Intelligent Workspace Management: Putting Technology To Work For You

Tobias Decker

Current corporate real estate strategies are creating a costly phenomenon known as “the empty building syndrome.” While the goal is to boost employee productivity, these strategies are quickly becoming outdated due to our changing working culture. Tech may just have the answer.

Empty building syndrome

A normal day in the office sees many empty desks and vacant conference rooms, even as the demand for office space has increased. For example, roughly 2 billion square feet of corporate office space were added over the past three decades in the U.S. alone. Still, estimates suggest that desks, offices, and other types of workspaces are occupied on average only 42% of the time, while employees are often elsewhere in the building 18% of the time. By an average of 40%, workspaces are empty at any point on an ordinary working day – and organizations are paying for this empty space.

The future of work and the consumerization of real estate

The workplace is changing rapidly, affected by remote working to tech-savvy millennials. Accordingly, brokerage firm JLL predicts that by 2030, as much as 30% of all office space will need to be flexible. Why, then, is corporate real estate, the primary housing establishment for today’s highly mobile workforce, still managed as it was decades ago? With an evolving workforce, corporate priorities should also evolve when it comes to enabling the best possible working environment, even as companies struggle to attract top talent.

Corporate real estate has a major impact on the happiness and productivity of the workforce; adequate working environments can lead to major economic advantages. Since corporate real estate is the second-largest cost item on company balance sheets, it has a huge impact on the largest: Personnel.

Because the modern workplace is all about social collaboration, a range of flexible workspaces should facilitate silent work as well as team-based work and hangout areas. With greater economic value placed on innovations than on actual manufactured goods in many industries, enabling and fostering new ideas across the organization is crucial for to remain competitive.

An all-connected office world

A dynamic approach to workspace management can be enabled only through the latest technologies. Analyzing space utilization using sensors, hotspots, and connections to reservation management systems is the foundation for visual workplace management – welcoming the Internet of Things to the workplace. This approach also allows the allocation of real estate costs to teams, providing greater insight into occupancy costs.

Sensors, data analytics, and a harmonized process landscape for centralized guidance with decentralized responsibilities can lead to better portfolio transparency and simplified space management – to maximize workspace usage while minimizing overall space needs. Furthermore, these data insights will accelerate the creation of a real estate digital twin for new revenue streams and optimized building efficiency.

This approach supports organizations in considering real estate a driver of solutions and a resource for unlocking organizational success. It requires embedding and integration of these technologies into real estate management with digital mapping, visualization, and analysis. Hence, workplace strategies, occupancy planning, portfolio optimization, and increased collaboration can be digitally defined, measured, and improved.

Driving value without disruption

Leveraging real estate and workspaces to run an intelligent enterprise by improving operations portfolio-wide will drive profitable growth and value without disruption. Companies will be at a huge economic advantage if they can identify and satisfy employee needs by transforming their workspaces while realizing significant cost savings. The war for talent, urbanization, and rising facility costs are just a few dimensions that modern buildings will help to tackle. Do not miss out on the opportunity to use technology to make the office work for you. It’s time to digitally represent your corporate real estate.

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter) | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube

Tobias Decker

About Tobias Decker

Tobias Decker is the head of Line of Business Real Estate located at the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam. Together with his team he drives forward and develops innovation in his field while cooperating closely with customers and partners. Currently the team works on solutions for corporate real estate and compliant lease accounting. Prior to his present position, he realized various international implementation projects in the area of real estate and facility management as a solution architect and senior consultant, and worked in IT project management for the world’s leading construction companies.