, increased video conferencing and the need for an optimised user interface. QuickBook works seamlessly with platforms including Outlook Exchange, and – uniquely – Office 365, making it ideal for mobile workers who use cloud-based solutions.

Luis said: “QuickBook addresses a number of different issues for office managers and staff. If you’re out of the office and want to book a desk for your return, the intuitive interface makes it possible to book from wherever you are. People booking meetings that require AV and catering can book them all in a single transaction via Outlook, desktop or mobile device – the solution works on any mobile device.”

PAs and meeting organisers also benefit from an interface that makes it faster to book rooms and services for several meetings thanks to integration with NFS’ comprehensive Rendezvous meeting room and desk booking software.

Luis said: “QuickBook works whether you use an iPhone, Android or Windows, giving access to the power of Rendezvous via a simple-to-use app. We know that real estate will continue to be a major cost for businesses going forward. It’s crucial that organisations make the most of their available space, and also make it convenient and easy for their staff to find the right space to work and collaborate. QuickBook is a major step forward in empowering staff to organise their working environment proactively, and also helps organisations to manage their workspace efficiently and productively.”

Luis believes the organisations that make use of technology such as Quickbook and Rendezvous are the ones that will succeed in the competitive world of 2017:

“A major global utility rolled out our Rendezvous meeting room booking software to 40 locations with nearly 500 meeting rooms,” he said. “Within three months of deploying Rendezvous software, the customer reported savings of over $100,000 from reduced booking of external rooms, simply by being able to find suitable available internal space. No matter how large your organisation, it makes huge commercial sense to reduce wasted space and boost productivity by helping staff find the space and facilities they need to work effectively.”

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