WAM! Your Space

Workspace sharing means having fewer workstations than employees because a portion of the workforce is mobile – able to work from home or other remote locations. Whether to implement workspace sharing is an important decision for any organization. To support the decision-making process, Fentress has developed an innovative tool called the Workspace Analysis Model (WAM). The model helps agencies and businesses learn how workspace sharing can reduce space needs and save money. WAM can be used at the building level; however, it is an exceptionally powerful tool when used to analyze a portfolio of space across a city, state, region, or the nation.

There are four basic components to WAM.

  1. Workspace Assumptions – the first step in the modeling effort is to identify assumptions and data that drive space needs. Example assumptions include the number and type of personnel that will occupy space; the type of space layout – traditional enclosed offices, open workstations, and/or collaborative workspaces; unique or special space needs; available space location data (i.e., space occupied, rent, address, etc.); and the desired level of space sharing (i.e., two employees per workstation, etc.).
  2. Space Calculator – the second step in the model is a space calculator that combines the workspace sharing and other assumptions with space standards. The result is a calculation of the space needed to house personnel and operations, while incorporating workspace sharing.
  3. Cost Calculator – once space needs have been calculated, the next step is to estimate the cost of reducing the space footprint. Such cost include design and construction, tenant property costs (e.g., moving, telephones and data, security, furniture, etc.), and the recurring cost of rent.
  4. Dashboard – the results of the space and cost calculations are displayed on a graphic dashboard. The dashboard compares the cost of existing space without implementing workspace sharing to the cost and savings associated with implementing workspace sharing. A key feature of the dashboard is the break even point – the point in the future when the cost of downsizing a space footprint is off-set by the savings in annual rent.

WAM helps organizations understand the expenses and savings associated with workspace sharing. It is a powerful visual tool that allows users to see the benefits of implementing a telecommuting and hotelling workspace strategy.

Companies and government agencies continually look for ways to reduce costs, improve employee satisfaction, and increase productivity. A surprising solution is to allow employees to mobile work from home or other remote locations either part-time or full-time. Here are a few ways in which employees work from home:

  1. Telecommuting – employees work from home on an as needed or part-time basis. Routine telecommuting is often accompanied by a tightening of space needs, which could include moving to systems furniture and/or shared workstations.
  2. Hotelling – employees share workstations and, in progressive organizations, an online reservation system is implemented so that employees can reserve conference rooms and workstations when they come to the office.
  3. Hub Office – only key management and administrative staff have office space, while the majority of employees work from home offices.
  4. Virtual Office – all employees work from home offices and space is leased only as needed.

Each of the above mobile work solutions requires an implementation strategy for success. The strategy must fit into the culture, budget, and work processes of each organization. To assist with this strategy, Fentress designed SAVE – a way of assessing the opportunities and threats associated with mobile work solutions, developing a strategy for an organization that matches the work processes and culture, and designing an implementation plan. When considering a mobile workplace strategy, there are numerous questions to be addressed:

Culture – Can our work processes accommodate mobile employees either on a part-time or full-time basis? How will our culture change if we implement a mobile work solution? Will a mobile work solution be acceptable to upper management? Will employees that work remotely be treated fairly?

Employee Eligibility – Which employees should be eligible to work remotly? What are employee success characteristics? What are the keys to a successful transition from working in an office to working from home or other remote locations?

Management – How can an organization structure to successfully meet the needs of employees that work remotely? How do you measure productivity? What changes are required in HR policies and programs?

Space – How should space be realigned with mobile work processes? What is the best space layout for how my organization works? Can I save money on space costs by implementing a mobile work solution? How can I prioritize which offices should be reduced and/or renovated for mobile work?

Technology – What equipment is needed to work remotely? What technology can enhance communication? What technology can assist in managing home office work and performance?

Budget – How much will it cost to implement a mobile work solution? What benefits will be derived? What are the risks to the organization? What money can be saved by implementing a mobile work solution?

When employees work from home they often have greater job satisfaction. Employees value employers that offer a home-office solution because it provides a greater balance between home and work life, whether part-time or full-time. Also, without the interruptions that occur in a typical office setting, employees that work from home typically increase productivity. This is a win – win situation for employers, employees, and clients. Working from home reduces sick leave and time out of the office, which also increases productivity. In addition, allowing employees to work from home can reduce overhead costs associated with space and furniture. Such costs can represent 20% or more of annual expenses; thus, even modest reductions can yield significant annual savings in leases and related expenditures.

We not only provide our clients with mobile work solutions, we practice what we preach – Fentress Incorporated has been a virtual company since 1988. Fentress has a progressive knowledge base that spans over two decades of mobile work.

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